Over the Hills and Far Away
Disclaimer: I own only the obvious, the rest belongs to JK Rowling and Masashi Kishimoto.
Author's Note: An update! An update! My kingdom for an update! On another note for the second part of the chapter a simple "…" indicates English, while "-…-" indicate Japanese being spoken.
Correct version up as soon as I find a good, durable beta.
For being shinobi it took them almost an entire day before they noticed that Harry was gone, and then about an hour more before Naruto – with Sasuke and Sakura in tow – finally had enough and used his key to get into Harry's apartment where he found the little note. He picked it up, cocked his head at it, turned it around once, twice, and finally decided that nope, he still couldn't read it no matter how much he tried.
"What's that?" Sakura asked.
"A note from Harry?" Sasuke took it from Naruto and tried reading it.
"It's written in that weirdo language Harry-nii-san speaks. We've gotta take it to someone who can read it. I think Hermione-nee-san is at the library again."
"What are we waiting for, then?" Sakura ran off and the two boys quickly caught up with her.
Hermione wasn't in the library. She wasn't at any of the places that the genin expected to find her. After searching throughout the entire village they were finally told that she was at the Hokage Tower in a meeting with Tsunade and various other people. The three headed straight there and bowled through anyone and everyone who tried to stop them until they came to a stop in front of the doors to the Hokage's office and the two forbidding ANBU guards that stood outside.
"We've gotta go in!"
"Hokage-sama is in a meeting." One ANBU said.
"You will have to wait." The other added and pointed to the comfortable couches against one wall.
Sakura stepped forwards. "But this is important! We've found something!"
"It can wait."
"It can't wait!" Naruto waved his arms around to illustrate. "This is important!"
"So is this meeting. You wait."
Sasuke growled. "We found a note from Harry-san and we need Hermione-san to read it. It might be important and might explain why Harry-san isn't here."
The two ANBU stopped up and shared a look. The one on the left spoke up again. "Give me the note and I'll deliver it to Hokage-sama."
Naruto frowned and stepped back. "Hell no! I'm gonna do it! I found it! And this is my Harry-nii-san we're talking about! There ain't no way I'm staying back at the sidelines if he's in trouble. Again. Not gonna happen! You better believe it!"
With the three genin taking up a defensive stance and position and with the determined look in their eyes, the two ANBU decided that a fight in the Hokage's foyer wasn't really worth it and one of the ANBU slipped into the room. The other ANBU stood guard and kept a sharp eye on the three kids until the first ANBU returned three minutes later. "Hokage-sama bids you enter."
Watching the ANBU suspiciously the three genin scurried past them and through the open door. The Hokage's office wasn't full, but Kakashi was there, as well as Tsunade herself, Shizune, Jiraiya, Manji, Itachi and – most importantly – Hermione. Naruto lit up at seeing the bushy-haired woman and hurried over, babbling a mile a minute and waving the scrap of paper around like a windmill. He didn't calm down and speak comprehensibly until Sasuke walked over and whacked him on the back of the head. "What was that for, teme?!"
"Just give her the damn note and shut up!"
"Oh yeah?! And who's gonna make me? You?!"
"No you're not!" Sakura whacked them both before smiling at the grown-ups. "Sorry about that. We found that note in Harry-san's apartment and we thought it might be important. It's written in that Eng-lish language. We think."
Tsunade sighed. "I know you went there about an hour ago. You couldn't have come straight to me instead of running across the entire village first?"
Naruto frowned. "Hey, hey, grandma! We tried to find Hermione-nee-san but she wasn't anywhere!" he ignored Tsunade's glare and turned to Hermione. "Why couldn't you just be where we needed you to be?!"
Hermione raised an eyebrow at them, amused, and watched as first Sasuke tried to make Naruto shut up, Sakura tried to break up the ensuing argument and finally Itachi, Kakashi and Manji stepped in by pulling the three genin apart and literally holding them still at three different points in the room. She shook her head at the chaos and turned to the note, taking it out of Naruto's hand and reading it.
"Does it say anything?" Kakashi asked.
"Oh yes." Hermione nodded. "Harry's figured out the last piece of the puzzle and has gone off to deal with it. Alone. I'm going to kill him when I get my hands on him." Seeing the looks on their faces, she sighed. "These horcruxes, they aren't easy to deal with. They aren't safe even for an ex-ANBU Commander. They are extremely dangerous."
"What are they really? I've always wondered." Itachi held Sasuke close.
"They are pieces of a person's soul. A horcrux is a container for a piece of soul and as long as it is around the person cannot die until the horcrux itself is destroyed. It all involves performing one of the darkest rituals in wizarding history and then casting the Killing Curse on things and ripping your soul apart. No sane person would ever make one, let alone seven of them, but Voldemort did."
Naruto snorted. "Well, it's no wonder that the guy's all nutty if he did that. Splitting your soul can't be good for you."
Hermione nodded. "It isn't."
Tsunade frowned. "So, what are you doing to do now? Follow him?"
"Of course. It's obvious that he wants us to follow him since he left the not out where everyone can see it, telling us exactly what he plans on doing. As soon as I can gather the other wizards and send out messages then I'm off. I can't let Harry get too big a headstart, who knows what might happen when he finally confronts the horcrux. And Voldemort could go after him right afterwards when Harry could possibly be in a bad state from the horcrux itself. No, I'm definitely going after him."
"I'm going with you." Naruto declared. "And no one can stop me. Like I said to those two ANBU outside the office, this is my Harry-nii-san you're talking about. If he's in danger again then I'm gonna go and save him. And there ain't nothing that you people can do to stop me, believe it!"
Tsunade rolled her eyes. "You can stop posing, brat, I wasn't going to stop you."
"… you weren't?"
Jiraiya grinned. "We were just about to decide who was going on the search mission for Harry when you three came in. Going after him into the wizarding world doesn't change much."
Manji ruffled Naruto's hair. "We also know that you would have come along somehow so we decided to save ourselves that headache and let you come along from the start. At least we'll know where we have you in case something happens. We're missing one person, we don't need you missing as well."
"If Naruto is going then so am I." Sasuke said.
Itachi frowned. "Sasuke-"
"And I." Sakura stepped forwards out of Kakashi's hold. "Harry-san is a good friend and teacher to all of us and I'm not leaving my team mates to face a new world on their own." Naruto and Sasuke nodded.
The grown-ups shared a look and then turned to Kakashi and Itachi. Whatever response they got from those two must have meant something because no one tried to dissuade the genin team from coming along and instead they let them stay there during the short planning session and told them what to pack and how much to pack. Hermione even explained what to expect of the world they were going to, and what they had to be very careful of.
"I'm going to round up at least one if not two wizards for ever shinobi. Then we can simply apparate from place to place and travel faster. Some of the wizards will probably show up along the way so we'll have to run a bit at the start, but that shouldn't be much trouble." She mumbled right before leaving the room, pulling a small, golden disk from a pocket.
Tsunade looked at the shinobi that were in the room. "Now you hear me and spread this message to the other shinobi on the team. I want you all on your best behaviour. The last thing we need is to invite spite between us and the wizards, especially after twenty years of peace with them. Be careful and you three-" she looked at the genin, "-you three will listen to the others. Naruto, that means especially you. We don't know what these wizards are capable of, and we can't let them get a hold of you. Harry and his people are good but that doesn't mean that all wizards will be like that, so be very careful. And one more thing, Naruto."
He turned around just in time to catch a little vial of a shimmery, silvery liquid. Naruto blinked in surprise.
"Harry gave that to me when I became Hokage. He says that it's phoenix tears and that it will be able to heal anything, and I'm inclined to believe him. They will heal a lot if not everything. Keep them hidden and safe and only use them if it's a life-or-death situation. And even then don't waste it; heal only enough to make sure that the person survives. Do you understand?"
"Yeah. I get it." Naruto nodded and put it in his hip-pouch, hidden and shielded amongst the bandages.
"Good. Now remember, this is a mission to help a fellow shinobi, not a hunt for a missing nin. Harry isn't missing, we always knew where he was supposed to go. That's the official story." Tsunade looked at them all again. "Off with you. You have half an hour to pack and get ready."
The shinobi saluted and disappeared, some in puffs of smoke, some through the windows and the three genin through the door.
Half an hour later seven shinobi and three wizards left Konohagakure and headed for Wind Country.
A simple little spell on the note he had left let him know exactly when someone found it and picked it up. That made it easier for Harry to figure out how long it would take for the note to be read and the forces that were to follow him to be put together and supplied. He had been right; they were about a day or so behind him. He was also smart enough not to put all his hopes on one single card and so had a portkey set up in case the chasing force drew in too close for comfort. Harry's plan hinged on a specific timeframe, it wouldn't do for things to happen too soon or too late.
He got to the gate in Wind Country with time to spare and crossed over into the other world easily.
The monks were, as usual, not happy to see him and even less happy when he told them that they were to let the people following him through. Telling them that this would bring about the final end of one of the darkest and most evil wizard in history didn't help much.
Harry didn't stay for more than half an hour, gathering supplies and information, giving out orders and then he hurried on. Like he had done when he had come this way with Kimimaro, he apparated some of the way and ran some of the way. He made sure to rest well in between and a couple of times – when he felt that something would take too much time or his chasers were getting too close – Harry even disguised himself and dropped by the wizarding centre of whatever country he was in and bought a portkey for the next leg of the journey.
He set foot on British soil three days before the time limit was out.
In the late afternoon the day before the time limit was out Harry took a room at the Greyhound inn at Amesbury, barely three kilometres away from Stonehenge itself. It would be nothing to cross the short distance tomorrow, and he would use the rest of the time to eat up, wash up, rest up and generally prepare himself for the fight that was coming.
That evening he sat down in one of the town pubs and joined the locals.
"Here to see Stonehenge, are you?" one said.
"Yes." Harry smiled. "Lived my whole life in England and haven't seen it yet. I almost feel like a traitor to my country."
"Or you've just been living under a rock." Someone grumbled.
"Or that." Harry nodded and sipped his drink.
A third person spoke up. "Might want to wait with the visit, though. Or at least bring high boots and be careful when you go."
He blinked. "Oh? Expecting localized rain tomorrow or something?"
The first man snorted. "Not so much rain as all those damn snakes."
"Yeah, they're everywhere around here this year. Of course, there are snakes around here, but snakes this late in the year and this many? That's something very different. There's even been a film team out to look at 'em, got on the news, too. No one knows why they've decided to come out but they hang around the monument. We've taken to warning the tourists. Probably not poisonous to humans, but you can never be too careful, you know?"
"That's true." Someone agreed.
Harry looked sceptical. "Snakes hanging around an ancient old relic with connotations to the magical? Sounds fishy to me. Bet the Wicca and druids and whatnots like it?"
The first man snorted. "Oh, aye, ain't that the truth! They've been swarming the place doing their rituals and spells, especially now around Halloween. Can barely keep 'em outside the henge."
"The only way this'll ever end is when one of those stones falls over and squishes someone."
They all nodded at that, shook their heads at 'those Wicca-druid-folk' and turned the topic over to last night's football match.
The next morning Harry ate a good breakfast, checked out of his room, went to a grocery store to get one of those finished lunches and something to drink, and set off walking towards Stonehenge. He was in no hurry and the weather was nice. The walk itself took him along one of the local paths leading up to the monument so that he didn't have to walk along the edge of the highway.
When he reached Stonehenge he wasn't the only person there. There were druids and Wicca and numberless tourists coming and going with tour busses shuffling them around. Harry fit easily in with them, walked around the henge on the marked path like everyone else and then he stepped around one of the tour busses on the parking lot and turned himself invisible to everyone who didn't know what they were looking for.
Harry sat down twenty metres from Stonehenge itself, on the opposite side of the parking lot and then waited. And waited. And waited all until a small snake sniffed its way to him, using his heat to find him. He looked down at it and then held out one hand to let it taste him with its tongue. It didn't slither up his arm but determinedly butted its head against his hand three times.
He supposed that was the signal.
"Tell your master that the ninja Ookami is here to see him as agreed upon a year earlier." Harry said and made very certain not to talk in Parseltongue.
The snake's tongue flickered out at him a few times before it turned around and slithered off into the yellow grass.
He watched it go and then settled in for a good, long wait. With Voldemort's flair for the dramatic it was very unlikely that the man would appear until around midnight. It also depended on how long it would take for the snakes to reach him, but Harry was banking on around midnight. Midnight was a magical time and Voldemort had a history for doing things during the most magical days or in the most magical numbers. Voldemort was predictable like that.
Harry lay back on the ground, one hand under his head and pulled out a small gold coin with the other. It was battered and chipped and slightly bent, but the numbers along the edge on both sides were fully functional. The old Morse code communication medallion that Fred and George had come up with had stood the test of time and distance.
"Weasley Wizard Wheezes, the best damn investment I've ever made." Harry smirked to himself and started pushing the numbers.
Kimimaro had healed well since he had arrived in this weird world of wizards and chakra that did things which shinobi could only dream about in their wildest dreams. Ever since Harry had left him there, alone and almost floundering, he had been torn between several emotions and thoughts, uncertain what to do or where to go or who to trust. He had felt abandoned and even scared.
Then the wizards had brought him to this number 12 Grimmauld Place and he hadn't had the time to feel sorry for himself. There was a young girl there, Lily, who latched onto him fearlessly. She refused to let him go into what she called 'emo-ness' and despite the language barrier between them she pulled him along in her pace.
Not surprising, really. She was Harry-nii-san's niece after all. That crazy, old owl that she watched didn't let him succumb to 'emo-ness' either.
"You're very pretty, you know? Perhaps we can play dress up some day? I'm certain that we can trick these wizards into thinking that you're a girl." Lily grinned up at him and grabbed his hand.
"–I have no idea what you said, Lily-chan, but it sounds good.–" Kimimaro smiled and let her pull him along.
Lily wasn't the only one. Tayuya was here too. Or, well, the woman who had replaced the real Tayuya. The real Tayuya was dead and had been since before "Tayuya" had joined Orochimaru. Kimimaro had been very shocked at that revelation, and his instinctual reaction was to not trust this Tonks woman. Until she proved that she was the Tayuya that he had always known. It just took some time to understand and come to full terms with this.
"–And Orochimaru-sama had no idea about this?–" Kimimaro stared at the woman. Her hair wasn't pink anymore, it was a normal light brown and short and spiky. Completely different from Tayuya's pink hair, but he had seen her change her face and hair himself just an hour ago.
"–I doubt it.–" Tonks shrugged and grinned slightly. "–Harry is surprisingly good at keeping just slightly ahead of things like that. I just wish that it hadn't taken me almost twenty years to return home.–"
Her home was with her husband. Kimimaro had seen them together, Tonks and her Remus. He was strangely wary of the seemingly mild-mannered, quite unremarkable man. Something about him wasn't quite what he made it out to be, but even now, a year later he hadn't figured it out. There was so much else to focus on in this wizarding world.
So when he wasn't emo-ing or angst-ing (Lily's words), or obsessing (Tonks's words) over the communication medallion that Harry-nii-san had given him and the lack of messages coming through, Kimimaro spent most of his time learning about this new world he was in. First with books that he could read which the wizards managed to get for him and then later he started reading them in English. Learning the language was easy, the pronunciation was a bit more difficult.
He was sitting and laboriously working his way through one of the English books when something happened that nearly had him falling out of the chair.
The communication medallion – Kimimaro had it encased and put on a string like a real medallion – was warm against the skin of his chest, almost burning him. He scrambled to get it out of his shirt almost choking himself with it before he got it out. Kimimaro stared at the small golden disk in the palm of his hands, feeling the irregular pulsing all the way into his marrow.
After an entire year of silence, without hardly any word from anyone about what was happening in the shinobi lands, someone was trying to contact him.
That someone was sending a long message. An order, a call to arms as quickly as possible, and a location and time.
Kimimaro felt the old determination and readiness for battle shoot through him as he left the room and hurried downstairs into the living room where several Order wizards were gathered for lunch. He stopped in the doorway and held out the medallion. "He says it is time."
Harry-nii-san needed their help and there was no way that Kimimaro was going to not answer this call.
That's it for now, please review.
Sorry about the almost-year it took me to update. I had a lot of trouble with this chapter – were to start, how to start, where to take it, what to write – and I was in the middle of searching for an apartment and moving. Hopefully it will be better from now on, but I dare not promise anything.
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