|Chakra and Magic
Author: Carumati PM
Four ninjas, Naruto, Shikamaru, Neji, and Hinata, were chosen by Tsunade to represent Konohakagure, and to an extent, all of the Ninja Countries, to the outside world and the Magical communities. Their mission: guard Hogwarts and one Harry Potter. Xover.Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Suspense - Chapters: 7 - Words: 72,949 - Reviews: 256 - Favs: 490 - Follows: 290 - Updated: 03-21-10 - Published: 06-03-09 - Status: Complete - id: 5109642
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Last chapter (probably going to be a long one): I'm so excited to finish this story too! Though it seems like I'm in a habit of ending on cliffs, at least I finish them to an extent to be semi-proud of!
Some lines are taken from the actual book. I partially quoted Winston Churchill. I don't own Harry Potter or Naruto.
"Speech"- English 'Thoughts'- English
"Speech" - Japanese 'Hand signs or thoughts'- Japanese
As we've all been waiting for…
Chakra and Magic
Seven: Return Home
((We tend to leave footprints at the door so you may remember us.))
Chapter Thirty-three: Fight and Flight
The moment the door closed, Ron immediately began plotting; this is a chess game, scenarios and tactics: obviously the heavy-set should battle against heavy-set, but he was sure that Ginny was enough to go against Malfoy and Bulstrode with a hand behind her back. Having grown up with six older brothers, she had experienced brawling and had the scars to prove it. His eyes darted from Neville to Crabbe and back to Neville. Understanding the message, Neville gulped, but inclined his head in acknowledgment. He and Hermione could take out Warrington, after Ginny knocked out Bulstrode. Luna, if she stuck with Ginny, should be fine. Everyone else should be easy pickings. Within five seconds, the members of the D.A. were well-aware of their plan; all they needed now was a perfect opportunity to strike.
But there was a wild card, Hinata Hyuuga, the female ninja, who was standing off at the side with her head bowed low enough that no one could see the top of her face. Ron narrowed his eyes, he couldn't be sure about these foreigners, they might be backing up the You-Know-Who's side without anyone knowing. He had seen the Order's reactions to the guards and they could only be described as wary and suspicious and the same was true of the ninjas. Ever since the 'accident' involving Naruto Uzumaki and that Auror, who was probably never going to step out of St. Mungo's ever again, the ninjas had been making themselves scarce, too scarce. Rumors around the school, fueled by the newspapers in Wizarding Britain, whispered that the ninjas were up to something bad that would threaten the Magical Community as a whole. They were speaking about an invasion from the Hidden Countries.
Ron shivered. Judging by the powers each individual ninja held, the rumors were definitely not far from the mark. No, it would be better to see what Hyuuga will do before they made their move, unless the Snakes moved against the D.A. first.
Time failed to pass in this room; no one moved for some time, because it was well known to the people who had the upper hand that it was wise to wait for the defender's move. Malfoy tapped his wand and smirked victoriously to the room in general. The blond met Ron's eye and slowly and deliberately drew his index finger across his neck. Ron resisted the urge to wring the ferret's neck. Warrington cleared his throat impatiently and looked like he was about to say something to Luna. Rumors around the school had him taking up Muggle-baiting and Blood-traitor-torturing outside of Hogwarts, and the Slytherin's eyes were lit up and his wand was shooting minor black sparks from his excitement. The heavy atmosphere of the room added to the tension 'till it was condensed like a brick. The redhead felt a bead of sweat fall down his brow, no wand, no adults; he should move soon before anyone gets hurt.
Then, the outer walls of the school vibrated from a roar, capable of bursting eardrums, from the Forest where Umbridge, Harry, and Hermione were. What was that? Some giant throwing a tantrum? "HERMY! WHERE HAGGER?"
Taking the chance, Ron quickly tried to twist out of the Slytherin's arms but ended up on the floor, with two other people on him. "Stupefy! Stupefy!" Someone shouted. Ginny screamed and threw a punch that connected, but was subdued quickly by a combined effort of Bulstrode and Crabbe who had knocked Neville temporarily unconscious. "Grab the wands!" The D.A. wasn't prepared for this and began to fight using fists, the muggle way, Ron panicked and fought back against the hands in anyway he could, with fists, feet, and teeth.
A flash of black and lavender, Warrington's grip lessoned and he fell ungracefully to the ground. Ron immediately searched the older boy for his wand, pushed the body aside, and then sat up. He looked up and saw the ninja moving a near impossible speed 'Are her eyes pulsing? Are those veins? That can't be normal. Bloody hell. Her hands are glowing. She's not punching them; she's touching, just barely.' The moment Hinata's hands brushed the barest skins; her attackers would yell and double over in pain. She moved between bodies like water, her feet didn't even seem to touch the ground. Seconds later, all the Slytherins were subdued and out cold, like the aftermath of a warzone.
It was all over.
Ron watched in stunned amazement as Hinata kindly offered a hand to Luna Lovegood who gratefully accepted the gesture. The two girls were speaking amiably in the ninja's foreign tongue, though with an underlying hint of solemnity running through their conversation. He could tell that they were talking about him with Luna's side glances that were aimed at him and her reassurances to Hinata's apprehension. Finally Hinata sighed, patted the blonde on the head, and walked over.
The redhead instinctly drew back, Hinata reminded him of a kitten, but one that had just shown she had a vicious bite. She was beautiful, he had to admit; the whole school agreed. Ninjas in general were beautiful people; Hermione once hypothesized that it was due to their greater reserves in magic that enabled them to have a sort of allure that oozed out of their bodies like Veelas or Vampires or Undines, according to his mum, to make themselves look more "aesthetically pleasing." Whatever it was, it had most blokes drooling over her, some even purposely harmed themselves in order to get a trip to the Hospital Wing. The foreigners had a charisma that attracted attention wherever they went, people just couldn't seem to look away. The thought scared the hell out of him. "What do you want?" he demanded rudely.
The female ninja sighed and her eyes stopped pulsating, from a magnanimous fighter, she turned back into a meek nurse. "P-Potter-san will most likely be going to the Ministry of Magic, to the Department of Mysteries."
Ron's gaped, "How do you…"
"It doesn't matter how I know, j-just inform Potter-san that perhaps I, along with Shikamaru-kun will be there too, perhaps to offer back-up." She turned her head to the side and adverted her gaze, her leg moving enough to give a nice kick to Malfoy's head. Ron heartily approved.
'She said, "Perhaps." That means she might not. I would bet twenty galleons that the real reason why she's going there is to mount a rescue mission to get back Neji Hyuuga,' his mind reasoned. 'And if they succeed, they'll be in enough trouble with the Ministry to flee back to their own continent. But mum said that the Order doesn't want to see them leave without helping us defeat You-Know-Who. Won't it be better if they left? Their loyalties still aren't clear. I should let them go "with permission" then, since there really isn't any way to stop them and I have a feeling that they're just asking me out of courtesy. Besides, they won't leave Naruto alone at the Hospital Wing, if the worst comes to blows, we'll use Naruto as a bargaining chip.' Ron shrugged casually, masking his fear with bravado, "Sure, sure. I don't know much about the Department; just know that they got some weird things going on there."
Hinata nodded and scanned the room, Ron followed her gaze. Luna was unscathed. The rest of them looked a little the worse for wear— there were several long scratches running the length of Ginny's cheek. Ginny was, thank Merlin, awake, just in temporary shock and he reckoned she would recover fairly quickly. A large purple lump was swelling above Neville's right eye; he would feel that once he woke up. Ron's own lip was bleeding worse than ever. "D-do you," Hinata began unsurely, "need any assistance in healing?"
He shook his head and scrutinized her, "No," ignoring the throbbing protests from his split lip.
"Then I'll take my l-leave. Sayonara Weasley-san." Hinata bowed and turned to the shadows. He blinked; a hand appeared out of the shadows and beckoned the girl over. Hinata took the hand and was pulled into the darkness. She was gone.
Blinking and rubbing his eyes disbelievingly, he cursed under his breath and tried his best to rouse Ginny from her state, before finally determining that his little sister probably needed some time alone to recollect her scattered thoughts. Luna flashed him a dreamy smile which he pretended not to see. He staggered over to the shadows where the girl disappeared, 'Come to think of it, the hand looked like Nara's hand…' and touched the dark wall and patted around for a secret passage. He sighed, 'No indentation, no door, nothing. Bloody weird ninjas and their bloody weird magic.'
At that moment, Harry rushed through the door with Hermione in tow. Umbridge wasn't with them. Ron smiled at them and jauntily waved, feeling strangely pleased with himself. The duo looked in a great hurry to get somewhere, near frantic too, out of breath and exhausted. Their hair was full of twigs and the occasional leaf. Harry's green eyes roved around the scene before finally settling on him, "… What happened?"
A length of shadow, no different from any of the surrounding shadows created by light and dark, moved quickly across the floor, blending in and out of the dark patches on the ground. Sometimes, specifically whenever a person walked by, it would dart off, like a fleeting pixie, to a corner, only to cautiously re-emerge back onto its path a moment later. The shadow passed trees, buildings, streets, and seemed to move tirelessly toward its destination, until it stopped at a battered telephone box and slid through the cracks, downwards.
A minute later, the shadow was within the Atrium of the Ministry of Magic that seemed to be completely empty, bathed in soft golden light. There were no fires burning under the mantelpieces set into the wall. Hinata stepped out of the shadows first and her eyes were immediately attracted to the golden symbols that twisted sinuously in the dark blue ceiling. The rest of the shadow morphed back into human form: Shikamaru rolled out and consulted the map that he was given to by McGonagall. The only sound in the Atrium was the steady rush of water from the golden fountain, where jets from the wands of the witch and wizard, the point of the centaur's arrow, the tip of the goblin's hat, and the house-elf's ears continued to gush into the surrounding pool.
The setting sun's rays of light were soft with a red tint and caused the entire Hospital Wing of Hogwarts to glow. The rays, however, didn't manage to touch the last row of beds, where a young blond boy resided, breathing evenly in the deepest sleep Morpheus could bestow. The entire body of the boy was still, had been still for some time: days, weeks…
And then, a hand twitched.
Chapter Thirty-four: The Department of Mysteries
'How long have we've been searching?' Shikamaru wondered, feeling still a bit lightheaded from the chakra-intensive Shadow-Walking, or rather, Shadow-Running, that he had just accomplished. He followed Hinata, who had her Byakugan activated, through a series of circular rooms and doors with the occasional laboratory or dark chamber. The kunoichi was using her ability to see faint wisps of chakra to pinpoint Neji's unique Hyuuga-chakra among the chakra-saturated air. She claimed that Hyuuga-chakra was whiter than all other traces and he hoped to Kami that she was right. They were probably in the middle of the entire complex; McGonagall's map was quickly abandoned. 'Pity that the Byakugan cannot activate in the Nara's shadows.'
It seemed like ages until the lift descended to level nine and a cool female voice announced, "Department of Mysteries." The Nara scion sighed and frowned, how troublesome. He wished that there had been a better way to prepare, more information, or a later date to start the rescue of Hyuuga Neji and Hyuuga Michi, but there wasn't. He had thought this through, over and over again and this was their best chance, their only chance, of succeeding. He wearily rubbed his eyes and tried to blink out the blue shadows from his vision. But that was hard to do, mainly because the floor, ceiling, walls, and doors were all black, plain, and unmarked, and the only light came from candles, interspersed along the wall, whose flames burned blue. Their cool, shimmering light reflected on the shining marble floor made it look as though there was water underfoot. In his mind, the rooms were still rotating.
Hinata opened another door that looked exactly the same as all the other doors. She looked in and took a sharp intake of breath. "Shikamaru-kun," she whispered. He peered over her shoulder into the room.
Directly under the main chandelier, in the middle of the room, Neji was strapped to a metal table with bands that had runic figures embedded into them. He seemed to be sleeping and didn't look physically harmed, though first impressions were rarely correct. The Hyuuga heiress rushed over and instantly began running her hands up and down his body, glowing green, taking in the information that his chakra was supplying. Shikamaru took a cursory glance around the room, giving an uneasy glance at the bloody scalpels, the stained cloth, the bottles of potions, the small pile of parchment with small, crammed writings of notes and data, and the constant whisperings in the background, which he couldn't decide whether was machine, magic, or something else.
"Sleep deprivation— his brain isn't functioning at optimum levels. They loaded his body with chemicals that made him more susceptible to telling truths and caused him to hallucinate. He hasn't been getting enough nutrients and he's severely dehydrated. There's an abundant amount of foreign chakra forcibly reversing the flow of his chakra in his coils, it must be painful. Oh, Neji-kun…" Hinata muttered heartbrokenly, cupping his clammy cheek. "What have they done to you?"
As he slipped the notes into his vest pocket, his eyes landed on a small girl sitting in a cage that was more like a niche in the wall. She looked like a perfect Hyuuga child with short black hair, clear eyes, and the unmistakable Caged bird Seal on her forehead. Her liquid eyes, which were originally following the whimsical patterns that her fingers were tracing onto her knees, snapped up to him and to the papers in his hands the moment she felt his gaze. "That's all they ever had on us. None of it is useful and there aren't any other copies. We don't ever talk." She spoke with a harshness that wouldn't be heard from normal five year olds.
It took a Katon jutsu to melt the lock on the bars. When the girl stepped into the light, Shikamaru noticed that she looked very tired; the circles under her eyes were more pronounced than what was supposed to be healthy. ' Preventing sleep is a classic form of torture; she has probably been subjected to it for years.' He looked down, "Hyuuga Michi?"
She instinctively straightened her back and nodded, "Present and accounted for." Shikamaru noticed that she used an outdated method of responding.
Madame Pomfrey rushed out of her office as soon as she heard the first sounds of her once comatose patient waking. Armed with her wand and a bottle of Dreamless Sleep, she observed the blond boy, ninja, Naruto Uzumaki, attempting to stand on shaky legs, holding onto the bed post with both hands. Despite her slight fear of the foreigner, the sight gave her a near heart-attack of worry, "What are you doing?" she shrieked and called up her Healer authority, "Get back into bed, young man. You are in no shape to even be sitting up. You need more rest."
The boy looked at her long and hard and huffed at her words, "Whatever you say, old lady, but you aren't the boss of me." He released his grip from the bedpost and took a few experimental steps, grinning broadly when he didn't fall, revealing his sharp canine teeth. He took another few hesitant steps toward the opposite bed and marveled at his own progress. There were no sounds of his feet touching the tile floor, the Nurse blinked.
'If you close your eyes, you wouldn't know he was there. How in the world did he manage to wake up so soon? How in the world did he manage to walk after only scant minutes of standing? What sort of healing abilities does he have?' The school matron wondered half in fear and half in wonder. She steeled herself and pointed her wand at the ninja's back, 'Dumbledore specifically ordered me to keep him in bed. As the school's healer, it's my duty to see to his full recovery.' The sun was angled in a way that made her shadow one elongated pole. 'Stupefy,' she whispered in her mind; a shot of red light headed point-blank to at the ninja's back.
Unfortunately, the ninja stiffened and dodged the Stunner in a way that made the attack look pathetic. The ninja wasted no time in flipping over the air, disappearing and reappearing in front of the Head Nurse, knocking her down with one kick to her legs and twisting her arms behind her, rendering her motionless. "Why did you do that?" He exclaimed bewildered, "Don't you know that it's dishonorable to attack someone's back?"
'From barely being able to walk to fully being capable of defending himself in no time at all. His recovery rate is off the charts.' Biting her lower lip, she stiffened as he applied more pressure downwards. She stared at the tile floors and concentrated on the little scuff marks that dotted the otherwise whiteness, an Occlumency tactic block out the pain.
"Huh," Naruto remarked offhandedly, checking the calendar on the opposite wall, "Already that late." The shinobi bit his bottom lip worriedly, 'Damn it! My data transfer seal that was connected to my teammates must have fried when the wizard met the Kyuubi.' "So Lady," he chirped, "what happened while I was knocked out?"
"…Please, let me go." Madame Pomfrey choked out, trying to play as a helpless woman. There was a resigned sigh but one that was mockingly given; she could almost see him shaking his head childishly. 'No one ever comes up here at this time of the day, nobody would even hear me scream if I choose to because of the minor sound barrier on the door. The advantage is on his side. What would Dumbledore think of me?'
"Nuh uh, no way. Not after what that guy did to me, without even asking, and look at the consequences he had to face. I think that the magical people are plain dumb, dumber than Teme, and that's saying a lot." His knee dug into her back and his grip became so painful that she involuntarily released her wand, only realizing her actions after she heard the sound of wood hitting tile. "Tell me. What has happened? Where are my teammates? What have you done to them?"
"Didn't do anything," she bit out. "Kingsley abandoned his watch over you a week after the accident. You're friends disappeared around the same time that they," she pointed at some beds hidden by a curtain, "appeared."
Frowning, Naruto concentrated on his swirling chakra and managed to pull off a single Kage-bunshin, without hand seals, and ordered it to check upon the new arrivals. The patients were Warrington, Bulstrode, Goyle, Malfoy, and Crabbe. 'All from that Green House, all were part of toad-lady's team.' "Where's Umbridge?"
The old witch struggled futilely in his hold, but then relented, " A second year witnessed Umbridge following Harry Potter and Hermione Granger into the Forbidden Forest, and then only Potter and Granger walking back out. I was about to look for Filius, uh Professor Flitwick, for his aid to fetch her back."
'Why would someone like Umbridge go to the Forbidden Forest? Doesn't she hate magical creatures in general? The Forest is full of different species. Ergo, she's stupid to even think about setting foot into a place with giant spiders and centaurs and… Oh Kami.' His bunshin popped. "Hagrid's brother," he murmured in hushed glee and horror, imagining the giant cart off Umbridge off into the distance, never be seen again. 'I hope that Grawp does bad things to that woman. And somehow, they get beaten and end up here,' he shot a pointed look at the Slytherins, But…' "Where's Potter?"
"He, Granger, Lovegood, Ronald Weasley, Ginny Weasley, and Longbottom have disappeared from the castle." Her voice sounded robotic, she became dead weight but her mind still jumped from thought to thought, 'Minerva and Filius were frantic when they learned about the disappearances, and then Severus was gone too, but at least he told the rest of the staff he was leaving.'
Naruto scrunched his face in thought, his eyes squinting into the distance. 'Ok, think like Shikamaru- there's a puzzle piece that I don't have. Harry left willingly with his friends to a place after defeating the first group of people that attempted to stop him from doing something. Doing what? Leaving? Why leave? And where to?'
The sunlight came through the windows and the curtains, casting an orange glow throughout the Hospital Wing. The scene was like a painting: Naruto was the accuser and Pomfrey was the defeated. The unconscious Slytherins cast their horrible shadows on the curtains that separated them from the rest of the room, giving the impression of grotesque and mutilated shadow puppets. A bird chirped outside, disguising the distant sounds from the forest— neighs from horses, roars from some creature, and Naruto liked to think he heard a woman's shrieks; the noises were so far away they seemed unimportant.
The blond ninja searched through all his conversations with the wizard, 'Harry usually speaks about mundane things except for the Vol-de-Mort problem and his dreams. Wait, his dreams are usually about a corridor and we were trying to protect his mind from invasion by Vol-de-Mort who kept wanting to go to that place in the Department of Mysteries. Shit. Potter wouldn't be too reckless as to rush in with a ragtag team of kids as old as he is into a strange location would he…? And isn't the Department of Mysteries in the Ministry of Magic, the Magical Government? Double shit. And because Harry is going, that means that Shikamaru, Hinata, and Neji followed. What about Hyuuga Michi? Can they still save her?'
Going against any powerful government was practically suicide, especially when it was a solo mission to be done out in the open. Naruto looked down and pondered, not realizing how close and yet how far his deductions came to the actual truth. Staring at the tile floor, Madame Pomfrey waited anxiously for her sentence, and hoped that it would be light. Finally, the verdict arrived in the form of a non-verdict, "Old hag," Naruto started happily, "you're going to do something for me and you're going to do it well. You're going to make me a portkey."
The archway had an archaic beauty about it; the gently rippling veil that hung from the top intrigued him enough that he felt a very strong inclination to climb up on the dais and walk through it. "Sirius?" Harry Potter asked again and then turned to his crew, "Someone's whispering behind there." He walked around the sunken pit, frowning in thought, "Is that you, Ron?"
"I'm here, mate," said Ron, appearing around the side of the archway.
"Can't anyone else hear it?" Harry demanded, for the whispering and murmuring was becoming louder; without really meaning to put it there, he found his foot was on the dais.
"I can hear them too," breathed Luna, joining them around the side of the archway and gazing at the tattered black, swaying veil, "There are people in there!" Her comment was ridiculous to the normal witch or wizard, but Harry Potter's entire life was far from normal by any stretch of its definition. To Harry, Luna's words made perfect sense.
A toad appeared on the Godaime Hokage's desk in a 'POOF' loud enough to elicit a scream from the, surprisingly, sober woman. The toad handed over a scroll and a sock; on the scroll was written a message in a rushed hand and blotchy ink—
Obaa-san— It's bad here. Some magical officer looked through my head like a Yamanaka without my permission and did something weird that knocked me out for a couple of months when they tried to arrest me when I was doing my job. I just woke up and found that Potter, some of his friends, Shikamaru, Neji, and Hinata are going to the Ministry of Magic on an illegal mission. I think our people are also trying to get back someone we lost. Umbridge, from what I've heard, is suitably detained. I don't know any of the important details or what's going on besides what I just wrote; no one is telling me anything. I need emergency backup or at least more political clout, I have a feeling that the Minister is going to try again to legally 'capture' a ninja. I managed to get a portkey made by a witch who swore on her power it would work right. The codeword is 'Sharingan.' I need help NOW. Trust no witch or wizard. Dattebayo!~Naruto.
Shikamaru unsealed the storage scroll with a drop of his blood, and immediately, medical supplies appeared on the ground. Hinata tenderly nursed Neji, who was awake though still weak enough to need assistance moving, to some semblance of health. After unlocking the foreign chakra's effects from both the Hyuuga prisoners' bodies, she breathed a sigh of relief, "He will be able to make a full recovery once we head home. Michi-chan will need a few days of sleep, the physical tests they placed her through happened such a long time ago that she has already healed." Neji leaned into his cousin's embrace and stared forward unwaveringly.
Brushing the bangs from her face, Michi suggested casually, "You can have me watch Neji as you go to complete your mission. I'll take him to the branch halls, Hinata-sama can find us and there aren't any people there at all. The wizards usually check on us in the mornings so you can go save the Potter boy."
The Nara sighed, "Our clients have been unnecessarily withholding valuable information that could have endangered our safety and has also turned passively hostile towards us. It would be reasonable to declare the mission as a broken contract."
"B-but," Hinata protested, "Harry is just a boy, brave, but innocent. Still, I feel that he is developing his own Will of Fire within him; we know him on a personal basis. I see him as a friend and even though ninjas are not supposed to get attached to the mission. We can't just maliciously leave him to die…"
A silent debate, a battle of wills and determination. After some time, it was obvious who won.
S.P.T. to A.P.W.B.D.
And (?) Harry Potter
When Harry took the dusty, glass orb from its shelf, nothing whatsoever happened. His companions moved in closer around Harry, gazing at the orb as he brushed it free from the clogging dust. And then, from right behind them, a drawling voice said, "Very good, Potter. Now turn around, nice and slowly, and give that to me."
Chapter Thirty-five: Beyond the Veil
Neji and Michi were in a separate room, waiting to be picked up after they had found Potter-san. If all went according to plan, Shikamaru and Hinata would manage to and bring both Harry and Co., and Neiji and Michi back to Hogwarts. The plan only sounded easy. Shikamaru couldn't resort to his normal tactics, it took too long to strangle someone and he couldn't freeze everyone in the room at once, and still have enough power to prevent them from struggling.
Shikamaru slid under the closed door, pulling Hinata with him, remaining so thoroughly blended with the shadows that he his form melted into the dark spaces where the walls met the ground. 'We must be at the right place. I can hear Harry's voice, along with the students who were with him in Umbridge's office, but there are also other adults there.' He squinted past the shelves and rows of glass orbs and tried to discern the unknown voices out of the mass volume that was coming from the wraiths that floated from the broken glass on the floor. 'Harry is standing defensively, he's cornered. That's Malfoy Lucius, suspected follower of the man who wants to kill Harry.'
There were a lot of enemies, probably numbering twenty or so. He dimly wondered if the reason the Dark Lord sent out so many followers was because of the ninjas. Thank Kami that Harry wasn't as stupid as he acted, it seemed like the wizard had a plan— to stall. Though he was blatantly showing his thoughts with his body language, it looked like the black figures in skull masks, the Death Eaters, were even stupider and not picking up on the signals. "And why did he want to steal a prophecy about me?" Harry asked cautiously and curiously.
"About both of you, Potter," Malfoy Sr. caustically sneered, "about both of you… Haven't you ever wondered why the Dark Lord tried to kill you as a baby?"
'Probably not,' Shikamaru thought sourly, cracking his knuckles. 'Potter never knew what he should and shouldn't be wondering about. I would bet my deer herd that Dumbledore knew from the start of this entire mess and never told Harry. I wonder why, it would be more logical for boy to know something that concerned him, especially, if my research is right, after the many times he has met Volde-mort in some form or another. I wonder why. Did the Headmaster take a special pleasure in keeping his soldier in the dark? The Godaime would never do that.' As an insane, black-haired woman shrieked and cackled, he stepped out of the shadows, still out of sight, pulled Hinata away and flashed her some quick hand signs, outlining a rough battle plan. The moment the kunoichi nodded in assent, he began to move.
"So he's got you doing his dirty work for him, has he?" said Harry. "Like he tried to get Sturgis to steal it— and Bode?"
"Very good, Potter, very good…" said Malfoy slowly."But the Dark Lord knows you are not un— " The man suddenly froze in place like he was petrified, mouth still open. Eyes widened in fear, they were the only thing that moved.
'Wait a moment.' The Boy-Who-Lived thought as his gaze traveled down the man and to his shoes, where on the dimly lit, black marble floor, his shadow stretched back behind him in a band so thin that it was probably the width of his index finger, 'I've seen this before.' His eyes followed the band to the back corner of the shadows where he saw a silhouette of two figures, one obviously a girl and the other a spiky-haired boy who was crouching down with his two hands joined together. He heard Bellatrix scream incoherently and took his chance, "NOW!"
Five different voices behind him bellowed "REDUCTO!" Five curses flew in five different directions and the shelves opposite them exploded as they hit. Splintered wood hit the floor; as the towering structures swayed, hundreds of orbs broke and shattered till pieces of glass were falling to the ground like a silver shower. Pearly-white figures unfurled into the air and floated there, their voices discerning the future, echoing the past, telling what could have been and what will be. They were not heard.
Harry saw a flash of movement directly behind Lucius, who was released in the chaos. Hinata bent back to allow a red spell to fly above her and used her momentum to give a kick to the Death Eater's torso. It connected, sending the wizard flying back but not before he managed to shoot a sickly-fast orange spell back that connected with Hinata's left arm. "RUN!" Harry yelled, out of the corner of his eye, he saw a red tinge appeared on the ninja's skin and began to creep slowly upward, its progress halted under the elbow where she had placed her glowing green hand. The shelves swayed precariously and more glass spheres began to pour from above, he seized a handful of Hermione's robes and dragged her forward, one arm over his head as chunks of shelf and shards of glass thundered down upon them.
A Death Eater lunged forward through the cloud of dust, but someone appeared in front of him and elbowed the masked face, hard, before swiping through the material with a sort of dagger that extended over the knuckle, leaving a trail of blood almost suspended in the air. The Death Eater's scream sounded almost like an inhuman gurgle. Shikamaru didn't even flinch when droplets of blood splattered his face, "Go!"
Harry didn't need to be told twice. He found the way ahead of him clear and saw Ron, Ginny, and Luna sprinting past him, their arms over their heads. Dodging spells left and right, narrowly missing one that was a familiar green, he heard the ninja yell, "Katon: Gokakyu no Jutsu!" and felt a sudden heat so hot he felt the hairs at the nape of his neck burn behind him. What sort of magic did these ninjas use? A nagging curiosity urged him to glance backwards, but he resisted and turned right.
Two hands caught him by the shoulder; he heard Hermione shout "Stupefy!" and one hand released him at once, while two metal, spiked circles suddenly hit the wrist of the other hand that held him, spraying blood as that hand also released him. Ginny screamed in horror and Harry felt extremely lightheaded and shocked. He could hear footsteps right behind him and Hermione's voice urging Neville on. At his right, Hinata was running on the walls, following him closely, looking in every way a normal girl except for a red arm, which she cradled close to her chest.
'Then again, Ron said that she attacks by touching people.' He snidely thought. Ahead was the glittering light of the bell jar and the threshold, which he pelted through first and waited impatiently for the others to hurtle over, 'come on, come on,' before slamming the door behind them—
"Colloportus!" gasped Hermione and the door sealed itself with an odd squelching noise.
"Funny, you see," a Death Eater laughed as he shot off a chain of spells at the Nara heir, "about those potions. It's dead useful though it's Dark Magic, to be able to have your senses more alert and your sense of time moving more slowly. It's so we can kill nasty foreigners like you." The other black-robed figures, eight in all, surrounded the ninja and appeared to enjoy toying with him.
A purple spell in the shape of an 'X' flew over. The ninja ducked underneath, gritting his teeth in frustration, his hands moved into two seals, 'Snake… Rat…' "Demonic Illusion: Hell Viewing Technique."
Naruto held on for dear life, feeling the chilled wind to his very bones, squeezing his thighs against the thestral's torso for dear life. In his hand was an elaborate seal, made at the last minute, to determine the destination for whomever Baa-chan might send over via Portkey as backup. He was a lone figure against the cloudy sky, heading for London. The skeleton horse banked to the left and he bit his lip hard enough to bleed so that he wouldn't scream in terror.
"I don't know what they hit him with," said Luna sadly, "but he's gone a bit funny, I could hardly get him along at all…"
'These events have certainly taken a turn for the worst. I wonder how my bunshin is doing with the group of Death Eaters…' Shikamaru rolled his eyes at Ron's antics that indicated complete insanity and waited patiently for Hinata to finish bandaging up her left arm which she described as having liquid fire flowing through your veins, making your skin extra tender and prone to peeling at the slightest friction, even air, against it. Luna helped by petrifying the red arm and later the entire cast to prevent movement. Ron giggled weakly into Harry's ear, "Loony Lovegood… ha ha ha… And they're ninjas, bad people." Hinata paused in her motions, Hermione groaned, and the Nara wondered if the spell held a Freudian element in its design, "We have that Uzumaki kid with us, without him, we can't control them. Dumbledore said that, you know. But, heh heh, can't let them ninjas know."
"They're quite good people, Ronald," Luna reprimanded the redhead. "If you only took the time to get to know them rather than listening to Dumbledore's prejudice. Even great wizards can fall under the lies of first impressions and assumptions."
"We've got to get out of here," said Harry firmly, determined to change the subject. "Luna, can you help Ginny?"
"Yes," said Luna, sticking her wand behind her ear for safekeeping, putting an arm around Ginny's waist and pulling her up despite the stubborn girl's protest.
Meanwhile, the shadow-user watched, while supporting the befuddled boy, as Harry looked around the room at the doors. 'Shouldn't he have figured out how the Department operates? Does he really think that he will prevail with a one-in-a-twelve chance of choosing the right door?' He crossed his arms and casually asked, "You do know that you have to will for an escape, right?"
The bespectacled wizard stared at him with such obvious puzzlement that Shikamaru had to resist the urge to smack him in frustration. After going through three such spinning chambers of doors after finding the captured Hyuugas, he and Hinata realized that the Department of Mysteries responded to thoughts and willpower. Because the Department felt a strong will to find Harry and his friends, whichever unlocked door they chose, it didn't matter which, would take them to where they wanted to be. The reason Shikamaru didn't find out when Hinata and he were trying to find Michi and Neji, was because he had shadow-walked under the doors and they hadn't wholly existed as humans. If Harry wanted to save Sirius, who obviously was not even in the Ministry, the Department would lead them to wherever Harry subconsciously wanted to go, which was the never-ending hallways of glass orbs. If visitors to the Department didn't want to be found, they would stay hidden, but only if their will was stronger than that of their pursuers. If Harry willed an escape, he would get it. If Harry wanted to prolong the adventure, the Department would likewise obey. If the Death Eaters wanted to find Harry, they would find him.
Unfortunately, there was no time to explain any of this. A door across the hall burst open and three Death Eaters sped into the hall, led by Bellatrix Lestrange. "There they are!" she shrieked.
Hyuuga Michi dragged Negi through the door and slammed it behind her, panting heavily, praying her hardest that she wouldn't be found. Her minders had just realized that Neji and she were not where they left them. She hugged her fellow branch member close to her chest and looked around, 'I'm so weak right now. Neji-kun's breathing is too shallow and getting worse but he managed to whisper to me what has happened to Nara and Hyuuga-sama because of Uzumaki's special knowledge transferring seal. I can only hope that the Unspeakables and Aurors will find Potter and the others first and forget about us. But right now, they're on our tail.' She looked around the blue room and at each door and picked one; she held out a trembling hand to the knob and turned. 'I need to get away.'
After the planets and brains, at the edge of the dais by the dark archway and its veil, Harry could only watch helplessly as Bellatrix began to torture Neville into insanity, ready to join his parents at St. Mungo's. "Now, Potter, either give us the prophecy, or watch your little friend die the hard way!" At the witch's demands, he was prepared to hand over the prophecy, which was hot in his clutching hand as he held it out. Malfoy jumped forward to take it.
Then, high above them, two doors burst open and five shots of light, trailing white smoke, shot down into the room and transformed into five people: Sirius, Lupin, Moody, Tonks, and Kingsley.
Malfoy turned and raised his wand, but Tonks had already sent a Stunning Spell right at him. Harry did not wait to see whether it had made contact, but dived off the dais out of the way. The members of the Order quickly took formation and assisted the ninjas' efforts in defeating the Death Eaters. Lupin and Shikamaru found themselves fighting back to back; the latter used the time to relay a modified account of the events that had taken place. Lupin shot two black spells in quick succession and murmured loud enough, "Do you think it's wrong to withhold information from Harry then?"
The other snorted and murmured, "Kage Nui." Lupin glanced over his shoulder briefly and watched in mute interest as shadows from the ground extended from the ninja's feet and whip about like needles, piercing two Death Eaters in the shoulders. The werewolf heard a soft curse, "Shimatta. Low on chakra." Nara replied to his question, "Yes, I think it's wrong. But I don't think it's any of my business, this isn't my war."
"But if you don't fight, the war will probably land on your doorstep," Lupin pointed out mildly, despite whipping his wand in an arc.
"DUMBLEDORE!" Neville yelled a little ways off, staring over Harry's shoulder, his face shining with sweat. Sure enough, directly above them, framed in the doorway from the Brain Room, stood Albus Dumbledore, his wand aloft, his face white and furious. The ninja secretly admitted that he felt an electric charge of relief surge through his body. He couldn't observe the multiple battles around him, not even Hinata's; his mind must be focused on the skirmishes in front of him.
Dumbledore sped down to basin. There were yells; Death Eaters tried to escape, one scrabbled away like a monkey up the stone steps opposite. Dumbledore's spell pulled him back as easily and effortlessly as though he had hooked him with an invisible line.
'Maybe if I don't help you, I won't come back here and hear the voices of the dead whispering to me from the arch and the veil.' Shikamaru thought. "I think," He said slowly and deliberately, "that I will take my chances leaving you wizards to deal with the problems that you have created. Working together with your kind is perhaps one of the last things I want to do again." He threw both of his trench knives that were imbued with his chakra into the shadows of two of the Dark Lord's followers, effectively trapping them; at the same time, Lupin managed to hit a Stunner point blank at his opponent's chest.
The ninja saw the sandy-haired man turn around, looking like he wanted to say something.
There was a red light and it seemed like time decided to stand still. Shikamaru and Remus Lupin turned and watched in stunned horror as Sirius Black fell through the ancient doorway that was the arch and disappeared behind the veil, his eyes widened in shock, there seemed to be a hint of laughter on his face. The veil fluttered for a moment as though in a high wind and then fell back into place. There was a triumphant scream from Bellatrix Lestrange…
"SIRIUS!" Shikamaru heard Harry yell, "SIRIUS!"
Chapter Thirty-six: The Only One He Ever Feared
Kingsley looked around at the battle. At the moment of Sirius's death, Hinata Hyuuga's fighting style became more ferocious, 'Had they been close?' Or was the female ninja merely using the death as a new motivation to win; it seemed quite crass,' the black wizard admitted, 'but strangely effective. On the other hand, Shikamaru Nara had begun using two dagger-like weapons to cut his enemies down methodically.
The wizard stood in front of Remus, who was on his knees consumed in his werewolf instinct which moaned and howled at the departure of a pack member. The Auror had seen this only once before and it was a strange sight. Lupin seemed to melt in despair, groaning in emotional pain, grabbing his hair and pulling violently, muttering, "Padfoot. Padfoot. Padfoot…," like a mantra. It was rather chilling.
Dumbledore had already rushed after Harry, who had ran after Bellatrix in a fit of murderous rage. The remaining Death Eaters, two in all, were quickly being overcome by the forces from the Ninja Continent. Of the Death Eaters, twelve were dead and the rest were injured and bound. He deduced that the foreigners must not usually take any prisoners. He watched Hyuuga brush her fingers against different points of Avery's body and him suddenly collapsing, writhing on the floor in excruciating pain and screaming for mercy. She wasted no time, turning to her next opponent, Nott, who was held down by the Nara's strange shadow magic. 'It's heartbreaking. How can they fight like this? Killing without a second thought, is this natural in their country? They're probably not any older than Harry and yet they have seen so much more.'
Neji groaned in pain. A door behind Hyuuga Michi flung open. A stranger, a man, said, "That's her. I know it's her." The young girl spun on her heels, hugging Neji close to her.
Two wizards, an Unspeakable and an Auror, walked in with their wands pointed at her head, "The Minister of Magic would like to see you."
The commotion was dying down, the Death Eaters were tied up, and the Order members were taking stock of their injuries and trying to heal themselves. Hinata sat down on the first step to the dais, hung her head, and sighed, cradling her left arm close to her chest. It was hard to fight with only one good hand when the Taijutsu style required both, but she had managed.
Sirius's death had hit her hard. She remembered the times he had spoken to her at his house. He was a kind soul, fun-loving yet scared, a dichotomy and enigmatic in a way. Despite their limited time together, she would miss him dearly. She wondered how Harry had fared after he ran after that horrid woman. She wished that she could've helped, but Dumbledore had followed them, and through rather obscure communication, had ordered her to leave him alone to find himself. It wasn't as if Harry was going to the lakeside to ponder life, he was running after a convict. What was Harry? Bait?
She closed her eyes. Overall, the mission hadn't been too bad, she had expected worse. All she needed to do was recover her breath, get Shikamaru and her cousins, and head back to school.
And as if Kami was laughing at her, two Aurors, Minister Fudge, and Headmaster Dumbledore walked through the door. The Minister looked like he had a bone to pick and the moment he saw her and her teammate, his eyes lit up in malicious glee. Hinata's heart sank.
Chapter Thirty-seven: The Lost Prophecy
Minister Cornelius Fudge sat down behind his desk in a big ornamented armchair, and gestured for his two foreign guests to sit down in the chairs across from him, noting with smugness that they had to be prodded and shoved into their respective seats. 'How does it feel to be on the other side of power, foreigners? Was it an unpleasant surprise for you to realize how fast tables can turn?' He thought, situating himself in what he believed to be the most imposing manner. 'I've been planning for this moment with Dumbledore for a long time, and finally, I'll make you pay.' Dumbledore moved swiftly to his side, wordlessly showing where where his allegiances lay, while the two Aurors stood at the door with their wands at the ready. This meeting had been delayed for far too long.
Since the fateful day at Potter's Wizengamot hearing, when Dumbledore released news of Potter's new bodyguards, he had been sending Ministry employees rushing between his office and the Daily Prophet, running interference on bad press and promoting good press. He had taken upon himself, due to multiple complaints from concerned parents and nervous public opinion, to needle the Headmaster and his faith in his decision, and find out more about the foreigners. Sending Dolores to Hogwarts was a risky move because the woman's objectives were not only to force Potter into committing a crime, but also to as be play the unfortunate victim, if the ninjas ever attacked.
Then Dumbledore had switched tactics and met with him secretly, presenting a wealth of information on the foreigners, that had the potential to change Wizarding Britain into the premiere country of the Magical World. The ninjas managed to have magical stores that were way off the charts, and could even specialize in particular skills; if that physical secret was ever found and exploited… Cornelius Fudge could be Minister for life, he could finally get a leg up on the international political stage of the Wizarding World, and he could finally show the damned Russo-Sino-American Alliance the consequences of messing with him. He could easily take over Magical Spain and extend his control westward all the way to South America.
The large magical cores of the Japanese were a primary research topic among the Unspeakables. Dumbledore had already placed a girl years ago, one of the pureblooded foreigners, in their hands, but research was slow-going at best because of some advanced block that prevented any mental intrusion. But after Dumbledore's actions, according to the reports, the entire Ninja Continent closed off all borders so that nobody could go in or out except for Leaders and Ambassadors and the patrols were twice as vigilant. That was why the Supreme Mugwump pulled out his remaining trump card, a favor to be done for him by the Hokage, a leader of the Fire Country. While the man Dumbledore had gotten the favor from had since died, he obliged the sitting Hokage to honor the deal, who immediately sent out four of her best ninjas. The elaborate plan boiled down to one essential move: take the ninjas into the underground Department of Mysteries, and the rest was history.
The aged wizard bent down and murmured into Fudge's ear, "Do you have the arrest warrants ready?" The Minister nodded and tapped on a drawer discreetly, eyes straight ahead watching his two guests. Everything was going according to plan; perhaps the only feeling that bothered him is was Dumbledore's motives beyond this plan. The Headmaster nodded and headed to his fireplace, presumably to meet with Potter who had been dropped back off at his office.
'The old man probably wanted to make a group of enhanced hit-wizards to defeat You-Know-Who,' Fudge thought and snorted into his tea, 'and then take over my Minister position. But I won't let him; I'll make my own army and have them loyal only to me.' His grip on his cup was so tight that his hands began shaking, 'I need to act fast. Word is going to spread quickly that You-Know-Who really is back, and that I've been keeping the public in the dark the entire time. I have to distract the public by offering them the foreigners' secrets and then try to get the Light families on my side and maybe take Scrimgeour out of the picture. Only then can I prevent myself from getting a vote of no confidence and loose the reelection. Dumbledore will be too busy fighting the Dark Lord, and I'll have enough time to solidify my position once and for all.'
Someone knocked twice on the door, and nobody in the room jumped in surprise. Cornelius Fudge calmly placed his tea to the side and clapped twice, "Let them in." 'Good thing that Bones isn't here, she was always against every single thing I did." He took the moment to enjoy the décor of his office, green walls, purple furniture: the colors of his family. His tastes were Baroque, maybe even Rococo to a certain extent, and influenced by Mrs. Malfoy when she had come over to his house once for tea with his wife. There was a miniature statue of a griffin, crouching like it was about to attack, on the corner of his desk by his lamp. He touched it once for good luck.
The door creaked open: the two other foreigners, one that had been a bodyguard at Hogwarts and the other was the original research specimen that the Unspeakables had worked on, were pushed forward into the room and down into chairs by another two Aurors. The dark-spiky haired ninja that was sitting down, 'Shikamaru Nara,' according to the files Dumbledore had supplied, glanced impassively at his collaborators before turning back to face the Minister. His partner, Hinata Hyuuga, allowed her gaze to stay for a fraction of a second longer than necessary. A smile curled to the Minister's lips, 'So, she was affected. Good.' He waved his hand, one of his Aurors casted a sound-proofing spell on his door.
The girl, Michi Hyuuga, whispered something in Japanese that, according to the translator in his ear, meant, "We sorry but found they door behind." Her companion, Neji Hyuuga, was in quite bad shape. Cornelius tsked under his breath, hoping that the boy wouldn't have a fainting spell all over his priceless rug.
"So you recognize each other?" Cornelius clasped his hands together and leaned over the desk, "Care to explain why a Hogwarts guard and one of our high profile inmates were found together in in a restricted area of the Ministry? Do you know how badly that looks?" The four ninjas were all bound by unbreakable ropes and temporary magical-blocking seals, that were all legal and just for criminals waiting to hear their sentence.
The young girl glared at him and then swiveled her gaze to the West wall, where Fudge had placed all his memorable photographs and awards. All the Ministers in the photographs were trapped, repeating their actions, always waving, winking, accepting awards, giving speeches, and shaking hands. In the photographs, there were always flashes of light from other photographers. Ah, those were proof of his heyday.
The elder girl didn't react as he had hoped as her reply was steely, "Hyuuga Michi isn't yours. She belongs to my family. I should be asking you why she was contained in your facilities against her will and tortured for information." Her posture was erect, there were manners in her and she displayed them with such poise, even with the curse on her arm. He grudgingly respected that.
Yet, he brushed her comment aside. "You were breaking and entering weren't you?" he asked gleefully. "And in a highly secured area, that's a crime, my dear. What were you doing down there, I wonder. Plotting against our government? Or worse? The little girl is ours and has been a ward of this state since she was a child. You have no proof that she belongs to you. Be quiet, you wouldn't want to provoke an international incident, would you?"
"I daresay you want to cause an incident," Nara, the assumed head of the ragtag group, said icily. "The simplest way to resolve this conflict is to go to our leader and demand adequate proof that Michi Hyuuga belongs to the Hyuuga family of Fire Country. But I have a feeling you won't do that."
Fudge laughed gaily, he was in his element, as a fish was in water. "Britain's law states that the Minister can hold suspect persons, namely foreign mercenaries in your case, for a week, or until they manage to contact the appropriate ruler. If unable to establish contact with the suspects' home government, the Minister reserves the right to call for a trial of the aforementioned arrested persons and if convicted, the Minister is the sole arbiter of punishment. Unfortunately, I have no means of contacting your 'Kage' as you call them, since Dumbledore's way is only works once. Perhaps you might offer a suggestion?"
He turned his chair and flicked his wand, wordlessly summoning an ancient law book from the large bookcase onto his desk. With another wave of his wand, he flipped the pages to the specific international law he cited. The boy didn't look down to see it; he knew he didn't have to. An Auror by the door reapplied the Sound ward; his partner leaned casually against the wall, not suspecting there to be any confrontation.
The Nara's eyes narrowed in hostility but Fudge didn't allow it to affect him, "No? I heard that your other teammate, the blond, is the only one with the ability. You should hope that he'll be able to wake up from his unfortunate coma and find out about your position fast enough to help you." He tapped his chin in mock thought, "But then again, I have enough proof to convict Mr. Uzumaki of attacking with the intent to harm a Ministry worker, pensieve memories and witness accounts. I might have to place magical binds on him to prevent him from harming anyone else. Oh dear, it looks like you're in quite a conundrum. What will you do?" Leaning back, he relaxed against the cushioning charm against his back, inwardly wincing at the tension on his neck. No worries though, his wife could take care of it later.
The Nara stood up suddenly, making two of his Aurors rush to point their wands at his throat. "You're manipulating the law, Fudge-san," he whispered quietly.
To further show his control over the situation, Fudge walked around the desk and stood directly in front of the ninja. "No," he whispered, "I don't think I am. The people who will be serving on the jury have been hearing a lot about your exploits at the castle from the newspapers, all the bad things that you have done in public and how powerful and dangerous you are. Willful killers with just a touch or a weapon, a manipulator of shadows, one with the ability to clone oneself, and now, rumors say, you can control the elementals. Nobody in this country likes you; in fact, they all fear you and what you represent. I think it would be in their best interest to see you locked up." He straightened up and adjusted his tie. "But a week is between us and that fateful day. But for now," he walked back to his desk and took out the arrest warrants, not even bothering with the proper wording, "you are hereby arrested for treason against the Commonwealth of Wizarding Britian. Aurors, take them—"
At that moment, his door blew up.
In his head, Shikamaru was panicking, to put it lightly. Everything had gone from bad to worse: Hinata and he had allowed themselves to be taken to the Minister's office, only to realize it was a trap. The wizards had blocked off their access to chakra somehow, and had physically restrained them with conjured ropes as Fudge was speaking. And now, through roundabout logic and political maneuverings, he found himself on the wrong side of the law.
But then, the door behind him was blasted through with a powerful burst of chakra, one that was easily recognizable. His entire posture relaxed in relief, 'They masked their presence too well coming here, or it might be because the Aurors had sealed the door that I didn't sense them.'
"What is going on here?" Both Minister Fudge and Senju Tsunade demanded at the same time. The Aurors were brought to their knees by the sheer pressure of some invisible force. The Godaime had let her chakra leak out, until it was rolling off in waves around the room, Shikamaru easily shrugged off the Auror's ropes and looked around; Hinata was mimicking his actions and Neji and Michi were both being tended to by Naruto. Naruto woke up? Kami was truly smiling down upon them. Tsunade was wearing formal clothing under a large cloak that displayed little of her physique, but she still looked like royalty and very much comfortable with her power. Shikamaru noted humorously that the photos on the walls were still moving in a never ending cycle, unaffected by what was happening in the real world.
Minister Fudge, surprisingly, had managed to stay standing by holding onto the edge of his desk and, no doubt Shikamaru thought, due to his pride. He raised his wand in his shaking hand and stammered, "W-Who are you? Why did you intrude upon an important, private meeting— I can have you a-arrested for your actions! I am the M-minister of Magical Britain, answer me!"
Tsunade looked at the man like he was an interesting piece of dirt, first impressions of course were very important, "I am the Hokage, the supreme head of the Village Hidden in the Leaves of Fire Country, and these people you are holding are under my command. I demand to know the reason they are being held like common criminals." Her voice was laced with chakra that could whip about and emotionally manipulate grown men to do her biding. She was larger than life, almost like a supernatural being, at least more so than the Minister of Magic.
The man's mouth opened and closed in shock, a strangled noise forced its way through his sputtering lips but it was too mangled to be clear. To the ninjas, it sounded suspiciously like, "Preposterous!" Trying to retain his tattered dignity, the rotund wizard took another set of breaths and asked loudly, "How am I to know that you are the leader of a country? You bring him in here even though he's a wanted criminal!" He pointed to Naruto who stood casually by the wall, his eyes glued upon her chest, "You look nothing more than a common har—." His next words died on the tip of his tongue.
'Killing intent,' Shikamaru thought vindictively, 'directed solely towards him.' His nose wrinkled at the smell that permeated the room, while the Minister's cheeks reddened in shame. The four Aurors, barely adjusted to the looming feeling that still hung in the office, struggled to stand and point their wands at the intruder. They wanted to protect their leader, but were unsure whether they had the ability to do so. The shadow manipulator watched the entire proceedings, taking note of everything that is was happening and trying to learn. 'The next reasonable step would be for Hokage-sama to cement her position as higher than anyone else. She should show a part of her power, not so little as to look weak but not too much as to be too threatening. Political intrigue means that she has to imply much of her strength.'
Tsunade glanced briefly at the four other men and walked around to the other side of the Minister's desk, and Fudge yielded the position as he scurried away from her. The two leaders switched places. The Hokage's fist rested, clenched on the desk as she leaned over the politician, to make herself more intimidating and to mockingly show off more of her cleavage. The desk cracked twice the strain of her fist. Tsunade's eyes lowered demurely to the deep impression in the wood; Fudge's and his Aurors' gaze followed and then back up. The woman widened her eyes innocently as if to say, "Oops." The Aurors discreetly lowered their wands back to their sides but Tsunade's lethal smile didn't disappear until they tucked them back into their holsters.
"Mr. Uzumaki, once he awoke from his coma that was caused by your people, kindly informed me of recent events and escorted me to your country. He, as are the others, is under my protection and any action that you do to him or any of my subordinates will have to go through me. This whole situation, I'm sure, is one big misunderstanding," the Hokage said sweetly as she lowered herself into the chair that Fudge had previously sat in; he didn't dare protest. She flicked her wrist casually, "I think in order to avoid further confusion, we should talk right now, in private. Wouldn't you agree?"
The minister nodded jerkily and turned to his Aurors, "You heard what she said, take the foreig— ninjas and get out." The Aurors scrambled to obey.
Twenty minutes ago, Naruto had entered the first level of the Ministry where he found a swarm of Aurors blocking his way. The moment the group of wizards saw him they started yelling, "That's the dangerous foreigner! He needs to be placed under arrest! Get him now!"
Feeling nonplussed, Naruto looked at Tsunade, who snorted in contempt and gave him permission. 'I might as well just make our way though here with something big, a big force of nature should do the trick.' After biting his thumb in a well-practiced manner, he moved his hands fluidly from one seal to another, 'Pig, Dog, Rooster, Monkey, Sheep…' Pushing as much chakra as he could into the jutsu, he slammed his hand to the ground, "Kuchiyose no Jutsu!"
Auror Brown's head spinned, 'What… What just happened? First we were called here from our stations due to the reports that the Ministry was being infiltrated by followers of You-Know-Who. Then we see a woman and the blond ninja who we were supposed to take into custody once he woke up. And now there's this giant toad…'
She was flat on her back with her partner sprawled out over her stomach, unconscious. She tried to sit up but someone, that Uzumaki ninja, landed on her chest, knocking her breath out of her. The blond boy leaned over and gave a grin that revealed his sharper than normal canines, "Konichiwa!" She stole a look around and realized that out of all her team, she was the only one awake. In the corner of the Atrium was a toad so big that its head was three times the height of an average person. She looked back up at the boy who was twirling her wand around his hand, "You're going to talk to me," he said casually.
Hinata sat in stunned amazement between Shikamaru and Neji. She felt like pinching herself to make sure that things really had taken a turn for the better, in the form of her highly esteemed Hokage and Konoha's number one most surprising ninja. Neji, who was in deep slumber, had his head rested upon her shoulder; his left arm was wrapped around Hyuuga Michi, who was leaning against him, snoring softly. The four Aurors, now a bit unsure what the procedure was, shifted nervously against the opposite walls, twiddling their wands and stealing looks at her group. She held her wounded arm close and frowned at the damage; it was still painful, little specks of fire running up and down her veins, itching to spread further across her body. But she could ignore that, 'We're safe. We're safe. Oh thank Kami, I was so worried that we would 'legally' be unintentional traitors to our country.'
The shadow-user turned toward Naruto in a daze and asked, "That's really Tsunade-sama? Not a henged bunshin?"
Naruto shook his head and scratched the back of his head, "Yes, that's Obaa-san. It took a while to travel to this place, sorry if we kept you waiting. But guess what? After Baa-chan finishes her thing with the minister, the mission will be almost over for us. As soon as the Hogwarts school term ends, we can go back home."
Shikamaru held his face in his hands, leaned back against the wall, and laughed.
Chapter Thirty-eight: The Second War Begins
Naruto rolled the newspaper up and looked down at Hyuuga Michi and grinned, fox-like, "Come on, even if the people in it aren't good, the castle itself is beautiful, I'll show you everything!" With a hand to the young girl's back, he guided her down the marble staircase to the Entrance Hall, fussing about her the entire way, "Hope you have energy to walk. I'm glad that you got better. Madame Pomfrey's potions are really useful, but don't worry, I didn't let her even touch you," while ignoring the rest of the student population's bewildered looks and whisperings.
All in all, life was good. After the discussion between Minister Fudge and Baa-chan, the Hokage came out of the office looking like a cat who had just caught a mouse. The remainder of the mission was to be finished because it was the 'honorable thing to do,' not that there was anything to worry about. There was always a bunshin watching Potter and his friends recovering at the Hospital Wing from the shadows. Dumbledore, who Fudge had probably already spoken to, wasn't making any effort to contact him or his teammates, and the only times Naruto ever saw the Headmaster, the old man's gaze was always calculating and cold, but would always benign at the drop of a hat. At their latest meeting, or reunion as Hinata called it, Shikamaru had mused what would happen if they told Potter the façade Albus Dumbledore kept up, but then shrugged and muttered, "Let them deal with their own problems. Last week is the last time I'm ever pulled into a mess like that." Naruto noticed the lack of the word, "Troublesome."
At the Entrance Hall, he stopped and pointed, "See there, Michi-chan? The blond boy is Malfoy Draco, and his two, fat, dumb, bodyguards. The boy with the glasses who Malfoy-san is talking to is Potter-san, but you've seen him before at the Hosital. Did you talk to him? No? Oh well, he's quite boring anyways, can't seem to think for himself. Oh! The man over there is Snape-san, the one who I thought could help us against Umbridge-san but then did nothing." Michi clung onto his cloak and watched with her full attention, her eyes flickering over to the four, giant hourglasses on the walls, "Look there! It's McGonagall-san!"
Professor McGonagall had just made her way up the stone steps into the castle. She was carrying a tartan carpetbag in one hand and leaning heavily on a walking stick with her other, but otherwise looked quite well. She gave her belongings to Goyle and Crabbe and then exchanged some words with Professor Snape, who was looking increasingly sour as time went by. A shower of rubies fell down into the bottom bulb of an hourglass as she spoke and a number of sapphires fell into another one by it. "McGonagall-san was the only one who really helped us, even if she was against it, she realized that we were in the wrong. Before, I thought of her as a stickler to rules, but she's like Iruka-sensei in a sense—she knows when to be lenient," Naruto whispered to Michi's ear.
"I heard that McGonagall was Dumbledore's biggest supporter," Michi remarked, tucking her hair behind her ears.
The shinobi shrugged, "Guess not." He then enthusiastically began waving, "Look! She's coming over to talk right now."
Sure enough, the witch was working her way up the steps with her walking stick, Naruto and Michi met her halfway up. Upon closer inspection, she looked like she had aged some odd ten years. The Professor took out her wand and waved it in the air, Michi, with her Byakugan activated, noticed a slight change in chakra, which the witched explained by saying, "So we won't be overheard."
"Hello Granny," the blond smiled brightly, holding out a tanned hand. "Are you feeling ok? Do you need me to help you up the stairs?"
She sighed, "No, I'm fine, Mr. Uzumaki. I would just like to talk to you about something." She paused to take a breath before continuing, "Did you know that the Daily Prophet had been slandering and implying things about your group this past year?" The other two nodded. "Did you know that the Daily Prophet now refuses to even mention you?" The wizarding newspaper, while refusing to mention how the ninjas' ability influenced the outcome in the Department of Mysteries, had subtly implied their skills: able to manipulate shadows and fire, able to walk on walls, throw weapons with amazing accuracy, move with speed that the naked eye could not follow, able to form an illusion to make one view their worst nightmares, able to incapacitate with a single touch. The reports, instead of inducing fear, suddenly inspired the public to be in awe of the foreigners.
The other two nodded again. The elder shinobi said wistfully, "It'll be funny, McGonagall-san, to observe the whims of the public. Do you think they're wondering what is going on about us? From a distance, they seem so insignificant and stupid. In fact, nobody here has any common sense, and that means a lot, coming from me." Naruto crossed his arms resolutely and squinted up at the elder woman, "Except for you. You helped us, even though you really didn't need to. We found out about the other things you did."
"You mean…" He nodded seriously.
"You kept me from being further poisoned by the nurse. You tried to view us in an optimistic light, not that we are giving off the smell of roses, but we aren't blood-thirsty killers looking for a way to take over the Ministry. I think," he mused, rubbing his cheek, "that I owe you a favor because of your kindness. Because of you, we found the Ministry of Magic and the Department of Mysteries. In the profiles of the students and teachers that you gave us, we found information about the Order that was important to the mission and the history of the political culture in this world." He looked satisfied, "That's right, I owe you a favor, nothing big, but reasonable. You'll know when you need me, I'll tell Baa-chan, my Hokage, about it." Michi looked up with her nose wrinkled in confusion and opened her mouth to protest but the boy gently hushed her.
Speechless, Professor McGonagall blinked owlishly; she didn't think her actions warranted a favor from a ninja. The ninjas always kept to their word to their clients, she could ask for anything from help against Voldemort to having him fetch her catnip. Uzumaki trusted her to not abuse the gift. Some students entered the Great Hall from the double doors, laughing and joking with each other, candies in their hands. McGonagall accepted his favor and took out her wand to release the ward around them. With her walking stick, she passed the duo and headed back to her office.
That meeting was certainly interesting. She wasn't too sure why she wanted to talk to Uzumaki anyways, 'Maybe for some closure. I realized what Dumbledore and the people here did was morally wrong and I tried to lessen the damage. I shudder to think what would have happened if I hadn't taken any action. I just wanted to make sure that what I did was right and something that I could be proud of.' A weight lifted off her chest. History will change. Maybe there will be a time when the Magical World and the Ninja Continent can work together without suspicion on either side. Minerva McGonagall would settle for knowing that the truth about ninjas was likely to always be more fantastical than the legends.
Harry spotted Naruto and Shikamaru talking with Luna. It looked like they're having a private moment and he waffled between wanting to talk to them and staying back because he knew that the ninjas hated to be intruded upon. In the middle of his debate, Luna looked over the ninjas' shoulders and waved; Naruto and Shikamaru turned around, Naruto with his arms behind his head and Shikamaru with his stuffed in his pockets. The wizard gathered his courage and walked over.
"Hey." Naruto cocked his head to the right and parroted back his greeting; his partner grunted reluctantly. There was an awkward silence that Harry Potter tried to rationalize. The shadow manipulator whispered something to his partner in Japanese, who whispered something back, and ushered Luna to follow him. This left Harry in an even deeper pit of awkwardness and it made him think, once again, of the Department of Mysteries fiasco.
His adventure had cost him his godfather, but he had gained the reputation around the world as a martyr, for the second time. Wizarding Britain had finally felt the impact of his words, "Voldemort's come back," and had finally, finally began preparing. The ninjas, according to rumors, had managed to find their lost companion, nearly got arrested by Fudge, but were saved by their ruler who had decided to come, personally, to free her subordinates. But was all the good really worth the bad? Sirius wasn't coming back. Sirius, the only man who truly offered him a family where he could be "just Harry," like he always wanted to be, was gone, past the Veil, never to return. The repercussions for his actions didn't seem great; he won points for Gryfinndor. It was like he was being rewarded to be brash, except… Lupin. The only time Harry met the man; the man gave him a curt greeting without looking at him in the eye and rushed past. It tore him up inside.
"You're leaving," Harry said, but mentally smacked himself for stating the obvious. "I reckon that you're really happy you are." Luna hummed a small tune, gave a quick kiss to Naruto's cheek, and left the two for their privacy.
"Yep!" Naruto beamed and looked around at the hallowed halls of Hogwarts and shuffled his feet. "But this place is so interesting. I'll be sad to leave it, a bit, a tad, not a whole lot anyways."
Bitterness crept into the wizard's tone, "The place where I went to, inside the Ministry, there was a room full of prophecies and one of them was about me and Voldemort." He placed his trust in Naruto, not really knowing why. Perhaps the other boy had an effect on him; Naruto seemed to inspire people around him. Whatever the reason, he let go one of his secrets, not to his friends, but to a boy that had been a complete stranger a year ago. After checking the Marauder's Map for any eavesdroppers, he recalled, word by word, Professor Trelawney's words from all these years ago:
"THE ONE WITH THE POWER TO VANQUISH THE DARK LORD APPROACHES… BORN TO THOSE WHO HAVE THRICE DEFIED HIM, BORN AS THE SEVENTH MONTH DIES… AND THE DARK LORD WILL MARK HIM AS HIS EQUAL, BUT HE WILL HAVE POWER THE DARK LORD KNOWS NOT… AND EITHER MUST DIE AT THE HAND OF THE OTHER FOR NEITHER CAN LIVE WHILE THE OTHER SURVIVES… THE ONE WITH THE POWER TO VANQUISH THE DARK LORD WILL BE BORN AS THE SEVENTH MONTH DIES…"
Naruto squinted in thought, "Ano, what do you think it means?" He looked to the side at the stone walls that were covered in tapestries about the history of the Founders. Fortunately, there were no nosy portraits in sight.
Harry looked at the tapestry of Slytherin, regal and great, with a green shadow in the shape of twisting serpent behind him, "My birthday is on the last day of July. My parents were active in the war against Voldemort. On Halloween, he came to my house and killed my parents, and he was about to kill me but…" He lifted his fringe to reveal the scar, "And then he was gone. Dumbledore told me that I was the only one capable and destined to destroy him. Only I can kill Voldemort. Dumbledore said that it was my heart, or my ability to love, that had saved me."
He stole a glance at his listener and observed his countenance, "You don't believe him."
"You want to know what I think?" Naruto asked solemnly. "Maybe it was the way I've been raised or my bad English, but my interpretation is different. The ability to love: ahhh…" Naruto scratched the back of his head and held out his hands, palms up, "In my village, we call it the Will of Fire that burns in all the inhabitants of Fire Country that makes us loyal to our homeland, it isn't a power, but a force that drives us. So no, I don't believe in the power of love. The things I've seen…" Naruto's eyes glazed, Harry fancied that he might be lost in a traumatic memory, but the ninja managed to snap out of it before Harry began to worry. "I don't know if you're destined to kill Voldemort, Potter. What I hear is this. If you live, he lives. Only if you die, will he die."
Harry James Potter felt thunderstruck at this statement; he had never thought of it like that, but it seemed so obvious. The Daily Prophet was beginning to call him the Chosen One, but they had never mentioned the required sacrifice, someone would have to make. 'But the Prophet was informed by Fudge, who was informed by Dumbledore, who didn't bother to tell me…
Back at in the office, after hearing the Prophecy, Harry had dredged up the words from what felt like a deep well of despair inside him, "So does that mean that… that one of us has got to kill the other one… in the end?"
His answer had been, "Yes." But that wasn't true.
No. That wasn't it. It was entirely different. It's most definitely shocking to hear that in order to save the world, one must die first. Naruto was avoiding his gaze, bending his head down so that the light was only on his shockingly yellow hair. The revelation shocked the Boy-Who-Lived to his very core. Dumbledore had still lied to him, after everything that had happened. Was the Headmaster no longer to be trusted? Was the Headmaster ever to be trusted, even back then, in his first year? Harry swallowed the lump in his throat and looked at the tapestry, the red and gold, Godric Gryffindor stood tall and proud with his sword ready in his hands. This… all of this… it was too much for him. He needed to think, sort out his thoughts, first before doing any drastic action and placing any sort conclusion to his life.
"You. Are you coming back?" Harry finally managed choke out, determined to change to subject.
The blond answered his silent pleas by going along with the new line of thought and shrugged half heartedly. Their eyes met, the wizard noticed how blue the ninja's eyes were: like the sky, they were open and inviting. But under the positive shades, there was a base of mistrust, what many would call an enigma wrapped in a puzzle shrouded in mystery.
'Yes or no: he's not going to tell me anything.' The dark haired boy sighed and ran a hand through his hair, "Well, this year has been awfully interesting with you here. Sometimes I wished that we…" He trailed off and fingered the edges of Godric's tapestry. 'What did I wish for? If I had the chance to redo everything, what would I change? Would I become better friends with my guards? Would I help them with their mission and they would help me more with my work. Would we begin to have conversations like regular friends, like I do with Hermione and Ron?' The Boy-Who-Lived couldn't help but think, 'What if?' What could have been possible if he had just done something… different?
His gaze was glued to the ground, his embarrassment was evident on his face and he refused to look up from the sandals in front of him. The sandals shifted their weight forward. He heard Naruto's voice barely above a whisper above him and it sent shivers down his back, "Sometimes, in our journey to our goal, we meet a few obstacles along the way, but those obstacles make the journey a journey. Along the way, we don't realize when or why, but we change and hope that it's for the better. You're in a war, Potter, you have to be independent. You have to have communication and learn how to be independent from everyone, even… Dumbledore, but learn when to trust and to rely on others' judgments." Harry looked up at the shinobi who flashed him a thumbs-up, "It's a balance. You have to prepare for the coming War."
Harry James Potter smiled grimly, his grip on his wand tightened. Everything had changed; he had changed. Voldemort was on the move. The Second War had begun.
Author's Note: I've reread the entire Battle of the Department of Mysteries and I think it's a total joke. Death Eaters used "Impedimenta" and "Stupefy" and "Tarantallegra"? What the hell? If that's called Dark Magic, then Obama idolizes Bush. Next thing you know, there will be a tickling curse and then a tripping jinx: What The Hell? Only dear Bella was a true Death Eater with the Cruciatus Curse and even then, she talked too much to be smart. What about the D.A. and their common sense? They used spells liked "Colloportus" and "Stupefy" and "Petrificus Totalus"; the latter has seven syllables in all. You can do a lot of things in seven syllables. It was a farce of a battle; I think that is what happens when you have an epic series trying to stay children-safe. It just doesn't work unless the author is the second coming since Tolkien. But it isn't Rowling's fault at all, I think she just wanted to make a fantasy, child-friendly novella that will incorporate the wonderful and complex world of magic which, because of popular demand, she was forced to make into something more (and epically failed).
Naruto's interpretation of the Prophecy was mine. Nobody seemed to mention it in any of the future books. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the only thing Harry seemed to agonize over was that only he had any modicum of a chance to kill Voldemort once and for all and not about offing himself. If Harry did realize that he had to die first but saw the fact as a non-entity, then Dumbledore's manipulations to him as a child, molding him into that mindset that it's ok to die if he was the Savior to the Wizarding World and that he really has no other choice, and it's really not ok in any way imaginable, is really, really serious.
In this story, there are plot-bumps, not holes, but bumps, where I introduced a plot device but never expanded upon it (staves, possible alliance to Voldemort, Snape's possible cooperation, etc.).
Special thanks to Scratchy Wilson who beta-ed the entire thing!
Oh! And if there ever is a sequel (kind of like O.J.'s If I Did It), which I don't think there will be, there will have these elements incorporated into the story:
There will be no romance. Harry is independent from everyone and makes more friends outside of Gryffindor. Harry also doesn't rely on the advice of the Half-Blood Prince like they're his sole lifeline. He does better in his classes in general and gets an O in his Potions O.W.L. Harry will still be paranoid over the Malfoy-dilemma. There will be no Deathly Hallows but there are Horcruxes and Slytherin's locket is found earlier in sixth year because Harry reclaims Grimmauld's Place for himself. The ninjas, Naruto, Temari, and Kankuro, are called by McGonagall to help Harry in the Horcrux hunt. Naruto stays at Hogwarts in the shadows and helps Snape once he realizes that Snape is trying to protect the students from the Carrows. The Slytherins redeem themselves by preventing the other House members from receiving torture/detentions. The Battle of Hogwarts is more epic and Harry's final showdown with Voldemort will be halfway decent. Snape will still die.