In which Lee's English godfather is introduced along with a few very large misconceptions, Lee officially loses her cool and chooses to make a terrible decision
Lee wasn't sure what, exactly, she'd been expecting from the godfather she'd never known existed. No, that wasn't true—she knew what she expected, and that was absolutely nothing, if only because she had never expected his existence.
There had been no mentions of godfathers from the Dursleys, nor from her brief and bittersweet meetings with Death (who, England wanted to insist, wasn't her father at all). More, when she'd left England all those years ago, she'd grown used to the idea of being attached to no one and nothing.
Lee wasn't an oddity in the elemental nations; the second war had left many orphans from all over the continent, Lee was simply a little more foreign than the rest. There was no expectation that Lee or Minato came from anywhere or anything, and even if they'd had no money or clan waiting for them, it'd always been clear how to carve the path ahead.
Lee had no history in Konoha, and she'd never thought of it before, but she was starting to realize she preferred it that way. The relationships she'd forged for herself, with Minato, Jiraiya-sensei, Sakumo-shishou, and all the rest of them had meaning. The relationships foisted upon her by a desperate Dumbledore Albus did not.
Black's head grinned at her from the the fireplace, transported through time and space via English fuinjutsu to this small rented room at the top of a pub. It was hard to tell much about him, given that it was just his head wreathed in green flames, but he looked as if he deserved the title of missing nin. Not so much because of any killing intent, but because of how he looked. He looked as if he truly had been on the run and eating out of garbage cans for years without a village to support him.
His hair was that awkward length that was too long to be short but too short to be long, shaggy, unwashed, and stuck together in clumps. His face was the kind of pale that spoke of living indoors without windows, with an almost waxy hue and dark shadows beneath his eyes. His face had an unnaturally gaunt look, his cheeks almost hollow. More, though, he had the look of a man who had once been quite charming and handsome, who was trying desperately to reclaim what he was, but couldn't help but show the wear and tear of years spent as a nuke nin.
"Hey, Prongslet! Merlin…" The man's head twisted, he spat out ash, and then he squinted through the flames. "Merlin, Moony, I'm not meeting her like this. Can we please get me out of this fireplace already?"
"You know we can't do that, Sirius," Lupin, Moony apparently, said in resignation, casting a wary and meaningful glance towards his shinobi companions.
The people who, according to Granger Hermione, would hand over Black Sirius to the government without a second's pause if given the opportunity. Even now she was casting Lee suspicious and wrathful looks, killing intent waxing and waning as she grappled with the very recent memory that Lee could swat her like a fly if she were so inclined, as well as her own righteous anger. Lee almost found Granger's indecisive rage adorable; it was at the very least so very civilian. It was like she didn't really believe Lee had the guts to go through with anything or was somehow bluffing, that the likes of Granger really could take her in a fight.
As though, after all her accusations of Lee being a racist goon for Konoha's military, she couldn't quite bring herself to accept what that meant. That Lee had been training how to kill men twice her size five years before Granger Hermione even knew chakra existed.
"Come on, Moony," Black whined from inside the fireplace, "This is bloody ridiculous."
"You've done it plenty of times before," Lupin said without any sign of sympathy. "Didn't you do it only a few weeks ago visiting them?"
He waved a hand towards their Hogwarts companions, Longbottom now shifting nervously as if he wished Lupin hadn't gone and pointed that out. The man though, Black, groaned, "Mooney, even I'm not stupid enough to go waltzing around Hogwarts where anyone and their brother can see. Come on, I've been stuck in this blasted house forever and you're not even going to let me talk to my goddaughter face to face? Even after I haven't seen her in thirteen years?"
"Sorry," Lupin said shortly, clearly meaning this to be the final, non-negotiable word. It wasn't, though, as Black, with a huff, pulled himself out of the fireplace and into the room much to Lupin and company's loud protestations.
His clothes somehow suited him. They were worn, too large for his frame, but were clearly made from expensive and chakra-infused fabric that Lee expected only the hideously wealthy English clans could afford. Like him, they had once seen better and brighter days.
He brushed the soot off his dark robes, grinning across at them, and wagging his eyebrows suggestively. "Well, it's just not a party without Sirius Black, is it?"
"What are you doing?!" Lupin hissed, standing and pushing the man back towards the fire, which was now fading from green back into a more natural red. "You can't be—"
Black pushed him aside, shoved him really, and approached Lee on the couch. Before Lee could protest, he reached out, grabbed her arm, and pulled her into a bone crushing hug the likes of which should have had Lee shanking him out of instinct.
As it was, she just stood there, too stiff, practicing breathing exercises as she thought about the fact that the former hokages would kill her if she murdered her own godfather for simply getting too close.
Except shinobi were always very careful to never get too close to one another for that very reason.
"Merlin, you really do look just like your mother," Black said far too fondly, as fond as only those who were truly close to Lee. As if he'd been there teaching her and preparing her for the chunin and jonin exams right alongside Jiraiya and Sakumo. He carded a calloused hand through her hair, fingering red ringlets, a hint of regret in his voice as he took her in. "Not much of Prongs in you at all though, is there?"
And that was the alarming statement that had Black Sirius thrown into and pinned against the wall with chakra while the English civilians spilled forward with exclamations of alarm.
"Ellie, what are you doing?! He's your godfather!"
"Cor, you just stuck him right up against the wall!"
"Lee." Minato placed a restraining hand on her shoulder, likely meaning to give her a warning to just play along when Lee had already played along more than enough. As far as Lee was concerned, coming to this country in the first place, going to their school, and pretending it was all fine and wonderful was more than anyone should have ever expected of her.
Why did Lee feel like she had to justify every action, when these were the people who had seen fit to leave her with the civilians who locked her in a cupboard? Lee owed them nothing, but somehow, impossibly, they were under the impression that Lee owed them everything.
"No touching," Lee said, chakra rising with killing intent from her stomach, watching as Black's dark eyes widened and he swallowed nervously.
"Alright, no touching, I…" he trailed off and had the gall to look hurt, before he hid this with another grin, like it was all fun and games with him pinned to the wall like a butterfly. "No touching. Although, Merlin, Ellie, you know I'm the one who's supposed to be serious."
Lee said nothing, even as he started to ramble, "You know, serious, because my name is Sirius… They did tell you that, didn't they? My name I mean, before you got here…"
"She gets the joke," Minato assured Sirius, giving the man a meaningful look as if to convey that if he knew what was good for him he'd cut it off already. The trouble was, Lee thought as she looked him over, she didn't think Black Sirius did know what was good for him.
As if to highlight this, Lupin Remus was trying for round two in convincing Black to head back into the fireplace from whence he came.
"Sirius," Lupin said desperately as Lee released her hold, moving towards the man as if he were a beloved but wounded dog, "You know you can't—"
"You aren't my mother, Mooney," Sirius cut him off shortly, seemingly oblivious to the wide-eyed staring of Granger Hermione, Weasley Ron, and Longbottom Neville. "Even my mother wasn't much of a mother."
The man clapped then, far too loudly, and his smile was back on his face. "So. Ellie, Ellie Potter, Prongslet, Merlin's beard you're so tall! And finally in Hogwarts, after all these years. Gryffindor, I hope. You did get Sorted, didn't you? I heard you just popped in out of nowhere on Halloween night, very dramatic entrance that, your old man would have been proud!"
Manic, Lee thought distantly, that was the word for it. This man was trying too hard, filled with too much energy in a way that made it seem as if he was covering for something worse. A glance to Minato told her that he was just as put off as Lee herself was.
Weasel Tequila, on the other hand, seemed to be having the time of his life. Like he'd been waiting all morning for this.
"Well," Lee said slowly, when it became clear that Lee and Lee alone was supposed to answer this, "We were put in Gryffindor… It didn't last long."
"Yeah, heard about that from these three the other day," Black said, motioning to the three English rats, who apparently had felt the need to tell Lee's missing nin godfather everything behind her back. Then he stopped and looked at Lee as if something very important hinged on this next question but he still wanted it to seem casual. "You don't really believe in blood purisim, do you Ellie?"
From the way he asked it, it was clear there was only one answer she was supposed to give. "No."
However, unlike all the times Lee bluffed with 'the will of fire', apparently Black wasn't going to call her out on this one.
"Oh, for the love of—" Granger started, mouth hanging ajar, but Black cut her off with a laugh.
"I knew it!" Black said, clapping his hands again in delight and stepping towards Lee as if he wanted to hug her and twirl her about the room right then and there. "There's no way Lily and James' daughter could ever believe in blood purisim."
"Right," Lee repeated dumbly, not sure what else to say, "James and Lily's daughter, there's no way I could believe in blood purism."
Not that Lee knew what blood purism even was, except, maybe, that it had something to do with clans and civilians and how much chakra you could expect from your average civilian bear. Or, for that matter, what the hell being a daughter of Lily and James had to do with anything? Did he really believe that their world view, whatever it had been, would somehow manage to be genetic?
"Right," the nidaime said, apparently as done with this as Lee was. He stood, reached out with a hand. "I'm Tobirama Senju, and this is—"
"Oh, right, right, the magical ninja," Black said, as if he only now just remembered the rest of them were here. "Right, I was told about you too… Well, told something about you at any rate. From Japan, right?"
"No," the nidaime said shortly with a thin smile, "Konohagakure is a little further than that I'm afraid."
Black's expression fell as his eyes met the nidaime's, lingering there and apparently not liking what he was seeing, and it became clear that for all that the man was excited to meet Lee, he was not excited to make the acquaintance of the rest of them.
And at that realization suddenly it became unbearably awkward. The nidaime, cut off and judged, appeared to have nothing to say, the shodaime was still sitting down apparently not quite sure how to break the ice, and the rest of them looked like they were waiting for everyone else to start first.
"Well," Black said lamely, rubbing the back of his head and suddenly looking years younger and rather sheepish, "I suppose… I should thank you, you know, for taking care of her when I couldn't."
Black laughed, "You know, I spent over ten years in Azkaban, and it never occurred to me that Ellie wasn't out there somewhere on the outside. Of course, I never figured Dumbledore would have to leave her with that hellish sister of Lily's either but—Well, I'm just glad she was alright after all."
No one quite knew what to say to that either. He made it sound like he thought the nidaime or the shodaime had come and picked Lee up off the Dursleys' doorstep without anyone the wiser. Like she'd become a ward of the Senju clan, no, like their own daughter. Black Sirius didn't seem to realize that Lee had left England of her own volition to become another clanless Konoha orphan.
It was probably easier for him that way, Lee couldn't help but think. It was easier for him to imagine that Lee's world was anything like the one he had pictured for her. It didn't matter to him so much what she truly was—in fact, he'd probably run from it—so much as that she matched the idea of what he wanted.
This hypothetical daughter of Lily and James Potter that he'd dreamed up.
"You're welcome," Minato said finally, the only one who had any real right to give that response, given that he was the one who had been there since the very beginning. Yes, if Lee had been taken in by anyone, then somehow it had been him.
Black gave him a strange look, raised eyebrows, assessing and seeming to realize just how foreign Minato was, but shrugged it off soon enough. "Still, we're going to have to talk with Dumbledore about where you're staying over the summer. I'd offer good old Grimmauld Place, except I wouldn't condemn anyone to that hellhole. Except maybe Snivellus, and oh come on Mooney, don't give me that look! You know he deserves it as much as I do!"
"Summer?" Lee asked abruptly, taking a step forward, and feeling as if something monumental was shifting forward without her permission. "What do you mean, summer?"
"Well, you can't stay with me for the obvious reasons, unless you really want to of course, and I'll raise hell if Dumbledore even thinks of putting you with Petunia again," Black threatened, for once on the same page as Lee, which at least there was the small relief that Lee would never have to see Uncle Vernon again.
Except that didn't get to this issue of summer—
"Oh, I'm sure we can make room at the Burrow," Weasel Tequila piped in, moving to stand next to Lee and grin up at her as if all her dreams had just come true.
"Ginny!" Ron cried out, "We don't have bloody room at the—"
"Ronald," the missing nin playing the role of a little girl said through gritted teeth, holding her brother's arm in a death grip, "We'll make room."
"Oh, no, I'm not staying for summer," Lee said with a small, too desperate, laugh, "None of us are staying over the summer."
"What are you talking about?" This was Longbottom, so much softer and timid than his peers, looking at her with wide brown eyes.
Lee motioned to everyone, to all her Konoha peers who were now looking at the English as if they'd just realized something very important, something Lee herself was only just beginning to realize. "We're only here until this Triwizard thing is sorted out, I'm only here until this Triwizard thing is sorted out—"
"But Ellie," Neville said slowly, like he couldn't quite believe what he was saying, "You only just got back, do you really mean that you're just going to leave again as soon as the tournament's over?"
Because that's what these people expected and wanted from her, Lee suddenly realized. Even when they thought she was a racist drafted into a foreign military. They expected her to stay forever, they didn't think a kidnapping attempt was necessary because by setting foot on English soil, Lee had made her glorious return. As if Konoha, the looming war, and everything she'd left behind simply didn't exist out here now that Potter Eleanor was back where she belonged.
They were sitting here already planning the extra bedroom in the Weasley clan compound for her use over the summers, her future career in the English academy…
Lee, as quickly as she could, sprinted out of the room and slammed the door behind her.
She'd done it, she'd tolerated more than she ever should have been asked for, and at the idea of endless lazy summers with godfathers she'd never asked for and civilian friends she'd never wanted, she simply couldn't tolerate anymore.
There was a long, pregnant pause after Lee sprinted from the room. She was too well-trained for her footsteps to be heard on the stairs just outside, but Minato imagined she was flying down them and well on her way out into the street and the rest of Diagon Alley.
Minato found himself staring at the door with the rest of them, like they were all just waiting for it to open back up with Lee rubbing the back of her head laughing off some dreaded attack by plant zombies that occurred when none of them were looking. Except even Minato knew that Lee wasn't coming back this time.
Still, clearly, none of them knew what to say.
"We're not certain Lee will be back over the summer," the shodaime finally said, almost apologetically as his voice broke the silence, "Or that she would necessarily be staying with the English if she did."
By which he meant she wasn't likely to be back, and if she was, she sure as hell wasn't doing so with English hospitality. However, Senju Hashirama was a little too polite to come right out and say that.
"What?" Black asked, looking at first as if he thought the shodaime was joking, and then, far more seriously, "But she's English! Her father was James Potter for Merlin's sake. You can't honestly expect…"
He kept going, but Minato tuned it out, instead moving towards the door. As he placed his hand on the handle, Uzumaki's hand fell on his shoulder. "So, you're headed out to look for her too?"
Of course he was going out to look for her. Lee and any hint of her clan, background, or England was like setting off a ticking time bomb. That was at home too, in Konoha where her past was so far behind her no one had any idea what it looked like. Minato had no idea how much worse it could get when she was inside England.
And he had the distinct feeling, given this whole conversation and ridiculous set up, that it was going to get much worse. He wasn't sure exactly what was supposed to have happened here, but he imagined that Lee was supposed to have felt flattered by her godfather's attention, perhaps even gained a sense of kinship and belonging that she presumably lacked as a shinobi orphan, and that she would become friends with Granger, Weasley, and Longbottom, so much so that they could convince her to become a missing nin.
Minato didn't think these people understood what they were asking. They didn't realize that leaving Konoha, for Lee, would be making her the equivalent of this man. That you didn't simply leave, even when you were as powerful and beloved as Senju Tsunade, you didn't simply return to your home country.
And the way they said it, as if it went without saying that Lee would come back…
Well, it rubbed Minato the wrong way as well. Certainly, he thought, it didn't exactly endear Black Sirius to him.
Without another word Minato opened the door, leaving Uzumaki to do what she wanted and the rest of them to the tender mercies of the English, and made his way down the stairs and out into the street. Lee was there, sitting on the cobblestone streets and leaning against the brick façade of the pub, staring out into London's hidden village with distant eyes.
"You're not staying over the summer," Minato said with a smile, sitting next to her so he could stare out with her.
Lee blinked, looked over at him, and offered him a flat smile in return. "I know, I know that, just…"
"I can only put up with that so much at a time," Lee said, "And I know we're going to be here all day."
"Really?" Uzumaki asked, sitting down on the other side of Lee, "All day? We're kind of out of things to talk about, believe it."
Minato frowned, hummed, and responded, "I think Lee's right. This is ham-fisted, but the thought's still there. We're here to receive an impression from these people and start forming bonds. If they really expect Lee to be staying over the summer, if not forever, then this is the starting point for when they convince her it's worth it."
"How?" Kushina asked flatly.
"Family," Minato said. "Black Sirius, supposedly, is Lee's godfather, and the only palatable connection she has to her clan. To some that might mean quite a bit."
That, at least, Uzumaki seemed to understand. Of course she did, Minato thought; she felt the loss of her people more than anyone. Especially now that Uzumaki Mito was gone and all that was left of her clan, of her name, was herself, where there had once been a hidden village. She'd never leave Konoha for it, but he imagined if rumor of survivors cropped up, then she might plead for an extensive leave of absence even with the brewing tension between the hidden villages.
But Lee had never been like that.
At the age of five, without a friend in the world or an understandable word on her tongue, she had been all too willing to forsake her clan name of Potter.
"And," Minato added as he turned to look at Lee again, "I don't think they understand what it means to leave a hidden village."
If, he thought, they understood what a hidden village was at all. Minato had kept thinking how he didn't understand this place. Even with years of preparation from the English shinobi he hadn't understood this place, and he'd forgotten that with his own people they'd be even worse.
The divide between England and Konoha suddenly seemed incomprehensibly large.
Lee sighed, rested her head against the wall, and stared up at the sky. "God, we're going to have to go back in there, aren't we?"
"Probably," Uzumaki said bluntly. "You can't expect Dead Last to hold them off forever."
Not to mention, Minato couldn't help but think to himself, that if they lingered out here any longer, then Weasley Tequila (as Uzumaki and Lee had dubbed her) was sure to make an appearance.
Minato couldn't really explain why—well, beyond his own jealous pettiness that he hated to acknowledge—but something about that girl really did rub him the wrong way. You'd think it'd be nice to have someone around their age who was English and seemed to at least understand some things, but all it ever did was set him on edge.
"We don't have to go back inside," Lee said, "We can just meet them back at the castle or something."
Yes, because that would end well. Lee knew just as well as Minato did that the only reason they were here, why this whole thing had been put together, was for this game of seducing Lee to the English side.
"Lee, if they don't think they're getting information, it's going to become much more difficult to get out of that castle and get our own."
"You call this information?" Lee balked. "And we can get out of the castle just fine."
"But not with English blessings," Minato noted, and that was the crux of it, this free tour and show of their hand as they tried to move Lee into a position that they wanted. If they outright rebuffed them, Minato doubted the efforts would stop completely; instead they'd simply become harder to detect.
"Why should I care what they think?" Lee spat back, Minato apparently striking quite the nerve, "What do I owe them?"
"They think you owe them quite a deal," Minato said slowly, calmly, placing a hand on her shoulder in support, "And that gives us quite the advantage. Lee, it's only a few hours, and you don't have to like it."
And Lee knew it too, even if she didn't want to admit or act on it. That was the trouble of being a chunin going on jonin; it meant that sometimes, often, you had to suck it up and do things you really didn't like.
She sighed, letting her head fall forward. "If he compares me to Potter James one more time, then I swear—"
She cut herself off and suddenly looked up, as if she'd just been struck by a brilliant yet outlandish idea. Minato felt his stomach sinking inside of him, and looking across at Uzumaki's sudden grin of anticipation, he felt it sink further.
"What if there's something I'm just not seeing here," Lee said slowly, "What if we can do better than simply finding out what they want and where they come from?"
"That would be nice, but I have no idea how you would manage to do that," Minato said with a growing sense of unease, but Lee didn't seem to hear him. Instead she was standing, and with only the slightest of hand gestures summoned a very familiar bottle of golden wine into her hands.
"What if we see what luck manages to buy us this time?" Lee said, uncorking the bottle while Minato leapt to his feet.
"Lee, no, don't even think about—"
It was too late; even as he said it and reached for her she was already taking one large, potentially lethal, swallow of golden death. She stopped, paused, shuddered once, looked him dead in the eye, and said, "Oh I forgot about that horribly sweet caramel aftertaste."
She shuddered again, took a step forward back into the pub, then turned back towards Minato and Kushina, who were staring at her with twin looks of dumb anticipation. "Oh, and Minato, since this is the getting-lucky potion, afterwards when we get to Hogwarts and Weasel the Tequila is out of sight, we really are doing something fun."
Lee walked inside with a collected confidence she didn't deserve, likely spurred on by god only knew what was in that bottle. Minato turned to Uzumaki, Uzumaki turned to Minato, and pointing at the door, Kushina asked, "Did she just promise you sex?"
Author's Note: I was going to try to wrap up this thing in one chapter, but it just keeps on going.
Anyways, thanks to GlassGirlCeci for the fantastic beta job. Thanks to readers and reviewers, reviews are much appreciated.
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter or Naruto