AN: Right, this is the first multi-chapter fic that I'm uploading. I already have eighty-six pages written……this is from page one to part of twenty-one. Sorry if you don't like long chapters, but I write long things. Really sorry. Neji, bring out the disclaimer!
Neji:………Overlyinspired does not own Naruto. Thank god. T.T
Tsunade slouched over her desk, scowling at the huge stack of paperwork in front of her. If she hadn't known better, she would have sworn that they were using Kage Bunshin, but that was impossible, of course. As the Hokage, her assistant, Shizune, had said, she had a duty to complete every single paper in front of her. Wait, Shizune was her assistant. Technically, Shizune couldn't force her to do anything. But………not obeying Shizune meant never-ending torture. Ugh, half this stuff was a waste of time. She slammed her head down on the desk, muttering curses under her breath. She was still cursing when a flustered chunnin burst it.
"Hokage-sama, there's an old man heading toward the tower! We've tried to stop him, but he uses some strange stick and keeps pushing us away!" Tsunade raised on eyebrow, surprised. Izumo generally wasn't on to exaggerate a situation.
"He says that he wants to talk to you. His name is strange…um…Durdlemore? Ah……Duddledore?" Izumo glared at the floor, trying to remember the man's name. Tsunade, however, had already remembered the name, and blanched.
"Was it………Dumbledore?" She offered.
"Yes, that was it!" He paused and looked at her confusedly. "Do you know him, Hokage-sama?"
"Yes, yes I do. Go back to your post, and try to keep Kotetsu's mouth shut about this."
"Yes, Hokage-sama. The man should be here soon." Izumo bowed, then turned and left.
Tsunade slammed her head on the desk again. She could not deal with this right at that very moment. With the current shortage of shinobi already, it was hard enough to deal with their regular missions, much less any extras that Dumbledore could invent. Not that she didn't respect the man, having talked to him as many times as she had, she understood that he was genius, but Albus Dumbledore, being who he was, had large problems. If he wanted shinobi, he would most likely a large number of high ranked shinobi, and that meant extra stress for her and the others around the village.
"Ah, excuse me, Tsunade-san, is this a bad time?" A kind voice asked from the doorway. She immediately sat bolt upright, managing to look as if she had not been two seconds from tearing her own hair out in boredom and frustration.
"Of course not! It's a perfectly good time!" She grinned at Dumbledore and swept the papers behind her desk with one practiced motion. The old man smiled at her, bright blue eyes twinkling behind his glasses, then pulled out the stick that the chunnin had mentioned. He waved it expertly, and a large armchair appeared in front of her desk.
"I apologize. I seem to have frightened two of your shinobi. A pair of chunnin, I believe they were. Young, brown hair, brown eyes. One of them had very spiky hair. He seemed to be intent on following me all the way to your tower. He appeared to have been trained not to let anyone disturb you, judging from his……begging that I please not enter your office and earn him D-rank missions for a month." Dumbledore's raised eyebrows and slight smile earned a laugh from the Hokage.
"Yes, that does sound like something he would say. And yes, if had had been almost anyone but you he would have earned at least a month's worth of D-rank missions. As things stand, I think he'll get out of it."
"That is good, considering you might already have a few ninja tied up if you choose to accept a mission for me." Tsunade eyed him, expecting this to come up eventually.
"Before you begin this, would you like some sake?" Tsunade pulled a bottle out of the largest drawer in her desk. Even Shizune hadn't found that one. She poured some into a cup and offered it to the old man.
"No, thank you. I'm fine. Now, regarding the mission, I have told you about my student, Harry Potter."
"Yes, yes. Killed the Dark Lord, only boy that survived, lightening scar, etc. Go on."
"Yes, well, we have a criminal that has escaped. Sirius Black. He is hunting for Harry, and although our Ministry is providing……guards, I do not think that they will be sufficient to protect Harry during the school year."
"And you wish to hire some of my ninja to keep an eye on the boy."
"Exactly." Dumbledore nodded. "It would be preferable if they were young enough to be considered students at my school, meaning from the ages of eleven to seventeen. Harry happens to be in his third year, thirteen."
"Hm……I believe that I have a team for you that happens to be exactly thirteen." Tsunade dug a folder out of the teetering stack that she had shoved off of the desk. "Here. This is one of our best chunnin teams, and they're only chunnin because they haven't had a chance to take the jounin test yet. Most likely they'll all pass the next test." Dumbledore took the folder from Tsunade and began to flip through it silently.
"They should work very well. Although, to pose as students, they will be forced to learn to do magic with wands, like other witches and wizards."
"I'm sure they'll do just fine. Now, they should be training today. Would you like to go watch?" Tsunade stood, effortlessly stepping over the papers from her desk. Dumbledore stood as well.
"Thank you. I would be most interested to see their abilities, as it were."
"Very good. They should be at the training field just outside the village……" Tsunade muttered, glancing down at the open folder one more time before escorting Dumbledore out the door. "I'll take you there. They'd be likely to attack if startled by a stranger."
"Thank you very much. I highly doubt that my staff would be pleased to hear that I had been killed by three children for sneaking up on them." He smiled again, obviously very pleased that Harry would be well protected.
"My assistants would be very angry as well. I'm sure that this team will be able to complete this mission very well."
Neji ducked Lee's kick, knowing full well that he couldn't hope to actually block it. His teammate put far too much raw power behind his attacks to even consider doing that. He responded with a hastily thrown kunai, not really meant to injure. Sometimes a distraction was all that was needed.
As expected, Lee easily dodged it, but what wasn't expected was the sudden kick headed for Neji's face. His eyes widened for a moment, before he ducked under the kick and lunged to the side. Their female teammate, Tenten, yelped and dodged back as Neji narrowly avoided barreling into her in his rush to escape.
"Hey, watch it, you two!" She yelped. Neji and Lee heard and ignored her, a bit too into their sparring match. "How am I supposed to do target practice with you almost running me over?! Unless………" Tenten grinned and suddenly began throwing a barrage of kunai, shuriken, senbon needles, and any other lethal objects that came to hand at the boys.
Neji and Lee instantly leaped to avoid the weapons, but were forced to almost dive for the ground when she continued her flood. Lee almost instantly dashed for the woods, and Tenten turned to Neji instead. Oh shit. Neji was not the sort of person that you barraged with kunai. He could return them far, far too well. Unfortunately, Neji already had a ton of them heading straight for him. Tenten winced. Neji smirked.
With the ease of long practice, Neji effortlessly fell into the position for his Heavenly Spin technique. Tenten turned and bolted for the trees. SHIT! She had helped Neji master his technique, so why the hell hadn't she seen it coming?! She glanced back, only to turn and run harder as Neji had already begun spinning, his chakra deflecting every single weapon that she had thrown. A kunai rushed by her head, narrowly missing Tenten's left ear.
"Neji?! Are you trying to kill me?!" She glanced back to find that her teammate had stopped spinning and simply stood where he was, in the middle of a crater caused by his chakra.
"Not really. But why on earth would you start to throw kunai at me? You know I can deflect them."
"Ah……not thinking?" She offered, watching as Lee emerged from the forest again, reasonably sure that Tenten was done chucking kunai. Neji sighed and hopped out of the crater, brushing some dirt off of his robes. The whole team whirled when they heard the sounds of faint clapping.
"Very, very good." An old man was standing on the edge of the field, watching the three with piercing blue eyes. The Hokage was standing beside him, nodding approvingly. The three chunnin exchanged looks before bowing to the pair. Neji, having always been their team spokesperson, stepped forward.
"Hello, Hokage-sama." He cast a curious look to the old man, managing to school his pearly eyes back to complete blankness. "May I inquire as to why you and your……guest……are here?" Tsunade smirked. Ever the diplomat, Neji was. It was probably a good thing that Tenten had long since bullied Lee into submission, until he was at the point where he knew when the other two wanted him to stay quiet.
"Dumbledore-san has a mission for you three, if you're interested." Tsunade paused to examine the expressions on the teens' faces. Lee was about to do his famous 'Nice Guy Smile' no doubt, Tenten was grinning, and Neji was……Neji. Very few people could openly read the Hyuuga's inner thoughts if he didn't want them to.
Neji glanced back at his team, guessing that they would be all for another mission. He managed to whip his head back just before Lee grinned, teeth pinging brightly. Once, Neji had accidentally looked directly at Lee when the other boy had been grinning like that. Seeing had been…difficult, to say the least, for the next three days. Behind him, he heard Tenten grab Lee's shoulders and start shaking him, hissing something along the lines of 'If you blind our employer we can't do the mission you idiot!'
"So, will you accept it? We can't give you the details until we have your answer. It's A-Rank at the very least."
"Yes, Tsunade-sama! Team Gai will accept the mission! We will complete it to the best of our youthful ability!" Lee, who had broken free of Tenten's grip, promptly got into his 'Nice Guy Pose' and flashed his brightest smile at Tsunade and Dumbledore. Neji and Tenten winced.
"Good. Then we can go back to my office and discuss this. See you there." With a wicked grin, Tsunade formed the seals for teleportation, grabbed Dumbledore's arm, and vanished in a puff of smoke. Team Gai simply sighed. She was the Hokage for God's sake. She could at least act like she was older than ten.
Tsunade turned to Dumbledore, who appeared to be very amused by something or another.
"I hope that you didn't mind that. Now you will have a chance to see their speed. Although, you will be able to count on the fact that they can go much faster than what they do now."
The man shook his head. "No, no. I didn't mind it at all. Very interesting children. Ah, here they come now." Tsunade looked up to see Team Gai streaking across the rooftops, Lee in the lead. Well, Lee was the fastest. When the teens slowed to a stop in front of them, it seemed that it was actually habit for Lee to step back and Neji to step to the head of the group.
"Come inside then, you three. Dumbledore-san will give you your mission." Tsunade and Dumbledore led the way inside, obediently followed by Team Gai. Once they were all in the office, and Tsunade had shut the door behind them, she swept behind her desk and sat down. "First, to introduce my shinobi. Hyuuga Neji." Neji bowed. "Rock Lee."
"Yosh!" Lee shouted. Tenten whacked him.
"Lee, shut up!"
"And Buki Tenten." The girl bowed, temporarily releasing her death grip on Lee. "Dumbledore-san, you may begin your explanation."
"Thank you, Tsunade-san. I am the Headmaster of Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry." He paused to take in the teens' reactions. They appeared to be taking it in stride, or at least, they hadn't vocally declared him insane. "About thirteen years ago, there was a Dark wizard who terrorized our community. He was defeated by a young boy, Harry Potter. It is still unknown how he survived the curse that the wizard cast at him, but he did, with only a scar on his forehead to show it. He currently attends my school, and is under my staff and my protection. Anyway, one of the wizard's greatest followers has escaped and he is searching for Harry, most likely for revenge. I need you to defend Harry throughout the year."
"Dumbledore-sama, how would we do that without being discovered and expected by this criminal?" Tenten asked, absently tugging on a thread that had come loose on the hem of her shirt.
"Ideally, you could pose as transfer students in Harry's year. You would take his classes and such." Neji shifted slightly.
"And what, exactly would that entail?" He asked.
"Hogwarts has four houses. Slytherin, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Gryffindor. Harry's in Gryffindor, so you will be placed in his house as well. To all appearances, you will have undergone the same sorting as all the other students, but it will be rigged so you are placed in his class. You will be in all of his classes and you will actually appear to be real transfer students. You three will have to be outfitted like normal Hogwarts students, wands included." The Hyuuga nodded, and stayed silent. Tsunade decided that it would be a good time in interject.
"You will be leaving in an hour. Go home and pack for a year. Say your goodbyes, etc. See you in an hour." She waved dismissively at Team Gai, and they simply bowed and left. The Hokage turned to Dumbledore. "So, what do you think of them?" The old man nodded thoughtfully at the door.
"I think they will do very well."
Team Gai walked together out of the office, then split up to go to their own homes and pack. Lee raced home and burst loudly in the door, feeling slightly guilty that he couldn't say goodbye to his parents, given that they were both on their own missions. He pranced into his room and stopped, surveying the closet and chest of drawers. He'd need clothes, that was for sure……and he would be gone for about a year, so……Lee pulled the drawers out of his dresser and dumped at least fifteen of his green bodysuits into the bag. Weapons, healing supplies, and anything else that might possibly be useful soon joined them. With one more quick look around for any missed items (i.e. hairbrush, toothbrush, toothpaste), Lee pulled out a piece of paper to write a note to his parents.
I have a year-long mission with my team. Miss you.
YOUTHFULNESS FOREVER! Lee
A final farewell glance around his house, and Lee slowly walked out the door, closing it softly behind him.
After the group had split up, Tenten had hurried home. She needed time to say goodbye to her mom and dad. The kunoichi carefully pushed the door open.
"I'm home!" Her mom poked her head out of the kitchen, smiling at her only child. Tenten's hair had been inherited from her mother, but her eyes had come from her dad. Her mom had green-blue eyes, which the girl sometimes wished had come to her instead of her common brown ones.
"Hi, Tenten! Are you going to be home for dinner tonight? Or do you have training? Or dinner at Neji's house?" Tenten turned a shade of red to rival Hinata's, and began to sputter incoherently before she realized that her mother had asked her a real question.
"Oh…no. I have mission that just came up……I'm……going to be gone for a year……I'm just back to pack and say goodbye."
"A year?!" Tenten's mom immediately stepped out of the kitchen to give her daughter a tight hug. "Oh……I'll miss my little Ten-chan. You pack up and find your father to say goodbye, alright?" Tenten nodded and retreated to her room, knowing that her mother was only going to go into the kitchen and cook furiously to make herself feel better.
The girl's room was simple, although almost everything was pink. Bedspread, walls, desk, everything. Tenten pulled out the large pack that she used on extended missions and stared at it, wondering what to bring. Weapons were her first priority. An outrageous number of scrolls and sharp metallic objects of varying sizes were packed in, and then Tenten threw in her clothes, barely bothering to fold them. What was the point, when they'd get worn and wrinkled soon enough anyway? The only thing that she bothered to fold was a formal yukata that did not look good wrinkled. After a moment's hesitation, she also threw in a picture of her with her mom and dad. She would be gone for a whole year, after all. And besides, if she was supposed to be a student, wouldn't it be more realistic to have a picture of her family?
Once she was completely done packing, the kunoichi pulled the huge pack onto her back and staggered out the door. Her mom had evidently found her dad, and dragged him inside to say goodbye.
"You're leaving for a year, Ten-chan? We'll miss you." He held out his arms, and she hugged him tightly. Tenten had always been close to her parents, and being away for a year, well, she'd be really homesick for awhile. After a few minutes of tight hugging, Tenten pulled away.
"I've got to go." Tenten's mother wiped away a few tears.
"Be careful. Watch out for your teammates. Come home safely, okay?"
"I will mom, I promise. Bye." Tenten plastered on a grin and quickly dashed off, pausing once at the corner of her street to wave before quickly turning and heading towards the Hokage's tower.
Neji hadn't been eager to return to the Hyuuga compound, even to pack. Life had gotten better since the chunnin exams, but it still hurt to look at the unmarked foreheads of the main house. He brushed past the guards at the gate, ignoring their sympathetic looks. They were branch house members too, but the whole house knew of Neji's particular vendetta. He slowly walked down the hallway, ignoring the echoing of his almost silent footsteps in the empty hall.
Neji's room was sparsely furnished. A plain bed with all white bedclothes, a small wooden dresser, and the smallest closet that he could live with was all that he had bothered with. A tiny bathroom was attached, as plain as his room. The Hyuuga dug his pack out from under his bed. Why on earth did he keep it there, of all places? The bag was soon full of weapons, those having been packed first; medical supplies, he needed them because no one in his team was a medic; and anything and everything that he would need. He slung the bulging bag across his back and carefully shut the door to the room behind him. Now all he had to do was to inform Hiashi-sama of his latest assignment, and he could leave.
The Hyuuga meeting room was where Hiashi spent most of his day. Neji paused outside the door, hearing voices inside. It was Hinata-sama. Neji waited for a few minutes, and then Hinata appeared, staring at Neji with wide eyes. Apparently she didn't realize that he had been standing there.
"Ah……N……Neji-n…niisan……y…you…h…have…a……mission?" He nodded.
"I'll be gone for a year." Hinata's eyes went wide.
"A……year?! Ah……N…Neji-niisan……you……h…have…to….talk……to…f… father……right?"
"Could you w…wait here……when…you're…done? I have… something …t…to…um…give you." Neji nodded again and watched Hinata skitter down the hallway before turning and entering the meeting room. He stopped in front of Hiashi and bowed deeply, hair brushing the floor.
"Neji, stand up. What mission do you have now?"
"I have a year-long guard mission." Neji said blandly.
"Fine, fine. Good luck, be careful, etc." He waved dismissively, and Neji simply bowed and left. He stopped outside the room as Hinata said, not wanting to make her upset. Hiashi had a tendency to get upset himself if a branch member didn't obey a main family member.
"N……Neji-niisan!" Hinata jogged up, a small pouch held tightly against her chest. "I…um…well…it was m…meant to be your……C…Christmas present." She held it out to him, expecting him to take it. When he hesitantly took it, Hinata smiled timidly. "O…open it!"
Neji examined the pouch before opening it. It was obviously a kunai holster, and a very well made one, to say the least. Hinata was still looking expectantly at him, so he opened the pouch. He blinked. A new set of kunai gleamed, the faint light reflecting off of the cold metal. He glanced up at Hinata, who was blushing and staring at her feet, obviously expecting Neji to reject the gift.
"Thank you, Hinata-sama." She looked up, eyes wide.
"Ah……um…look at them…m…more…closely…" Neji hesitantly pulled a kunai from the pouch and looked it over.
The blade itself was razor sharp, as he discovered when he tapped the tip experimentally. Wondering what Hinata was talking about, his ran his fingers over the handle and the flat of the blade. To his surprise, right at the base of the blade, there was a faint engraving. He inspected his kunai even more closely, and found to his surprise that a pair of sparrows was intricately carved into the metal.
"Thank you, Hinata-sama," he repeated, honestly grateful. He had been running low on kunai, and these appeared to be of the highest quality that money could buy. "How did you know that I needed kunai?" Lee and Tenten would never have been able to hide the fact that they had told her.
Hinata looked down. "Um…I…d…didn't. But…I…figured that…every s…shinobi…c…can…use…k…kunai. So…um…when…m…my…t…team…had…a… mission…a…at…the…w…w…weaponry…village…I…h…had…those…made."
Neji simply nodded and closed the pouch. That made sense. Hopefully he wouldn't be forced to actually use the kunai while on his mission, but it was more than likely.
"Thank you again, Hinata-sama, but I have to meet my team now." He bowed and turned to leave.
"B……Be…careful, N…Neji-niisan! C…come…h…home…s…safely!" Neji lifted his hand in a kind of half wave and kept walking. He had to meet his team to leave. And once he was at the Hokage's office, he could switch his kunai pouches. He liked Hinata's much better.
Team Gai was fully reassembled in Tsunade's office by the time that the hour was up. Dumbledore appeared to have stayed there the whole time, judging from the empty bottle of sake on the Hokage's desk and the large armchair that seemed to have appeared out of nowhere. The old man stood as they entered the room.
"Are you all packed?" The team nodded, although Neji, much to his teammates' confusion, was switching his kunai pouch for a new one. As far as they knew, he didn't even have another one. "Good. We will be off then. Goodbye, Tsunade-san." The Hokage nodded and leaned back in her chair.
"So you don't mind if I send a shinobi for a report during your Christmas break?"
"No, no. That will be fine." Dumbledore rummaged through one of the large pockets of his cloak and eventually pulled out a wrapper from a candy bar. "Hm…about two minutes left…you three, bring your packs and come over. Make sure that you're touching the wrapper. It would be quite inconvenient if I had to create another Portkey." Team Gai exchanged a look, wondering what the hell a Portkey was, but obeyed, carefully reaching out and resting their hands on the wrapper. Dumbledore continued to stare at his watch. "Five……four……three……two……one…," The three ninja were just starting to exchange strange looks when they each felt an almost painful jerk below their navels, something that felt like having a hook stuck into them and pulled. Unfortunately, because of a mission gone wrong in the past, all of them could honestly say that the sharp tug would hurt like hell if it didn't stop soon.
After what seemed like an eternity, the four landed, some more gracefully than others. Tenten and Lee found themselves on the ground, staring up at a grey sky. Neji somehow managed to stay on his feet, much to the other two's jealousy. How the hell did he manage to do that? Although, the Hyuuga's face was looking slightly green. Dumbledore looked completely unaffected. That was really not fair under any circumstances.
"I apologize. I had forgotten that the effects of a Portkey can be slightly…disorienting if you have not felt them before."
"It's fine," Tenten replied, taking Neji's offered hand and pulling herself up. Lee bent himself backwards and flipped to his feet, grinning insanely.
Now that all three of them were on their feet, the ninja proceeded to examine the area. There was a lake nearby, and a forest behind that. Big forest. Very big ominous forest. They liked it.
"And that," Dumbledore announced, sweeping his arm in the opposite direction of the lake, "is Hogwarts."
AN: Review. I command you! 0