Carry Our Burdens.
Chapter One.
Personal Preference.
Edit: 06.10.11

[And not a minute spent to think that we'd regret]

Tsunade stood with her hands on her hips as she surveyed the group assembled before her. She had no choice but to send out her best to the client, he was paying them far more than anyone could decently ask for. She grinned as she thought about the personalities of the shinobi she was sending. She might give him the best but it was going to be his job to keep them under control.

"Fox, Viper, Slug, Panda, Dove, and Mouse," she said, pointing to each shinobi in turn as she went down the line. "You will be guarding one Harry Potter at Hogwarts School of Wizardry and Witchcraft. The headmaster, Dumbledore-sensei, will be sending someone to meet you when you arrive in London, England. The details of your mission are in the scroll that I gave you.

Fox, you are the captain for this mission. Screw it up and I will beat you within an inch of your life. Viper, you are second-in-command, Slug, you will work as the medic, Dove and Mouse, you are scouts and informants, and Panda, you will fulfill your normal duties as weapons master." She glared at them. "Any questions?" Fox waved his hand energetically in the air. She sighed but nodded, "Yes, Fox?"

"Why is Viper my second? Wouldn't Dove be a better choice?" Tsunade murmured something about Dove personally asking NOT to be the second-in-command before speaking.

"All the others have their personal preferences to work with. Besides, Viper has all the intimidation skills that you lack." Fox quieted but he could hear the quiet sniggers from his teammates. He death glared them from behind his mask. Even Tsunade grinned.

She rummaged in her desk for moment, obviously trying to find something in the mess of papers and scrolls.

"Aha!" she said and pulled out a very nondescript kunai. She handed it to Dove, who took it with a knowing nod. Tsunade felt at least a little comfort from knowing that someone had read the scrolls she had given them. Mouse, Slug, and Panda all also seemed to understand. Viper gave no visual indication that he was at all interested in the knife and Fox looked down right confused. Tsunade sighed again and massaged her temples.

"The kunai is a portkey," she began to explain.

"A what?" Fox interrupted.

"A portkey, dobe," Viper muttered, leaning over to tap the kunai. Dove handed it to him.

"Yes, a portkey," Tsunade went on, "It will transport you six to the head quarters where you will meet with one of Dumbledore-sensei's people who will, in turn, assist you all in the language barrier and then point out to you the person that you will be guarding. Please keep in mind that you also have a job to protect all the other children in the school but Harry Potter is your main concern." She glanced at the clock. "Everyone put a single finger on it. It will activate in around three seconds."

The shinobi felt a sharp tug somewhere around their navels. Tsunade's office faded from view, her laughing and waving to them, apparently enjoying herself as she watched their body language, which clearly stated their surprise. For a moment, everything was very dark but soon a new scene came into view.

"Oof," Fox groaned as he hit the ground, face first. Dove landed easily and caught both Panda and Mouse before they fell over. Slug promptly smashed into Fox's stomach, causing him more discomfort. Somehow, Viper managed to end up standing on a couch a couple feet away.

The room was very dark. The paint on the walls was peeling away. Dust seemed to have settled over every last inch of the place.

"Dove? Mouse?" Fox said. The two nodded and whispered, "Byakugan."

"There are several people in the room three doors down the hallway through the door on our right. They appear to be having a meeting." Dove's voice was quiet. As if he felt that they were intruding on something.

"There is a lot of energy in the house. Not chakra though, it must be that m-magic that Tsunade-sama was talking about," Mouse added softly. "Nii-san, can you see it?" she asked. Dove nodded silently and they both looked at Fox. He smirked behind his mask.

"Tsunade said that we would be seeing one or more of Dumbledore's people so I see no reason why we would be sent to the wrong place." The rest of the ANBU could imagine the mischievous smile he would undoubtedly be wearing. He pulled two kunai out of his belt pouch and held one in each hand, nodding to his teammates. Once the rest were armed they moved carefully down the hallway until they stood next to the door, three on each side.

They opened the door completely silently; an amazing feat in the fact that the entire house looked like it would creak at the slightest footstep. They moved in invisibly. Interestingly enough, the occupants of the room were too busy shouting at each other and getting in each other's faces over the table to notice the nin. Fox and Viper were in first, sliding like shadows on opposite walls. Slug and Panda followed. Dove and Mouse stood in the doorway, their hands ready in an open handed position. Once they were ready Fox coughed lightly.

The arguing sides didn't hear him. He coughed again and still he was ignored. He sighed and whistled shrilly. Every human in the room froze in complete shock. The shinobi had around three seconds to incapacitate the wizards and witches before they started shooting spells, which they did with all due grandeur.

The men and women sat on the ground, tied up but not gagged. A few looked at the masked people with fear and a few with resignation but they all seemed to have a healthy dose of bravery. They didn't even whimper. Fox knelt beside a rather beat up looking man. The man's fake eye whirled around in his head at a rate that made Fox feel slightly sick.

"Hey there! We're looking for a Dumbledore-sensei. Do you know him?" Fox asked. The man looked at him in complete confusion.

"What are you saying?" Mad-Eye Moody asked, glaring at him. Apparently the ANBU didn't understand him either. Viper was beside him in an instant. The man's tone had put him on guard and Moody felt the cold edge of a knife blade against his throat. He chuckled hoarsely.

"These must be the shinobi that Dumbledore hired," Moody told the rest of the group. A few nodded in understanding but a particular, purple-haired woman struggled angrily against her bonds.

"Then why are we tied up?" she half-shouted. She felt a hand on her shoulder and looked up to see a pink-haired woman. She squeaked and the woman tightened her grip momentarily before releasing her and retreating back into the shadows.

"Lupin, don't you remember what Dumbledore told you to say?" a tall, black man said.

"Oh, yes." The shinobi's attention turned to a rather ill and ratty looking man. He cleared his throat and began speaking in badly pronounced Japanese. The nin winced as they listened but forced their ears to endure the nails-on-a-blackboard effect.

"We are the members of the Order of the Phoenix. Dumbledore-sensei is our leader. I have several charms that will allow you to understand our language." Lupin stopped speaking. Apparently, at this point, had he been untied he would have given them the charms. The shinobi understood this and Lupin watched in awe as a blue haired woman walked over to him and severed the ropes around him just by touching them. He reached into his pocket and pulled out six simple chains. He handed them to the woman who had freed him and she passed them out quickly. The wizards watched apprehensively as the strangers quickly latched the chains around their necks.

"So you are members of the Order of the Phoenix under Dumbledore-sensei. May I ask why he is not here?" Fox said. They could hear happy sighs from the bound people as they released the breath they had been holding. The blond nodded to his team and they went around removing ropes.

Tonks, the purple-haired woman, flinched as the pink-haired female used a knife to slash through the bonds with a speed and carelessness that seemed to be bordering on dangerous. Kingsley, the black man, watched in silence as a long haired nin brought his hand down on the ropes and severed them without using a weapon. The man watched his captor/savior in interest. Was this a man or a woman? Moody glared daggers at the black haired shinobi as he transferred his knife from the Auror's throat to the ropes.

The wizards and witches stood and rubbed their arms, pulling their wands out and holding them at ready. Some were turned to one wall while others face the opposite way. The shinobi were still spread out in their groups of three around the walls, having moved back to them almost as a default.

"Dumbledore just got a very important call from the Ministry of Magic about Harry Potter. I'm assuming that's who you all are supposed to protect?" Moody growled. The shinobi merely nodded, all ready having been prepared on the subject of the wizarding government and on their mission, Harry Potter. They chose to ignore Moody's dangerous tone, although Viper did tense up a bit.

"Then we will just wait for him here until we see him or he contacts us with further orders," Fox said cheerfully. He began righting the chairs and table that had fallen over in the rush to take out the wizards. The rest of this team did not move but the wizards moved carefully around him to help a little bit.

At that moment an owl flew in through the window and landed in an undignified heap on the table. Tonks pulled a note from its leg and it flew off again. The nin hid their surprised well; they had read about the ways the wizards communicated after all.

"It's from Dumbledore. He says we've got to go pick Harry up," she said after a few minutes.

"Who's going?" Moody asked. Tonks read the paper again quickly.

" Lupin, Mad-Eye, me, Kingsley, Elphias Doge, Dedalus Diggle, Emmeline Vance, Sturgis Podmore, Hestia Jones, and all six of Captain Fox's people," Tonks read. The wizards whose names had been read quickly pulled on cloaks, hats and gloves. "Who is this Captain Fox?" Tonks asked, reading again. Fox waved slightly at her.

"That would be me," he said happily.

"Do you have brooms?" Mad-Eye grunted as he stood by the open door. The nin shook their heads.

"We don't need them. We'll run," Dove said. The wizards looked at her in utter confusion. A few snickered under their breath.

"My dear woman," Kingsley started. He froze instantly when a kunai hit the wall around half a centimeter from his head.

"I'm a man," Dove hissed. Kingsley hadn't even moved to look at the knife now embedded in the wood. Fox could see him gulp. Dove was shaking with rage. Panda had a hand on one of his shoulders and Mouse was clutching the wrist on his other arm.

"Excuse me, sir," Kingsley said softly, "But you simply can't keep up with a broom by running. We will be going too fast and we will be too far away for you to be able to see us."

"Try us," Dove whispered. His voice was very calm but everyone in the room felt that killing intent he was giving off. The mere force of it seemed like it could murder anyone within five miles of him.

"What Dove means," Panda stepped in, "Is that we will be able to keep up better than you think and we will be able to see you. We have not been trained to fight from the air like that and our abilities would be impaired if we tried. Plus, none of us have ever ridden brooms before. It would take twice as long if we tried to learn now. Shall we go now?"

The group was out the door in a minute and seconds later those left in the house could hear the sounds of several brooms shooting into the sky. They looked out the window and saw the nin left standing there. They seemed to be talking to each other for a moment before they flashed out of visibility for a moment. For just a split second they could see them running at a pace that was certainly not human down the road.

[Author's Note.]

Naruto x Hinata, Sasuke x Sakura, Neji x Tenten