Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince OR Naruto!
WARNING! IF YOU HAVEN'T READ HPatHBP, THERE WILL BE MAJOR SPOILERS! SO IF YOU DON'T WANT TO HAVE THE ENDING THROWN AT YOU, TURN BACK NOW!
A/N: I don't know what possessed me to write this, I suppose it was the summer heat causing delusion and all that. I apologize for any grammatical errors, plot holes, if my words leave you with no clue what's happening, etc, etc. Oh yeah, and the conversation between Dumbledore and Harry is taken from the 6th HP book on page 550. And as always, corrections are appreciated. Now! Enough with my babbling! On with the fic!
The Half-Blood Prince: An Alternate Ending
Tsunade double checked to make sure no one was near before taking out a bottle of sake and pouring some into her cup. She direly needed some after recent events. Her old age must have been catching up on her for she had sworn that a strange old man with a long silvery beard and hair had just popped into her office and explained how he needed help before laying a scroll on her desk and popping back out. In it was a request for help. Apparently, this man was from a place called England and was the leader of a school that taught a bunch of students something called magic. What an old kook. She would have just ignored the request and thrown it at the bottom of her piles of papers if the payment wasn't so tempting. He was willing to offer one hundred gold galleons, whatever that was. It must have been the currency there. However strange and crazy it sounded, she was curious. Tsunade quickly hid her bottle of sake and called for one of her best teams.
Shikamaru tilted his head upwards and sighed. Being an ANBU member wasn't all that great. He was constantly being sent out to 'save this person,' 'kill that person,' 'protect this item.' In fact, e was so busy, he couldn't remember the last time he went cloud watching. Today was one of the rare days when he could just lay back and relax.
A puff of smoke appeared, followed by Naruto. "Oi! Shikamaru! We have to go to meet Baa-chan. We've got a mission!" With that he disappeared.
Shikamaru groaned. "We just got back from a mission yesterday!" Nevertheless, he managed to get up and meet Tsunade.
Tsunade watched in amusement at the different expressions on her team's faces. Excitement was all over Naruto's face, Shikamaru's was filled with annoyance, and Neji...well, Neji's face remained expressionless.
"Alright, I'm sorry for calling you guys so soon since you just finished a mission," although she didn't sound the least bit sorry, "but this is urgent. We have a last minute request from our client, a strange man named Albus Dumbledore wants you to accompany him on an outing to find an artifact. The only problem is that he's in the other side of the world."
"What? How do we get there? Are you crazy you-"
Tsunade held up her hand signaling for Naruto's silence. A few years ago, he would have ignored her, but now he clammed up. "Furthermore, a team from the Hidden Sand was also requested, though I am unsure whether you will be on the same mission." She looked at the clock hanging on a wall. "He wants you there in ten minutes. You'll be going using a 'portkey' a magical item. He'll explain the rest. Now, all of you hold on to this." A spool of thread was thrown at them. "It will transport you there. You better hang on tight. I've heard the journey is not very comfortable."
The three hurriedly put on their masks. Naruto donned his fox mask, Shikamaru wore his bat, and Neji put on a raven mask. A minute later, they felt their beings being pulled away. The last thing they saw was Tsunade.
"You're leaving the school tonight, and I'll bet you haven't even considered that Snape and Malfoy might decide to-"
"To what?" asked Dumbledore, his eyebrows raised. "What is it that you suspect them of doing, precisely?"
"I...they're up to something." said Harry, and his hands curled into fists as he said it. "Professor Trelawney was just in the Room of Requirement, trying to hide her sherry bottles, and she heard Malfoy whooping, celebrating! He's trying to mend something dangerous in there and if you ask me, he's fixed it at last and you're about to just walk out of school without-"
"Enough," said Dumbledore. He said it quite calmly, and yet Harry fell silent at once; he knew he had finally crossed some invisible line. "Do you think that I have once left the school unprotected during my absences this year? I have not. Tonight , when I leave, there will again be additional protection in place. Please do not suggest that I do not take the safety of my students seriously, Harry."
"I didn't-" mumbled Harry, a little abashed but Dumbledore cut across him.
"I do not wish to discuss the matter any further."
Harry bit back his retort, scared that he had gone too far, that he had ruined his chance of accompanying Dumbledore, but Dumbledore went on, "Do you wish to come with me tonight?"
"Yes," said Harry at once.
"Very well, then: Listen," Dumbledore drew himself up to his full height. "I have hired two teams of experienced warriors called shinobi. To say they are like aurors would be an understatement. One team will be staying here to guard the castle, and another will be accompanying us."
Harry sighed in relief. Now Snape or Malfoy wouldn't be able to try anything tricky. "Who are they? When will they be here?"
"We will meet them at the entrance hall. Now, I want you to go fetch your Invisibility Cloak and meet me there in five minutes."
Harry ran to the Griffindor common room and up to the dormitory to fetch his cloak.
"What did he want?" Hermione asked when he went back down.
"Hey, listen. I'm going to find a horcrux with Dumbledore. Malfoy and Snape might try something, so you have to be careful." He ran out before they could ask anything.
When he arrived at the entrance hall, he found Dumbledore taking to three people. Their attire was strange. They wore black cloaks and masks.
"Ah, Harry! I was just explaining everything to these three. The other team I requested is running a little late so we'll have to wait a bit longer that planned..." Dumbledore frowned.
"Hold on! Wait a minute!" One of the masked shinobi cut in. "Are you expecting us to believe that you people fight with sticks-"
"Wands," another with a bat mask corrected.
"-whatever, and that there's a weirdo out there who split his souls into seven parts?"
"Naruto, it's not that different from Orochimaru and his immortality jutsu." The last guard said. He had long hair that he tied back.
Harry looked at them in disdain. He made conclusions judging their voices and size. "They're those great guards you were talking about? It's them? But they don't sound any older than I am!"
"Harry-" Dumbledore started but was cut off.
"I'll handle this old man." Naruto turned towards Harry. "Listen. I don't like the tone you were using when you referred to us. You better show some respect of we'll pound it into you. Got it kid?"
Shikamaru groaned. Naruto was definitely not a mediator.
Neji stepped in. "What he means is that we are highly trained for this, and we assure you, you have nothing to worry about."
"Right." Harry sounded doubtful.
"Oh great, lazy's team is here." A woman with a fan tied on her back appeared, followed by a boy with a gourd and another with three scrolls.
Harry was struck dumb. He hadn't heard the three enter the castle at all. What king of magic did they use?
"Hello to you too, Temari," Shikamaru replied.
Neji held his hand up in recognition. His other held Naruto's mouth shut to prevent him from shouting his greetings.
"Well, now that you're here, we can leave now." Dumbledore took out a roll of parchment. "Everything you need to know is in here." He handed it to Gaara. "I am entrusting the safety of this castle to you, and I hope you won't attract any attention from my staff. Come along now." Dumbledore waved for Shikamaru, Naruto, Neji, and Harry to follow before any other interactions could be made.
Gaara waited for them to leave before opening the scroll and scanning its contents.
"What does it say?" Temari asked.
He shrugged and tossed it to her.
"Hmm. The old man wants us to guard these three places: The Room of Requirement, his office, and the entrance. I'll stay here."
"I'll go to the office, is there a map?" Kankuro asked.
"Yeah, there's three. And there's a letter for each of us in case we get caught by one of his staff." Temari handed the items out to her brothers. "Gaara, you get the Room of Requirement. It's on the seventh floor."
He stalked off without a word.
"You know what?" Kankuro said before heading off, " I almost with that someone will attack. I've been meaning to get into a good fight."
Temari sighed. Out of all the people out there, whey did she have to be stuck with the two boys?
Gaara paced down the hallways. This was a strange place. He stopped and rubbed his eyes. Was that painting moving? He rubbed his eyes agin before looking. Sure enough, little people were seated on a table eating. His eyes widened and he hurried down the hall before he saw any other strange things.
"Hey! Old man!" Naruto called.
"Keep it down." Neji hissed at him. "No one is supposed to know we're here."
"But I wanna know how far we have to walk!" he whined.
Neji let out a frustrated sigh. "Just shut up!"
The three shinobi were walking a few feet behind their client. The Potter kid had donned a strange cloak and disappeared from sight, but the shinobi could hear his steps and see traces of disturbed stones.
Soon they reached a place called Hogsmeade. The old man exchanged a few words with a woman inside a shop.
Shikamaru was suspicious with her. Her movements seemed a bit...off. The untrained eye would never have caught it, but years of experience told him she was not herself.
"Neji, use your Byakugan on that woman and tell me what you see."
Neji started a sequence of seals. "Byakugan." He stared at her. "It's strange. Her chakra pathways are almost normal, but there seems to be an outside force in it."
"An outside force? Chakara? Pathways? What are you talking about?" asked Harry, still invisible.
"We think that lady is being controlled." Shikamaru explained. "Should we take her down?"
"I don't think so, Our mission is to guard the old man and the boy while they go get the Horcrux thing. We shouldn't attack unless she does something." Neji gestured to Dumbledore. "He's back."
True enough, he was. Dumbledore turned to Harry. " I don't suppose you can apparate yet, Harry?"
"Yes, but I haven't got my license."
Alright then. Everyone hand on to me tightly now."
They obeyed. Naruto and Harry held on to his left arm while Neji and Shikamaru held onto his right. In a moment, it was as if they had plunged into a vacuum cleaner. The next moment, they were standing out on a cliff facing the ocean.
"Should we really be doing this? I mean, I don't think Harry will appreciate us going through his things while he's not around." Hermione reasoned.
Ron casually threw the suggestion aside. "He told us to be careful didn't he? Anyway, I'm just checking the Marauder's Map for anything suspicious." He found the map and murmured the incantation before scanning it. "Malfoy's not on the map again. Must be in the Room of Requirement." He looked again and gasped. "Hermione!"
"What is it?" She ran over to the map.
"These three people." He pointed to the seventh floor, the entrance, and Dumbledore's office. "They're not from here. I don't recognize their names."
Hermione took the map. "Do you thing they're planning something?"
"I don't know. But I think we should tell someone."
"Alright, let's go to Professor McGonagall."
They hurried down to the common room and out to the hallways.
Gaara was pacing the hallway of the seventh floor. While the map in his hand clearly said the Room of Requirement was here, he couldn't find it. Was the old man playing a joke on him? His attention shifted when a door suddenly appeared from nowhere and creaked open. He disappeared and reappeared on the ceiling, hopefully out of view.
Out of the door came a pale, blond haired boy followed by several people wearing black robes.
He silently commanded his sand to pour out of his gourd and crawl forward. Unfortunately, the boy was looking the whole place up and down and spotted him. He took out a strange powder and threw it around. Soon, everything was pitch black.
'Uh oh.' Gaara thought.