Disclaimer: I do not own HP, YYH, or Naruto
Ollivander sighed in relief. Yet another year of young witches and wizards in need of wands finished. He just hoped the damage wasn't so extensive that he would end up losing money. Business was exceptionally bad this year…
Turning to look idly around at Diagon Alley, he heard a loud crashing sound behind him. Pivoting on the spot, he watched his shop crash to the ground.
(Ollivander – Debris, roughly two feet tall.)
Several shinobi and kunoichi tensed, wondering what they were trying to pull this time (as well as resisting the urge to tell Naruto to shut up… and it didn't help that Sasuke seemed to be the only one not getting that urge).
"HEY, HEY!!" Naruto screamed, "TSUNADE!? AS IN BAA-CHAN!?"
Botan blinked at Naruto's volume, "Tsunade… she said her rank was hokage… the way she said it, I would think it commands respect."
Sakura glanced at Naruto, supposedly…
Naruto's eyes widened, "She's HERE!?… She's HERE?!"
Botan had looked confused at first, but understood when Naruto switched to Japanese, "Well, not here… she's waiting in Koenma's office. Oh, and I take it you're Naruto?"
Naruto grinned, "Dattebayo!"
"Hey!" Ron yelled, "What's going on? Who's the ghost?"
"… Ghost?" Naruto wondered, "Hmm… come to think of it…"
"You know, we don't have time." Botan said, ignoring Ron (due to not knowing English), "You know how short the last two times were. We need to hurry!"
"Very well." Dumbledore acquiesced, "We'll just bring everyone who made it to the preliminaries. The last match is going to be postponed. Everyone… who made it to the preliminaries is going to be going on a little trip… sightseeing. Incentive for studying hard enough to get this far."
Ino and Kiba stared at him incredulously.
"All of these people?" Botan asked, "I can do that… but… you still haven't found all of them yet?"
Dumbledore sighed, "Well, it was looking good during the preliminaries. I feel fairly certain of several more, but not enough. Now, you said we should hurry…"
"Hey, wait!" Naruto interrupted, "What about Haku and Zabuza?"
Shikamaru bit his tongue, while attempting to look clueless about the whole exchange.
Dumbledore looked surprised, "Who?"
"Haku and Zabuza!" Naruto replied, "They hang out in the Forbidden Forest. Can we pick them up on the way?"
Dumbledore smiled, "Of course. Now, we're going to make a chain…" He took Botan's hand in one of his, and took Naruto's with his other.
"You know…" Deidara intervened, "Since House Captains are in charge of the students of their house participating in the Exam, perhaps we should come, too, hm."
Shikamaru felt slightly irritated, but… if it actually is Tsunade-sama… but if it's not
Dumbledore nodded, "Certainly."
Sasuke hung back, attempting to be forgotten, there's no way they're dragging me along…
"Hey…" Yusuke said, noticing Sasuke inching away from the growing chain, "Come on!" He grabbed Sasuke's wrist, and dragged the reluctant Uchiha to the others, latching onto the end of the chain.
"Here!" Naruto said. Botan nodded, and the paddle dived toward the ground. Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Malfoy, who had all been somewhat nervous about the whole thing (particularly after feeling oddly weightless), stopped breathing until they had slowed down.
"What's this about?" Zabuza grumbled from a branch once the group had touched down.
"We're going somewhere. You and Haku are coming with us." Shino stated tersely. Kurama blinked, and Yusuke, Kuwabara, and Hiei looked at the quiet Ravenclaw in shock.
Zabuza's eyes narrowed. If he hadn't grown to trust Shino (kind of…), he might have attacked on the spot. Instead, he just signaled, Haku appeared out of the foliage, and they lengthened the chain.
"Okay…" Botan said cheerfully, "And we're off to Spirit World!"
Zabuza's dropped jaw went unnoticed (both because of his mask, and because no one was paying much attention to him, anyway) and Botan sailed upward, preparing to make the jump to Spirit World.
"You know, this place seems great and all…" Ron commented, "But, you know, we're really high up, and there's nothing to break our fall if we… you know… fall."
"Don't worry, we're going down." Sakura replied calmly. Indeed, they were heading for a huge gate at top speed. Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Malfoy paled.
"This is fun!" Fred shouted over the wind as the gate suddenly started opening. Botan didn't slow down, and went through just as the crack got wide enough for them to fit.
"Never heard of a broomstick that looked like a paddle!" George said.
After that it became a blur as Botan entered the huge castle-like building and maneuvered through offices full of ogres…
… And finally stopped inside a huge office, where Koenma sat on his desk, and George (the ogre, not the Weasely) breathed a sigh of relief when they came in. Botan stopped, and her passengers immediately let go of each other. Ron and Hermione were so panicked they couldn't even scream.
There was suddenly a detached feeling in the air as several eyes glazed when they saw the final occupant of the room. Blond hair shifted as she turned to face them, and Sakura's eyes fixed themselves on the little blue diamond shape on her forehead…
"Koenma…" Tsunade said quietly, dangerously, "I was under the impression we were allies."
Koenma blinked, "… I thought we were, too… so what brings this up?"
"What are they saying?" Ron asked, frustrated, "And where are we?"
Lee, being the generous shinobi he was, translated for them (neglecting to mention that they were in the realm of the dead). Of course, the first words went right over the wizards' (plus a witch) heads, and they stared at him, wondering if he was actually translating.
"Don't mind me." Deidara interrupted, stepping back, "I'm just representing Akatsuki, hm."
Tsunade's eyes narrowed, "You people really are clueless. I suppose it can't be helped, however, since there are several questions I need to ask, and I don't have much time… how come Naruto and Sasuke can stand so close together without fighting each other?"
"I'm saving it for our match!" Naruto answered proudly.
"Match?" Tsunade wondered.
Dumbledore answered for her, "We were having a tournament, and a match between those two is the next and final one."
The wizards/witch were slightly more willing to trust that Lee was actually translating and not spouting random words after he finished that part.
"I see…" Tsunade was silent for a moment, "I suppose that makes sense. Then onto the reason I'm here… Shikamaru, would you mind explaining what exactly happened?"
Shikamaru grumbled a little as all eyes turned to him (some more than a little surprised), "How much time do you have?"
Something clicked in Kurama's head, the names… that's what I forgot way back… the clearly Japanese NAMES…
Meanwhile, the shinobi and kunoichi relaxed. It couldn't be an illusion, because they knew that the others in the room didn't know that Shikamaru was a shinobi (well… they did now…)
Tsunade's eyebrow rose, "Half an hour, if I push it."
Kuwabara's jaw fell, "That's ten times as long as the last two!"
"Yeah, well…" Tsunade sounded slightly disgusted, "Jiraiya wasted his energy being flashy, and Kakashi, Asuma, Gai, and Kurenai had to support each other. Over all, it increased their time… probably… but that requires a lot of concentration."
Naruto's jaw dropped, "Ero-sennin? And Kakashi-sensei? And Gai-sensei?"
Tsunade looked down at Naruto, "Yes, they all came here. How come it took so long for these people to find you?"
"We weren't sure of their intentions." Shikamaru answered smoothly.
"Now…" Tsunade's eyes narrowed, and she brought a hand to her mouth in thought, "How come you all look younger than when I sent you on that mission?"
Naruto straightened proudly, hands on his sides for increased effect, "Two years! Want me to go into the months, days, and minutes? I can go all the way to seconds!"
Fred, George, Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Malfoy looked at Lee as if he had suddenly broken out in an Irish dance.
Tsunade's eye twitched, "Don't bother. Just explain."
Shikamaru sighed, "How about we do that… elsewhere."
Tsunade nodded, and brought up a large scroll that no one had noticed, "One minute… Koenma, take this. It's a detailed history about how we originated as a small group who called themselves 'wizards'." She explained, "Apparently, they had fled from their time through use of a time-traveling technique because of some 'Dark Wizard' in their time. The new time period didn't accept them well, however, and they were pushed to their limits to survive. They were also forced to learn 'wandless magic' because they hadn't brought a 'wand maker' with them, and their own wands didn't hold up well under the rough circumstances."
Lee was hard-pressed to keep up while still taking in what Tsunade was saying.
"They were able to survive by learning how to hide, forage, improvise, and occasionally do odd jobs for the less apathetic individuals. This started as simple, mundane jobs, such as cooking and cleaning, but when people started learning their potential, they were given jobs that involved infiltration and assassination. They didn't like those particular jobs, but under the circumstances couldn't refuse them.
"The group would have eventually died off, but the next generation brought several people who were interested in learning magic, and the 'wizards' gladly taught them, even though they couldn't speak Japanese. Eventually their students started being called 'ninja', and 'shinobi'. 'Kunoichi' was used, as well, but far less often.
"Due to the unusually high number of talented individuals, the small group flourished, the wizards grew old and died, and their students, who now had students of their own, split into five factions, known as Villages. There was the Leaf, Sand, Water, Air, and Stone. Eventually the areas they were in were referred to as the Five Shinobi Nations."
Tsunade dropped the scroll on Koenma's desk, "That's a brief overview, and I figured you'd be able to make more sense of it than I could. When you've finished with it, use this to send it back." She brought out a much smaller scroll, and laid it next to the large one, "Just put some of your blood on it, put the scroll on the circle, and insert some energy."
Koenma nodded dumbly, trying to make sense of all the words Tsunade had pounded him with.
"I have one question." Kurama stated.
"What is it?" Kiba asked.
"How come you think in English?"
"That was training, to make sure we didn't accidentally answer a question in Japanese, write in romanji or katakana, or things like that." Shikamaru answered.
"I see…" Kurama looked thoughtful.
"And exactly where do we fit into this?" Zabuza demanded.
Koenma made a small clicking sound when he noticed Haku and Zabuza, "… You two were the ones who went missing during the war with Netherworld, weren't you?"
"Yeah." Zabuza snapped.
"Well…" Koenma thought for a moment, "You should probably go back with Tsunade-san. You can inform the Spirit World back then of what we know of the situation. Oh, yeah, and don't worry about eternal torment… your last action was admirable enough to put you in a positive light."
"All right, let's go!" Tsunade said, holding out her hand, "Just hold on tight, and you should come with me straight to Konoha, eighteen hundred years ago. We'll see what we can do about this mess from there..."
Tsunade took Hinata's hand, and Naruto took Hinata's hand, as well as Sakura's. Lee took Sakura's free hand, and Chouji absently latched on with Shikamaru in tow, only slightly regretting that he couldn't munch on chips while both his hands were full. Temari, grinning evilly, took Shikamaru's hand while holding Gaara's with her other, and Shikamaru muttered, "Troublesome."
Kankuro followed Gaara, and then came Shino, Kiba (with Akamaru in his coat), Neji, Tenten, Haku, and Zabuza. Sasuke held back slightly, but Ino, smiling happily, grabbed his hand and Zabuza's. Sakura glared at Ino, who smiled smugly back.
Tsunade extended her free hand toward Sasuke, who hesitated before taking it.
"Bye!" Koenma said, waving. Tsunade smiled back, Deidara unexpectedly laid a hand on Naruto's shoulder, and the nineteen (twenty if you count Akamaru) of them disappeared.
"Let's hope this works." Kurama said quietly. Koenma looked at him.
"Hm? Did you say something?" Koenma asked. Kurama smiled slightly, and shook his head.
"So…" Hermione broke in, "Lee stopped telling us what you were all saying once that man with the mask started talking…"
"Hopefully, that's become irrelevant." Kurama reassured, but… it doesn't seem probable that just going back in time will fix the whole matter… it would help if I knew more about the situation…
"Botan…" Koenma said, handing her a letter, "I just remembered. One Nicholas Flamel is going to die in a couple of minutes, and I want you to personally take care of him, as well as give him this."
Botan smiled, taking the letter and mounting her paddle, "Hai."
"As a point of interest…" Dumbledore said as Botan flew out, "How come you four lost in the tournament?"
"Well…" Kurama looked slightly sheepish, "For one, we weren't fighting for our lives…"
"There was absolutely no point in winning." Hiei muttered discontentedly.
"Yeah…" Yusuke yawned, "I was actually surprised at how little I felt motivated."
Kuwabara's mouth fell open, "What?! … I mean, yeah! That's exactly the reason!"
"Hey…" Ron interrupted, "Where are we, anyway?"
Nicholas smiled slightly as he left his body, feeling weightless and somewhat contented. He didn't exactly expect a blue-haired, pink-eyed woman riding a paddle to greet him, but he hid his surprise fairly well.
"Hello, I will be your guide to the Spirit World." The woman said, "But before that, the son of the ruler of the Spirit World told me to give this to you."
Nicholas cocked his head, astonished, and took the letter presented by the woman, feeling vaguely grateful he knew Japanese. He opened the letter, surprised to find it written in English:
Dear Nicholas Flamel
I felt obligated to extend my gratitude to you for that book you wrote about shinobi. Due to the fictionalizations on the documents you based it off of, it wasn't quite as helpful as I'd hoped it would be (not that that's entirely your fault; erosion is erosion after all). Nevertheless, the part about the Chuunin Exam was invaluable.
The Great Koenma
(A/N all talking from here on out will be in Japanese, so I'm not going to underline it)
Naruto felt something dig into his shoulder, before it let go, and was lost to the chaos around them…
Ino tried to close her eyes against the lights. It hadn't been so bad at first, but now they were starting to give her a headache. It was almost like Home, with all this chaos… the only thing that it was missing was that feeling of emptiness. That void, which seemed to suck at everything, but to suck at nothing, because there was nothing to absorb, even so, it seemed to absorb the void… absorb itself. There was nothing to suck, so it sucked nothing. Everything there was nothing…
…But this… this was the place called "Nexus".
"Visualize Konoha." Tsunade ordered, "I don't think I can bring all of us there on my own…"
Ino did as Tsunade asked, and visualized Konoha as she had last seen it. Among the lights, something seemed to start gaining resolution. Ino thought she saw the Hokage faces in a blurry mountain…
Suddenly, Sasuke's hand gripped hers tightly, painfully, and she involuntarily tried to pull away. Big mistake. The hand let go as soon as she made that tiny tug, and Sasuke was no longer there.
Ino heard Tsunade curse, and suddenly shout, "We're not far enough, yet! Ino, grab my hand, hurry!" Ino numbly obeyed, and Konoha seemed to blur again, almost fading back into swirling lights. It resolved as soon as she and Tsunade were holding hands.
It finished resolving quickly, and Ino gasped. How? Why?
"Something bit me!" Naruto yelled.
Unfortunately, only Tsunade listened to him, and decided to just file that away since she didn't know what to make of it (while rubbing the hand that Sasuke had just sent an electric current through).
"Konoha…" Kiba breathed, "Eighteen hundred years ago…"
"Not 'ago', today!" Tenten exclaimed, ecstatic, then, looking around, "Or… tonight."
"Where's Sasuke?" Sakura asked suddenly. The others were suddenly silent as they noticed the lack of their brooding companion.
"He let go." Tsunade said angrily, then started muttering while looking around at the room they had appeared in, "Stupid boy… probably dead by now, if that place can even kill you… good riddance, too. Better to not have two Orochimaru's hanging around…"
Chouji blinked; as much as he felt he should be serious, he couldn't help thinking, after Tsunade comparing Sasuke to a second Orochimaru, that the world would probably be better without two Tsunade's, let alone two Jiraiya's (in fact, it would probably be better place without any Sannin). But Sakura might as well be a second Tsunade, and it was the same way with Naruto and Jiraiya.
Sakura felt dread creep into her. Sasuke couldn't die… so would he just be sentenced to Home? Or would something else happen? Would anything happen? Would he just be stuck in Nexus?
Tsunade wondered why the fourteen suddenly looked so apprehensive.
It was just Nexus. He could get through it…
Not that he had ever gone through time here… but it couldn't be that different, could it? Obviously, the headache was a difference, but it was just an annoyance, since he couldn't go insane.
Insanity would be a relief… too bad Home had planted a defense mechanism in their minds to guard against it…
The visualizing was also different, but it shouldn't be too hard…
But then, the headache made it difficult to visualize anything, and as soon as he had managed to get away from the circle, he felt his chakra start leeching away, in no small amounts.
Tunnels… dark tunnels. Right… just long, winding, candlelit tunnels.
Something seemed to start getting clearer among the lights and colors, tunnels… but then… forest. The headache got harder to stand with each passing moment, and Sasuke started thinking back to Konoha, where he had grown up… with his brother.
But he was beyond that, now. Konoha couldn't be his home anymore. He was a missing-nin, and planned to remain that way. And he still had to kill his brother…
But would that make Home his home? That was something he'd rather not consider.
He was starting to be able to distinguish trees among the haze, and felt vaguely discontent that he hadn't reached his exact destination. No matter, though, because it wasn't too far from here…
Unfortunately, he appeared about twenty feet above the ground. Though, thankfully, he was able to land on a thick branch only five feet below him.
He looked around, slightly surprised to see that he had actually ended up closer than he had thought. Too close…
He jumped off the branch quickly, just before the area where it connected to the tree opened up in an automated trap for unwelcome ninja, with a hinge at the bottom still connecting it to the tree so it could be reused. Sasuke scowled. The little trap wouldn't do any damage, but it would cause the unwary to lose his footing, and/or provide the maker (Orochimaru) with a laugh at his expense, assuming, of course, Orochimaru happened to be there to notice.
Sasuke turned away. Orochimaru was probably busy eighteen hundred years later, but that didn't mean that Kabuto wasn't still here.
Closing his eyes, he thought back, long ago… perhaps only a few months before now. So very long ago…
Mustering his memory, Sasuke recalled the mental map of this particular hideout's various traps. The falling branch was the only outdoor trap… but…
Continuing to frown, he walked up the tree, and tapped a few buttons disguised as bark on the falling branch. A patch of dirt opened up to reveal an ornate passageway leading underground, and Sasuke went toward it, carefully skipping the thirteenth step as he walked downward.
Now… the details of the passages were always harder to remember than the traps themselves. Two rights would lead to a dead end… two lefts would lead to an indoor (kind of) pool… both with no shortage of traps on the way. But he could remember the traps easily…
Taking two rights, two lefts, another right, and three more lefts (avoiding loose stones and such), Sasuke made his way to the kitchen.
"So, what's your explanation?" Tsunade asked.
Naruto looked around at the set faces, "You know, it's really hard to explain… so… Shikamaru can do it, dattebayo!"
Shikamaru scowled at being put on the spot once again, and opened his mouth to retort…
… When the static cleared up in his mind, leaving in its place a question… a theory.
So Shikamaru just stood there, mouth open, eyes wide in response to the cleared feeling that had been nagging him for the past several months. But now that he could put his finger on the question… he wished it had remained static.
"Shikamaru?" Naruto said, waving a hand in front of his face, "Are you okay?"
Shikamaru made a couple of sounds before regaining outward composure, it couldn't… it couldn't… it… "What was the question?"
Great… now they were all staring at him like he was crazy.
Tsunade cleared her throat, "You… haven't yet told me what kind of mess you're in. Ten genin, and one chuunin sent on a scouting mission… and none of you came back." Her voice was raising slowly, "Including Naruto, that's an entire generation of Konoha shinobi!" She pointed at the Sand Sibs, "To say nothing of those three!"
Shikamaru thought for a moment, "How about we talk about it tomorrow, after a good night's sleep?"
To be continued…
I don't think I ended that very well… anyway; in two weeks I'll start the sequel to this.
And it'll be called…
Home Sweet Home