A/N: Well here is chapter 12. This one is twice the length of my usual chapter, probably because it was so hard to write for some reason. It seems my muse is out at the bar, flirting with another. For those complaining that Neji got stiffed last chapter, I hope this satisfies you.

Sakura011: Sorry you will not be seeing Lee or any of the Sand Siblings. The cast is already large enough that I'm not going to be adding anyone else if i can help it after the messenger (I dont want to reveal that person's identity quite yet. You have to read to find out who it is :))

As advance warning, the story is going to get a bit darker from here on out. Expect more blood and guts, especially as we approach the Death Eater attack on the school at the end of the school year.

Silver Warrior: I will agree that this is a very simplistic story. I'm not doing anything exceptionally daring here, just seeing what kind of things work. This is my first fic after all.

Caridwin Inari: HAH! THANK YOU! You just won me twenty bucks. I had a bet with my brother on how long it would take for someone to accuse me of turning Potter into a Mary Sue. All I can say is trust me. I have a reason for everything I do here, even if it is not immdiately apparent.

Kakalover: Thanks for telling me that I was able to keep everyone relatively IC on their "dates." I was really worried about Sasuke, never having written SakuSasu fluff before.

Thanks to everyone who reviewed, your input is what gets me up in the morning!

This chapter is rated M to safe, for a lime-scented scene. I cant really think of anything else to say except I need a betareader for this story

Finally, I am always looking for good fics to read so I can improve my writing. If you know of one not already on my favorites, please email or pm me and let me know.

Disclaimer: Just rememered that I haven't done one of these in a while so... I dont own Harry Potter. I dont own Naruto. Hinata owns Naruto. You know why... cough Kage Bunshin cough cough


Chapter 12: An Old Enemy Surfaces

McGonagall's Office, Sunday

Neji turned to look from the scroll he was holding to McGonagall. "Who delivered this scroll?" he demanded, face whiter with rage, and perhaps a good dose of fear, than any of the shinobi had ever seen before.

"A young Japanese woman with her hair tied up in buns delivered the scroll. She is resting in the Infirmary as we speak." At those words Neji's heart stopped and before he knew what he was doing had dropped the scroll and seized the front of the Deputy Headmistress' robe, drawing upon chakra enhanced strength to lift the woman several inches off the ground to everyone's surprise.

"Is she okay?" Everyone could feel the menace in his voice if she answered incorrectly.

"She is just suffering from a mild case of exhaustion, or so I am told. Now if you wouldn't..." But she trailed off as Neji dropped her and vanished as he activated Shunshin no Jutsu (Body Flicker Technique) with a half-ram seal. McGonagall looked to the other shinobi for an explanation as to what had just happened, but they all shrugged, as lost as she was.

Naruto scooped the scroll from where Neji had dropped it. Sasuke, Hinata, and Sakura read over his shoulder. Unfortunately for the others, it was written in Japanese, so they all waited for the ninja to finish and explain.

"Hes back. I thought you killed him Sasuke!"

"I did. He was most definitely dead. I cannot imagine how he has returned after all this time."

"You killed him before, so can't you do it again?" Sakura was looking particularly worried.

"I don't know. It was as much luck as anything else that i was able to slay him the first time. He wasn't expecting me to be able to resist, and that is mostly what allowed me to kill him. He will have undoubtedly developed new jutsus at this time and become more powerful than he was during our first encounter."

"AHEM! Would any of you mind explaining what is going on here?" That was McGonagall.

"Professor, we need a meeting with the Headmaster and Heads of Houses as soon as possible. Everything will be explained to your total satisfaction then." Sasuke had a queer look in his eye, as if he were not totally in the present.

"I'll go get Neji and the messenger from the Infirmary." Without another word, Naruto sped off, ricocheting off the opposite wall on his way out the door.

Having given up on trying to get any sort of information out of the ninja, McGonagall just sighed and did as told.


Infirmary

When Naruto came caroming into the Infirmary, the last thing Naruto expected to see was Neji, stolid, implacable, emotionless, Hyuga Neji making out with Higurashi Tenten. And not just making out. The two had wrapped around each other, it was difficult to say where one ended and the other began. Looking away and coughing discreetly, Naruto waited a moment before looking back. Thankfully, Neji and Tenten had by this time disengaged themselves and were seated, all prim and proper, as if Naruto had not seen them not ten seconds ago.

"Um.. Neji, they are getting a meeting together with the Headmaster and Heads of House soon. I thought you should bring Tenten-san along as she probably has the best information about what is going on."

Neji nodded, and tried to help Tenten out of her bed, only to discover that she was quite firmly attached to the sheets. Neji's hands flickered through the complex series of hand seals that would activate the Byuakugan, much to the protest of Madame Pompfrey who had politely made herself scarce during their "greeting," but had reappeared as soon as she sensed one of her patients trying to escape.

"I don't know what you guys use to understand people here, but its a miracle that the woman who met me at the front doors recognized the Hokage's seal. The woman here is even worse. Tell her to undo whatever she did to my sheets so that I can get up. I had enough mothering to last me a lifetime while I was pregnant, without some stranger doing it to me also."

Naruto didn't know Tenten all that well, but he had heard of her independent streak. Stuck here with no company but Madame Pompfrey and no translator would make him a bit annoyed also. Although the news that she had a kid was rather shocking to say the least.

Neji finally convinced the Head Nurse to dispel the Sticking Charm that she had applied to Tenten's bedsheets after the third time she had tried to escape. The trio dashed down the hallways, avoiding the odd student and armored suit, making their way through the hallways to the Headmaster's office. It didn't escape Naruto's attention however that Neji and Tenten held hands the entire way. It was only when they reached the gargoyle guarding the office that they let go.

Neji gave the proper password to the gargoyle and stepped onto the magical escalator, knocking at the heavy oaken door at the top. Dumbledore's voice was heard almost before Neji's hand touched the wood, making him speculate once more about a possible rogue branch of the Hyuga clan, giving them admittance.

Neji, Naruto, and Tenten walked into a magically expanded Headmasters office. True to her word, McGonagall had gathered all the Heads of House for this meeting, with surprising rapidity. Walking to where the rest of his team was he started.

"I'm sorry for the inconvenience, but a matter of critical importance has come to my attention. Before we begin Professor," he said, looking at McGonagall, "could you please cast your translation spell on my companion here, so we don't have to serve as interpreters?"

Motioning for Tenten to remove her hitai-ate, McGonagall quickly cast the spell and handed it back. "Alright, now what is it that is so important that it absolutely could not wait, Hyuga?" Tenten's eyes narrowed at the tone Snape had directed at Neji, and he put a restraining hand on her arm.

"My companion here, Tenten-chan, has brought me information saying that Orochimaru is back."

"Is that name supposed to mean something to us?" Dumbledore asked mildly.

"Frankly sir, with your information network, I rather had expected you to know of him." Taking a breath he motioned for the standing professors to sit. "I am afraid that this will not be brief," he said, sitting in one of the overstuffed chintz armchairs that Dumbledore had conjured. The fact that the ninja were taking the opportunity to rest was rather unusual, in and of itself. Usually the five, now six, ninjas preferred to stand while in the Headmasters office.

Neji began to talk, giving a brief overview of the formation of the Densutsu no Sannin, and Orochimaru's eventual betrayal and defection. He then skipped forward to when Sasuke left Konoha, and eventually killed Orochimaru.

"So what you are saying is that this Orochimaru, who one of your traitorous subordinates claims to have killed, possessed one of his subordinates and is back for seconds? Well if he was so easy to kill the first time, what is the problem?"

"The problem is that I barely won out over him the first time, and only because he had not expected me to resist him. Also, Orochimaru is one of the three most powerful ninja to ever come out of Konoha. If he were to attack us here and now, we would be sorely pressed to defeat him a second time. During his time as a Konoha-nin, he was renowned for his ability to create his own unique jutsus, something only rivaled by the Yondaime Hokage and Naruto here. Orochimaru is an S-class nuke-nin, with a bare handful of Konoha-nin equaling his power. All of us combined are not as strong as Orochimaru alone."

The Professors mulled this though over for a minute, absorbing the fact that Squad 012, who had defeated the elder dragon Ferrovax, said that they could not defeat this new threat.

"Very well, then." The Headmaster was looking rather concerned at the news, but was trying to hide it. "Would your companion like to share how this information has been obtained?"

"Yes sir," said Tenten speaking up for the first time. "Jiraiya-sama, one of the other two Densutsu no Sannin, has been informed that Manda, the snake boss summon, has been summoned recently. The only two people who have been able to summon him in the last hundred years or so have been Orochimaru and Sasuke-kun. Also, Otogakure, the Hidden Village that Orochimaru founded in Oto no Kuni, Land of Sound, has been showing increased activity and organization, more so than when Yakushi Kabuto served as leader. Finally, we intercepted a Oto-nin messenger several weeks ago. The message had been partially destroyed, but what remained has led us to believe that Orochimaru has entered an alliance with the Dark Lord Voldemort, and is possibly on his way here as we speak."

Pondering this new information for a moment, Snape spoke up. "So basically what you are saying is that all you information is based off the fact that some snake has been summoned, this Otogakure has become more active recently, and a message that might be addressed to He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named saying that there might be an alliance between them and that this Orochimaru may be coming here? That is an awful lot of mights and mays, Miss Tenten."

"It's not really my concern whether or not you believe me or not sir." Jabbing a thumb over toward the Headmaster, she continued, "whether he does, however is." At that remark, Snape sat back and crossed his arms, sulking.

"Professor Hyuga, what would you suggest we do?" McGonagall was all business, not a hint of the worry that bubbled in her gut showing in her voice.

"There really is not much we can do. Beef up your wards as much as possible, and sit back and wait. It will only be a matter of time until Orochimaru strikes, and will be at the least expected moment. He is patient, and will wait moths or even years for a plan to come to fruition. However, I rather doubt we have years," Neji finished dryly. "I will have my team increase or patrol and security sweeps, but beyond that, there is not much more that I can do."

"What about sending for reinforcements?" the piny-sized Professor Flitwick inquired.

"Unlikely. There have been some troubles in Konoha recently, causing Godaime Hokage-sama to require her to husband her available resources. That is all I am permitted to say." Tenten ignored the heated glare from the Potions Master that would have sent a seventh-year Hogwarts student scurrying for cover.

"Unfortunate. I suppose we will have to make do with what we already have. Now, what should we do about rooming for our new guest here? And how long should we expect her to be staying?" The Headmasters twinkle was back, despite the serious subject matter.

"She will be staying with me, for the remainder of the year." At this Tenten looked at Neji askance.

"Neji-kun, Hokage-sama instructed me to deliver my report and then return home."

"I don't care. You have been away from my side for far too long Tenten-chan. You're staying here. Let me deal with Hokage-sama." Tenten just smiled slightly, and shook her head, giving up.

When Neji and Tenten had finished with their argument, McGonagall spoke up. "I don't think that Miss Tenten staying in your quarters would be entirely proper, Mister Hyuga. There are proprieties that must be observed."

At that, Tenten got a mulish look on her face that said that she did not approve of the Deputy Headmistress' decision. "I don't think they apply in our case. After all, she is my wife."


Neji's Office

"How long have you two been married?" Naruto exclaimed the moment that the door to Neji's office had been sealed, for once forgetting the etiquette that Hinata and Tsunade-obaa-chan had drilled into him.

"A year and half, or so," Neji replied. "We got married about a month or so before you returned with Jiraiya, so don't feel too bad that you didn't know."

Diverting his gaze to the floor momentarily, Naruto scratched the back of his head. "Well, i guess a belated congratulations are in order."

Neji nodded, accepting them in the spirit that they were offered. Tenten put a hand on Neji's shoulder and looked at the other ninja. "Now if you would excuse us, I would like to spend some time with my husband."

Nodding their assent, they four of them quickly excused themselves. However they did not go far. As soon as the door was closed, all four, even Sasuke, had their ears pressed against the smooth wood. They heard indistinct voices talking, then the distinctive noise of something being sealed or unsealed. A moment later, the door opened and an annoyed looking Tenten was there, slowly whirling a kusarigama, a sickle with a length of chain attached to a spiked ball, menacingly. Taking the "hint" the four members of ANBU Squad 012 fled.

Shutting the door behind her, she dropped her kusarigama, and slunk back over to Neji. "Now where were we before we were so rudely interrupted?" Neji pulled her down into his lap and kissed her. "Right about here, I think." Grinning, she agreed, wholeheartedly. Neji closed his eyes, luxuriating in her firm lips pressed against his, her comfortable weight on his lap. One hand was wrapped around her waist, holding her close, and the other dropped from where it was cupping her cheek, unbuttoning two buttons on her Chinese-style shirt.

Tenten giggled as he slipped a hand inside, and slowly massaged her breast. She had one arm curled around the back of his head, stroking his obsidian hair, and another stroking his cheek. "It's been far too long since I have been able to see you Neji-kun. Actually, I was eavesdropping on Tsunade-sama and Jiraiya-sama when they were discussing the report. I ambushed the ANBU messenger as he left Konoha, and took the message. Tsunade-sama will be mad when we get back, but I don't mind that much. After all, I get to spend the next six months with you. I'm sure that Tsunade-sama will have cooled down by then."

"I suspected as much from you Tenten-chan. Well, we will just have to deal with her when the time comes. Now I think we have done enough talking for a while." Neji stood up scooping her up with him, one arm behind her knees and the other around her shoulders, and strode into their bedroom.


Several hours later, Neji Hyuga's quarters

Tenten lay in her and Neji's bed, smiling distantly up at the ceiling, still panting slightly. It had been far too long since the last time they were able to share their bodies with one another. Thinking back to just half an hour ago, a rosy hue colored her cheeks, remembering one or two of the bedside acrobatics they had performed. She could hear the water running in the shower in the next room as Neji cleaned himself up. Neji. Her husband was something of an enigma, even to her. In public, he was cold and indifferent, hating to show the smallest bit of his true self to the world. Given his training and upbringing, she could understand, to a degree. It annoyed her sometimes at how the farthest he would go to show her affection in public was to take hold of her hand. On the other hand, in private, oftentimes it was all he could do to keep his hands off of her. Not that she ever wanted him to. Alone, he was loving, caring, compassionate, soft he would say, but she thought it was wonderful.

The door to their bathroom swung open and Neji strode out, a white towel wrapped around his waist, and another wrapping his hair up. Tenten giggle a bit internally, always slightly amused to see him wrap his hair up like a girl to dry it off. Not that she would ever say so aloud.

"I'm out if you want to take a shower now." She disentangles herself from their sweaty sheets and slunk over to him. He noted her stride and said "been hanging around Anko recently?"

Smiling sweetly, she replied, "so what if I have?"

"Nothing," smart enough to know when not to push her. He was a jonin, and she only a chunin, but she was probably at jonin skill with her weapons, and high chunin in taijutsu. "Who is taking care of Hizashi-chan with you here?" he asked, mentioning his twelve month old son, named after his deceased father.

"I left him with Otou-san and Oka-san." Neji nodded, approving of her leaving their son with her parents instead of his uncle. His uncle was a good man, but didn't have much time for family other than Hinata and Hanabi. Digging through his drawers, he found a pair of pants and drew them on. Tenten went to her bags, and walked back over to her husband, something clenched in her fist. Taking his right hand, she slid a gold band around his ring finger, a matching one already on hers.

"You know, I was rather annoyed at you when you left your wedding band at home."

"I know. I deliberately left it there for you. But now that is not necessary." He kissed her, smoothing away the scowl that had formed on her lips. "Now why don't you get cleaned up and dressed. Dinner will be starting soon." He smiled slightly as she swayed away to the bathroom. 'She has the cutest butt', he thought as the door closed behind her.

The pair of them, properly dressed, descended the two flights of stairs to the ground floor and the Great Hall. The whole school was already there, dinner having started about ten minutes ago. Many of the students had noticed Professor Hyuga's tardiness, who, as far as anyone could recall, was never late to anything, and given the newly arrived Japanese woman, rumors were already circulating. Many of the sharper eyed students sitting closer to the staff table, notice the gold bands on Neji's and Tenten's hands, and that the pair were holding hands, fingers interlaced. Sure enough, the new woman took the extra chair that had been placed next to Professor Hyuga's usual spot.

Many of the Hyuga's fanclub set to whispering immediately, wondering who this new foreigner was to him. Even at the Gryffindor people were speculating as to who she could be. Many had tried questioning the ninja, but they were keeping her identity to themselves. A few were wondering where she was staying, as none of the guest suites were occupied. None of the Houses were supporting her, so many had assumed she was staying with Professor Hyuga.

This seemed to reinforce the idea that she might be the stoic Hyuga's lover, run away from wherever she had come from to be with him. This idea caught on particularly well among some of the more drama-inclined students. Fortunately for all involved, they didn't have to wait long.


Professor Hyuga's classroom, Monday

When the students filed into the classroom Monday afternoon, everyone took note of the new Japanese woman sitting on Professor Hyuga's desk, Leaning back on her arms, tapping one foot, ankles crossed. Beside her, propped up on the desk, was the largest scroll that anyone had ever seen. The shinobi who knew her noted that it was even larger than the last time they were in Konoha. If her scroll kept growing, soon it would be too large to carry, it already being approxamately the size of a human. Every one noticed her immediately, and her position, when Naruto and Sakura were in their usual positions lounging against the wall. Professor Hyuga sat behind his desk silently, waiting for the hubub to die down. When the room was finally quiet, he spoke up.

"Class, allow me to introduce Tenten Hyuga. She has come from the Land of Fire to serve as an additional taijutsu and weapons master."

"Weapons master? What is she going to do? Beat us over the head with that monstrous fire starter?" Professor Hyuga suppressed a scowl and sigh, knowing by now that he should expect trouble from the blond Slytherin. His face an emotionless mask, he gestured to his wife signaling for her to show off a bit. With an evil grin, she complied. Unrolling the scroll a bit on its end, she aimed it towards the bothersome blond. Feeding the scroll an appropriate amount of chakra, she release one of her ranged seals, releasing thirty or so kunai, flicking the paper a bit so that the sharpened slivers of steel caught the standing boy by his clothes and nailed him to the stone wall ten feet behind him, spread-eagled.

Suppressing once again the urge to roll his eyes, Professor Hyuga locked gazes with the boy who had been nailed to the wall. One would think he would learn, but apparently not. He figured that he would have another confrontation with the hostile Slytherin Head before the day was done also. Turning his attention back to the pale-faced Malfoy, he asked "Still want to challenge her?" Not trusting his voice, he shook his head in a negative.

"Right then. Today we are going to work on fighting an armed opponent while unarmed." Nodding to Miss Granger, the students formed ranks after she banished the desks to the perimeter of the room. Neji activated his Byakugan as the ninja drew kunai, and Naruto created thirty students. Normally, he would have Tenten and the original Naruto participate in the spars, but with live steel in the classroom, he wanted all the ninja to keep both eyes on the clones. They had a nasty habit of displaying some of Naruto's truer emotions and acting upon them, which had caused them untold amounts of grief before.

Professor Hyuga reviewed one last time how to avoid serious injury when facing an armed foe, such as blocking with the back of one's arm, rather the fleshy inside as there were less blood vessels there, and how to break an opponents grip by breaking the thumb. Harry was the first to disarm and dispatch his Naruto clone, to the applause of the class. Neji left most of the class in Naruto and Tenten's hands. Hey knew the basics of Goken, his students were advancing to the point that they were beginning to outstrip his knowledge. Sasuke stood apart also, because while the Sharingan-centric Uchiha taijutsu style appeared similar to Goken, it was not.

Tenten was sitting on his desk, keeping a close eye on the Naruto clones, especially those facing off against Malfoy and his clique. In fact, She had to chuck a kunai at three of his clones who were getting a bit too serious before he actually injured someone. All the while, Neji stood behind his desk lecturing to the class about how to deflect their opponents strikes, and to use their own attacks against themselves.

By the end of class, everyone bore minor cuts and abrasions, so Professor Hyuga cut class short a few minutes early to let Sakura circulate and heal the minor injuries. A couple of reparo's and class was dismissed.


The Great Hall, Saturday

When Harry, Ron and Hermione entered the Great Hall, they found that the tables had been removed, to be replaced with golden hoops, arranged in rows before the four Heads of House, and an oddly colorless man, with transparent eyelashes, wispy hair, and a insubstantial aura, as if he might be blown away by an errant gust of wind. Naruto, in full ANBU reglia along with the rest of Squad 012 and Hinata and Tenten, with her ever-resent weapons scroll on her back, was tempted to try a fuuton jutsu, just to see of he would.

The man was Wilkie Twycross, a Ministry Apparition Instructor. Gesturing slightly nervously to the ninja spread out against the walls, he explained that the Anti-Apparition Wards had been lowered for one hour over the Great Hall. Proceeding to instruct his erstwhile pupils in the steps for Apparition, Naruto's mind wandered, thinking about the report Tenten had brought. If Orochimaru had truly come back and allied himself with Voldemort, then things were about to get really bad in the future.

Naruto's attention was quite violently brought back to the present when one of the girls released a horrifying screech of pain. Naruto's training siezed control and he had his sword out in both hands, scrutinizing the area to see what had given the girl cause to scream like that. The gril, Susan Bones, had Splinched herself, Twycross. All four Heads of House converged on the poor girl, and a moment later a nearly deafening bang, accompanied with a foul-looking purple cloud of smoke erupted from where the girl was. When the Professors split up, Susan had collapsed to the floor, sobbing, but with her lef attached.

However, an hour later, the Bones' girls' Splinching was the most exciting thing that had happened. Harry gathered Ron and Hermione, telling them how he had overheard Malfoy telling Crabbe and Goyle to keep doing as instructed. Over the next several weeks, Harry kept a close eye on the Marauders Map, because Malfoy kept disappearing off of it at odd times. Crabbe and Goyle were also spotted wandering off on their own more often than usual.

March arrived, bringing wind and water in abundance. When Harry and Ron went down to the common room, they discovered that the upcoming Hogsmeade trip had been canceled.

"It was on my birthday too! I was really looking forward to that!" Ron squawked.

"Not much of a surprise though is it? I mean, Katie was cursed, and we were attacked."

"Yeah, it was mostly on the urging of Neji though." Naruto said, appearing behind the pair.

"I figured it was probably him," Ron groused. "It would be just like him to cancel it on my birthday."

"Don't be sour Ron. You are just mad because he assigns so many essays."


Sixth Year Dorm, Saturday, March 1st

The first of March found a sizable pile of gift-wrapped boxes at the foot of Ron's bed. Harry pulled out the Map, searching for Malfoy, ignoring Ron's occasional exclamations at a particularly good gift. Meanwhile Naruto was watching all this with a somewhat wistful expression. For the first ten years of his life, all he had gotten for his birthday was rocks through his windows and angry mobs chasing him through the streets, until he gained enough skill to avoid the mobs.

Ron was wondering of it would be easier to try Apparating on an empty stomach or not, snacking on some Chocolate Cauldrons. Putting the Marauders Map away, he asked Ron of he was ready to go down to breakfast. Harry was halfway to the door when he realized that Ron had not moved.

"Ron? Breakfast?"

"I'm not hungry."

"I thought you just said..."

"Well, I'll come down with you, but I dont want to eat."

Naruto scrutinized him suspiciously. "You just ate half that box of Cauldrons didn't you?"

"It's not that," he sighed in response. "You... wouldn't uderstand."

"Fair enough." Harry turned back to the door to the common room.

"Harry! I can't stand it!"

"Can't stand what?" Both Naruto and Harry were becoming slightly alarmed now. Ron was looking slightly pale and sickly.

"I can't stop thinking about her Harry!" Friends as he was with Ron, if he decided to give Hermione a pet name, he would have to put his foot down.

"I don't see why that stops you form having breakfast."

"I don't think she knows I even exist."

"She definately knows you exist Ron." Harry was becoming quite bewildered, and Naruto was just plain lost. "You've been snogging her all term haven't you?"

"Ron blinked. "Who are you talking about?"

"Who are you talking about," abruptly feeling that all reality had dropped out of this conversation.

"Romilda Vane," he sighed. His entire being lit up as he said her name, as if a shaft of sunlight had hit him.

"Tell me you're joking..."

"Harry, I... I think I am in love..."

"Okay," Harry replied, examining Ron's eyes and pallid complexion. "Say tht again with a straight face."

"I love her. Have you seen her hair, so shiny and silky, and her eyes," he trailed off breathlessly.

"As funny as this is you need to cut the joke now Ron."

Turning two steps away, he felt a fist collide with the back of his head, sending him to the floor. Ron was pissed, and raised his hand to strike him again before Naruto caught him and put him in a submission hold.

"What the hell was that for?" Harry roared.

"You're insane..." He then spotted the half empty box of Chocolate Cauldrons on the floor. "Where did you get these Ron?"

"On the floor, they fell off my bed."

"Harry facepalmed, realizing what had happened. "Those weren't yours Ron. Romilda gave me those a while ago, she had spiked them with a love potion. However, Ron had stopped listening after he heard Romilda's name.

"Haeey.. do you know her? Can you introduce me?"

Harry considered doing just that, and letting him make a fool of himself, but he was not himself, and they were supposed to be friends. On the other hand, if Ron proclaimed his undying love for her again, he would have to punch him. Thinking quickly, Harry assented. Naruto released him and the trio exited the dorm. "She will be in Professor Slughorn's office."

"Why would she be in there?" practically tripping over himself in his haste. Naruto looked ready to restrain him if he tried anything foolish again.

"She has extra Potions lessons with him," Harry invented. The conversation continued along this vein until the three of them arrived at their destination. When the Professor opened his door, Ron came crashing through, looking wildly for Romilda.

"Professor, I'm really sorry to have disturbed you this early, but Ron here has accidently taken a love potion. I was hoping you had an antidote on hand. I would have taken him to Madame Pompfrey, but we aren't supposed to have anything from Weasley's Wizard Wheezes, awkward questiones and all."

Ron kept looking around searching for Romilda. "Was the potion within date," now eyeing Ron with professional interest. "They can strengthen if kept overlong you know."

"That would explain a lot," now straining with Naruto to keep Ron from assaulting Slughorn. Sitting Ron down, assuring him that Romilda would be there shortly, slughorn handed Ron the antidote. Slowly, Ron's expression of unbridled joy at soon meeting his "crush" was replaced with one of unmatched horror.

"Back to normal?" Harry asked, snickering with Naruto.

Slughorn handed Ron a glass of oak-matured mead, "as a pick-me-up."

Ron tossed the drink back, and a few seconds later, Harry noticed something wrong. Ron half-rose from his chair, and crumpled, arms and legs jerking uncontrollably. Harry shouted for the Professor to do something, but Slughorn seemed to be paralyzed by shock. Naruto had once again tackled Ron, pinning him so he could not harm himself. Harry tore across the room, and shoved a bezoar that he found in one of the cabinets down his throat. Ron calmed almost immediately, his body becoming limp and still.


Same day, Hogwarts Infirmary

Harry, Hermione, Ginny, Fred and George were all there at his bedside, Madame Pompfrey only letting them in at eight o'clock after leaving for a staff conference. The ninja were conspicuously absent. They discussed what had happened, one of the twins commenting how lucky it was that Harry had remembered the bezoar.

"So the poison was in the drink?" Fred asked quietly.

"Yes, but he could have slipped it in the drink himself, but why would he want to kill Ron?"

"Could he be a Death Eater?" Ginny asked?

"Anything is possible" George replied darkly.

"Or the poison could have been in the bottle, which means it was probably meant for Slughorn."

"Dumbledore reckons that Voldemort wanted him on his side or dead. He was hiding for a year."

"Then again, you said that the mead was meant for Dumbledore..."

"Well, whoever sent it didn't know Slughorn very well."

The conversation continued liek that for another ten minutes until Mister and Misses Weasley arrived. Misses Weasley immediately seized Harry in a bear hug. "Dumbledore told us how you saved Ron with the bezoar."

"Err..." Harry shifted uncomfortably.

"Half our family owes their lives to you Harry, now that I think about it. All I can say is that it was a lucky day for the Weasleys when Ron decided to sit in your compartment. "Harry couldn't think of a proper response to this, so just turned to stare back at Ron. It was at this time Hermione decided to leave, and Harry accompanied her, leaving Ron with his family.


Headmaster's office

Dumbledore's magically expanding office was tested to the limits today, all of the teachers and ninja's having crowded in, including Argus Filch. Slughorn haltingly gave his report, his gaze nervously darting to one face to another. He told how he had bought a cask of mead, intending to give it to the Headmaster, but had forgotten, and opened it to settle Ronald's nerves down. He then told them how Harry had leapt across the desk and shoved a bezoar into Ron's mouth forcinv him to swallow it. Dumbledore turned his piercing gaze to Naruto, who confirmed it all.

He then questioned how a cask of poisoned mead had made it through Filch's net, when he was supposed to be searching all the packages for such things. Filch said he had serched the mead for curses and enchantments, and poisons like he always did, but had no explaination for why the poison shoed up on none of them.

At this the shinobi shared a signifacant look. "Headmaster-sama, may I examine the mead? Maybe I could detect something that Filch-san missed." Albus nodded, gesturing to the cask on the desk. She popped the cork from the wood, and caught some of the honey-brown liquid in a glass conjured by the Headmaster. Sniffing the drink, she frowned slightly and promptly tossed the dink back, much to the shock of the faculty, some of whom started from their seats. Sakura's face contorted in pain, but she passed a glowing green hand over her stomach, which she had exposed after unzipping her vest. With gentle pulling motions, a clear liquid was drawn through her skin, and dumped into a nearby trashcan.

After the staff had swallowed their hearts again, Dumbledore looked curiously to the pink-haired iryo-nin. "Well? Is it a poison you recognize?"

"Yes it is. Is a poison distilled from a plant found exclusively in the Land of Sound." The ninja's eyes narrowed at this. Orochimaru.

McGonagall cleared her throat and asked, "What does that mean?"

"Orochimaru's personal village is based there." Dumbledore's eyes lost all semblace of gentility at that.

"So, you are saying that Orochimaru has finally made a move against Hogwarts?"

"Yes. Although I will say that I am surprised that the mead didn't readch you. Orochimaru made a grave strategical error in sending the drink to Professor Slughorn, something that we should not expect to happen again." Sasuke stared impassively the fat Potions Master.

"Very well. What then would you suggest Mister Hyuga, we do in order to prevent such a happening from ocurring again?"

"Let Sakura and I search all packages entering the school. After Filch-san searches the packages, send them to my office. That way we have both sides covered, shinobi and wizardly."

Nodding, the Headmaster looked to the janitor. "I trust that you will do this Argus?"

Ducking his head subserviently, he agreed. "Then if there is nothing else?" When nobody spoke up, Dumbledore dismissed them.


A/N: So I hoped you liked this chapter. Cant really think of much to say except that reviews make me write more. Seriously, they do.