Hmm, okay. Here are the results:
-Kill off Sirius: III
-Keep him alive: IIIIIIIIIIIII.
For some reason, I'm not surprised. O-o For those who hope he dies, I wish you're not too disappointed.
A nice reviewer told me to use the poll next time. Lol, yeah maybe I should. XD You see, my eyes are designed to ignore betas, so I think I didn't even try to look at it back then.
Since this chapter takes place in the Department of Mysteries and all, I may as well play with it a bit, and add some of the most illogical things I can think of. ;) Don't expect me to explain the truth behind all of this craziness though, because I'm just too lazy to squeeze a suitable explanation out of my head XD The Lupin case tired me out already.
Chapter 31: 'We all fall down.'
"Really, I have never known the Department would be this huge," Tonks' voice echoed around the cylinder-shaped hall as one by one, the Order members filed through it. This particular hallway looked extremely unnerving, at least to Sirius that was, for he looked around and scowled in suspicion while Moody kept a straight face. Tonks simply looked curious.
It was right to be unnerved though, for the hallway's opening was only large enough for a person to pass through, which meant that the total of thirteen Order members had to walk in single file. Sirius felt as though he was squeezed inside a narrow pipe and would surely suffocate if the 'hallway' shrunk just a little more.
"Can someone remind me how the hell did we end up here again?" The Animagus grunted finally, unable to stand the mysteriousness of this situation any longer.
"I decided to take this shortcut," Moody grunted back, giving Sirius a glare, "I've been here before, for your information, and all the things still look the same to me."
"Like I would believe that. Didn't you tell me you were, what, twenty-year-old back then?"
Feeling that Sirius had gone too far, Kingley tapped on his shoulder warningly. Sirius coughed and, sensing that the magical eye was glaring at him through Moody's skull, he produced an innocent grin.
The party walked on and soon, much to Sirius' relief, they had arrived in a clearing, a clearing full of books. The strange thing was that the books weren't placed on shelves; inside they were just stacked vertically together, from floor to ceiling, as though proving that they didn't need to depend on wooden bookshelves.
Somewhere near the entrance, an unceremonious sign was stuck onto the only part of the wall not covered by books. Tonks leaned in carefully to read.
"Class-S material: All invented by 'The Rejected Alchemist' Davius Al Scormford...never heard of him. Who the heck is he anyways?"
"Tonks, be careful," Moody growled, eyeing the books uneasily, "You know you, always knocking down stuff. If you touch the books, they may as well avalanche themselves on us."
Everyone could tell that Tonks wasn't as happy as she looked when Moody had addressed her like that, yet all she did was pulled a face and walked on carefully.
The other members followed suite, their destination all locked onto the plain wooden door from across the room. As they edged onwards, Sirius took a curious glance at the books and read some their titles on the spine. Oddly enough, a small amount of them contained just the names of people he didn't even know, while others, the majority of them, remained blank at the spine.
Books without titles? Sirius thought, raising an eyebrow, perhaps they rewrapped it with a blank cover…
Stopping to study the books more clearly, Sirius could hear Moody's impatient call somewhere in front, "Oi! Sirius, don't start touching those books, I tell you!"
Feeling that Moody's words were just a false guess, Sirius slowly reached out a hand and tried to grab a book with a title that read, 'Andrew Aquila Mos.' Kingsley noticed his sudden action and tried to push his curious hand away from the book, but too late, for Sirius had already touched the spine with his finger tips.
Smiling, Sirius cast a levitation spell onto the book above the one he was holding and pulled. It slid out easily.
Ignoring the outranged bellows from the other members (Moody being the loudest), Sirius scanned the title of the book and opened it. Frowning, Sirius didn't seem to have understood much sense at the very first page:
November 16th, 1886, 23:47:35,
November 16th, 1886, 23:47:37,
Wait—what—where am I?
November 16th, 1886, 23:47:40,
Where am I!? Help! Where am I?
November 16th, 1886, 23:47:43,
Somebody, tell me— where the hell— I can't see—
November 16th, 1886, 23:47:45,
Help! Someone— the book— I—!!
Sirius quickly slammed the book shut with such force that it produced an echoing 'bam!' around the room. Everyone jerked their heads around and stared at him. Moody quickly strode forward and snatched the book away.
"Sirius? What happened?" he asked the paralyzed man in alarm as he stared at him, both furious and cautious.
"I…" Sirius was still staring at the book in Moody's hand, his eyes incredibly wide with fright. He recalled that, as he was reading the unexplainable words inside that book, a chilly prickle seemed to have shot right through his spine, causing him to close the book as a matter of an instant spontaneous reaction.
What can this all mean?
Sirius absentmindedly wiped away the cold sweat on his forehead in which he didn't even seem to know of and turned his head towards the other ominous looking knowledge stacked neatly all the way up against the wall. Immediately his mind start to function like it had never done before.
…Thousands of books…in this Department…blanked...different names…title…diary…dates…help massages……warnings……class-S…material…Alchemist…
Another cold chill ran down his spine as though the truth about all of this mystery seemed to have found its ways into his head, and when Sirius looked around he was quite relieved to see that the other members, too, were unnerved and was urging Moody to leave this ominous room. But again, Tonks simply looked curious as she turned the pages of the book.
"Whao, almost half the pages of the book are blank," she said, perhaps a little uneasy this time, "I…I wonder why this guy…Andrew…or whatever he is, didn't have anything to write…or…say…" she suddenly turned white.
"Perhaps he's…dead, already?" feeling faintish, Sirius quickly proceeded to the door, "Look, we'd better go, Harry might still be out there—"
"Oops—sorry!" Tonks looked around at the fallen book lying on the floor. Sirius could hear Moody growl, "I think I knocked it down by accident..."
A young Order member came forward to pick up the book, "It's okay, I'll put it—"
"NO DON'T PICK IT UP! CIELO! THE COVER DOES NOT—" Right at that heart-stopping moment Sirius' mind seemed to have reflowed with all the possible explanations of the books and he jumped forward to push young Cielo out of the way, but the young man gasp as he made contact with the empty book and was, through everyone's horror, sucked right into it as though pulled by an unknown suction.
The book gave a final twitch and lied, as innocently as ever, back on the ground.
Seconds—and perhaps minutes— passed, but all of the people within the room seemed to be unaware of the time they were currently wasting. Fortunately, Tonks was the one to break the barrier as she clasped her hands onto her mouth and her lips quivered, "...Cielo?"
Moody's legs clunked themselves over to where the book lay and picked it up with seemingly numb hands, yet his eyes gave away nothing as the ex-Auror flipped through the pages. At last, he muttered, "Yes, he's in there all right." And shut the book with a heavy snap.
"No, wait! Try talk to him!" Sirius ran forward and snatched the book away. The pages, to his disbelief, contained the same demanding questions mixed within a frightened and confused atmosphere, all of them asked, perhaps mentally, from the victim himself.
"Cielo!" Sirius yelled desperately at the book, scanning the pages to look for any responses, "Cielo, please! Can you hear me?!"
April 2nd, 1995, 20:13:45,
Is—is this some kind of trick?! Please, I need to get out!
April 2nd, 1995, 20:13:51,
Please, THIS IS NOT FUNNY!! I—It's all dark here—I can't—please—!!!
"Cielo! Please, CAN YOU HEAR ME?!" Sirius was unaware that he was screaming and shaking the book so violently that it was a miracle it didn't tear. Yet even if he was aware, he wouldn't care as much, for every time a new frightening 'diary entry' inked itself onto the yellowing parchment, Sirius' heart thumped even faster.
He felt simply horrible.
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A deafening crash to his right told Harry that nothing considerably good had happened. His hypothesis was confirmed when he turned his head around and spotted a big, gasping hole in the wall, in which, to his dismay, Death Eaters had somehow reformed themselves from the smoke and dust and started to give chase.
Harry had no choice but to run. Trying to overpower ten Death Eaters in a row would only remain to be a dream, especially when no one's backing you up.
It was ten minutes ago when Harry first discovered that the others were no longer walking behind him, so he stopped, and probably panicked.
It was not possible, he had thought back then, walking nervously around an unknown room in circles, the Sannins, Lupin, and Ron, especially Ron, had been striding right behind Harry for as long as he could remember, for the red-hair's heavy footsteps were undisguisable.
And then the explosion came, and Harry found himself running madly for his life as Voldemort's supporters screamed in triumph and darted after him.
Such rotten luck. If he ever happened to find Ron during this chase, Harry was so going to make him pay for ditching him.
Harry took a brief glance behind him, and ran even faster; the Death Eaters seemed to be gaining speed. He glanced to his right and halted for a fraction of a second, twisting his foot towards the right, and darted through a narrow hallway. Again, he turned a corner whenever he saw one, wishing that the twisting passageways would confuse the Death Eaters.
A shadow swished in front of his eyes, and Harry stopped dead, surprised. It turned out to be Orochimaru, yet he was staring over Harry's shoulder at the Death Eaters.
"You run," he said simply, not letting Harry respond. Harry nodded at Orochimaru, who was still staring at the Death Eaters, and without a word, left the Sannin and continued to run, not pausing to ask where the hell the boy had disappeared to.
Orochimaru stood his ground as the Death Eaters ascended, and from inside his robes, the boy took out four pieces of symbolized parchment and flung them out at the narrow corridor, sticking them separately in a rectangular shape on the floor.
A series of swishing, mumbling noise, and the floor suddenly dissolved itself into quicksand. Some Death Eaters who happened to be too near it did not escape its wrath, and was swallowed whole as though a monstrous mouth was underneath the floor. The rest of the Death Eaters quickly jumped over the sandy area and halted, glaring at the clam boy standing in front of them.
"What, you're already scared?" asked Orochimaru, looking lazy yet expressionless, "I'd expect the rest would be more courageous, unlike the lot I've taken care of back in Voldemort's hideout. But then again, It's not like there will be much difference."
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"Hey, did you hear that?" asked Jiraiya, stopping dead. Tsunade stared ahead, "Yeah...I think I hear fighting..."
"Come on, it might be Harry," said Jiraiya encouragingly, leaping into a sprint again, "Well, and perhaps a few Death Eaters as well."
The two of them gathered up speed as they ran, feeling relieved that, at least, they weren't far away from someone they knew. The sudden disappearance of Harry and his friends ten minutes ago were a complete mystery to Jiraiya, as he recalled that absolutely nothing out of the ordinary were present back in that hallway. The next thing he'd known, he was standing awkwardly with Tsunade by his side— along with the unconscious Ginny on her back— at a completely unfamiliar room.
He had tried to ask Tsunade what had happened, yet she was just as confused as he was. "This place totally creep me out," she had sighed, shaking her head.
As he ran, Jiraiya thought about Orochimaru. "You reckon he'll be okay by himself?"
"Of course. That's so obvious," the other Sannin sniffed, gripping Ginny's hand tightly so that she wouldn't fall, "He might as well prefer this, to tell the truth."
"True," Jiraiya muttered back, and left it as that.
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"No...why—" Ron was seriously panicking as he staggered blindly around what it seemed to be a room filled with stuffed toys, "Lupin, why is this happening again? We're— we're back!"
His last words sent a cold chill down Lupin's spine as he nervously adjusted his collar with forced calm. To be honest, he had never been this scared in his life before, and even as he tried not to look into those fake, plastic eyes sewed tight onto the party of little stuffed friends surrounding the never-ending room, he still couldn't shake off the feeling that he and Ron were being watched.
At this point Lupin might have thought that the Ministry had gone quite insane. Who would place a thousand or so dolls, in which all of whom beaming a mischievous smile, into a room with nothing but walls anyway? This gave Lupin an appearance of a maze, except that the walls were all lined up with fluffy cottons wearing clothes, and that the room was dark. Remarkably dark, correct that.
If fact, the room (if it was even a room at all) was so dark that Lupin and Ron could hardly see even with their wand lights out.
They have been walking aimlessly for almost fifteen minutes, yet for some reason (Ron had no trouble freaking out about this), was that every time when they thought they had successfully crossed through the maze, they actually ended up back at the starting point. Ron confirmed this by spotting that odd-looking teddy bear with jagged teeth looming right beside him six times in a row.
When he had, yet again, saw the bear the seventh time, Ron had declared aloud that they should just perhaps, go back the way they had come.
The problem was that they had no idea how they ended up here in the first place.
"...But weren't we walking with Harry just then?" Ron asked in a quivering whisper as sixteen dolls cracked their permanent ominous grin at him from behind, "I mean...it— doesn't it sound odd that the next minute we are just standing here, in a room we've never even been to?"
"I suppose so," sighed Lupin, sitting himself down on the floor and leaning his back against a giant stuffed cat. The doll gave a cute squeak and Lupin quickly leaped up again, staring at it.
"Ha-ha...funny eh? We've clearly exceeded our required age to be scared of dolls, but now fifteen-year-old doesn't quite make a difference," Ron gave weak, unsuccessful laugh as he locked his eyes uneasily on the dolls. They seemed to be staring at them more than ever.
"Hey," said Lupin, as he absentmindedly examined a scarecrow-shaped stuffed toy with glossy, glossy blue pupils stuck to its head, "Isn't there a Muggle movie about this doll which got cursed or something and started killing—"
"Childplay," grunted Ron immediately, glaring accusingly at Lupin, "I know, it's a horror movie, Harry told me once about it. And unless your brain has malfunctioned, I don't think this particular topic we're discussing will ever help us solve the crap around here. In fact this'll just make things worse!" He jumped and yelped as a stray doll hand brushed his ankle by accident.
Holding onto his desire to laugh, Lupin kept on a straight face and said, "Oh sorry, never knew you'd get this frightened. Yet, you know full well that there are no such things as killer dolls."
"Oh? Why are you so sure?" Ron muttered, clearly avoiding a small mountain of stacked dolls as he walked over to stand close to Lupin, perhaps for a feeling of safety, "It's not the Muggle logic we're talking about here. Magic does not need logic."
Lupin took a sideway glance at the red-haired boy. "It contains logic, Ron," he said, and Ron looked at him, confused, "It may seem bizarre, but it was said that even magic is part of the law of chemistry and physics..."
"Wait...chemistry and physics..." muttered Ron, somehow forgetting the hideous looks of those stuffed toys and aimed a little kick at one red-haired doll in a nice, checker-boxed dress, "I think I've heard of them before...some kind of Muggle-related stuff—"
"Chemistry is the study of chemical interactions and energy, while physics is the concept that deals with mass, energy, force etc," Lupin cut in, saying this short speech as though he had memorized it off by heart, "Yeah, something like that. You guys won't need to learn these Muggle sciences. Anyway, magic is somehow related to them...for example—"
Clack clack clack clack clack clack...CLACK CLACK CLACK CLACK——
"Um, did you hear that?" Ron's voice had gone from his strong tone immediately into a squeaking whisper. Lupin was cut dead off from his lecture and stood still, listening at every possible sound that issued from among the walls, the dolls, anywhere. Expect there was none.
Lupin was about to say something again when another soft sound, as quiet as rustling wind, took him entirely by surprise and his whole body tensed up immediately. The sound was coming from behind Lupin, and he didn't think he even dared to look.
Wiiiiiiiiiiizzzzzz. Like mechanical strings winding...from inside a doll.
It was about a brisk of a second before Lupin knew what would be coming and quickly pulled Ron down with him. Something whisked heavily pass just inches above Ron's head before stabbing itself onto the very piece of wall not conquered by dolls.
Lupin looked up and saw that it was a butcher's knife.
Lupin turned his head and stared at the attacker, or rather, future attackers, for thousands of red, glowing dots were staring back at them from the dark, illuminating the scene ever so slightly that all Lupin could see were faint shades of smiling mouths right below their flaming eyes. The doll who threw the butcher's knife seemed to stand out the most, for the checker-dressed figure was the one Ron had, unfortunately, kicked. Underneath her illuminated eyes, she wore the biggest smile among all others, yet Lupin and Ron could still tell that she was mad...perhaps even furious.
Surprisingly enough, there wasn't much noise, despite the soft shuffling of fabric against fabric as the dolls climbed clumsily over one another toward the two uninvited guests. Occasionally there would be several soft whizzing sounds that issued from among those dolls as the strings on their back wind and unwind to assist their ridiculously staggered pace.
Neither Ron nor Lupin knew who screamed first, yet they were already twenty meters apart from the 'living dead' and wouldn't mind to keep on going. The two of them tore blindly across the passageways still filled full with dolls, in which each one of them would turn their heads in their direction as they sped pass. Unfortunately, those two didn't see their eyes lit up into a color of flaming red.
"This—this is— INSANE, MAN, INSANE!!!" Ron didn't seem to care about his loudness, for he was currently screaming as loud as he could while he tried to gasp for breath between words as he ran, "Oh ho ho, AND YOU SAID THEY WON'T COME TO LIFE! YOU SAID THEY WON'T COME TO LIFE, LUPIN!!"
Yet Lupin was in no mood for debates. Escape was the only thing in his mind right now, and when Ron was still bellowing about how stupid chemistry and physics were, the only thing Lupin could manage to yell between his gasping breathes were the words he rarely used, "JUST SHUT UP, RON, SHUT UP!!!"
A/N: Yes? LOL :D Anyways if you want to read more about my made up theory of the relationship between physics, chemistry and magic, go to my home page. It'll be there, waiting to have eggs thrown at. XD
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By the time Harry saw a jet of green light flying towards him out of the corner of his eye, he knew that there would be no escaping it.
A sharp blow in the head caused him to scream in pain, and for a fleeting moment had thought wildly about the possibly of being hit by, let's say, a solid jet of Avada Kedavra. But realization finally came through when he felt that the object knocking him down was nothing, or no one, other than his god father Sirius Black.
"Sirius!" Harry gasped in delight as he scrambled up to his feet while Sirius steadied himself up.
"Nice timing, eh?" his god father grinned, brushing dust from his robes. Another jet of light shot towards him and he avoided just in time, turning on the spot and bellowed to his affiliates, "Moody! You take care of those noob Death Eaters, I'll take Harry away!" Grinning to himself, he pulled Harry by the sleeve and darted with him all the way further down the hall.
"Hey, Sirius," Harry panted while he ran, his heart pounding with relief and excitement, "I'm really glad you're okay! Look, I...I'm sorry I'm such a moron...I should have listened to Hermione..."
"True, you should have," said Sirius, though his tone didn't have a trace of anger in it, "In fact, you should just forget this crap right away Harry, cause we still have something way more important to do." He grinned yet again.
Yet Harry still didn't seem to have cheered up, "The others and I are supposed to be walking together, but I think we got separated half way through a hallway. I encountered Orochimaru, as you guys might have spotted him as well, yet have no sign of the rest..."
"Don't worry," Sirius said, "We found Hermione, Luna, and Neville. Now only four more to go."
"You did?" Harry snapped his head back at him, once again with a trace of relief on his features, "How are they? Are they all right?"
"More than all right," Sirius beamed, "When we arrived, they have already taken out the three Death Eaters fighting them. A few months worth of training finally paid off."
"Yeah," said Harry, smiling more to himself than to Sirius. It seemed that he had make the right choice; getting all into these 'illegal' troubles just to get all his beloved friends ready for situations like this—
A shriek sounded from the other end of the long hall and immediately Harry recognized the voice as Ron's. Almost instantly, his muscles tensed and he ran forward as fast as he could while yelling his friend's name, "Ron! RON!"
His call was answered by another scream. Having a feeling that Ron was too frightened to actually use modern words to communicate, Harry pulled out his wand as he ran, expecting to worse to come.
It turned out that he didn't expect what he had expected, for the first thing that came to his mind when he saw the objects took shape on the faraway horizon, was Childplay. Or even the mutated version of the movie Childplay, who knows. Anyways, Harry had never seen anything like this, and this was mainly the point. In front of the army of stuffed toys, running desperately, were unmistakably Lupin and Ron. Harry wondered why they didn't thought of using their wands.
"Dolls?!" Beside him, Sirius gasped in amazement. Harry didn't need him to clarify this point. He pointed his wand at one of the dolls trying to cut Ron's ankle with a knife and yelled, "Stupefy!"
The doll shook and fell back, completely limped, like the way it should be. Sirius helped fight them off by burning them with fire with his wand. Lupin saw it coming and ducked. The dolls behind him gave an unusually high-pitched shriek and were soon dissolved into ash.
Until he reached Sirius Lupin stopped, and reached out his wand to fight back the remaining evil toys.
"Why didn't you use it in the first place?" Sirius called through all the shrieking noise while trying to aim a shot at a somehow headless bear stalking blindly towards them with a piece of iron pipe in its hand.
Lupin glared at him, "Well, why don't YOU try being chased by an army of mutated dolls and see if you can find enough time to pull out your wand while they are one inch from you? It would really clarify things for some people!"
Sirius was so amused at Lupin's rotten mood than he actually laughed. Harry though, even seemed to have cared much for his rarely revealed anger, for seeing a particular horror movie come to life wasn't exactly an experience people would like to encounter.
By the time Harry had taken out thirty of them, and in which thousands more were coming to aid, Ron had already approached Harry (having been delayed due to the fact of certain fluffed bunnies in a nurse hat holding gigantic needles, trying to stab him in the thigh) and had already started to fight them off with spells as well.
Unfortunately, the situation was getting worse, for the dolls seemed to be streaming out of a toy factory instead of inside a limited space of a room. By then, even Sirius had stopped laughing, and was fighting desperately, perhaps a little afraid at the mass of the total number of dolls. Further more, Harry had a feeling that the dolls had a change of plan and were trying to attack them from all sides.
Sure enough, they had started to edge towards the walls for a way around. Cursing loudly, Harry shot jinxes and copied Sirius by sending out flames to burn them. They crumbled, yet more scrambled over to join the rear.
"Look, we're loosing— loosing to a bunch of stuffed toys!" Ron yelled hopelessly. "Let's just retreat," Sirius suggested cautiously, stealing a quick glance at the way back, "We've seen other passageways through this particular hall. They might lead to somewhere that makes more sense."
"Nothing makes sense here!" Ron yelled again and he took a surprised step back as two twin dolls with scalpels jumped up in attempt to cut his face, "LOOK, JUST GET THE HELL OUT OF HERE!!"
With that he ran, and the others didn't stop to argue as they followed suit. Loud tinklings of mechanic sound and childish, high-pitched giggles and screams issued from the toys' structures echoed around the hallways as their eyes glowed bright-scarlet and gave chase, waving their unique, yet not so unique weapons around and around with enthusiasm.
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The only sounds that seemed to echo around here were their footsteps and breathing— even breathing— when Jiraiya and Tsunade entered the room. A room that looked remarkably like the stadium of the Chuunin Exam.
Tsunade glanced, slowly, down towards the center of the hollow room and saw a platform with an ancient archway— accompanying a piece of hanging, slightly fluttering veil— perched dangerously on top, as though a small gust of wind ought to be strong enough to topple it over. For some reason, an unusual cold chill ran down Tsunade's spine as she stared at it. An indescribable feeling crept up on her as she carefully descended the stone steps towards the mystical thing. The echoing of her feet against stone continued. Jiraiya simply fallowed, perhaps pulled by the very same feeling Tsunade experienced. Soon they were standing beside it, gazing up, for who knew how long.
"Hey, I wonder why the veil is moving...when there's no wind..." Jiraiya murmured, rather absentmindedly with his eyes still glued to the archway, "...Do you think there's a fan or somethin' here...?"
Tsunade made a non-verbal reply and continued to gaze at it. The sagging weight of Ginny didn't appear to have any affect on her at all. In fact, her unconscious form slowly slipped downwards— as Tsunade had almost entirely dismissed the consciousness of using strength to support her weight— and slid down with a soft thud onto the stone floor.
"...Hey...let's go in...let's go through that veil..." Jiraiya didn't seem to know he was even talking.
This time Tsunade shrugged and didn't reply, yet she made no attempted move to go through the fluttering veil.
"Come on...let's go in..." Jiraiya urged, almost in a sleepy tone, yet with eyes still locked firmly on the ancient structure, "Let's go through...they're...calling..."
Tsunade didn't pay attention. In fact, she seemed to be uninterested in anything except for the tempting object standing slightly above her, and felt that she could just stand there and stare at it as long as time went. That was, until she felt pain like fire on her back and screamed.
Jiraiya gasped and came back to reality, where he saw in horror that his comrade was attacked by a curse that acted remarkably like a bullet from a revolver. His eyes automatically shifted to the entrance above, where Death Eaters were already speeding down the steps and firing curses at them both. Jiraiya ducked three of them and pulled the wincing Tsunade and Ginny aside.
"Jeeze, how the hell could you get the first one and miss the other!" Jiraiya could hear a Death Eater yelling at another through the small explosions made by the spells, "You could've taken them both out so we needn't waste time!"
The other Death Eater replied something in which Jiraiya couldn't hear, for a curse hit the wall beside him and exploded, shattering the two of them with fragments of rocks and debris.
Jiraiya took a quick glance at Tsunade; she was healing herself— though rather painfully— by pressing her hand to the stomach. The bloody wound on her back was closing gradually.
"Can you manage?" Jiraiya asked in concern. Tsunade nodded, "It would be nice if you take care of them first...there's not much...I see six..." The boy nodded, laid Tsunade against the wall, checked that Ginny was in a comfortable position as well and crept out from their hiding place.
He was quickly spotted by the Death Eaters and curses were immediately being fired from their wands. Through flying dust and debris, Jiraiya dodged them with incredible speed, all the time aiming for their heads, and cracked some for their necks. Others didn't even see it coming.
The boy then was about to cast a Jutsu when something splashed onto him like cold water. He looked down at himself, confused, for his clothes were definitely dry. Jiraiya dismissed his doubts and tried to lift his hands against, except that this time it wouldn't move.
"What?" He tried to raise his arm, but it felt like all of his cells were made of concrete. Realization shot through him as he looked around and saw that one of Voldemort's followers was holding his wand high, pointing towards Jiraiya, as though he was grant the opportunity to command his whole physical feature.
With that the Death Eater grinned coldly form behind his mask, and swished his wand to the direction of the wall. Immediately, as though pulled by a piece of iron string, Jiraiya let out a yelp of surprise and was thrown headfirst into the wall, creating havoc with the impact as the wall broke apart. Then the Death Eater jerked his wand away, and Jiraiya's body followed suit, and was once again bashed into the same wall when Death Eater made the same direction with his wand. From a distance, Jiraiya could hear the cruel laughers from others.
Coughing and spitting out dust, Jiraiya staggered out from the hole he made in the wall and simply glared at the Death Eaters.
"That's cheating," he said, as blood dripped down from his forehead, "Oh well, I might do so as well."
With a shout of laugher, Jiraiya lunged himself into the air and ripped out a scroll from nowhere. While in the air, Jiraiya bit his thumb and wrote symbols on torn pieces of parchment with blood in a fraction of a second and shot them out from all corners. Feeling cautious, the Death Eaters glanced quickly around, trying to follow the seals as they flew to their correct position and stuck themselves firmly onto the stone ceiling above.
Instantly, weapons appeared all around the seals' selected area. Thousands of them, from kunai to katana, surrounded the Death Eaters from above, left and right, leaving them with no place to hide.
Some of them screamed in horror, Jiraiya recalled, yet it didn't quite matter, for most of them were too frightened to do anything when the weapons launched themselves forward anyway. Even though they were sworn enemies, Jiraiya still felt horrible for killing people. If he had a choice, he'd prefer not to, yet if he didn't strike the Death Eaters would, and it would be simply pointless to talk them through this. Once they aimed their destiny toward the dark, they would never see light again.
Jiraiya watch from above, crouching steadily on top of a wall decoration, at the destruction below. By the time a clock somewhere among a Muggle town struck ten, in which was one minute later, most of his enemies were either badly injured or dead.
When he had confirmed that the Death Eaters below would no longer be a threat to him and Tsunade, Jiraiya leaped down from the wall and landed silently on the messy ground. Tsunade poked her head from behind a fallen piece of wall and smiled, "See? I told you you could handle them. And for a brief second I even thought you were afraid!"
"Afraid? When did I say I was afraid?" Jiraiya scoffed as he brushed dust off his robes. He looked at the still fluttering veil and frowned, "Look, I think we'd better get out of here...or we might get distracted again— what the!" Jiraiya leapt away as a kunai stabbed itself onto the ground, where Jiraiya was standing a second ago. His eyes searched the clearing suspiciously as the word 'ninjas' came into his mind almost instantly.
"Jiraiya! Are you all right?" Tsunade had clearly seen the kunai as well, and she was standing up at once, despite the pain on her back.
They could hear sandals striding across the debris on the floor, and no sooner or later rain ninjas were already filing silently through the door. Some of them even melted through walls but nevertheless, Jiraiya and Tsunade were instantly surrounded.
"Any ideas?" sighed Jiraiya. "I just wish the others wouldn't stumble across this room," replied Tsunade, eyeing the ninjas carefully, "I don't think even wizards can handle 15 Shinobi at once..."
"Hey, aren't those the Sannins?" one of the rain ninjas called through his mask, "What does he want with them anyways?"
"He doesn't," replied another, and Tsunade immediately recognized the voice belonged to Takahashi. Even from behind a mask, Tsunade could still tell that his expression was full of range. "One of their bloody friends killed my teammate, as you've all heard about," Takahashi continued, his voice hostile and filled with anger, "Wouldn't it be nice if we take them back to Amakage? He would certainly love to know who had killed his colleague."
The female ANBU Yuurei, who happened to be crouching beside Takahashi, made no sound of agree or disagreement. She simply stared at Tsunade.
The two Sannins didn't know who had strike first, but soon a miniature Shinobi war had broke out between them, fifteen rain Shinobi against two of the strongest ninjas in Konoha, the fight was simply unpredictable. All sorts of Jutsu were used, illuminating the whole stadium-like room with a variety of colors and wonder. Any Japanese passing by might as well think they were as magnificent as fireworks. Hence the destruction, too, was magnificently severe. It would almost be impossible to not hear the crashing and yelling and Jutsu-calling noises all around the Department of Mysteries, even though the room they were concealed in was only one-hundredth of the entire underground system.
Harry and the others simply absorbed all the noise coming through. The small group had successfully escaped from the doll invasion and had met up with rest of the Order members, including Hermione, Neville, and Luna. All except Orochimaru, in which Tonks had explained he had ran off by himself, chasing after the remaining Death Eaters, desperate to shred them to pieces as well.
It was five minutes-passed when Harry heard the first crash coming from his right. A series of rumbling noise followed, preferably burning fire, and they were all convinced that it was the Sannins' doing.
"It might be Jiraiya and Tsunade," suggested Hermione, "Orochimaru went off that way, so it might not be him."
They left the debate at that and hurried on toward the deafening noise, though it turned out to be rather challenging, due to the fact that hallways in the Department didn't always end up with one exit. In fact, the current hallway they were walking in seemed to be so twisted and simply wrong that the whole group doubted whether or not they were heading toward the right way.
"—Are we?" Ron questioned again for the third time in a row, when another precious five minutes had gone by like the wind and Harry had found himself losing drops of enthusiasm for every passing second. Neville seemed to have turned paler every time Ron stated his doubt, yet Luna, on the other hand as usual, appeared to be undisturbed. The Order members simply walked on, perhaps cautiously, glancing left and right at certain doorways to listen to any possible leads as to where the Sannins were.
It was a minute later when one of them called the whole party to halt. "I think is through this hallway," the Order member said with excitement, for he was only merely an adult, "Look! See that? Those lights at the very far end of the tunnel definitely match the crashing sounds. — (another crash, more like rock against rock, vibrated through the entire hallway) — See what I mean?" He released his hands from his ears after the deafening noise, looking proud.
Without another word, Harry sprinted into the hallways, desperate to get to get to the chaos beyond the end. He could hear Sirius yelling after him.
It doesn't matter, Harry thought, ignoring his Godfather's calls, the sooner we find the Sannins and reunite the better. Voldemort hasn't shown up yet, which gives us the advantage to get the hell out of here before he does show up, which will certainly make things way more complicated...
With one final determined leap he approached the bashed doorway. He had never seen anything like this in his life: in front of him was like the fierce battle field of the natural elements. He looked towards his left in awe, and spotted enemy Shinobi standing at the side of a water dragon that stretched from floor to ceiling, its liquid mouth drawn back into a snarl with it's tail slashing menacingly around the walls, causing water to splash all over the place, yet the Shinobi didn't seem to be affected by the wetness at all. Then to his right: raging swarms of fire in the shape of wolves walked around delicately, carefully, unpredictable as to when they would all strike together as one, with Tsunade standing among them like an actual commander. Their pupil-less eyes were locked into the enemy with such fierceness that Harry himself experienced a sudden attempt to shudder.
Jiraiya was crouching at Tsunade's side, casting an earth barrier around Ginny in case things got out of hand. "How much longer can you hold?" he asked, casting a look at Tsunade. She returned his glance, "As long as this Jutsu can stand. I know their Jutsu has the advantage of vanquishing mine, and I've never really got the hang of electrical Jutsu either."
With a wave of her arm, the wolves leaped forward and scattered, speeding in trails of fire toward the rippling dragon. Assuming that the wolves would be extinguished by the mass of water, Harry was extremely surprised to see them leaped up accurately as the dragon's tail slashed down, avoiding harm. They served around and rocketed straight for the rain ninjas, in which some of them reacted in surprise by shielding their heads with their raised arms, and was engulfed instantly with burning flames. Slightly burned yet unharmed, one of them gave an angry roar and pushed his arms out in a commanding motion.
With droplets of water hurling everywhere, the dragon raised itself and dropped with break-neck speed straight for the slightly startled Tsunade. The impact would certainly be greater than that of the raging tsunami, for the walls shook ominously and the veil fluttered as wild as ever when three-thousand kilograms worth of water splashed down onto the surface.
Harry had to save himself of harm by hiding behind the wall. He could feel the great rumbling impact of the water hitting it and thought for a second that the wall might collapse. Fortunately it didn't, and his friends, who had just caught up with him, had to adjust themselves in order not to get thrown off balance.
"What the bloody hell's that?" Ron gasped as he lost his footing and slammed onto the wall, "Don't tell me it's an earthquake!"
"It's worse than an earthquake, Ron," Harry said, peering out carefully from behind his hiding place. As he had expected, the place was soaking wet. Tsunade down below was coughing out water, yet there was no sign of visible damage on her. Jiraiya and Ginny were okay too, the shield had protected her well and she was seen as dry as ever, compared to Jiraiya, who was currently complaining loudly how unfair of those Rain Shinobi were while squeezing out water from his soaked robes.
"So what are we planning to do? Just leave them alone like that?" questioned Hermione.
"But we can see more of their fabulous things!" Luna chirped, apparently delighted about the gracious water dragon.
"And leave them there to get hurt?" Ron snapped, yet his eyes lingered mostly on his sister's form, "Look, we've got to help."
Harry wouldn't need clarification for that. He knew that standing there doing nothing wasn't one of his options. He snatched out his wands and aimed a shot at one of the Shinobi. The speeding red light would surely be noticeable, yet before the Shinobi could react any further, he was shot full in the chest and went immediately limp, falling with a splash onto the floor. Clearly, almost none of them had expected intruders.
As their comrade fell, the others were instantly alarmed and disappeared in a poof of smoke.
"Harry!" Tsunade quickly glanced up, wide eyed with surprise as she spotted Harry and his friends with ease, "What the hell are you doing?! Don't come near!"
"It's not like we're going to stand here and do nothing," Harry called back as he and his friends jumped down from the stone steps, "Look, I know you're mad, Tsunade, but you will not convince us to stay back."
Tsunade wasn't mad, she was furious. And Jiraiya knew full well that if Harry was lucky, he would just be suffering a hard slap in the face. Surprisingly, he was luckier than that; not only had Tsunade managed to control her anger, she had also ended this argument with a sigh after certain amount of seconds.
"...Fine. Do whatever you want. Just don't die in the process."
"Don't worry, we won't," Harry said, smirking as he held his wand out at ready.
As though his raised wand was a sign of challenge, the Rain Shinobi reappeared by the high walls, all seemed to be having calculating looks as they observed the newly-arrivals closely.
"Kids!" Takahashi let out a bark of laugher and jabbed his kunai towards the teenagers with dignity, "And wizards too...such pitiful races. Perhaps I shouldn't have hoped for too much."
Even though Harry couldn't understand a word he was saying, he was quite sure that whatever he was trying to express wouldn't be anything good.
"Is that so?" Tsunade called back as she shifted herself into a firm battle position, "What about your close friend Takeyari? Who was it that caused him to give up his life?"
At this point Takahashi's young features turned into something deadlier than a scowl. "So what if he was killed off by a wizard, huh?" he spat out harshly, almost insanely, as the kunai held in his gloved hand shook, "So what if? It's not the matter of race, it all counts for experience! So let's just say that bastard got lucky, SO WHAT? THOSE KIDS AREN'T EVEN QUALIFIED TO FIGHT!"
He jumped and shot through the air in break neck speed. Tsunade almost doubled back when she figured out that he was charging towards her and their weapons met with a clash. Sparks flew out and the sound of scratching metal screeched Tsunade's ears as she was being pushed backwards by the force of the young ANBU. She was about to knock Takahashi's weapon away when she saw something that caused her heart to skip a frightening beat.
Something glinted through the eye hole of Takahashi's mask, and the girl as quite convinced that it did not come from the water Jutsu they had previously used against her.
As though a swarm of cold ants had just ran down her spine, Tsunade flooded herself with memories that she wished would remain in their deepest depths for as long as she lived. In fact, it was barely a year ago when her younger brother died, and Tsunade could still relive the time in which she had so constantly tasted salty tears in her mouth that she had gotten rather irritated and disgusted by it.
At this point she immediately got irritated, though not because of the taste of tears, for there weren't any right now; she had, through with difficulty, gotten over with the lost. She was irritated by Takahashi's mask, a lifeless piece of carving that served the purpose of hiding one's identity as well as any visible— unacceptable, as analyzed— human emotions. A perfect way to reject support from others. In fact, Tsunade even doubted if he had ever taken his mask off in front of others before.
She let out a shout of resentment and with extraordinary strength for a girl, shoved Takahashi away from her. Taken by surprise, Takahashi completely lost his balance and hit the wall. The kunai slipped from his hand and dropped to the floor with an icy, echoing clank that made Takahashi shudder as though the sound had rang through his hollow heart.
The fact about being thrown away by a Kunoichi did not necessarily help soothe his current hazardous mood. With an outraged roar, perhaps even mixed with sadness and grief, the Rain Shinobi sprang to his feet and charged once again towards the ready Kunoichi. They clashed, sending out an ear-piercing sound wave like no other as though releasing all the indescribable emotions from within.
There were his eyes again, wet as though stained with streaks of tears, and Tsunade seemed to see it clearer than ever, even though the room was considerably dark. She wanted to say something, but didn't, and with a back flip sent Takahashi flying backwards. The ANBU did a summersault in the air and landed on the ground with both feet. With a determined push with his foot the ANBU sprang again, this completing Jutsu with complicated hand signs.
Through all the frantic battle sounds, from somewhere in the room, Harry was itching to help, yet for some reason he had a feeling that he shouldn't. Glancing up cautiously, he spotted the rest of the Rain Shinobi perched on top of the wall carvings, all doing nothing except to observe. One of them by the name of Yuurei to Harry's consciousness, seemed to be the most still of all. She was mask-less, and her sharp, hawk-like eyes were narrowed gravely— anxiousness?— as they followed Takahashi's every movement. Another ANBU leaned in to whisper in her ear, with others listening closely. Yuurei was still for a moment, then she shook her head. The ANBU urged further, yet again she shook her head stubbornly. The others seemed to express some sort of frustration but argued no more. Harry turned his head back at the clashing noises between the two fighting ninjas, and took in all of what he had seen of those Shinobi sitting from above.
A sudden swirl of strong wind and with Jiraiya's warning of, "Brace yourselves!" Harry immediately registered to shield himself from any up-coming harm, yet Hermione was already ahead of him by casting a sturdy-shaped shield of bubble just when cracks were seen forming through walls. The next minute the sound of electrical lighting could be heard buzzing loudly, while the blinding flashes emitted were strong enough to illuminate the whole room.
The only time Harry was able to see clearly was when the electrical shocks faltered for less than a second, and through that second he had witnessed enough to know the general story: Tsunade was standing calmly in middle of howling winds, her hair flying everywhere. Yet she didn't seem to be disturbed or knocked off balance by the wind, perhaps to the fact that she was the one controlling it. Her fingers were still fixed in a hand seal with firm eyes locked right on her enemy. Tsunade opponent was simply surrounded by swirls of powerful sizzling lighting, occasionally sending out small static explosions emitted from who knew where. Harry could tell that either Jutsu were deadly, for they were already hard enough for Tsunade and Takahashi to keep them stable.
Both of them roared out, as though to signalize a battle cry and leaped at each other with all they got, their breath-taking Jutsu surging along forcefully at their wake. Tsunade eyed her opponent speeding nearer and nearer and her hand controlling the soul of the wind Jutsu tightened threatingly, as though acknowledging the enemy's power and would fight back no matter what the cause.
The very second before their Jutsu made contact with each other seemed to have suddenly stopped. Through that very second, Tsunade had automatically registered that something was wrong. Indeed, a flicker of shock was expressed in Takahashi's eyes through his ANBU mask and the next second something cracked, and he was thrown all the way back to the opposite wall with a cry of pain.
Tsunade was so surprised that her Jutsu faltered and vanished. Cries of rage would be heard from above and the sound of a particular vanishing Jutsu, and the next thing she knew, she was surrounded by the rest of the Rain Shinobi team, except that they weren't furious at her. Instead they were glaring at approaching people by the doorway that yet to make their appearance.
Without lifting the shield on purpose, Hermione, along with Harry and the others, were unable to take their eyes off the newcomers. Especially Harry, for a cold, cold chill had found its way through his whole body, and he was quite sure that it had nothing to do with the dying wind swirling softly around the room.
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I decided to stop here. Any sane person would choose to stop here xD I mean, this is like, the longest chapter I've written –successfully beating the record of the previous ones— and I think this chapter is actually long enough to stretch onto the next. Hope this would make up for the delay though, and thanks to anyone who still sticks to this lagging story! I love you all!