Ain't Never Had A Friend Like Me
Chapter 18 - Ninja V Wizard
A/N - I'm sorry that this has taken over a year. I really, really am. For those who've read my other stories, you guys would have known I wasn't in a very good place when I started this stories. I haven't abandoned this, so don't worry! I'll try harder to make sure I update more often, in other news this is a huge chapter, a ground breaking 14,709 words!
And can I just say this now, there is over 1 thousand reviews on this! I'm actually amazed, all things considering. I did go back and reread this so I could pick up where I left off and I honestly couldn't even stand all the mistakes I made. So the fact that you guys stilllike it despite all the mistakes, well, like damn. In other news, I'm going to go back and fix it.
The past two years had passed Ginny Weasley like a blur. To start with, she had been hardly twenty, and drafted into the Hollywood Harpies, her dream job - and her dream life had begun. Then, the accident happened, which is what the girl called the disappearance of one of her best friends, Willow Potter. The next two years of her life been dedicated solely to finding the girl.
She'd travelled around the world with her once enemy, the ex-Death Eater, and her most annoying school enemy – blonde haired, Draco Malfoy. Ginny did have to admit that without Malfoy they wouldn't have gotten half as far as they had, in locating and figuring out how to get Will back. It had been hard spending time with someone that she had grown up, expecting to hate. From before her first year at Hogwarts, she'd heard stories about how horrible Draco Malfoy was, and when she'd met him, he'd called her a baby weasel and things hadn't gotten much better from there. So having a boy whom she didn't care much for, by her side for nearly two years, wasn't easy for her, but she suffered it in silence… well, mostly silence with a side of shouting arguments.
Having him by her side while she dealt with the idea that her friend, and the woman who'd saved her life, more then once was most likely dead, was another thing all together. Strangely, he hadn't made her want to kill him all the time either, in fact, if she was being honest with herself, Draco Malfoy was the reason she didn't give up hope in finding Willow.
The shame she felt when they figured out that Willow was alive, and she hadn't believed she still was, was enough to make her swallow her pride and accept Draco Malfoy's help. Now when one considered all the information they'd amassed on exactly where Willow was, what had happened to her, and most likely what was still happening to her, she knew she needed the blondes help more now then ever before.
Ginny couldn't imagine what it would feel like to be bound to someone, and forced to do anything they wanted her too. The Lamp was meant to slowly induce madness, from Hermione's knowledge, it was a tool meant to enforce slavery, and Ginny shuddered to consider the implications for the older girl. It was lucky however, that from all the things that she'd found out when she was in Arabia with Draco, that the thing that stuck out most was the idea that the only person who would be able to free Willow from the Lamp had to be someone who was pure of heart.
Everyone but Ron seemed to think she'd still be trapped in the Lamp. After all, finding someone who was pure of heart to release her, didn't seem very possible. Honestly, Ginny thought she could count on one hand the amount of people she knew who were truly pure of heart. After everything she'd been through with the whole Chamber of Secrets issue, Ginny didn't think there were people left out there, who were truly pure of heart and didn't have any dark, or selfish intentions.
Which of course, brought them to their current plan, they would preform a ritual that was borderline illegal, which could summon the lamp (and Willow by proxy), to them. They needed Willow, to make sure she didn't die for something stupid, and to help before London managed to completely delve itself into darkness. Without Willow, there was no one to stop the rising Dark Lords and Ladies, Dumbledore before he passed, had been like a wall, always there to scare people away.
With his death, that had fallen to Willow, and someone had worked hard to make sure she disappeared. The serial killer that had been running amok in London had no patterns they could trace, and Hermione had tried to make sense of the mess too. She had this big board filled with newspaper clippings and different colour threads as she tried to comprehend the connections with the killings. Hermione however, wasn't an Auror, and secretly, Ginny thought she wasn't very good at all the crime investigation.
Willow would be better, she knew, but Willow also wasn't the type for violence and the redhead felt bad for dragging her right back into this. Her only saving grace was the fact that the girl was suffering, and out of the two options she had, driven mad by eternal darnation, or fighting a crazed serial killer – Ginny knew which the other girl would prefer.
Ginny never knew how Willow managed to destroy Voldemort, and the girl, her brother and Hermione weren't ever very informative about what had happened. Ginny knew that they had done many things on the year that the three had been on the run, and there had to be a lot of planning involved. In fact, she figured that Willow would be able to sort things out within a matter of minutes.
Hermione's fake-Willow appearance didn't do anything more then making the Ministry a dicey place to be. The press was still having a field day, and according to Draco, the Minister was on a hair-trigger attitude. The Minister's touchy attitude again, lead to them where they were. Trying to break into the Ministry, and not for the first time, Ginny wondered how Willow managed to break into the Ministry so easily before. The girl had managed it twice, and it was suddenly so much more difficult.
They had a way in, using Draco, and she would accompany him, using the invisibility cloak. Hermione of course, also had a fair way in, considering that she worked as an Unspeakable, but Ron didn't. And neither did she, and considering she was smaller, it made more sense for her to sneak in with Draco, wearing the cloak.
The reason they needed to sneak in of course, was because the Veil of Death was the basis of their ritual. To pull someone back, they needed something that made as little sense as the Veil. The thing that Sirius Black, the convict had gone through to, the reason that he'd died. After they'd finally gotten in, gone down to join Hermione who was setting up straight white lines on the ground near the Veil, she was stuck with how creepy the room itself was.
She wasn't exactly happy to be in the room again, Ginny remembered the last time that she was in this place, being led into war by Willow, and it was with a grim look on her dainty features that she realised once again, Willow's guidance had brought her here. Instead of fighting however, she was bringing her back… to fight some more. Ginny sighed, ignoring the annoyed glare from Hermione and the worried one from Draco.
They were surely doing the right thing. Willow needed to be home, and it wasn't like they could her soul to be tortured until she went mad. It wasn't exactly a sporting thing to allow, but she couldn't help but think that the Potter had the worst luck. For a girl who only ever wanted to be 'Just Will', who never wanted to fight in wars, who never liked the idea of even being an Auror, she sure landed herself in situations that seemed to force her hand.
Three years ago, just before Willow had disappeared, she'd been telling Ginny about how much her life had changed for the better, how happy she was. She fought for equal rights, she played professional Quidditch for Puddlemere United, she took care of her godson Teddy, on a rotating basis with his grandmother – poor Andromeda, she didn't want to deal with that sad story quite yet. She'd been happy, and the second Will was happy, something terrible had to happen.
It was her cursed Potter luck.
"What's that?" the sound of a deep, scratchy voice broke her out of her horrified trance. The green eyed girls, eyes were on Naruto, and the blonde boy's fixation on a little, rattling box. Willow didn't know what was happening exactly, but she knew what was in that box was not to be trifled with.
"Do not open that box!" she shouted, but it was no use, because as she called it out, the box was already ajar, with billowing black smoke, which all but ate the blonde boy. As Naruto disappeared into the little box, without thinking she lunged after him, her eyes watering in the midst of the black smoke. She tried to push herself faster, to nab his ankle and drag him back, hopefully. Willow didn't know what was happening but she did know one thing, it wasn't good, not at all.
She could hear someone swearing behind her - Zabuza, she thought, but that didn't matter. All she needed was to pull Naruto out of whatever was happening. Because of the sweet little blonde boy got injured in the journey with whatever was happening - then it would be her fault.
Her fault because the lamp was connected to her - and if he got hurt, it's because she didn't understand anything about what she'd been trapped in, and she should have tried harder. Tried harder to understand what had been happening to her, she had been so focused on getting home - and then not upsetting the blonde boy when she did manage to get home - that she forgot, she forgot that she had been trapped in a lamp, and she had no idea what happened after that.
She had no idea of the ramifications. She didn't take this threat seriously. She never did - this is why she ended up facing Voldemort so under-prepared, with no plans. In an instant, she knew when someone's hand latched onto her ankle. A large rough hand, that tried to tug her back from the black swirling vortex, and away from Naruto. The vortex however, shouldn't have been underestimated, because it was strong and it pulled her. Like she was exactly what it wanted, and it wasn't used to being told no.
Strong enough that even with a hand around her ankle, she was pulled through behind Naruto. The smoke disappearing behind her.
The next thing Willow knew, her shoulder was colliding painfully with a stone floor, and she heard three loud groans from behind her. Glancing up, she saw Naruto's face which had fallen ajar taking in where they were. And where were they? Glancing up, seeing rows of prophecy's?
Head snapping back, so fast that her red hair fell into her eyes, she saw something that she dreaded. The veil of death, and she shot, as fast as she could in the opposite direction. Grabbing Naruto's wrist, she jerked him up, not sure what she was going to do next, but fleeing sounded good to her. Willow didn't want to die, and her horrified look was enough to silence any questions the blonde would have from her.
How the hell had she gotten here? Months trying to figure out the seals or runes around the lamp, and so much time talking to Death, and she hadn't been able to manage it. And yet, the second she let her guard down and started to realise that she couldn't possibly get back, this happened.
"What happened?" Zabuza groaned, rubbing his head, looking around. "What the hell? Where are we?"
Realising that it wasn't only Naruto she needed to worry about. She finally glanced to the two ninja that had tried to drag them back in, after the smoke. She'd been surprised actually, that Zabuza would be the first to react when everything went down. He was the first to her side, and the first to try and help. It didn't matter that he now looked like he regretted the choice. Because it was something he'd done, obviously, and Willow wasn't soon to forgot that he'd done that.
Next to the man, who Willow's warm feelings were starting to grow, slouched but alert as ever, stood Kakashi. Who was way to tense, shoulders up, and defensive. Willow wanted to answer Zabuza's question, but she couldn't, because she didn't know what happened - even if she did know - possibly, where they were. "Willow!" The loud yell, was the first thing that indicated to her that she wasn't alone with the three ninja in the department of Mysteries.
In front of her, her eyes shifted to see a woman, with wild, curly hair, large bags under her eyes, and a triumphant grin. Behind her stood her old arch enemy, and a girl with fiery red hair that revealed her own. "Hermione?!"
The girl in questions smile grew impossibly bigger, and without any concern for her own wellbeing, she launched herself at Willow. If Naruto hadn't been so shocked, she imagined that he'd be screaming. Loudly. Hermione lunges forward, sloppily stepped around Naruto to grab her shoulders. The hug was awkward, because Willow, not once, let go of Naruto's wrist. "We thought you were dead," she said, sniffing. "You've been gone nearly two years! You're alive. You're alive!"
"That's if I'm actually Willow Potter," the girl said, no real threat in her words. In fact, she thought she sounded rather good humoured. "I'm a bit disappointed that you automatically thought it was me without questioning me first. Did Moody teach you nothing?"
Behind the girl, Ginny Weasley starts to cry, ugly tears that left her eyes red, and puffy. "Hey, what is the lady saying? You know another language, née-chan? How cool! Can you teach me?!"
"Naruto," Kakashi scolded, his body tense, facing Willow, and his actions screamed that he wanted answers. But he was still, frozen, not sure if they were in a bad situation or not. Willow looked down at the boy, confused.
She understood him easily, like he was speaking to her in English. Was that a gift from Death? An ability to auto-correct each language to her ears, and the ears of those who heard her speak? What language was she speaking then? A universal language understood by all? That wasn't going to make things much easier, her life just got ten times more complicated.
Willow didn't think that things could have possibly gotten more complicated, but she had forgotten to account for her cursed luck.
"Which one is the Master of the Lamp?" Hermione asked, eyes glued to Zabuza. It was probably his shark-like appearance, she mused, he did look rather terrifying "No, we can talk about that later," the girl let Willow go, and backed up a few steps. "We need to get you back to your home. We can talk about everything later."
The girl was hesitating; she didn't trust the ninja with her. It didn't help that the men were tall, dressed strangely and and swords and knives strapped to their bodies. There would be more weapons on their bodies then the Witch could possibly even consider, as well. She remembered the lazy afternoon where Zabuza and Haku were trying to teach Naruto how to hide a small amour on his body with no one else any the wiser. She had of course, been appropriately interested in the lesson – quite happy to know that she never wanted to cross paths with a ninja, ever.
Willow tried not to snort, how was she meant to convince the ninja to follow her, anyway? Hermione might be hesitating because she didn't know if the boys behind her were trustworthy, but Willow was more in the know. She didn't know how she could convince them to follow her… well, okay, she just didn't know how she could convince Kakashi to follow her without asking too many questions. With her incision, she allowed the small group to lap into silence, the ninja waiting on her to explain what was happening, and the witches waiting for her to respond.
Willow tugged Naruto's wrist and pulled him close to her, the boy conceded and allowed himself, (even though he was scowling) to be clutched to her chest. "Why?" The words left her lips before she could stop then.
She was fully conscious that both parties could understand her fully well, even if they couldn't understand the other. Hermione was frozen, questioning, and she saw Ginny Weasley's eyes already red, tear stained. To her surprise behind the pair of her friends, stood her old enemy Draco Malfoy, standing there with an awkward grin. "Why what?" Hermione was even more confused, than Ginny cut in, sounding more firm then her tearful appearance allowed her to be.
"What's Willow Potter's favourite flavour of jam?" Ginny said shortly, ignoring Hermione's scandalised gasp.
"Honey," Willow said dryly, "and now that we've decided that I'm actually Willow Potter and not an imposter, which, might I add, you dragged me here, not the other way around, can we explain why you brought them with me?"
"Okay, that was an accident," Hermione said sheepishly, "there's heaps to catch you up on, Will, this isn't the place. The Ministry is on lockdown."
The redhead blinked, pulling Naruto in closer to her, automatically, trying to keep him safe. The boy squawked in protest, but Willow didn't let up, even if she might have been smothering him just a little bit. "What do you mean, the Ministry is on lockdown?"
"Not here," Hermione said again. "Come on Willow, trust us. My middle name is Jean, I sent my parents to Australia for a year - and my favourite book is Hogwarts a History still. We're going to Grimuland Place… we have a portkey."
In her hands, she was holding what looked like a brand new hairbrush, she was clutching the handle so tightly that Willow thought it was going to break. Had Hermione learned how to make Portkeys? Having one, and not even registered, which Willow suspected it wasn't, was very illegal. "Ginny will go with you, Draco and I have to make certain appearances, and we'll catch up to you in an hour or two. Please, Willow, trust me."
Willow said nothing, but she did hear Naruto mutter asking what a Ministry was, and how lockdowns worked. She listened to Zabuza say the word lockdown meant fun, but she didn't comment on anything, she just started at Hermione for a long time, feeling conflicted. She had wanted to get back to England so badly, and now she had Hermione in front of her, in England and she was hesitating.
Why was she hesitating? Then again, she did have the responsibility of the three ninja on her now. They didn't know where they were, and that, she didn't know what they'd do to Naruto. They were her friends yes, but at the end of the day, Naruto was just a little boy and… "Willow? It-it, I mean are you?" she was hesitating, it was like she had meant to start three different sentences, and cut herself off, thinking it was the wrong thing to say. "Willow please come with Ginny. Do you, do you trust me?"
Willow was silent, now, it wasn't like she didn't trust her friends. It's just how overwhelming everything was at this very moment. She had, in essence all but forgot about trying to get back to England her mind more wrapped up in Naruto's development. That also didn't mean that she wasn't fully aware of the exact situation she was in with the three ninja behind her, putting her in a rather awkward position.
She was sure that Naruto would follow her, and go along with everything she said. He was trusting, and he was good, and he would believe everything that she told him. Frowning, she knew it was his best and worst quality. Zabuza would, without a doubt go along with anything she told him to, with narrowed eyes, and a few query comments. He'd need an explanation eventually, but he'd go along with anything she told her for now.
It was funny, she thought, that the man was the first to go in after her in the smog of black smoke. He was the person she seemed to spend the most time with as well, if she was honest. The man who was always in her apartment, she fed him at all times of the day, and she hadn't even realised the man had become semi-close to her. If she had to be honest, Zabuza would have to be her best friend - and he would act accordingly.
Kakashi however, might pose a problem. She just didn't think that he would go along to anything she said, especially after the disaster of a fight they had last week. They hadn't exactly talked through their argument, and she felt like Kakashi wasn't one to actually confront his problems head on. That, and whilst Willow did feel guilty about all the issues she had brought up, she didn't want to forgive him for the part she played in Naruto's past. Obviously, she had been silent too long, because Hermione had called her name again.
And Naruto was firing questions off about hair brushes, and why the bushy haired woman was holding one. Willow blinked, hesitating, still knowing that she was on a time constraint, but she was frozen. "Look, it's not that I don't trust you, Hermione," Willow said, clearly, her eyes flickering down to the boy she was clutching to her. "I'm not dragging this kid around England. He needs to be in Konoha. Look, I'll stay but they can't. They need to go back home."
"What? No? Nee-chan, you can't leave us! You need to come back too! You promised!" Naruto sounded rather distressed. "A-are we in your village?"
She didn't look behind her, she just nodded, confirming the boys latest question, and trying not to look at Hermione's rather disappointed look. "I can't send them back, not yet at least. I don't know how to. I'm sure I could figure it out, you just need to give me a week or two. Just came back with us to Grimuland Place."
"How do you guys feel about hanging out in my village for a week?" she asked rhetorically, looking down at Naruto, and avoiding eye contact with Kakashi. "Um, this is a hard place to get into so it might take awhile to go back, there's really strict policies involved here. Would you guys mind if we went back to my house?"
"You own a house!?" Naruto's eyes were wide, she nodded unsurely.
"I knew you weren't from Konoha," Zabuza snorted. "What strange village is this, anyway? Do I get to kill anyone?"
"No Zabuza, you can't kill anyone," she said shortly. "Kakashi?"
She didn't look at him, and she felt like he made some sort of gesture, and she pretended that it was a yes. The three wizards across from her were tense, and their gaze was locked onto Zabuza. She cursed, wishing that they couldn't understand everything she said, but they could understand the ninja. It was probably a good thing considering half of what the man said. "Okay fine, give me the damn portkey. We'll do this, and you gotta help us go back to Konoha. I don't really want to know why you decided to summon me but…" she sighed, confused once again, as to what she was thinking, she held her hand out for the brush.
Ginny strolled forward, slipping the brush out of Hermione's hand, ignoring the girls pensive gaze. The redhead strolled forward, holding the handle out to the group. "Okay, so guys, everyone needs to have just a finger on the brush, and it's going to take it to my house."
"What that's so cool! I didn't know you had magical teleportation devices!"
"Just trust me," she said slowly, grabbing Naruto's wrist and moving his hand to touch the brush, she gestured to the other two, burly ninja to follow Naruto's example. Zabuza followed her orders, curiously, eyes narrowed, but Kakashi hesitated, and in his hesitance, Willow had grabbed the brush. For the first time, she decided to turn around to see Kakashi. He was standing there, back straight, alert, and not moving. "Kakashi, please. I promise I'll explain everything when we get back to my house."
Kakashi didn't move, his eye was narrowed at her. "Have I ever lied to you, Kakashi? Come on."
Zabuza looked back lazily at the frozen man, sighing, "come on Copy Cat, you aren't going to stay here are you? Lets just use the stupid device and go forth to kill the weak."
"Zabuza you aren't allowed to kill people," Naruto whined. "Nee-chan said no."
Sighing Kakashi strode forward in two swift steps, till he was next to Zabuza, and the second his finger touched the brush, not a moment too late, the small group disappeared. The next moment, the five of them were breathing in fresh air, and Willow's eyes were gazing on a park. She blinked, and Naruto gave a loud screech when he saw a car whizz down the road. "What's that? Where are we? Which one is your house? What's this place called?"
Willow paused because even though she could see her house well, Sirius's house really, didn't mean they could. Of course, her house was actually her two-roomed flat in London, but this house was built for more people. Her fault could hardly house her; let alone the three men she'd taken along with her. "Number 13 Grimmauld Place," she said, flatly. "Think about it, memorise the address, and concentrate on it. It'll be there."
Ginny hummed, shifting from one foot to the other. Ginny, as well as Willow, could very much already see the house. Willow knew when they saw her house, Zabuza was the first one, he stepped back, grinning, his sharp teeth alarming Ginny enough to force her to stare. "Now that'sa way to hide a house," he said for once, sounding like he somewhat impressed. "You don't need a key for a place like that," he paused. "You didn't do that because you broke they key too, did you?"
Willow snorted, rolling her eyes. "I didn't set up the house like that, it was done hundreds of years ago," she rolled her eyes, again at the man. Naruto looked frustrated, and she could hear the sharp intake of breath from the silver-haired man. Kakashi said nothing, and Willow didn't expect him too. "I still can't see it, nee-chan, where is it?"
"You have to really believe that it's there, Naruto, think about the house. Repeat the address in your head."
Grumbling, the youngest of the group started, hard in the opposite direction of where the house would appear. With a soft smile, her hands found the side of the boy's head and she gently moved his head to face the house. The boy had a determined look on his adorable face, and he glared. "He's so cute," Ginny said, a small smile on her tear-stained face. "How old is he? He looks like he'd be a first year?"
"He's thirteen," she glanced over her shoulder to give the red-head a smile. "He's just short."
"Hey! I am not short!" Naruto huffed, before he yelped, and flung himself backwards, dramatically pointed to her dingy looking house. "It's there! It moved! It grew! Did you make a house grow!? Can you teach me how to make houses grow?!"
Willow patted the blonde hair affectionately, only Naruto would think that she could make a house grow. Straining forward, in front of Ginny, she waved her hand, telling the shabby group to follow her. Her hand easily clicking the door open, the boy behind her keeping the door open, as the rest of the group poured into her house.
She did wonder what they saw, and what they would think about her house. The first impression they would have would be of a long, dark hall. The walls high, with delicately carved images into the walls, and dark grey carpeted floors. "Nee-chan, this place is creepy and dark," Naruto complained, and Willow didn't reply, because she knew that it wasn't going to get much better.
Leading the group, she walked down to the dining room, and it was nearly a relief to see the high arching walls, the massive, still-sparkling chandelier. The large round coffee table, made of glass, the uncomfortable-looking chairs, with delicate legs and still materials. Bare walls, and overall, a very forbidding atmosphere. Naruto was looking around, brows contracted, like he didn't understand. Ginny had walked all the way through, and through a door on the other side.
Kitchen, she realised. "The kids right," Zabuza said, and she could hear the strange tone of his voice. Willow looked over at him to see the disturbed expression. Kakashi on the other hand, was staring up at the chandelier, like he was contemplating the object. "Genie, this house is bloody creepy."
"Well, it's not really my house," she paused at Naruto's confused expression before continuing. "Well, okay it is my house - one of them anyway. I have two. I didn't really live here - I inherited it though. It's the easiest one to get to. My actual house is too small."
The fact that she was nervous, should have been noted with the fact that she could seem to stop talking. She was floundering, and she was even more thankful that Ginny took that moment to reappear, holding a stack of teacups in one hand, and a teapot in the other, she held the offending objects out, cheerfully, like she was holding a lifeline. "Tea?"
Willow laughed, she couldn't help it, the insanity of her morning, and the pressure she could still feel swirling around her head. "Yes, yes, we'd love tea," she moved forward to grab the stack of precariously balanced cups from Ginny's hand, and set them down on the table. Ginny took that moment to disappear and reappear with sugar and milk, and honestly, Willow was ecstatic. Konoha had tea of course, but it was green, herbal tea. Not Earl Grey, the British drink of choice.
Grinning, she made Naruto a cup before she made herself one, the boy looking at it dubiously. "Trust me, you'll like it. It's a special kind of tea, it sweet tea. Kakashi won't like it," she gave the man in question a look. Making the man a cup anyway, without sugar, and without any milk, and he stared at it, blankly, not moving to touch it, but it didn't bother Willow at all.
She made Zabuza's tea the same as hers, with a splash of milk and too much sugar because she knew that he liked sweet things as much as she did. Zabuza, unlike Kakashi, actually drank the cup straight away, his brow raised at the taste. "What is this shit? This Ain't fuckin' tea. It's sweet fuckin' tea. Oi, girl, why haven't you made this shit before?"
Green eyes rolled to the back of her head, and she sighed, knowing that when they went back, she was going to have to take a twenty years supply of Earl Grey Tea to make Zabuza happy. There it was again, she scowled into her cup, the thought she had as if she was going back with them. She wouldn't be - she knew, this was her home, not Konoha. There was nothing tying her in Konoha, Naruto would be fine now - he had so many people. He had friends, an annoying teacher, and someone to take care of him. Not that Zabuza and Haku where appropriate caretakers, they would still do the job. The pair were like an Uncle, and little Cousin, to her, and to Naruto. She scowled, even deeper. Zabuza was not like her Uncle, he was nothing like Vernon and she didn't have the feelings of kinship with him.
Karin, Karin too would be fine. Like Naruto's little sister, and not like Willow's little sister. They would all be fine. She belonged here, in England, with other people like her, and not in Konoha. "Nee-chan,"Naruto was tugging on her sleeve, and she knew that he would have an inane question about something he'd seen, but she didn't have the the right mindset to pay much heed.
"Where have you been, Willow? I didn't think - well, we thought you wouldn't be able to get out of the Lamp," Ginny was talking, and her attention was diverted between the blonde, and one of her oldest friends. "I'm not sure you realised how dangerous that Lamp is. Hermione wrote a paper on it. I don't know where she put it, because I think you should read it - but how did you even get into it in the first place?"
Willow slowly sipped her tea. Very aware that there were three people at the table very much wanted her to respond to them. "I've been in a village called Konoha, Ginny, it's a very nice place," she made no more comment on any further questions. A paper? Hm, well, she had tried to take apart the Lamp, without much success. She continued to ignore Zabuza, and Naruto's persistent comments.
Naruto at least, eventually sunk back into his seat huffing, but Zabuza's dark, questioning eyes never left. Ginny kept talking, about small, inane topics. Willow tapped her fingers on the fine table in front of her, a frown present on her face, her eyes flickering over to Kakashi every few moments. She knew in that moment, that she had a lot of explaining to do.
Uzumaki Karin thought she was a rather responsible young girl. She was also, a lonely young girl, which was why the second she realised that the Uzumaki Clan was alive and thriving (well, as thriving as a two-person Clan could be,) she'd been ecstatic. Her mother, Uzumaki Aki, had died when Karin was very small but she had died having given Karin a very big impression.
Family was everything, and they would always be the ones to have your back. They would be there when everything else failed. Family, in the Uzumaki family, was important. Unlike other major Clans, which she had seen were often at ends, the Uzumaki weren't like that. Which again, was the reason she'd insisted, much to the ire of her team, that they stayed in Konoha after meeting the girl with bright red hair.
A Uzumaki trait that she, her mother, and Uzumaki Willow (such an odd name), all shared in common. Naruto was a blonde, but he was only a half-Uzumaki which she guessed that she could understand. Plus, only Willow-nee-chan had the famed Uzumaki green eyes. The second she'd heard the name, and when paired with the classic Uzumaki colouring, even if she had odd non-Uzumaki features, she knew she had found her family.
She wouldn't be leaving Konoha any time soon. She would not leave Willow-nee, or Naruto-nii at any time. She had found her family, and she wasn't leaving them anytime soon, and that was lucky too. Because Willow-chan being the oldest of all of them, had much more knowledge on their clan secrets than anyone she had ever encountered. And much like the Uzumaki spirit, she had no issues with sharing the information with her. A foreign nin, that could very well use the knowledge against her in the future.
Karin did not once think that this would happen, not if she'd had any say in the matter - because Karin wouldn't leave Konoha. She was going to defect, but of course, this had to be done delicately, and she was going to need the help of Willow-chan, of who she was sure to know the best way to go about this.
She hadn't, of course, told Willow-nee of her plans as of yet, but this was because she was so wrapped up in her own plans at the moment. Naruto-nii was, of course, a week off the final stage of the Chunin Exam, something that she was fully engaged in. That, and she seemed to be locked into a fight with Kakashi-sensei, who, from Karin's understanding, she shared an intimate relationship with - if them being locked together in bathrooms was any indication.
If anything, Karin didn't fully understand Willow's relationship with the man, other then the fact that he had a nice bum, she didn't think they were very compatible, but what did she know? She was only thirteen. Actually, Karin had thought that Willow and Zabuza were much better suited together, they got along well, and were very similar people from what she'd seen of the pair. That and one would have to be very silly to not notice how at ease they were with each other, but Karin wouldn't pry.
She would pry into Haku-kun's personal life however, because the boy was very, very pretty. He might in fact be one of the prettiest boys she'd ever met, and it helped that he was Zabuza's ward, and she got to see him all the time. Karin of course, was happy in her lot in Konoha and it was that morning, that she had decided, despite Willow's obvious distraction, she would bring about her ideas.
She was going to defect to Konoha and no one could stop her. Looking around the packed kitchen around her, filled with people, much too many to fit into the small place. The first thing she'd do when she did defect, would be to convince Willow-chan to buy a bigger house, one that could comfortably hold all the ninja coming in and out. Smiling at the large group, even though it was too small in the room to house so many people, she was happy that it could.
She was fond of this makeshift family. She adored Willow and Naruto. She was amused by Kakashi-sensei. Zabuza and Haku, were like the in-laws she hadn't known she had wanted and even Iruka-sensei, who dropped by every now and then (who she secretly thought came by to get help with all his paperwork), was a welcome addition. A family, a slapstick one, that Karin hadn't known she wanted.
When Kakashi-sensei had appeared, and tried to drag Naruto out the door, she knew the large group would disperse, and she would be given her chance. Of course, that chance was taken away from the girl when a large black swirling cloud came billowing out from underneath one of the worn couches, and swallowed Naruto-nii. Karin's eyes were wide, and horrified, and her mouth fell open to scream after Naruto when Willow-nee, obviously not thinking, lunged after him, her hand latching on one of his orange-coloured ankles.
To her left, Zabuza swore a lot of colourful words, that normally would make her grow red. To her surprise, he pushed the whole table they had been eating off to the side, so that he could grab the redhead's ankle and drag her back as well, in the confusion and flying food. The smoke disappeared, leaving nothing but mess in its wake. Iruka-sensei had jumped up first, being the oldest of those left behind, she realised with a jolt.
She hadn't even noticed Kakashi-sensei disappearing. "W-what just happened?" Karin asked, "w-where is Willow-nee and Naruto-nii and what happened and where?"
"I don't know," Iruka-sensei said, looking over at Haku and wondering if the boy had seen anything to indicate that he in fact, knew what was going on. The boy, the pretty boy shook his head, confused, worried. "But we need to take this to the Hokage. Four of the most politically important people in the village just disappeared. That can't be very good. Let's go, kids, we don't' have much time."
Karin allowed herself to be dragged by the Academy instructor to the Hokage, her mind swirling with all the possibilities of what had happened. Her eyes flew past the pretty buildings, and homely looking people of Konoha, and finally for the first time, was dragged through the spiral staircase to the Hokage's office. Her eyes glanced around the waiting room, feeling the stares of the other ninja who glared at her, and her headband. She suspected that ninja, even from Grass were not very welcome this close to the centre of Konoha.
Iruka-sensei spoke to the woman behind the desk, she looked like she hated herself, in Karin's opinion, and the woman sighing, told Iruka to go straight through. That, surprised her. Of course that many people were sitting about the room that she assumed would be through to see the Hokage before them, but there they were, apparently more important than the man in the corner covered in seeping bandages. Iruka placed a hand on her shoulder, and his other on Haku's as he pushed them through the large doors, into a round office.
The first thing she noticed, wasn't the old, powerful ninja behind the desk. No, it was the glass panel view that showed off the whole of Konoha to best vantage, even the famed Hokage monument was easy to see from this angel. Such a lovely view, which of course, wasn't their purpose and she tore her eyes backs to the Hokage. An older man, surely, with a lined, tired looking face and really, Karin was struggling to believe that this man was the strongest ninja in this village. "Hokage-sama," Iruka bowed, and Karin was quick to follow suit. Even if she had doubts about the man's strength, she knew when to be respectable.
"Iruka-kun, Haku-kun, and Uzumaki-san, to what do I owe this pleasure?" The Hokage's voice was old, and grand, and she was visibly startled when he knew who she was. She guessed that someone close to the Uzumaki family had let the Hokage know. Well, even then, maybe Willow-nee had to get permission before she could tell a foreign nin information about the clan. This of course, was starting to put thoughts into the young ninja's head.
"We had an issue at the Uzumaki residence," Iruka said instantly. She didn't imagine the Hokage's eyes flickering over to her before it went back to Iruka. "Willow-san, Naruto-kun, Kakashi-sensei and Momochi-san disappeared in a cloud of black smoke not two hours ago," he paused. "They have, Hokage-sama, disappeared with no trace."
Whatever she expected from the Hokage, it didn't happen. She expected swearing, anger, certainly concern. But the Hokage didn't show any of these things, instead he relaxed back, linked his hands together, and looked thoughtfully at Iruka. "What was Willow-chan doing during this?"
What an odd question, Karin thought. Iruka didn't even hesitate, "she was keen to clear the room, Hokage-sama, it was like she knew what was happening," Karin scowled at the man, knowing this words might be enough to get her new pseudo-sister into a lot of trouble. It almost sounded like he was accusing of Willow of stealing the other three ninjas and secreting them off somewhere.
"It wasn't Willow-nee's fault," she blurted out, quite forgetting herself. "She was too startled, if she'd done it - then she wouldn't have tried to pull Naruto-nii out of the smoke! I swear."
The word of a Kuso nin wouldn't mean much, she realised too late, her cheeks on fire, and glancing down in shame. There was a long, beat of silence in which Karin knew she shouldn't have uttered a single word in. Ah, she made a mistake and of that, she was fully aware. Squaring her shoulders however, she raised her flaming cheeks, to stare sourly at the Hokage. To her surprised, he seemed more amused then angry.
"Consider the apartment cornered off," The Hokage didn't even acknowledge Karin's words. "We will get a tracking team in the room instantly," the Hokage was frowning now. "Iruka-kun I would like to to check yourself and Haku into interrogation and get Inochi to walk through your memories. We will find those four."
Karin felt instantly ashamed, was her memories not good enough? What if she saw something different then they had? What of she had the secret to finding those four? "Me too," Karin commanded, "walk my mind too!"
For the first time, the Hokage seemed contemplative, but more then that, he seemed pleased.
There were many times in Zabuza's life when he was uncomfortable, and not once, did he ever show it - at least he tried not to. He never tried very hard, however, which was half his commentary. So when he found himself in a strange village - Genie-chan's apparently. Of course he could see that, the weird features that the girl had were shown on the other people he'd already met.
The blonde boy had the most in common with her, high cheekbones, and small, straight noses. She shared the eye shape with the girl with bush-like hair, and linked the colour of ginger hair she shared with the girl sitting across from him. He frowned as he stared at the tiny stranger, she was smaller then even Haku, and Haku was sixteen.
The girl, Gin from what he had gathered, was odd, he thought, too loud, too much crying as well. That and he couldn't understand a lick of what she was saying. Genie did however understand, and it seemed odd that she never changed her speech, and he could understand her when the redhead could, and he thought when her words were directed to them.
It was odd, an odd village, and even even odder house. Zabuza wasn't used to riches, but he used to be a ninja who took missions, mainly commissioned by those truly rich, and well-off from family right. Of course, with the swirling jewels, high walls and rich-looking furnishings, this house was owned by someone truly wealthy. The fact that this was one of two houses, Zabuza hadn't even realised that she was so rich.
He grinned, she must be quite uncomfortable with the horrible apartment that she currently resided in. Much below her means, he frowned, wondering why the woman chose to live that way when she didn't have to. The second that Zabuza got enough to buy something else, he was out of that apartment complex, it was dank, small and not very well-kept. That thought lingered in the back of his mind, as he watched the proceedings.
He watched Genie ignore all comments thrown at her, only choosing the make small, clipped comments, not giving much away. She looked very uncomfortable, confused, and most importantly, stressed. Zabuza never came off as being very observational, he was rude, brash and unkind. That didn't stop him from noticing everything in the room. Zabuza waited, patiently for more information that was promised before a hairbrush transported them to a magical house.
The redhead, Gin, finally left the room, muttering something to Genie, getting a nod of her head in response before fluttering away. A mess of noise, and clomping. She wasn't a ninja, not by far - the thing was far too loud, and if he was honest, annoying even if he couldn't understand her bizarre language. The room, now empty bar their party fell into silence, and he, being the strong, murderous man he was, spoke up first. "You got any more of that tea?" he asked, "fuckin' good shit that is."
Sighing, obviously exasperated by his request, as she typically was, made it again. She didn't know what she did to it, and she'd made both Copycats and the brats differently, like she knew what they'd like. She spoke no words, until Zabuza had another cup of the amazing drink in front of him. "Thank you for your patience," she said finally, her eyes going everywhere but Copycat. That made him think, they'd been avoiding each other for a week, he'd noticed.
Who knew, maybe they'd broken up - he snorted, and he ignored the look Genie was giving him. If they had, they'd be back together again soon. Copycat was much too enchanted by the petite redhead to let it go on for too long. Zabuza himself, didn't see the appeal of Genie. She was amusing, strong-minded and could certainly keep him on his toes, but attractive? No, that was something he felt none of in regards to the woman.
She was much to small, much too innocent. He thought he'd break her within the second. Something someone like Copycat found attractive. He'd never understand Konoha nin, he didn't find anything about delicacy attractive, and that is certainly what Genie was, delicate. "Okay, we are in England, my village as Naruto pointed out earlier," she continued, and Zabuza snorted again.
Yes, he could have guessed that within the moment. Features in common, odd mannerisms that he thought were uniquely her, now seemed to be shared. "They used their uh, well, our version of chakra," Zabuza would raise a brow at that. Her version of it? What on earth did that mean? "To pull me back home, apparently there's a little issue I need to take care of. Hermione said she'd send you back soon though. It might take her awhile, they did something to bring me here, they didn't think that they'd have to, you know, send anyone back."
"But, Nee-chan, you're coming back with us right?" The brat said, softly, confused - his brow furrowed, like he didn't understand. Zabuza didn't blame her for not going back, if he had the chance to stay in Wave, he'd take that too.
The redhead said nothing, but her silence said everything. "There's a small issue here that needs sorting out," she said instead of an answer, "you won't be in any danger, I promise. We'll send you back straight away. This isn't a place easy to get to. More Hidden than even a hidden village is."
"Hokage-sama isn't going to be happy with our disappearing act," Copycat pointed out dryly. "Naruto isn't going to become a Chunin either if we stay, which I suppose is a good thing."
"Hey! Why not? Oh no," the boy started one of his typical meltdowns, and Zabuza frowned at his cup, once again. Contemplating. "I'm not going to be be back in time for the Exam," he nearly wailed, his shoulders dropping.
"Don't worry," Genie's voice was softer then he'd grown to expect from the woman. "I promise, don't worry-."
Whatever the girl was looking to say was cut off by a group entering the room, the red haired girl was back, this time with a red haired boy, who she had to be related to. Bush-hair, and the blonde, who shared many features with Genie - he did think that they'd have been related. The redheaded boy jumped forward, and with a clatter Willow's things cluttered around her, and the two hugged.
Zabuza smiled as the two held each other for a moment too long, grinning widely he glanced over to the silver-haired Jonin to try and confirm his suspicions. The other ninja hadn't moved an inch, but Zabuza wasn't an idiot, he'd spent a fair amount of time around Hatake, and he noticed when the only part of his body on view - his one good eye, twitched slightly. The Copycat ninja was like a stone wall, with a thick layer of fake-happiness, and an inability to handle people that actually had emotions - Zabuza could tell, and he could also see right through the entire charade the man had. He could also tell that there was something between Kakashi and Genie-chan, at least on Kakashi's part there was - it could simply be something as small as attraction, but it was there, and the man had no idea how to handle it.
Zabuza surely knew how to handle it when he was attracted to a woman, and he was sure he'd be able to teach Copycat exactly how to handle an attractive woman. The new redheaded boy talked rapidly, and again, Willow made small comments, but it was all he could understand. He was quite sure she was doing it on purpose. He thought that she was trying to limit the amount they heard. "I missed you too, Ron."
His small beady eyes, were locked on Hatake, his grin widening with each moment. He could see the minute moment that his shoulders tensed, and he found it amusing. The boy, Ron was grinning and the other three shuffled in. The other girl was Hermione and the boy, Malfoy from what he gathered. They talked, using their hands, and with their loud, and low pitched voices, he knew they were never trained in the art of ninja. He studied his cup, half an ear open to Willow's comments.
"I completely understand where you're coming from Hermione, but listen, I don't think that's of concern." What wasn't of concern, he thought, idly, knowing it was surely something of concern.
"No, really, what happened?"
"Why did that happen? Honestly I left for… oh, right. I left for two years and this is what I come back to, really?" She'd been in Konoha for such a short time, had she? Six months, the girl had said. Where had she been for the other year and a half? Had she been searching for a new place when she stumbled upon Konoha? Then why, he frowned, had she sounded like she was going to stay in this strange England place.
She sighed heavily, "yes of course I want to read it, but that's not the point, we're on time a time constraint here - they're important people." Ah yes, she was obviously referring to them. He wondered what she was going to read, what was it about? Only being able to comprehend half of the conversation going on around him, made him start to feel rather irritated, not believing for an instant that Willow would ever tell him the whole truth.
"Yeah, well you're a prick, aren't you?" Zabuza's lip twitched, he hadn't been the best influence on her, hadn't he? "Oh shove it Malfoy. I kept you out of jail. You owe me… oh well, fine fine. Whatever. I don't even care. You know how to cook?"
There was a pause, more word in which Zabuza didn't understand, and with growing frustration he heard, "well no, that's fair. I miss food from here, oh no, you have no idea. I've had to cook, you know, for myself without anyone helping me."
He hadn't thought that the girl's food was bad, strange yes, but not terrible. Judging from the expression of the three he couldn't understand however, she would have had to be something of a nightmare. "Well, I haven't burned any houses down with my cooking yet, yeah I felt terrible for poor Teddy. How is Teddy?"
Teddy? Who was Teddy? Genie-chan suddenly sounded more nervous, sadder. "Whose Teddy, nee-chan?" the little blonde brat asked, staring back up at her, pleading for an answer that she probably wouldn't give.
"He's a very important person," Willow said, delicately, turning for one of the first times in the last hour of conversations. "One of the most important people that I left behind when I came to you."
Huh, Zabuza's eyes narrowed at the little redhead, this he mused, seemed interesting.
The first night that she was back in England, she sat up, on Sirius's old bed, staring at the posters of woman clad in hardly any clothes, posing on motorcycles, and cried. She'd left all the ninja in the same room, knowing it would make them feel better, and told her friends they had to leave, so that the ninja might actually get a little bit of sleep. But she hadn't stayed with them, she as soon as it sounded like they had all fallen asleep, she had snuck into Sirius's room, and just cried.
For hours, she didn't understand what was happening, not for a moment. She was in England, that she knew - she was home but everything was terribly wrong, terribly, terribly wrong. The three Konoha ninja were with her, when they needed to be home, and England wasn't all like she'd left it.
She'd been attacked by the Government, she'd been cursed by the Minister, the very one she saved from Voldemort. After reading the report on the stupid, stupid lamp, she'd had to muster all her courage to not cry right then. The Lamp of Kolashi, it was called, was a prison used to chain a person to an object that would slowly drive them insane, that would turn them into a mad man. She'd already known that it wasn't normal, she'd felt the burn, she'd felt the pain. Not to mention, the fact that it sounded like a new Dark Lord was trying to take over after Willow had disappeared.
Not to add to this, but the victims of this man, had included Dean Thomas a friend, and Andromeda Tonks - poor Teddy's grandmother and the woman taking care of him. The poor, poor boy's family had all been killed, and she wasn't there. She hadn't been there. With the lack of family, it had been her job to take care of the small boy, and she hadn't. He was currently in the care of Molly Weasley, which she was thankful for, even if it should have been her.
Being forced out of England for two years wasn't enough for her to mourn, but in her absence so many terrible things had happened. Her life altered irrevocably, and as she dried her tears, and gazed sadly at the naked woman, she only had a few months left of sanity. Only a few months left. What would happen when Willow Potter eventually snapped due to the influence due to a cursed lamp!? Then she started to hyperventilate, taking in deep shuddering breathes, her mind spinning, her hands shaking. It took her too long to bring herself back, and get herself calm again, her eyes finding the posters, once again. What did she do?
She didn't know, she didn't know at all what to do. "I hope this is a good time," a dry, flat sounding voice broke her out of her own musings, and stopped another panic attack from forming from the current train of thought she had. "I need answers, Willow. I need them now."
Red rimmed eyes glanced up at the stiff-looking silver haired man that stood in the doorway, his only visible eye wasn't looking at her, but at the walls clad in hardly dressed woman. This was the first time he'd made contact with her after their argument, he had been avoiding her of course, and she knew the only reason he was trying to talk to her now, was because he needed answers. By default, he would be the Team Leader, and he didn't trust her. Of course he didn't, not fully, and he wanted to know where he was, and what was happening, of course he did. "I-I honestly I don't know where to start Kakashi."
He didn't soften at all, nor did he move in closer, he seemed satisfied with staying in the doorway. "This is my godfather's house," she said when he made no comments, "this was his room. He had questionable taste," she said with false-humour. "Sirius is dead, he died because of me. This guy, Voldemort wanted me dead, and Sirius got caught in the crossfire. So did my parents, and my boyfriend Fred. They all got killed because I wouldn't die," she didn't know why she chose to start with this, but she couldn't just lie to him this time.
Not only had she not wanted to lie, but she honestly didn't know how to. Every single lie she'd told up to this point was starting to contradict the other, and nothing made sense. Not anymore, not to her, and surely not to Kakashi.
Willow didn't even know if Kakashi was listening to her, but she just kept talking. "There was this massive fight, and hundreds of people died to make sure I wouldn't. They kept throwing themselves in front of me and dying and all I wanted to do was pay them back for it, it's all I wanted. I couldn't even do that right either, because I got chained to a fucking lamp that slowly drives the occupant insane because I don't fucking die," at this point, the words were just falling from her mouth without her permission, all the anger, and the confusion she'd been feeling up to that point falling out as well. "And not only do I have what? A few months left to live my life, but I get banished to a bloody ninja village, and then they bring me back - only to tell me that someone's killing off my friends for no reason at all and they need me to stop them, when they don't even know who's doing it and they don't know how to send Naruto back no matter how much I tell them too! And I wasn't there!"
"Okay," Kakashi said after she'd stopped for a few moments. "Are you telling me that you got banished because no one could kill you, and brought you back because you are the best fighter and they need you to protect the Village?"
His summary was fairly accurate, but he wasn't finished. "Also that you're bound to a Lamp that sends you insane, and that you only have a few months left before madness claims you?"
"I'm not crazy."
There was sounds of the man moving, but she didn't look away from the poster her eyes were glued onto. The only indication that he had indeed moved, was when she felt the bed she was sitting on, dip. "I didn't say you were; you seem to be able to do impossible things - know things you shouldn't know."
It was his way of asking her how she had so much knowledge of his past, without him having told her. "I'm not normal, not even here, you know I'm not completely human. I am the Master of Death, it's a title, but what it means is, I don't know what it means. But with that title I can, well, I see dead people. I can talk to people that have died."
Kakashi was silent, and she could practically hear his disbelief, but Willow's eyes widened, slapping her hands to her face, "I see dead people! I forgot! I can summon the dead," she said this loudly, with more vigour then she'd meant to, standing up suddenly. Death had told her she could only summon people from the dimension she was in, she was in England! "How did I forget that!? Dumbledore! Albus Dumbledore, I need you!"
Willow hadn't been known for someone to think things though, or wait, and she had honestly been feeling on the edge of hysteria, that it didn't even cross her mind for a second that summoning Dumbledore there wasn't something that she should have done. Willow didn't care if Kakashi thought she was crazy, she didn't care.
Kakashi seemed rather alarmed, looking around with only his eye, frowning. He couldn't see him of course, but that didn't mean that Willow couldn't see the ghastly apparition that appeared, sitting next to Kakashi on Sirius's old bed. He looked just like the last time she'd seen him, eyes twinkling and crazy-robes, a bemused smile on his face. Her eyes fixated on him, almost like she hadn't expected him to actually turn up so fast, the man like one would expect was humming a merry tune, his sparkling eyes surveying everything around the room. "My dear girl, it's a pleasure to see you again," he sounded bemused. "I don't understand how I'm here, can he see me, too?"
"Professor Dumbledore," she'd said the words, as her mouth fell open. "No, he can't see you. And I'm sure he thinks I'm crazy right right now, but honesty with the day I've had I don't care. I need your help, sir. Everything has gotten crazy, everything is crazy and I don't know what to do. The guy you're sitting next to is from a ninja village and I'm slowly going crazy and I was locked in a lamp and everyone is dying."
Kakashi looked right at Dumbledore, or better put, through Dumbledore, his brow raised, his eyes flickering between the empty space and the girl standing in front of him. "That does sound very grave," Dumbledore said, his voice just as kind and gentle as she remembered it being, the man hummed again, "but my dear, I think you need to calm down - I don't really understand what exactly is going on."
"I-I," she ran a hand through her hair, letting it fall wildly about the place, feeling like she was starting to look as crazy and deranged as she felt. "Can't die, I can't die, everyone around me is dying," she held her head in her hands, not understanding what was happening but her head was spinning, like it had been since she came back to England. Everything around her was spinning and the more she talked, the less everything made sense. Dumbledore was frowning, concerned, but that was nothing to the sudden alarm on Kakashi's face.
It wouldn't have been the first time a mission that Kakashi was running had gone awry. Except this wasn't much of a mission that he'd taken, more of one that he'd been thrust into. Kakashi had been completely thrown when black smoke encased Naruto's apartment, and he had been the first to try and grab the blonde haired kid. He hadn't anticipated the smoke actually being a portal back to Willow-san's village. He hadn't expected everyone in this village to speak a different language either, and he hadn't liked it at all.
Kakashi was a ninja at the end of the day, and he was a damn good one. There was something about being in an unknown village, surrounded by people that he couldn't understand, that had all his walls up. He had of course followed Willow when she had pushed for them to take a hair-brush-portal to her house, which was certainly more on the creepy side, and not something he'd have thought the girl would own.
It was archaic, like the house of a rich berocract like a house of the Daimyo. From what he'd gathered about the strange woman who turned up out of nowhere, he hadn't pegged her as the rich type. From everything in the house, he was proven wrong, and for some reason, this made him feel distrust. Also, there was something in her green eyes, something wasn't right. He could tell her shoulders were tense, trying to talk to the two groups, trying to make sense of things, but he could see the confusion clearly on her face.
Even someone like him, who didn't particularly understand the various emotions that most people felt, could see the utter panic in her eyes. He was first tipped off when she started to ignore Naruto's questions - she would never not answer Naruto's questions. She seemed to enjoy the kid's intuitive nature, and delighted in teaching him. She seemed to delight in teaching kids in general he knew. He'd never met anyone that just liked being around kids, and educating them as much as she did - though Iruka-sensei did come close.
Regardless to that, he knew she wasn't acting like she normally did, and Kakashi did not feel as if his team was in a safe place. The other people, the England Villagers, looked at them like they were the crazy ones, like they were dangerous and while it was correct, he couldn't shake the feeling that something was off about them. It wasn't just that he couldn't feel their chakra, and couldn't understand their odd language - it was that they dragged them there and he had no explanation as to why.
Kakashi's mission was of course, to keep his team safe. Naruto, Zabuza and Willow, his job was to keep them safe, and he didn't feel like he could do that, not in this place. When the day turned to the night, Willow insisted they rested in a room together, on uncomfortable bunk beds, which Kakashi personally thought was the smartest thing that had happened the entire day. The man did not sleep however, not feeling like it would be safe enough for them to sleep. Not in a situation such as this one, not in a place he didn't understand. In a house easily accessed by people he didn't know, and couldn't understand.
Naruto, his brat student fell asleep the second his head hit the oddly shaped pillow, his snores filling the room. Kakashi did lie in the bed, but all he did was stare at the white ceiling, his mind racing with so many different ideas that his mind couldn't even grasp one of them. He needed answers, he needed to know what was going on. Willow after an hour of Naruto's snores, got out of her bed, and left the room, as quietly as anyone who wasn't a ninja could. Kakashi smiled behind his mask at that, he was always amused by the girl's complete lack of stealth.
She was horrible when she was trying to sneak around, but without her in the room, his smile slid off his face. She was the only connection they had to the odd people, and this strange Village - she was the only link back to Konoha and, her not being in his sights, and not at all times protected, made him anxious. It was his job right now, to make sure she stayed alive. "You should probably find out where she went."
Kakashi didn't reply to Zabuza's dry comment, but he somehow felt more at ease knowing that the other ninja didn't feel like the situation was safe either. He would leave Naruto protected in the strange village. He could trust Zabuza with Naruto, Kakashi slipped off the bed, silently, and followed the path that he had heard Willow take. The door was still wide open, and from the entry he could see the small redheaded woman sitting on a large bed, with dark red coverings, her eyes were unfocused, staring at the wall in front of her.
Kakashi stopped walking when he reached the doorway, frozen before he could walk in. It wasn't only the panicked, red-stained eyes of the girl he sights that had stopped him, but the room in general. On the walls were posters of bikini clad woman resting against some form of technology, which he stared at for more then a few moments - there was a banner draped over the front of the bed, saying a word he couldn't quite read. There was so much red, that it hurt his eyes.
"I hope this is a good time," it had taken him too long to say that, he had been standing there for near half an hour before he realised that she wasn't going to notice him. "I need answers, Willow. I need them now."
"I-I honestly I don't know where to start Kakashi." If she was looking at him, he wouldn't know, he felt much to uncomfortable looking at her when her eyes were red-rimmed, terrified and staring at him, like he was begging him to help her. Kakashi did not want to do when there was a girl crying right in front of him. He didn't even think Willow knew how to cry, she just didn't seem like the type to him. She was rash at times, impulsive and had a temper but she wasn't emotionally unstable, and she didn't allow herself to breakdown - it was something he respected about her. He had not once seen her breakdown, even in the eyes of an interrogation or in front of the Hokage, who honestly made him nervous at times.
In his distraction, she continued on, in a dry, nearly hysterical voice. "This is my godfather's house; this was his room. He had questionable taste," she sounded like she was on the brink of histerical laughter. "Sirius is dead, he died because of me. This guy, Voldemort wanted me dead, and Sirius got caught in the crossfire. So did my parents, and my boyfriend Fred. They all got killed because I wouldn't die. There was this massive fight, and hundreds of people died to make sure I wouldn't. They kept throwing themselves in front of me and dying and all I wanted to do was pay them back for it, it's all I wanted. I couldn't even do that right either, because I got chained to a fucking lamp that slowly drives the occupant insane because I don't fucking die. And not only do I have what? A few months left to live my life, but I get banished to a bloody ninja village, and then they bring me back - only to tell me that someone's killing off my friends for no reason at all and they need me to stop them, when they don't even know who's doing it and they don't know how to send Naruto back no matter how much I tell them too! And I wasn't there!"
Kakashi did not know how to respond to the words that was rapidly falling from her mouth, things were escalating much too fast for him, she was hyperventilating, she was freaking out - and Kakashi had no idea how to comfort her, had no idea how to calm her down, so he did what he knew - he tried to make sense of what she'd told him. "Okay. Are you telling me that you got banished because no one could kill you, and brought you back because their best fighter and they need you to protect the Village? Also that you're bound to a Lamp that sends you insane, and that you only have a few months left before madness claims you?"
"I'm not crazy. I'm not crazy. I'm not crazy." Kakashi didn't know if she knew that she was chanting the words over and over again.
In a vain attempt to help her calm down, he finally moved from his spot to sit down next to her, but she hardly flinched, her eyes were wide, confused and just staring at the picture of a blonde woman with the least amount of clothes on, like she would have the answers to the crazy story she had uttered. Kakashi didn't even know how to begin comprehending what she had told him." I didn't say you were; you seem to be able to do impossible things - know things you shouldn't know." He was trying to calm her down of course, distract her, and hopefully get more information on something that had been niggling at the back of his mind for the past week.
She really did know things she wasn't meant to. She had for all purposes, turned up out of nowhere, taken Naruto under her wing, and then integrated herself into Konoha so well, that many wouldn't know what it would be like without her. She had brought about many things that he didn't think would have come about for anything, but she was odd, she knew things she shouldn't know. Foreign as she clearly was, he wasn't surprised when she didn't know things like Junjuriki, but when she seemed to know innate details about his past- and the long dead Uzumaki Clan, he knew she wasn't normal.
Not by a long shot, she was confusing, like a puzzle that couldn't be solved no matter how many different ways that you looked at it.
"I'm not normal, not even here, you know I'm not completely human. I am the Master of Death, it's a title, but what it means is, I don't know what it means. But with that title I can, well, I see dead people. I can talk to people that have died." The girl slapped her face, breathing heavily, and Kakashi honesty didn't believe a word she was saying. She didn't sound like the woman he had gotten to know the past five months. "I see dead people! I forgot! I can summon the dead," she lunged off the bed, looking around wildly, like she could see the dead around her at that very moment. "How did I forget that!? Dumbledore! Albus Dumbledore, I need you!"
This caused him to grow alarmed, very fast. The Potter Willow that Kakashi knew might not have been the most well-thought out person he knew, but she had always sounded put together, he stories while crazy were typically set-up well, and explained things in a way, that even a sceptic like Kakashi would believe her. This wasn't the Willow he knew, this woman looked deranged. She was staring at the spot she'd been sitting in like it was the cure for an incurable disease.
Something was wrong, something here was so very, very wrong here. Something had been off with Willow the second she stepped foot into that hall of glass orbs.
"Professor Dumbledore," her voice bordered on dangerously high-pitched, her jaw falling open, and Kakashi looked between her and the empty space, with concern. "No, he can't see you. And I'm sure he thinks I'm crazy right right now, but honesty with the day I've had I don't care. I need your help, sir. Everything has gotten crazy, everything is crazy and I don't know what to do. The guy you're sitting next to is from a ninja village and I'm slowly going crazy and I was locked in a lamp and everyone is dying."
"I-I, can't die, I can't die, everyone around me is dying," she sounded like she was spiralling out of control, because next she was curled into herself, into a tight ball on the ground, her hands tightening around her head.
Kakashi knew that Willow wasn't human, he knew that she was somewhat off - but right now, he thought she was losing her mind, and that going back to England had broken her mind. To help her, he knocked her out, and then picked up up, glancing around the room with a bad feeling in his chest, he took her back to the room she had left for them. Something wasn't right here, and he needed to be able to understand the other England Villagers, and make them realise that they needed to be in Konoha.
He was left more confused by the girl's mad rant about death, war and murder then he was before he had asked. Some of what she'd said made him uneasy though, I can't die, she had chanted, and briefly he had considered the fact that the girl had tried to die before, that she had failed. He hadn't realised that she might have been suicidal - the idea made something sharp twist inside him, he hadn't realised.
Kakashi needed answers, and he needed them now. His team needed to get back to Konoha, and Willow herself needed help, he didn't understand why within hours of being back in her village, Willow's mind seemed to have snapped. Seeing dead people, and honestly, it had seemed like she'd been having a panic attack. Willow needed them to be somewhere stable. Kakashi did not like this, at all. He did not like the England Village.
The morning that Willow Potter woke, she hadn't expected to wake up in the home of her long diseased Godfather, in the room she had shared with Ginny and Hermione during her fifth year. For some reason, she hadn't expected the experience of the day previous to be real. Like it had been a dream, with a horrific twist, where she'd broken down in front of Kakashi - overwhelmed. The idea of another Dark Lord rising was enough to force her to break. Honestly, Willow didn't think she would be able to deal with another Dark Lord.
She nearly felt as if she hated Hermione for bringing her back just to deal with another Dark Lord that had risen in her absence. "Ya awake, nee-chan?"
Willow sat up, letting the thin blanket that had been tucked nearly around her to fall loose. There were black spots in her eyes, and she groaned, there was a terrible throbbing pain at the base of her neck that made her want to strongest painkiller money could buy. Wincing from the pain, she still glanced up, to see a blonde haired boy, hanging upside down from the top bar of a bunk bed.
He grinned brightly, using his hands to push himself back and forth like he was using the bar as a swing. "I'm soooo glad you're awake! I was worried when you didn't wake up, cause everyone else has been awake for ages! And Kakashi-sensei won't let us eat like anything because he thinks all the food here is poisoned," Naruto pause or the briefest of moments. "It's totally not poisoned right?"
The crick in her neck was starting to flair up as well, when she turned we head to see the silver haired ninja lounging on the bed next to Naruto's face buried in an orange book. Above him, Zabuza was sitting, his back against the wall, eyes screwed shut. He'd been asleep for how long? And these guys had what? Just waited, locked in the room until she woke up? "There's much easier ways to kill you here. Poison lacks finesse."
Naruto blinked, "what's fitness got to with being poisoned?"
Kakashi sighed cutting her off before she could educate Naruto that finesse was nothing like fitness. "How are you feeling today, Willow-chan?"
Said girl winced, she recalled briefly a few things that had transpired the night before, and started to consider the idea that the man thought she was insane. Where had Dumbledore gone too? Kushina never disappeared when she slept, only when she was dismissed. Then again, it was Dumbledore and she didn't think she'd be fully be able to control the old man, ever. The idea that she could summon the dead in this world, was nearly overwhelming to her. It's all she'd ever wanted when she found out that she had the power to summon the dead. Like the stone she'd dropped in the Forbidden Forrest.
Then Willow hesitated, the stone drove people mad, that's why she dropped it. It was so much power, it hurt too much. Not being able to tell what was real, and what wasn't. It was different when she was summoning Kushina, because she hadn't even known the woman. She knew the people here, and she didn't think it was a very wise move to go about summoning everyone. No matter how much she craved seeing Fred Weasley's smile, or hear one of Sirius Black's terrible jokes again.
However, she realised, she could still summon the souls of those who had died recently, and asked them who killed them. After all, Hermione had said they had no idea who was doing all of this, and Willow had a first hand ticket to everyone who'd seen him lately. Personally, she'd only known two of his victims – Dean and Andy, but knowing a person never stopped her from summoning them before.
Before she could even get to that, however, she knew that there was something with the slightest bit more importance to attend to first. "Nee-chan?" Willow all but fell back when the blonde popped up, right in front of her face. His adorable features scrunched up in confusion, and was that worry? "You didn't respond to sensei. Are you okay, nee-chan? What's wrong?"
"Nothing, I'm great kiddo," she said, trying to ignore the pain in her lower back after crashing into the wall behind her. "I just got lost in a train of thought. There's something really important I have to do."
"Tell us why we're here?" Zabuza asked dully, not once opening his eyes, which surprised Willow. She had after all, thought he was asleep. "How we're getting back and what the fuck is going on?"
The girl tried not to deflate at the harsh way he had asked the questions, but they were fair. She hadn't said much of anything to anyone, barring the emotional breakdown she had the night previous. She was sure that Kakashi didn't get much from that however. Willow once again, fell silent, trying to figure out the best way to spin the story, so that it would make sense, and she kept coming up blank.
She knew the story she'd fed the Hokage was solid, and believable, but it was only like that until you saw England. Her situation, was a mess – her life a bigger mess, but honestly she had no idea how to handle things so that they would make just the slightest bit of more sense.
"This is my home," she said finally, "we're not normal people, we aren't ninja but we can use chakra and we do, usually for stupid – I can't do this. I can't lie again. Zabuza, I'm a Witch, or Genie whatever you want to call it. I have magic, the guys you met yesterday, have magic – we can do whatever we want. The guys you met yesterday, they pretty much summoned me here using a Lamp I'd been bound to. They've been trying to get me back for years."
There was silence, and even Naruto was frowning, Zabuza for his part had an expression on his face that couldn't ever be replicated. One of complete and utter amusement, it was nearly scary. Ignoring the fact that Zabuza thought she was joking, she continued. "You see the thing is, our Minister, he's like a Hokage – we didn't get along, he tried to have me killed and when I didn't die, he sealed me in a lamp and threw it. Naruto found me after about a year and a bit of being trapped in it. He probably didn't think anyone would be able to get me out, honestly, and when they tried to drag me back – they took you guys as well, but they'll send you back. It takes a while to set this sort of thing up."
There was a silence, and she knew to have expected it. After all, it was a rather large thing to dump on someone. All the half-truths she'd told Naruto and Kakashi, finally made sense to them, she thought. And even though Zabuza hadn't heard any of her half-truths before, he seemed like the only one who believed her. Why hadn't she just been straight up and honest to begin with? Right, she didn't want them to try and kill her, she wanted to stay unnoticed.
Fat lot of good it did her now. Zabuza started laughing, "you're not serious, though."
The man only stopped laughing when her face didn't change, and when Kakashi sighed, loudly, Zabuza's face dropped. "You're friggin serious? Man, I know you're an odd chick but this is some shit, girly."
"Y-you're coming back with us though, right, nee-chan?" Naruto sounded weak, his brows arching on his face, like a surprised toddler that needed an answer. It was like clockwork, the guilt she felt about not being able to answer that.
"There's more," Willow continued, ignoring Naruto's innocent question, the effect of which she could see the crushed expression on his face. "I'm not and normal as they are, this is something that I haven't told anyone, but Kakashi," she amended, "I'm known as the Master of Death, which is how as Naruto knows, I can speak to the deceased. I introduced Naruto to his mother, and everything."
"That's how," Kakashi mumbled, but the others hadn't seemed to hear him. Naruto was nodding his head, having known everything but the title as well.
"And that's about it, you guys don't have to worry, you're not in any danger here, none of my friends are ninja or anything similar, their civilians - the closest your going to get is Ginny, she's a professional sports player, and theres not a single person you haven't already met alive who can get into this house, it's untraceable, we just need to sit tight before we can get you home."
Naruto had a crushed expression on his face, so much so, that it was becoming hard for her to look at him. Looking at either of the other two ninja didn't help as well, because it was clear that Zabuza still thought everything was an elaborate prank, and she honestly didn't know what Kakashi was thinking at all. It was her fault, she thought, she shouldn't have told Naruto she would never leave. But how could she go back with them? When her entire life was still here, her friends, and Teddy with no relatives, he needed his godmother. Granted there was a crazy serial killer on the loose, and she had come to love her life in Konoha - but this was her home. Willow was confused, completely and utterly confused. She didn't know how to move on from here.
A/N, please don't hate me, really don't. ^_^
I warned you guys ages ago that this was going to happen, ahah, as early as chapter two I had this mini-arch planned. It's part of cannon-Harry's personality, he'd never leave his home or his friends behind. It isn't really in his nature to just move on, and even though this is fem!Harry, it's still Harry and this was the only way I could think of to help everyone get closure. That's if she doesn't stay, that is ;).