When Wizards Fail, Call in the ANBU

By Iamakunoichi

A/N: Yeah….this is pretty much just for the heck of it. I like these fics, but I got sick of reading the really badly written ones or the ones where team 7 goes….over and over and over again. I'm also sick of the whole 'learning spells' concept. They are guards, nothing more.

Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto or Harry Potter.

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Chapter 1

Konoha – Hokage's Office

Tsunade sat hunched over at her desk, wearily reading reports. She had been up the entire night, dealing with the mountain of paperwork that accumulated itself on her desk as a result of her Hokage position. And of course, all such reports were 'urgent' and had to be dealt with 'immediately'. Too bad she couldn't foist it off on Shizune, but she was currently on a mission.

Scowling at a particularly sloppy report, Tsunade rubbed her temples. She reached for her sake bottle – it was empty. She groaned, then began to bend back over her reports – only to be interrupted by a strange bird swooping in her window. She ducked under the frantic bird's wings. It seemed confused, flapping around the ceiling of her office rather than settling as it should. No properly trained messenger hawk would ever do that…

Frowning, Tsunade reached up and caught the bird. It's wings beat at her head, trying to escape her grip where her fingers loosely circled a taloned foot. She calmed the bird with a few strokes of its back. Now that the bird had finally chosen a place to light, Tsunade could see it was an owl, a rather handsome, tawny fellow with piercing yellow eyes. She admired him as the owl preened.

Seeing as he had finally calmed down a bit, Tsunade settled to the puzzle of why he was here. As far as she knew, owls were not native to this area, and how had it managed to wander into her office anyway? It was then that she noticed a small piece of paper – no wait, it wasn't paper it was…..parchment? – attached to the owl's leg. Curiously she opened it. The parchment turned out to be a letter, written in a graceful, looping hand in peculiar emerald ink. As she opened the letter, an odd-looking feather and a small vial of green liquid, incidentally the same shade as the ink on the parchment, fell out. Tsunade quickly scanned the letter.

To: Yondaime Namikaze Minato

Konohagakure, Fire Country

Hokage's Office

My dear Minato,

I hope this letter finds you in the best of health. I do apologize for having neglected our correspondence over the years. I have quite missed it, but as you know, communicating in this fashion requires a great deal of energy and I'm afraid I'm not quite as young as I used to be. Alas, this sudden renewal of contact does not stem solely from my desire to renew our acquaintanceship. I'm afraid I lack the time to exchange pleasantries, but my business is urgent.

I'll get straight to the point. I would like to hire a team of your strongest ninja to protect my school – did I ever mention it to you? I am headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. To my deepest displeasure I am obliged to inform you that Lord Voldemort has risen again. While Hogwarts is more protected than most, it would ease my mind greatly if a team of ninja were in place and patrolling should the enchantments fail. To put it quite bluntly, I am offering you a mission.

This mission has a certain possibility of high-risk activity and would last approximately one year. We are unsure exactly what we are guarding against or even if an attack will ensue. However, I feel it best to err on the side of caution. These ninja you would send would patrol the school, lying low until an attack ensues, at which point they would engage the enemy. I understand your ninja have a 'kill' policy, but I would request that 'capture' be used if possible. There is a strong possibility of malignant wizards known as Death Eaters attacking the school, as one Potter Harry has often thwarted Voldemort's plans and is seen as a threat. Any other attacking forces are unknown, although monsters such as giants and dementors are not out of the picture. The ninja would protect our students from these threats above active pursuit, however.

On a slightly more practical note, I would like to request stealthy ninjas who are well-versed in combat and can be ready for any eventuality. They would have to be subtle enough as not to frighten the students as well as being able to handle the culture of another world and whatever monsters may attack, although I am sure my own highly trained wizards may help with that, as well as the magical shenanigans of the students themselves. These are strictly precautionary measures – I doubt anything will pop up that would require these ninja of yours, but if they could come it would help assuage my doubts. Money for mission pay is no object. I do hope you will consider the request of an old friend.

If you wish to accept this mission, merely use the quill and ink that should have been provided to write your acceptance at the bottom of this letter. If you do so, I will Apparate to that area as swiftly as I may to discuss mission details. If you decline, I wish you the best of luck. Please choose wisely, Minato.

Sincerely,

Albus Dumbledore

Tsunade rubbed her eyes after reading the letter. Some of the words had not been included in what she knew of English, but she had gotten the basic gist of the letter. So this Dumbledore person was saying that he taught a school of…magic? But didn't that only exist in fairy tales? She was half-tempted to just toss the suspicious bit of parchment away. Still, he was Minato's friend, although evidently very much out of touch if he did not know of his death by now. If Minato trusted him, perhaps she ought to. The letter did sound desperate, and this Dumbledore's offer was quite tempting. She pondered it for awhile, then reached for the quill. Hesitantly she dipped it into the ink, before decisively printing in neat, careful letters:

I accept.

Inwardly Tsunade was a little dubious. I mean really, writing a reply to his letter? Suddenly she began to feel a little foolish hardly able to believe she was taken in by such a preposterous – CRACK! – suddenly the papers from her desk flew all around the office as a sudden implosion of air announced the newcomer's presence. Tsunade's ninja reflexes kicked in and she went into action almost without thinking, blurring out of existence only to reappear with a kunai to the intruder's throat.

" Who are you? What is your purpose here?" Tsunade questioned harshly, pressing the kunai close enough to the stranger's throat to draw blood.

The newcomer seemed a little flustered at her rather unfriendly response to his entrance. He held his empty hands up in a mollifying gesture as he simultaneously tried to fix his hat, which had been knocked askew by Tsunade's rough handling. When he spoke, his voice was pacifying and smooth, although a bit of unease was present under his seeming confidence.

" My dear child, my name is Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore. Or, as you may know me, Dumbledore Albus. I have come, if you will, to request a mission of your Hokage." All this was said in perfect Japanese.

Tsunade's kunai didn't lower. " I am the Hokage, and you – " suddenly the second part of Dumbledore's words sank in. Slowly Tsunade lowered her kunai, stowing it away in a hidden pocket. Experimentally, she tested the name. " Dumbledore…san?"

Dumbledore looked much relieved at the removal of the weapon, gingerly rubbing his throat where Tsunade had pressed hard enough to nick the skin. A single drop of blood oozed from the cut. Tsunade hastily offered him a bandage, which he gratefully accepted. " Hai, I am Dumbledore. Where is Minato? He sent word that he accepted my mission."

As he spoke, Tsunade scrutinized the strange individual across from her. He was old, older than she, but he stood tall and proud. His hair was long and snow white, as was his beard. His bright blue eyes showed no sign of his age other than a great wisdom, twinkling merrily from behind half-moon glasses. He wore rather flamboyant and ridiculous purple robes that had a pattern of gold stars, and a hat to match. His nose was crooked, as if it had been broken. He was by far one of the strangest men she had ever seen, and that included a lot of strange men. (Her teammates came to mind.)

Tsunade sighed. " Dumbledore-san, I was the one who accepted your mission. I am very sorry to tell you this, but Minato is dead, and has been for some seventeen years now. I have become Hokage now and accepted it in his stead." Tsunade didn't see it necessary to add that she was the second to hold the office since Minato had died.

Dumbledore looked shocked. " Minato? Dead? But he was so young, so full of life…why, he couldn't have even been thirty at the time of his death!" He was pale now, and had to swallow a lump in his throat. " I had expected some changes after an eighteen-year silence…but I never expected this."

Tsunade felt some sympathy for the man, he obviously considered Minato a friend, and she knew all too well what losing a friend felt like. A thought intruded on her mind. 'Jiraiya…' She shoved the thought harshly away – it was not something she could deal with right now. She cleared her throat and said gently, " If it helps, he died a hero. He sacrificed his life to save our village."

Dumbledore nodded mutely, regaining his composure. " That sounds very like him." He dabbed at his eyes with a frilly handkerchief that seemingly appeared out of nowhere. Tsunade would have started, but she had come to accept that this man was peculiar. Dumbledore blew his nose loudly before causing the handkerchief to vanish again. He bowed to Tsunade, his equilibrium restored and a small smile, albeit a trifle sad one, present on his face. " Forgive me. Might I inquire as to the name of the lovely young woman who graciously accepted my request?"

Despite herself, the corner of Tsunade's mouth quirked upward. She had a feeling she was going to like this Dumbledore. " My name is Tsunade, Godaime Hokage of Konoha and one of the Densetsu no Sannin. I am not so young anymore, I'm afraid. It isn't wise to judge on appearances Dumbledore-san, my youth and beauty are the result of a jutsu rather than graceful aging. I am over fifty years old."

Dumbledore looked slightly startled for a moment, but accepted the information in good part. " Then may I say Tsunade-hime, that your jutsu is a work of art." He made a flourishing bow to her as he spoke.

Tsunade smiled at the old wizard. " I am sure we will get along wonderfully Dumbledore-san. Now, you mentioned a mission?"

Dumbledore nodded back at her, albeit a bit less cheerfully. " Hai. It is a mission of great urgency for my people as well as my school. A terrible dark wizard, quite possibly the greatest threat my society has ever faced, has risen again. I am afraid he may attack the school due to our great concentration of magic power as well as the presence of two people who have thwarted him in the past – young Harry and myself. I am afraid for these reasons that he will turn his eyes on Hogwarts. The Ministry of Magic refuses to believe he has returned out of sheer desperation, thus my teachers and I are left to fend for ourselves. A team of strong ninja might prove beneficial in the long run."

Tsunade had a contemplative look on her face. " I see. Our ninjas would be a very great help to you if that were the case. However you must understand that I am a little uncertain as to the validity of this mission."

Dumbledore looked confused for a moment, then comprehension dawned on his face. He chuckled a bit. " Oh, you mean you have doubts as to whether magic is real?"

Tsunade looked slightly sheepish at his reaction, but continued anyway, " Yes. I'm afraid that I have trouble accepting the existence of such a thing. All my life I have been told that magic doesn't exist – it is rather difficult for me to just accept your word that it is real."

Dumbledore smiled understandingly at her. " It's quite alright Tsunade-sama. Perhaps a demonstration would be in order?" He pulled a stick of wood from his cloak. Tsunade stepped back, wary but willing to let him continue his demonstration. Dumbledore waved the wand in the air, carefully incanting, " Wingardium Leviosa!" Tsunade's eyes widened for a moment, barely restraining her surprise. Her desk was currently floating. In the air. As in, ten feet above the ground with -apparently - nothing to hold it there. Tentatively she poked it, feeling above and below for some form of wire or something that might be suspending it. There was nothing. She could not even feel chakra being used!

Tsunade finally finished her examination and sat back into her chair, lacing her fingers together as she always did when discussing serious matters. She gazed at Dumbledore, her stare hard and professional. " Very well. I will accept that your magic does exist. Now, would you mind returning my desk?"

Dumbledore chuckled. " Of course Tsunade-sama." He gently directed the desk back to its original position.

Tsunade was a little hesitant at first when approaching her desk, but masked her unease in the presence of a stranger, although admittedly a friendly one. When the desk just sat innocently as it should, she opened a drawer and pulled out the sake bottle she kept there. Pouring herself a cup, she asked politely, " Dumbledore-san, would you care for a cup of sake while we discuss the particulars of this mission?" Dumbledore eyed the bottle a little uncertainly but acquiesced.

" Allow me to draw myself up a chair." And with a flick of his wand, a squishy chintz armchair appeared opposite Tsunade's desk. Once again Tsunade had to steel herself not to jump in surprise, mentally congratulating herself when she showed no outward sign of her unrest.

Tsunade poured the wizard a cup of sake as he settled comfortably in his chair. When she finished, she spoke. " Now we come to the matter of mission pay –" Dumbledore hastily sat up straighter in his chair " I assure you Tsunade-sama, we are able and willing to pay whatever amount you find reasonable."

Tsunade permitted herself to arch a politely incredulous eyebrow. " I certainly hope so, Dumbledore-san. I think you'll find ninja very expensive – and those are just the rookie teams. The price of service dramatically increases along with level of fighting ability."

Dumbledore smiled slightly as he pulled a rather hefty bag from beneath his cloak. He laid it on the desk. " What sort of ninja may I hire for this much?"

Tsunade opened the bag, and it was all she could do to keep from gaping like an idiot. There were definitely stars in her eyes as she took in the sight. The bag was filled to the brim with gold, diamonds, and folds of ryo notes just in case the gold and diamonds were deemed unacceptable. Tsunade was roused from her contemplation of the treasure before her by Dumbledore's light cough. She flushed slightly, but regained her equilibrium and positively grinned at the man across from her. The sight was more than a little frightening. Dumbledore unconsciously leaned back – if he could have backed up, he would have. Tsunade stated, " Dumbledore-san, I can promise that my team will more than surpass your expectations."

Dumbledore tentatively smiled back at her, pleased. They talked for many hours before Dumbledore had to leave, discussing the mission. Tsunade learned both the mission details and the fact that Dumbledore was a total and complete lightweight.

x Time Skip – The Next Morning x

Tsunade groaned as she made her way into the office. She wasn't hungover – for once – having metabolized the alcohol in her system with the ease of long practice. What she wasn't looking forward to was losing the majority of her best ninja for a year – nor the arguments they would put up because of it.

Once she reached her desk she formed several handseals, not even bothering to mutter the name of the jutsu. A moment later, four very different people appeared in the room in a poof of smoke, each dressed in an ANBU uniform (although unmasked) and kneeling in diamond formation, the customary pose for an ANBU team reporting for duty.

At the rear of the formation was the oldest and possibly most levelheaded of the foursome, ANBU Tiger, Shiranui Genma. His shoulder-length, brown hair was lacking the usual bandanna, and his often flirtatious chocolate eyes were serious. The senbon that usually dangled from his lips was nowhere to be found. While she personally was a little wary of Genma due to his reputation as a womanizer, she had to concede that he more or less managed to prevent his team from self-destructing. He seemed to know exactly when to be serious and when it was okay to unwind, calming the exuberance of his female teammate and encouraging his taicho to relax.

On the left side of the formation was the mother hen of the group, ANBU Cat, Umino Iruka. His tanned skin stood out even more against the stark black and white of his uniform. His hair was secured in its normal ponytail, and apart from a slight tightening of his normally warm brown eyes, he looked much the same as he usually did. Tsunade was willing to bet the village would be shocked if they learned the true identity of their beloved, kindhearted academy sensei.

At the right of the diamond knelt the sole kunoichi and resident spitfire of the team, ANBU Snake, Mitarashi Anko. Although she often caused problems due to her hot temper and sadistic nature, the woman was truly an excellent assassin and interrogator, and immensely loyal to her team, especially her taicho. Her violet hair had been let down from its usual spiky updo, but there was no other change in her appearance save for the excitement and anticipation aroused by a new mission that sparkled in her eyes.

The captain at the team knelt at the head of the diamond formation. If she had thought people would be surprised at Iruka's identity, they would be dumbfounded as to the identity of ANBU Squad 01's captain, the strongest of the Konoha ANBU and leader of its highest-ranking and most successful team. The captain of Squad 01 was none other than ANBU Wolf, Uzumaki Naruto.

Yet this was not the Naruto known to the village. Once in his ANBU uniform, Naruto discarded his 'idiot' mask. He was cool and logical to the point of being downright cold, not speaking unless necessary and considering each move before he made it. His cheesy grin had disappeared, replaced by an even stare that was nearly icy. He was still kind and fiercely loyal both to her and Konoha, but he was no longer the hyper and bubbly boy. He had matured, and while he might occasionally joke with his team and sometimes she herself, everyone else was treated with indifference. He was immensely strong and fiercely protective of his team, and they in turn were ferociously loyal to him. It was easy to see how he had achieved his captaincy, despite his young age. His whisker marks were still present, but they had grown both thicker and more defined, giving him a feral rather than cutesy look. He was still shorter than his classmates, much to his displeasure, but he had filled out nicely. His hair was still sunshine yellow, but it was no longer quite so spiky and his bangs hung over his eyes due to the lack of hitai-ate to keep them in place.

Tsunade took in all of this in an instant, more than used to the sight of the four in uniform. They were her most reliable team, the one she trusted to handle sensitive matters and consequently her most called-upon team. Truly, she would miss them while they were gone…straightening up, she addressed her ninja.

" ANBU Squad 01, you have been assigned an A-rank mission, with possibilities of escalating to S-rank. You have been assigned to protect Hogwarts, a school of magic – yes, it does exist – and its students for one year. The client, one Dumbledore Albus, is headmaster of the school and has requested our best team of ninja to guard it against unknown dangers, strongly possible evil wizards and various monsters." She held up four scrolls.

" Within these scrolls you will find mission particulars, profiles of those whom they client considers at-risk targets, a basic history of the wizarding community and the client himself, and a summary of likely dangers you may run across. You are to memorize this information and assemble here at 8:00 p.m. in two days. You will need to pack for one year, although Dumbledore-san has assured me that room and board will be provided. As always, you are to travel in full gear and reveal nothing of your identity or place of origin. The less that is known, the better. In addition, I am assigning you an additional A-rank reconnaissance mission. I wish to learn about these wizards – how their 'magic' works, if we can reproduce its effects, possibilities of threat, current political state, and whether it might be beneficial to initiate an alliance with these wizards. Any questions?"

Naruto spoke up. " Where exactly is this school of magic located?"

Tsunade sighed at the question and began rubbing her temples. Damn, but she needed some sake. It was an intelligent question, but the answer was so very complicated. " That is an important question, but it has a very complex answer. Are any of you aware of the theory known as the 'Butterfly effect'?"

Surprisingly, Genma nodded. " Hai. It's basic alternate-universe theory. Theoretically, a separate universe is made whenever a choice is made. For example, while we won the war against Akatsuki, in another universe we didn't. The outcomes of that one clash were so very different that they could not be contained within the same reality, and therefore the universe split. Basically, all the what-ifs in the world were translated into different universes. Presumably an infinitely uncountable number of them exist." Genma squinted at her, ignoring the looks of faint surprise on his teammates' faces. " Hokage-sama, are you saying that this….Hogwarts…"he wrinkled his nose at the name, "is within an alternate universe?"

Tsunade nodded, pleased that he had grasped it so quickly. " Hai. It's a bit confusing, but to them, ninjas have become what wizards are to us – the stuff of stories."

The ANBU considered that a moment. Then Naruto spoke up again, " And yet, if we are as fantastical to them as you say, how did they know to contact us?"

Tsunade inwardly grimaced a bit. She wasn't sure Naruto was going to like this answer at all. His reactions to mentions of Minato were decidedly mixed. Reluctantly, she explained, " Dumbledore-san knew of us through your father."

The ninja froze. Cautiously the team turned to look at their captain. His expression was unreadable, his gaze shadowed. Hurriedly, Tsunade continued her explanation. " As you may or may not know, when Minato was first developing the Hiraishin, he delved a great deal into the theory of the summon plane, where the summon creatures such as Gamabunta come from. He was given to experimentation, as some of you may recollect…and so he decided that what better way for instant travel, than by himself becoming a summon? He designed a seal, a huge one, and attempted to dispel himself to the summon plane."

Her lips twitched at the incredulous expressions on the faces of the ANBU. She fought down the urge to laugh at the poor ninja. " He was reckless, but even he wasn't that stupid – the seal was set to recall him automatically after half an hour. And recall him it did….but for Minato, it did not feel as if he had been gone a mere half-hour. The seal he made overshot the summon plane, and landed him in a completely different universe instead. This is where Dumbledore-san comes in. You see, the time flow was somehow screwed up between this universe and the one Minato fell into. While he was gone for a half-hour here, he lived in that universe for approximately two years. During that time, he apparently met and befriended Dumbledore-san before the seal called him back. Up until about eighteen years ago they still kept in touch – apparently Dumbledore was able to use magic to power his end of the seal to transport messages and people between the worlds."

Tsunade drew in a breath, finishing her monologue. The ninja looked as if they were struggling to assimilate all the information she had just given them. Finally Iruka spoke up, somewhat uncomfortably, " Hokage-sama? Does that mean that time will flow differently for us as well?"

Tsunade shook her head in the negative. " Apparently Dumbledore has fixed that problem. There is no longer any time difference between our worlds."

The occupants of the room were silent for a moment. After the silence began to stretch on, Tsunade cleared her throat. " Right. If there are no more questions, we come to some of the mission details you might not be quite so fond of." The assembled ninja looked up at that. What would they not be fond of? And if they wouldn't like it, why was it necessary?

Tsunade's tone brooked no argument when she stated, " For this mission, you will be receiving reinforcements."

Naruto did not bother to keep the offended note out of his voice. " Hokage-sama, we are the most successful ANBU team in Konoha. I am sure we will be sufficient for this mission."

Tsunade glared back at her rebellious subordinate. " And I say you will take back-up. Due to the large size of the school and the length and uncertainty of this mission, more ninja are needed. I have already sent the request to Suna – they are complying by sending their top ANBU operative. In addition, you will be taking a medic-nin and preferably a Hyuuga as a scout." She stared at Naruto, daring him to challenge her decision.

Naruto sighed. " Then I request Haruno Sakura as team medic and Hyuuga Neji as scout."

Tsunade's tone was flat. " Denied. I cannot afford to have Sakura away from the hospital for so long and Neji is out on a mission. And don't even think about asking for Shizune."

Naruto tried again. "Hyuuga Hinata then. She can double as both medic and scout."

Tsunade was a bit more sympathetic this time, but still shook her head. " I'm afraid that's not possible. As clan heiress, Hinata has too many duties to leave on an extended mission."

Naruto made a sound of disgust in his throat. " Who would you have me take then? Ino?"

Surprisingly, Tsunade nodded. " Despite her rebellious attitude and chuunin status, she is among the more skilled of my medic-nin, and her mind techniques may prove helpful. She should be sufficiently enough in awe of you to obey promptly."

The blonde jinchuuriki issued a long-suffering sigh. " Very well then. I take it you already have a Hyuuga in mind as well?"

Tsunade actually bit her lip this time in her reluctance to answer. If he had reacted so badly just to the Yamanaka, he definitely was not going to like what she was going to say next. Despite this, she stated in a voice that barely disguised the steel in her tone, " You will take Hyuuga Hanabi."

Naruto's face turned an interesting shade of purple. He burst out, " A genin? Hokage-sama, we are ANBU, not babysitters!"

Her face was calm, her voce even. " Nevertheless, she will accompany you on this mission. I have multiple assurances that despite her age, she will behave as befitting a professional kunoichi. Her youth does not affect her mastery of the Byakugan – she is already nearly to Neji's level in her depth of sight and is able to perform Kaiten satisfactorily. You will take her."

Naruto gritted his teeth, his expression displeased. Nevertheless, he ducked his head in surrender. Tsunade smiled. There were some benefits to being Hokage, after all. " Very well then, I will expect you in my office in two days for your final briefing. Shiranui, Umino, Mitarashi, dismissed. Uzumaki, wait a moment."

The three named bowed to Tsunade before disappearing in a poof a smoke. Naruto stood tall and defiant, waiting for whatever scolding Tsunade would throw at him for his impertinence. To his immense surprise, she threw her arms around him, hugging him tightly. She buried her face in his shoulder, and he could have sworn a tear or two leaked onto his uniform. Hesitantly, he put his arms around Tsunade, reciprocating the hug. The stood like that for a moment, before Tsunade abruptly pulled back, eyes bright.

" Be careful brat. I don't want to have to find another successor." She emphasized her remark with a stern poke to the chest, nearly denting his breastplate.

Naruto grinned at her, locking his hands behind his head in an indolent pose. He winked cheerily at her. " Like you could find anyone to replace the awesomeness that is Uzumaki Naruto, Baa-chan." He immediately had to dodge a paperweight that was flung with enough force to decapitate someone.

" What have I told you about calling me that?!" Tsunade yelled. Naruto just chuckled.

Tsunade calmed down, her eyes full of hidden sorrow. " I'll miss you Naruto. Promise – promise me you'll come back safe."

Naruto's expression was serious. " I promise. I will come back."

Tsunade stared him down. " You better." And then, just like all those years ago, she leaned forward and placed a gentle motherly kiss on Naruto's forehead. " Goodbye. Stay safe." she whispered softly.

Naruto smiled at the busty blonde who was the closest thing he had ever had to a mother. " Goodbye Baa-chan." And with a poof of smoke, he disappeared, leaving Tsunade alone in the office.

x Time Skip – Two Days Later - 8:00 p.m. x

The Hokage's office was bustling. Four masked and cloaked ANBU stood at attention in front of Tsunade's desk. Flanking them stood young Hyuuga Hanabi and Yamanaka Ino. Both looked to be in awe of the mysterious figures.

The ANBU, as mentioned above, were dressed in their usual masks and uniforms. ANBU Wolf wore a white cloak as a sign of his rank – the others dressed in black. They stood perfectly at attention, waiting on their final briefing.

Hanabi was not quite so composed, although she put up a good show of it. She was garbed in a simple black tanktop, white shorts, and black ninja sandals. She imitated her cousin, wrapping bandages around her arms and legs. Her posture was ramrod straight, but her expressive white eyes kept glancing towards the ANBU, unnerved by their silence. Her long black hair hung loose.

Ino was a bit more nonchalant, although the wary way she held herself around the ANBU betrayed partial unease. Her long blond hair was in it's customary ponytail. She wore a purple miniskirt and a purple kimono top similar to Tsunade's, save that hers had long, long sleeves that hid both concealed weapons and vials of poison. She wore a mesh bodysuit reminiscent of Anko's underneath, and tall black ninja boots. Her waist was adorned with the usual medical pouches.

All six of the ninja were currently waiting for their reinforcement member from Suna as well as their final briefing before departure. The door opened and Tsunade strode in, followed by a female ANBU with a Hawk mask and the traditional brown cloak of Suna ANBU operatives. Tsunade sat down at her desk and addressed the assembled ninja.

" Thank you all for coming. You know the mission, so I'm not going to bother going over it again. This ANBU Hawk, our ally from Suna who was assigned to assist us in this mission courtesy of Kazekage-sama. She is one of the team now, and I expect you to treat her as such. You are the best of the best – don't let me down."

The ninja stood in solemn silence for a moment, before Tsunade stood, rubbing her hands together. " Right now that that's out of the way…" She leveled her gaze on the shinobi and kunoichi in front of her, making sure they were paying attention.

" ANBU Wolf has been designated commander for this mission. You are all to obey his orders and report back to him. A courier nin will be sent once a month to collect interim reports. Am I understood so far? Good. Due to the sensitive nature of this mission and the high risk of unwanted exposure, each of you will be assigned codenames to which you will answer."

She pointed to Naruto. " For the duration of this mission, you are Shiro."

Her finger traveled to Hawk. " You will be known as Fuu."

Her finger moved to Genma. " Mamoru."

She pointed at Anko, then Iruka. " Hisoka. Taki."

She gestured towards Ino. " Hime."

Finally, her finger stopped on Hanabi. " Chibi."

Hanabi bristled at the Hokage, but remembered herself enough to wear she didn't shout. After all, it wouldn't do if a member of the Hyuuga lost their cool, especially not in front of the Hokage. She did have to fight down the childish urge to stick her tongue out at her leader. Tsunade was apparently unaware of her annoyance or simply didn't care, as she handed Hanabi a black length of fabric.

Hanabi cocked a questioning eyebrow. " What's this for?"

" The Hyuuga eyes are too apparent. They could cause unneeded questions and our enemies might get wind of it and decide that this would be a perfect opportunity to obtain the Byakugan. Put this cloth over your eyes to disguise it. You can tell them you're blind or sensitive to light or something."

She didn't like it, but Hanabi nodded in acquiescence. Satisfied, Tsunade clapped her hands for attention. " Right. I think that covers everything. You will supposedly be arriving at the headquarters of this 'Phoenix Order', the secret organization that Dumbledore-san leads. He is to meet you there and further brief you. Remember, your identities and village are closely guarded secrets – reveal as little as you can get away with! Perform your mission to the best of your ability and keep each other safe!"

The ninja saluted. " Hai Hokage-sama!"

Tsunade surveyed the ninja one more time. " Good luck to all of you. May your mission be successful."

And with that, she began forming handseals. If she called out the name of the jutsu, none of the ninja heard it, as the floor beneath started glowing in an intricate pattern that was unmistakably a seal of some kind. Naruto would have liked to examine it further, but he couldn't because he was falling, falling….pressure hummed, he could feel it , making his ears pop, squeezing him until he was impossibly constricted and he just had to get out, had to breathe….and then it was over. The group fell to the ground in an unfamiliar room, panting heavily. A stranger's voice broke the silence.

" What the bloody hell?!" Instantly the ninja were on the alert. They reacted instinctively, each ninja, even Hanabi, seizing one of the strangers and placing a kunai to their throats.

Naruto seized a man with a gaunt face and wild black hair, pinning him against the wall.

Hawk took down a young woman with vividly pink hair, while Iruka captured a man with patched robes and a tired face.

Anko pressed her kunai against the jugular of a scarred man with a wildly spinning blue eye.

Genma almost nonchalantly twisted the arm of a man with a beak nose and greasy black hair, shoving his face against the wall.

Ino kept her kunai in plain sight of the stern-looking older woman she'd captured, almost daring her to try anything.

Hanabi disregarded the kunai and preferred to hold her glowing palm at the base of her captive's neck, a man with thinning red hair.

The entire business had hardly taken more than five seconds. For a moment the captives gaped at the pure speed at which the ninja moved. When their wits returned to them, they began struggling to escape…only to find kunais pressed into their necks. The other occupants of the room drew some sort of stick – no, wands – from their robes and brandished them threateningly at the ninja. A tall, dark-skinned man was first to speak, in a slow, even voice.

" Now, now. Put my friends down and we won't hurt you." The ninja had to suppress a snort – Anko laughed outright. This man had a lot to learn about hostage bargaining. He had already acknowledged that the captives the ninja held were important to him and had further tried to threaten not alone captors who held the lives of the hostages in their hands, but also ones that he knew nothing about.

The man appeared confused and more than a little disgruntled by their reaction. " I fail to see the humor in this situation." Anko chose to speak for the group.

" I do. You presume to threaten us? Not a smart move at all, little man." The guy looked positively shocked at being called a 'little man'. Anko held her fingers, counting off. " 1) – You couldn't so much as scratch us even if we were outnumbered fifty to one, 2) – you risk pissing off people who can kill someone you care about on a whim, and 3) – you act as if we actually care about being 'hurt'. You've a lot to learn about hostage bargaining, idiot."

The newly dubbed idiot just stood there, gaping like a landed fish at Anko. Naruto sent a stern look at Anko, which she felt despite the mask. Inwardly he agreed with her, but there was no reason to be rude. He reprimanded her, " Hisoka, what have I told you about insulting people?"

Anko looked down at her feet, the guy she was holding hostage growing more and more irritated with the ease that she held him even when she was not paying attention. " We only insult our friends or people stronger than us. Taunting the weak only lowers you to their level. Unless of course you're in a combat situation and are aiming to make the enemy lose their cool."

Naruto nodded. " That's correct. Now do any of those conditions apply here?"

Anko shook her head. " No taicho."

Naruto dismissed it. " Just don't do it again."

Meanwhile, the dark-skinned wizard was growing more and more irritated. The ninja were not even paying attention, instead focusing on the little dispute between the guy in the white cloak and the girl in the black. And to be dismissed as weak! It took a lot to get him angry, but that did it! Shaking with rage, he raised his wand, preparing to fire a spell while the ninja were distracted…a voice cut through the tension.

"That will be enough."

TBC

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A/N: Wow that was long…I got so sick of using the term 'ninja' I can't use shinobi, 'cuz shinobi are male, and I can't use kunoichi 'cuz they're female. Anyway, leave me a review! All are welcome!

If anyone wants to know the meaning behind the codenames:

Shiro- samurai

Fuu- wind

Mamoru- protect

Hisoka- secret

Taki- waterfall

Hime- princess

Chibi- mini or squirt

Can anyone guess who Hawk is?

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Review, or I will strap you to a chair and force you to listen to Gai lecture on the 'youthfulness' of spandex!