AN: Okay, so yeah. Its been months since my last update. Why don't we all forget that? What we should focus on, however, is my love for you readers, and of course, my glorious return!
Another thing to bring to our attention, is that today is IMW's first birthday! Yaaay! Ive decided to celebrate with a new (kinda short) chapter, and some special thanks!
So thank you Sakura Perfume(For loving me!), Nimbirosa(plot? I'm trying, but gawd its hard), CaveDwellers(for a fantastic review!), kiseki-girl(for the poem! I wrote one too: Thanks for the haiku/ It was freaking awesome, here's/ An update for you!), Think-chan(for the great reviews! I'm glad you noticed the improvement. My earlier chapters embarrass meee…) Iris.D(for the super long review with all the wonderful corrections and comments. I got most of the Japanese from a site, I have no idea if its right or not…), gina-neko-san(for reviewing and liking my ANs!) Chibi-mint(honestly, that's the longest review I've ever gotten), and Viridian(for all the wonderfully insightful reviews!).
Also, yesterday, the Harry Potter movie came out! So after I see it, I'm sure I'll be inspired to update soon. So expect a speedy new chapter.
BTW, I'm thinking about changing my screen name to Paper Fans. Yes or no?
Kabuto had decided that the man before him was dangerous, though he seemed strange and weak. Said man was hiding in Turkey because, supposedly, he was a infamous villain, and for what reason, Kabuto had no idea. It was a business trip, the strange being said. He was recruiting people for a dark army.
The man's name was Voldemort, and he was surprisingly compliant, although Orochimaru and his entourage had broken into their stronghold quite easily. But then again, it was probably the reason for his compliance. Despite that, Kabuto sensed a great power inside of him, and not the power of a Jinchuriki, but the kind of power that Orochimaru-sama or Itachi possessed. It was ominous and dangerous and not to be taken lightly.
The tavern was dark and, as Voldemort-sama had said, could only be seen by people possessing extraordinary powers. Inside, it was difficult to see as they followed their hosts downwards, deeper into the complex innards of the enchanted building. Doing so, Kabuto took note of the foreigners through the darkness.
The alternate universe that they had traveled to wasn't common knowledge by their people, with very few accounts of inter-demsional relationships. There was a rumor that the Third and Fourth Hokage of the Leaf had taken occasional excursions to this particular dimension, but evidence was either non existent or very hard to find.
Kabuto also took notice the of the sound of shifting stone above them and below them. It may seem like the stairway descent into the belly of the ominous tavern was simple, but actually, the floors above them and the floors below them were changing, creating a sort of intricate jigsaw puzzle of stone and concrete that would make it almost impossible to navigate.
The bespeckled Sound Nin smirked, impressed, anticipating a strong alliance and consequently, a new world to conquer.
Naruto was glad that Sasuke was acting more like himself, which was less broody and glarey. Partly because it was great to have a friend back, but mostly because he needed someone there with him on the quest to at least partially assimilate Gaara into society. They couldn't have a unstable, psycho-mass murdering ninja killing their clients. Or in the very least, not before they got paid.
But really, all the ninja needed some blending practice. No random acts of ninjutsu, genjutsu, and a little bit of lightening up on the taijutsu.
Except that Naruto wasn't exactly thinking this when he Kage Bunshined five aerial round-house kicks to the side of Sasuke's head during lunch-time the day after the dementor attack in the forest. But that last 'dobe' wasn't going to just slide unpunished… goddammit.
So that was when Kakashi and Shikamaru, the highest ranking ninja in the mission, gathered the genin and Sand Siblings (who didn't have a definite ranking, and frankly, no one was going to tell them what to do for fear of suffering an untimely death, or at least a really unpleasant beating), together in the shinobis' favorite clearing in the Forbidden Forest for Operation: Assimilation.
"Alright everyone!" Kakashi piped through his mask, "Shikamaru and I have a mission for all you delinquents!"
"How can we take you seriously when you were more than a half an hour late!" screamed Kiba from somewhere in the back.
"Is that right? But I have a good reason, you see, there was an old lady who lived in a shoe…"
"I bet he was reading porn…" the Inuzuka boy whispered to his immediate company, totally disregarding the farfetched excuse.
"…and in the end, I saved the fifty-two children from Athlete's Foot. Any questions?"
"Anyway, Shikamaru and I have both noticed the amount of attention, destroyed school property, and potential casualties collectively gathered in our first week at Hogwarts, and we would like you all to know that the list is in fact, quite extensive. Shikamaru?"
"Right. That's a tower, five tables, nine chairs, seven doors, six paintings, six windows, and thirty seven comments and complaints... each." the chuunin said behind a clipboard, checking off the items he read aloud.
"That's not so much!"
"That was just yesterday. And If we keep going at this rate, God knows how much we'll get by the end of the year."
"But luckily for you guys, if the clients weren't able to fix things magically, and most importantly costlessly, then this all would have came out of your pay checks, whether you contributed to the destruction or not," finished Kakashi.
"Okay," piped Naruto, hand raised somewhere in the front of the group, "so what are we going to do about it?"
"Didn't I say that I've developed a new mission for you guys? Its more like a mission within a mission, really, but its just as important." He then paused for dramatic effect.
"I call it… Operation: Assimilation!" A few groans were heard around the group. It sounded a little, well… corny.
"Really, its great that you all have been trying so hard and taking this massive baby sitting job so seriously, but honestly, lets make it less troublesome. No showing off. No overzealous chakra usage. More protecting the clients, less attacking them." Shikamaru said, sending Sasuke a pointed, albeit lazy, look for that last statement.
"Alright, alright." Naruto continued. "We'll be good! We get it now!"
"No, Naruto, I don't think you do," replied Kakashi. "I can't stress enough the importance of keeping our cover. Let me remind you that the only people in this dimension who know our true identities are Harry, Hermione, Ronald and most of the staff. Let's try to keep it that way. During the first confrontation with the enemy we want to use the element of surprise to our advantage."
Naruto heard a "dobe" muttered somewhere to his left, and suddenly felt the urge to through a kunai in that general direction. Hopefully it hit Sasuke and not Neji.
"Okay, everyone got it now?" Kakashi was answered with a round of nods. "Alright. We'll start with trying to give off an air of inconspicuousness. No flashy taijustu and ninjutsu."
"Also," added Shikamaru, "the only time someone is to be hurt on this campus is for self defense… only to protect the client, only to protect yourself. Please, remember that I don't care who started it, but keep in mind that Hokage-sama does care who you kill."
"… In fact, let's keep killing at it's minimum."
"Kakashi-sensei," started Tenten, raising her hand, "how hard are we to try during classes?"
"Learning this dimension's jutsu is important, but not first priority. You are not students. You are ninja acting as students to ensure the safety of the students who really are students. And no Naruto, I'm not going to explain. Put your hand down and ask Sasuke." The last comment was met with grumbling and a slightly miffed blond.
"Alright. That concludes this mission's first meeting. Even though it might be troublesome, any more questions?"
At first, it had seemed as if the large group of nin were satisfied with the information they had received in the relatively short mission meeting. But Tenten raised an uncertain hand for the second time.
"Is… is Lee alright?"
The dull roar of chatter came to an abrupt halt as Kakashi's hand turning the page of his orange book froze. Naruto observed the somber crowd and felt the need to say something.
"Tenten, Lee's okay!" he reassured, "We saw him in the infirmary, Harry said all he needed was a little rest and some magic chocolate. He's fine… really!" But Tenten looked far from convinced, in fact, she looked more worried, even after Sakura's attempt at comforting until she promised to take the concerned kunoichi to see her fallen teammate as soon as possible.
With that out of the way, the shinobi finally dispersed, with Sakura guiding Tenten and Neji to the infirmary.
It wasn't until an hour later, while training with Sasuke, did Naruto have the strangest feeling that he forgot something important.
Harry rubbed his aching hand cautiously, trying in vain to sooth the throbbing flesh.
After classes that day in Umbridge's classroom, Harry was made to write lines for detention. But the quill he used was a 'special' one. Whatever he wrote on parchment would cut into the back of his hand, as if an invisible razor were simultaneously tracing the words onto his flesh, then heal immediately afterwards. But this particular quill didn't use ink, instead, Harry was forced to write the words "I must not tell lies" hundreds of times with his own blood.
He was more than a little miffed with the fact that Naruto hadn't shone up for detention that morning. But in a way, he was happy that the other boy didn't have to suffer through such an unfair punishment. He also pitied the make-up detention that he would have to endure after classes tomorrow, or maybe even in class. Either way, he was sure nothing good was to come out of Naruto's absence.
Speaking of absence, Harry was also more than a little pissed with the fact that he was going to miss Quidditch tryouts tomorrow as well. Ron had confessed that he was going to tryout for Keeper, and Harry wanted to be there for support. He sighed. Oh well, he thought as the entered the common room, no use despairing over something that you cant do anything about.
Luckily for Harry, just as he sat in a cushy red chair in front of the fire, Naruto came barreling down the dorm stairs, saving the wizard boy the task of looking for the ninja.
"Harry!" greeted Naruto loudly, "I was looking for you!"
"Oh good, Naruto," started Harry, "We need to talk."
"Yeah, I know! I forgot about my detention with Gama-san!"
"About that, Naru—wha? Who is Gama-san?" inquired Harry quizzically.
"You know, Umbrige. She looks like my wallet, Gama-chan," confessed the blonde boy, pulling out his green frog-shaped wallet for effect. Harry couldn't help but laugh, the googly eyed toad did strikingly resemble their Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher.
"But hey, listen Naruto," said Harry, his mood lightening slightly. He couldn't help but catch the other boys infectious attitude, even though he was obnoxious, "What are you going to do about skipping out on detention?"
"What can I do?" Naruto replied, "I have to make it up, of course. I can't… go back in time or anything, you know?"
Harry couldn't help but laugh again. He learned that lesson in his third year. Time travel was definitely possible, and completely confusing.
"Anyway, Harry, what'd you have to do? Sit-ups? Run laps?" he asked excitedly. It seemed as if he wanted punishment. Harry didn't blame him, he was probably bored.
"I… uh… had to write lines." Harry confessed, rubbing the back of his neck. Naruto's mouth dropped open.
"Well, no, not really…"
"…Lines? But we did that in the Academy!" Naruto ranted, seeming as if he hadn't heard other boy. After a second of consideration, Harry decided that he had to right to know.
"Okay, I'll tell you. But, you have to promise not to tell anyone else."
"Was it something she wasn't suppose to do?" asked Naruto, "I know! She beat you, didn't she?!"
"No. I wasn't beaten." Harry deadpanned, "Now, promise me you won't tell anyone, especially Hermione."
As soon as Harry was sure Naruto understood the importance of the promise, Harry explained his detention, with the torturous quill, and writing in his own blood. He felt that it was only fair that he tell the other boy, he was going to have to endure it, too. But instead of horrified, Naruto looked a little confused.
"Wow," Naruto said, examining the swollen flesh on Harry's skin, lightly tracing the faint words with his eyes, "Don't tell Kakashi-sensei that. It'd be hell."
"He'd be mad?" inquired Harry.
"No, he'd freaking jump with joy," the blonde ninja said, shuttering, probably imagining possible punishments his sensei would create with the idea. "I don't wanna write 'I will not fight with Sasuke' three thousand times in the back of my hand…"
"Alright, deal. But you know that tomorrow, you have to do it too."
"Yeah, I know."
"Why weren't you there today?"
"We all had to discuss the, you know, mission and stuff." Naruto answered, lowering his voice considerably. "Like a meeting, in the forest. If I remembered about detention, I wouldn't have went."
"Skipping out seems like a good idea right now…" said Harry, mostly to himself, "Tomorrow is Quidditch tryouts. I wanted to see Ron tryout for Keeper."
"Quidditch… that one game where you fly around on brooms?"
"Yeah, I'm suppose to tryout too, you know, for Seeker."
"…Ah." Naruto muttered, nodding his head in understanding. "But, Harry, why don't you just clone yourself? You can try out for Sheeper and go to detention."
"Is that some kind of joke? Of course I can't--" Harry started irritably, but stopped when an idea hit him like a truck.
"I can't…. But you can! You can teach me to clone myself, Naruto!" Harry exclaimed happily. "You know how to do it, just show me the spell and I can try out for Seeker tomorrow!"
But instead of agreeing enthusiastically, Naruto laughed at the other boy as if he had told a funny joke.
"Its not that easy Harry," he said between chortles. "But watch this."
Harry stood back as Naruto pushed his hands together to create a 'hand seal,' and with a pop, two clones materialized beside him.
"Now," said Naruto, "I can use a henge to make one of them look like you."
Harry watched in awe as one of the clones made a hand seal, and in a puff of smoke, became an exact replica of himself.
"It looks so… real."
"You can do whatever you want with it. Just don't let anyone hit it too hard."
With that, Naruto dispelled the clones, and disappeared much in the same way they had appeared, with a pop and a puff of curly white smoke.
"Thanks Naruto!" Harry exclaimed, clapping the shorter boy on the shoulder, "I owe you one."
"You can pay me back later," said the other boy with a grin, "But lets get dinner. I'm starving!"
Harry laughed, feeling worlds better. And with the pain in his hand momentarily forgotten, he and Naruto walked to the Great Hall engrossed in friendly conversation for the first time.
Happy Birthday, It's a Magical World!