Beta: Chelleyangel my love, thank goodness for you.
Summary: The Mangekyo Sharingan, highest level of the Sharingan and coveted by users and non-users alike. Very few have successfully mastered this doujutsu. Pity Kakashi didn't read the owner's manual first. HpxNaruto
Chapter Summary: Magical London and old Grimmald Place. What suprises will be found there?
Notes: Sorry about seeming to take such a long time with this chapter, school's been busy for everyone and rushing betas isn't a very nice thing to do. Thanks so much to everyone who has read this and reviewed, I hope you'll all grow to enjoy this fanfic as much as I do (or even more). So shall we begin?
Chapter Two: Meetings and Questions
A Ice Cream Parlor in Same Weird Ally in London, Day 2, 12:01 pm
It hadn't taken much to slip unnoticed into the rather strange building. It had even taken less skill to avoid the people inside. Sure there were humans, lots of them in fact, but there were others not so human. But it had taken a great amount of self-discipline and more than a little nerve to not just stop and stare, gaping at the beings inside. Well if the hard part was staring, then securing an area in the building's cellar was simple enough. It was comforable, if you discounted the disconcerting amount of apothecary items eerily suspended in glass jars around them for the whole night.
"All right! Time to eat!"
Naruto had healed with his mind-blowing quickness as usual. Sakura had awaken that morning to find puzzled blue eyes hovering inches above her. The blond nearly had to spend the morning back on the floor from the punch that buried itself in his gut. Once things had cooled down, bandages changed and wounds checked, Team 7 slipped upstairs and out of the establishment.
A few minutes had been spent wandering the packed streets and Sakura was sure that they had drawn some attention, but the curiosity seemed to fade away and they continued on. When an ice cream shop had been stumbled upon, Naruto's stomach made known its want for food and Sai pulled out a pouch jingling with coins. The raven-haired boy just smiled and stated he had picked it up somewhere down the road. Unable to protest for two reasons, one being Naruto's ecstatic cheers and laughter, the other being that her stomach at that moment decided to voice its opinion as well.
At first, there seemed to be a language barrier separating them from their goal of food, but the shopkeeper smiled after a moment of conversation, pulled out a stick and waved it, a thick heavy tome soon floated wearily towards the register and flipped open, its pages drooping as if it had already been used countless times. Soon enough, familiar words were being exchanged via some sort of writing translation jutsu.
Three bowls of ice cream had been set at the table not too long after. But it had been nearly an hour since then...
"You idiot! That's absolutely disgusting, you're on your fifth bowl."
"One for Shodaime, one for Nidaime, one of the Old Man, one for Granny Tsunade, and of course, later there'll be one more for me!"
"As if you'll be the next Hokage, Naruto!"
"You want to bet on that, Sakura?"
There was a moment of pregnant silence before Sakura pulled back her chair and sat back down as she muttered. "I actually don't."
"Wha...why not, Sakura?" Naruto asked, his voice echoing his slight disappointment at Sakura's loss of enthusiasm and his confusion. He narrowed his eyes at the kunoichi and frowned. "You better not be thinking that I have no chance at becoming Hokage at all." Huffily, the teen crossed his arms.
His teammate glanced up from her half-finished, still first bowl of ice cream and shrugged, muttering something about Tsunade and hints and dense idiots.
Sai was the one to interrupt. "She likes you."
"What!" exploded two equally loud and incredulous as they turned on their previously quiet teammate. Naruto felt the beginning of a blush threatening to enter his face and fought the urge to glance over to see if Sakura was facing the same problem. Instead, they both focused their attention on the Sai's smiling face.
"What did you say?"
"Sakura likes me?"
Between the growls and exclamations, Sai just cocked his head and chuckled. Naruto couldn't help but notice that the other teen was still having some trouble attempting that sound. "I didn't say that Sakura liked you," replied Sai.
"But you said that she liked me," protested Naruto.
"I meant, that Godaime likes you, you dunce." Sai stated as if it was the most obvious thing.
Both Sakura and Naruto both deflated, for different reasons and settled back down at the table. For some odd reason a blush made its way across both of their faces and they stared down into their ice cream as if it held the answers to all their problems.
"Maa, of course the old lady likes me. She's gonna make me Hokage of course!" laughed Naruto loudly in the awkward silence.
Sakura sighed and relaxed, listening to Naruto's continued babbling and Sai's blunt retorts, taking comfort in something familiar in a place so foreign.
Day Two, London, 12:11 am
"Don't you see it?"
"Look straight ahead."
The three speakers crouched low in the shadows of a flat roof-top, avoiding the glaring rays of the midday sun.
"Lee, it's right there, why can't you see it?"
"I don't know. I still can't see anything."
"We need to try a different approach now, Tenten."
Neji moved away from the low wall enclosing the top of the entire building and studied his teammates for a moment as the two tried to solve Lee's slight problem. For a moment they were flesh and blood before him, in another, they were replaced with the now familiar pathways of their chakra systems. The coils and pathways directing Tenten's chakra flow was average for the regular shinobi. Neji, as a Hyuuga, his own system differentiated in size and shapes at places, most noticeably around his eyes, tenketsu, and, being a branch member of the house, the Cursed Seal spidering across his forehead.
Both him and Tenten could see the shabby and run-down building right across the road. Admittedly, it was quite easy to miss at first, but, after pointing it out to each other, the two locked onto it quite easily. Lee being Lee, on the other hand, was experiencing much more difficulty than they were.
At first look, Lee's chakra system looked much like any average human being's. That's what Neji used to think during those cursory glances years ago. But after spending most of his adolescent life in the constant presence of the hot-blooded young man that was Rock Lee, he now knew the differences. The tenketsu points that were dotted systematically over Lee's body were small, even compared to a civilian who has never manipulated chakra before in their lives. No matter how much Lee would ever try, no chakra-based jutsu would ever be able to manifest itself because of the lack of chakra able to flow out through the points. The other teen was lucky enough being able to use chakra anchors when climbing up objects...
"Tenten, you and I can manipulate chakra outwardly, but Lee can't," Neji stated flatly, breaking the conversation that consisted of Lee's confused expressions and Tenten's increasingly frustrated instructions.
A questioning looked entered Lee's eyes as the boy's body stance straightened as if ready to face on any challenge, and a scolding glare began forming in Tenten's, both directed towards the Hyuuga prodigy. Neji frowned, realizing how the statement sounded very much like the jabs he made towards Lee in the team's early years together. Curtly, he shook his head, dispelling their reactions.
Realization spread over Tenten's face after realizing what Neji had actually meant. "It's a genjutsu isn't it?"
"Something Lee is very susceptible to," Neji nodded and turned to look at Lee. "We will have to dispel it, there is no telling what other illusions it may contain if left up."
"I was always horrible at dispelling genjutsu..." began the other boy sheepishly, his black bowl cut being mutilated by bandaged fingers.
A glance was shared between Neji and Tenten before the two took their places on either side of Lee. Forming the tiger seal, the two concentrated their chakra for a moment.
In Neji's eyes, he could see the bonds of the genjutsu surrounding the small building crumble away. Tenten gave him a quick grin when he nodded affirmatively towards her. Taking no notice at all to the people down below who were stopping to gawk at the new structure that had seemed to bump and squeeze its way into existence from between two other stores, Neji and Tenten leapt onto the ledge of the roof wall.
They didn't have to wait long before Lee was joining them, determined frown hardening his features and saluting the both of them, signaling his readiness. Everything seemed to be a blur as the three vaulted from the rooftop and sped towards the grubby structure.
As the team approached their goal, the door creaked open. Their entrance dilemma solved, Neji, Tenten, and Lee sidestepped several people running out as they themselves darted into the building. Through the confusion going on inside they were able to slip by mostly undetected. One young man sitting nervously at a table spotted the group and rose to call them to attention. He was quickly rendered unconscious with a well-placed knock by Tenten as Neji and Lee waited anxiously by a back door.
Once again outside, the team ran through a brick archway and ducked into an overly narrow alleyway. Turning back, Neji's eyes narrowed as the archway rippled and bent, forming into a solid wall. His Byakugan spotted wards and seals all over the place so there would be no returning back over the wall without breaking the unknown source of the seals. They'd just have to continue on from here.
Back in that weird alley in London, Day 2, 12:47 pm
"Of course –"
"you know that –"
Sakura stared curiously when across the table, Naruto's rapid gorging abruptly stopped and two blue eyes stared right at her with such intensity that a blush began burning across her cheeks. "What the hell are you doing, you idiot!" she growled, fist and teeth clenched in annoyance and embarrassment.
It took a moment for Naruto to remember to swallow his mouthful of melted ice cream, but even when he did, the only thing the other teen could do was continue staring and to point. Sakura's curiosity spiked and relief pooled when she realized that Naruto's line of sight was not directed at her but rather behind her. Sai's countenance flinched and a look of amusement spread between the two boys.
Jerkily, Sakura turned in her chair to see what was so entertaining.
"Oi! Fuzzy brows! You're wearing something normal!"
Sakura's gaze made it so far as to see two pearly white eyes staring calmly back down at her.
"It would be preferable if your team were to keep our presences more discrete, Haruno-san," murmured their owner. Hyuuga Neji stood just inches from the back of her chair, clad in loose-looking black robes over his formal clan attire.
To her right, Tenten pulled up a seat and plunked down merrily besides her. "We thought it'd be a good idea to try and blend in a bit," explained the dark-haired girl wearing her own set of black robes. When Sakura gave her a puzzled look, Tenten tilted her head towards Sakura's left.
Enthusiastic voices as well as Tenten's pointed look directed Sakura's line of sight towards Naruto's direction. Next to the blond boy, Lee sat in a spare chair and the two were speaking eagerly about some subject or the other while Sai listened patiently. Naruto had been right. The usually trim body that was revealed quite...revealingly by the green jumpsuit shared so passionately by Lee and his sensei was uncharacteristically obscured by an equally green set of robes.
Sakura nearly jumped when Neji's voice reminded her of his presence. "You've no doubt noticed that a majority of the citizens here wear these robes. My team managed to find a shop that sold these clothing items, so we are merely borrowing them for the time being –"
"You mean you stole them."
All eyes in the group turned towards Sai's smiling face at his statement. The dark-haired boy shrugged and tossed his pouch of coins on the table.
"No, borrowed," replied Neji tersely. "They will be returned in due time."
"Like when we find a way back to Konoha," said Sakura. The Hyuuga paused and nodded.
With a look of seriousness, Neji crossed his arms and regarded everyone at the table. "So we're all in agreement that we are no longer in Fire Country any longer." Team Seven and the rest of Team Gai noted the change in the area's atmosphere and pulled in closer to the table.
Sai fumbled with his hip-pack and pulled out his sketch pad. "I've mapped out most of the surrounding area while scouting last night."
"You were out scouting? When?" came Sakura's concerned hiss as Sai flipped to the right page.
"While you were busy watching Naruto," Sai replied.
"But you were there the whole time!" protested the mentioned blond.
Sakura offered Sai a bland look before explaining to Naruto. "He left a bushin." She returned her attention back on Sai. "Next time tell me before leaving, we need to keep watch going."
"I was sure to set up a few traps and trip-wires to notify me if anything or anyone approached."
"Please, the map," Neji interrupted politely. Sai just smiled while Sakura fumed silently at her teammate's loner streak showing up again. The carefully sketched out map was handed to the pale-eyed jonin.
Silence reigned while the Hyuuga studied Sai's handiwork. A satisfied nod was all Neji gave to the other boy when he was finished. "So this entire area is a market district?"
"As it would seem, Hyuuga-san," was Sai's response as he passed the map off to be studied by the rest of the table.
The meeting came to a screeching halt as one of the ice-cream parlor's workers came by and whisked away the empty bowls, casting them curious looks as he did so. A change instantly took over the group's atmosphere as Sakura smiled and chatted eagerly with Tenten about her new clothing. Sai laughed while Lee and Neji seemed slightly appalled by a crude joke Naruto had recited from his perverted sensei's repertoire.
When the worker had returned back inside of the shop and was out of earshot, Neji scooted his chair away from the table and stood up, his teammates quickly followed suit. "It would be best if we found somewhere less conspicuous to speak."
Team seven passed a look between them and nodded before joining the others.
"There's be no interruptions in an old storage area we set up camp in the night before," offered Sai. Not for the first time, Sakura wondered where this extremely professional side of Sai came from.
"Lead the way then," Neji answered quietly, waiting for Sai to move past him before following.
Empty room of a creaky old house in England, Day 2, 12:27 pm
With a fierce gaze that made even Orochimaru pause and rethink before going on, Sasuke sat immobile on the dusty wooden floor of the dusty damn room. Rendered immobile. If the decision was his own, the Uchiha wouldn't have even remained in this residence for so long after regaining consciousness. Apparently though, his captors had other ideas about his length of stay. Black tomo in both eyes spun maddeningly, changing direction at an erratic rate.
One glowing string clipped here, another string severed there, only to be repaired instantly.
The luminous links that Sasuke had so painstakingly removed by the careful countering with his own chakra no longer mattered anymore as new ones appeared and wrapped tightly around his body and limbs. They appeared at the sharp wave of a rather pathetic looking and harmless stick and the low growled words of one of his three 'watchdogs', by now quite nettled by his constant attempts to remove their bindings.
Whatever group that had captured him had learned the hard way, that leaving a ninja alone in an empty room and contained only by a few ropes was just begging for an escape. Honestly, a genin could do it. A genin did do it (honestly, who wouldn't be able to escape from the horrible knots Naruto made?). It was pure luck that they had caught him again, pure stupid luck on the part of a surprisingly spry old man who just happened to be sipping calmly on some tea outside when Sasuke had burst out of the second floor window. A paralyzation jutsu later and the Uchiha was levitated back up the stairs and into the room. This time with his extra guards. By this time, Sasuke's suspicion about these peoples' identities of being non-shinobi was confirmed, but with one question answered, others squeezed their way into his mind.
His self-grating train of thought was broken when to behind him the door of his prison was opened. The thump of footsteps could be heard approaching from behind. A clipped conversation was started towards the side, muffled by some sort of unknown technique. The discussion stopped and the footsteps began again. Sasuke's eyes narrowed as the tea-sipping old man entered his peripheral vision and stopped squarely in front of him, a dark-haired, dark-robed man stood imposingly at the other's side twisting something slowly between long fingers.
A stare-off began, angry red against sparkling blue and flat black. The silence was broken as meaningless words slipped smoothly from Dark-hair's lips. The words might have been as uncomprehensible as garbage, but the man's voice held volumes of disdain and mocking. Automatically, Sasuke made to straighten up and return the contempt with a stony stare of his own, but the jutsu was still in place so that failed. Unperturbed, he settled for an expression of aloof impassiveness. Dark-hair's lips curled upward in a look of disgust and the man stopped fiddling with the object in his hands and seemed to look for direction from the old man.
The old man had a patient look of seriousness and flicked his little wooden stick through the air. Out of nowhere popped two rickety wooden chairs, one of which the old man occupied, the other was offered to Dark-hair but refused. Old-man's attention was soon focused back on Sasuke. The Uchiha remained impassive as a familiar scrutiny was performed by Old-man. It was a gaze that searched for secrets, for power, for weakness, for information. The idiot would find nothing.
Laughter drifted through the air and the old man leaned back in his chair to share some sort of amusing tidbit with his companion. Sasuke's eyes narrowed when Old-man's attention focused back on him. The stick was out again, but instead of pointing towards the Uchiha, it was directed straight back at the smiling old man. A swish later and short syllables and strange intonations of a more familiar but still foreign language came out of the man's mouth. The strangely spoken Chinese made Sasuke twitch in the slightest and his lips flickered into the slightest sneer. When the lack of response from Sasuke made the old man stop, another swish of the wand followed. This time came a different language. It was still of no use.
Sasuke resisted the urge to roll his eyes and glanced over at his watch dogs, checking for their wariness.
"What you do at residence of Potter?"
Whatever jutsu the old man was using to try to communicate definitely did a wonderful job of butchering the Japanese language. Sasuke held in the bubble of laughter that was threatening to rise from his throat with practiced ease, trying and succeeding in making the impression that he was ignoring the old man.
"Spells of mine not so easily broken. Voldemort send you to destroy? How get past wards you?"
Silence settled over the room when Sasuke didn't respond and the old man didn't continue his questions. The sound of cloth shifting caused Sasuke to look back towards the duo. A soft wall of black cloth engulfed his vision as Dark-hair stood just inches away, looking down in a condescending expression before crouching down to eye-level. At the sight of a crystalline flask in the other's hand, Sasuke's jaw firmly locked as he strived to shift away from the strange liquid contained within the vial. A strong hand clamped firmly around Sasuke's chin and forced his head to turn back around. Fingers pinched and blocked air-flow from Sasuke's nose and for an instant, the contest was how long the Uchiha could last without a breath. It was undeniable that Sasuke's will would loose out to his instinct to live.
When his lips parted to take in a much-needed gulp of air, the vial was forced into his mouth and a liquid trickled down his throat. Choking and hacking, the few drops were forced down. Dark-hair stood and moved away as soon as that business was over.
Opening his eyes, Sasuke felt as if the world had gone a little hazy and lucid at the same time. Everything felt too bright, too warm, and much too nauseating. It was as if someone had gone and suspended him in a world of white, unaffected by gravity.
"What is the name of yours?" asked a soothing voice that just seemed to be everywhere in this empty world.
Something tugged at him to answer. /Uchiha Sasuke! Uchiha Sasuke/ something screamed at him in his mind. An answer was just on the edge of forming itself in his mind when it stopped mid-formation.
This felt wrong. It wasn't right. Furiously, Sasuke shook his head, attempting to clear his mind and dislodge this strange effect. The feeling wouldn't go away and the Sasuke felt himself continuing to drift in this world of white.
"He is fighting," muttered the voice, not to him. Someone or something in the background murmured much too softly to be heard. "What is the name of your?"
/Uchiha Sasuke! Uchiha Sasuke/
\Don't answer! It's a trick!\
/Give it to him, just give it to him and everything will be alright/
\A trick! It's a trick!\
"Voldemort send you after Harry?"
/No? Who's Harry? What Voldemort/
\Don't say anything. One answer and they'll have you.\
"Partnered with Eaters of Death?"
/Eaters of Death? No./
The questions continued for what seemed to be an eternity until the sharp tug of gravity made him fall back towards the earth. Whiteness faded away and gave way to the dim red of tightly shut eyes. The feeling of comfort dissolved to the sharp pain and warm dribble of blood down his chin coming from where his teeth had nearly bitten through his lip. Sasuke could feel the crescent moon shaped gouges cut into his palms from too tightly clenched fists. His lungs labored harshly and loudly in the mute air. All of that didn't matter as he fixed the old man with a look of devious triumph.
A sigh of surrender was heard through the room before Sasuke's tense form slackened and he fell forward on the wooden floor with a dull thud. Red eyes closed and Sasuke slipped into a weary unconsciousness with a small smirk alighting his features.