C h a p t e r 5 – Fated Meetings
"How prudently we proud men compete for nameless graves, while now and then some starveling of Fate forgets himself into immortality" -Wendell Phillips
The idea of heading back to the Leaky Cauldron seemed to be a very good idea but with the persistence of one excited blond, Sasuke and Sakura were once again being dragged about the street of Diagon Alley. They had visited an assortments of shops now and near the end of the day, even Sakura was becoming just as excited as Naruto. From one shop to another, they did eventually stop to rest at a placed known as Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlour but went off again after that and visit other shops and sometime even returning to a few shops that they had visited before, one place in particular being Magical Menagerie. Naruto had wanted to purchase a gigantic purple frog but with Sasuke firmly stating, "No. You have many already. You don't need anymore...", Naruto mood had taken a downer but his happy deposition returned quickly enough after purchasing a Puffskein behind their back.
What is a Puffskein you ask? Well, according to the shopkeeper of Magical Menagerie, a Puffskein is a long-tongued custard-coloured little furball that makes a calming purring noise. These pleasant creatures are often kept as pets, particularly by wizarding children. They were scavengers, and as scavengers, they will eat anything from leftovers to spiders. They are very easy to care for. Sakura squealed at how cute it was.
By this time, Uchiha Sasuke was suffering from a very bad migraine but inwardly, he did find that all that had happened today was very amusing. Why? Because secretly, Sasuke liked watching Naruto smiling and having fun for somewhere inside him, it created a pleasant feeling, a feeling that Sasuke opt in not wanting to know about. Not until he was ready to admit to it anyway.
Finally heading back to the Leaky Cauldron, Sasuke following behind like usual as he was busy contemplating things to himself, the sun had long set and the moon and stars were now illuminating brightly in the night sky. They were now currently back in their room above the pub.
"Ugh! I'm so tired!" yawn Naruto as he stretched his arms high above his head and the Puffskein he had bought that was currently sitting upon Naruto's shoulder, fell off and scuttled across the floor, seemingly having found something to eat down there.
Sakura gave a slight yawn as well and sat herself down upon one of the beds that was there.
"I am too," Sakura mumbled and glanced then from her bed to the other. "But there is only two beds and there are three of us. What are we suppose to do?"
Naruto grinned widely at her question. "Me and Sasuke can share of course and you can have that bed there all to yourself."
As he was walking across the room, Sasuke almost tripped over his own two feet at the blond's statement. Sasuke and Naruto, share? That was a bad idea, Sasuke was thinking but didn't have time to voice it as Sakura was the first to speak instead. Damn her for knowing too much. Sasuke knew that his pink haired friend knew exactly of what he was feeling—thinking.
"Eh heh," she laughed nervously. "I don't think that's a good idea."
Naruto pouted and lulled his head innocently to the side. "Oh why not? We're both guys so I don't see any problem."
"It just isn't and besides—erm—" Sakura chew the bottom of her lips, trying to think of an answer. "Sasuke's a bad sleeper," she finally stated and promptly ignored the glare that was directed her way. "He moves around a lot."
"Yeah, er—bad sleeper," Sasuke found himself muttering unconvincingly and he turned his back to lean against the window he had come to stand in front of. He had one hand hung loosely across his chest while the other was covered over his face just below the nose. He did want the other to see his heated face. Luckily, Naruto only seemed to find the comment amusing and laugh and was only wondering how Sakura would know something like that.
Either way—somehow or another—the ending decision still ended with Sasuke sharing a bed with Naruto. Sakura had just been to tired to argue more on the point and only ended up giving Sasuke an 'I tired' look before changing and going to bed. Sasuke, on the other hand, just had nothing pliable to give as an excuse and was now stuck lying on a bed next to a sleeping Naruto who currently had his back to the Uchiha.
He couldn't sleep. Too many thoughts were occupying his mind and he couldn't seem to find a solution to any of his problems. And Uchiha Sasuke had many problems at that but he wasn't the sort to just spill his guts and let the whole world know of them though as the majority of his problem were of the personal sort and only a fraction dealt with the mission.
The current occupancy of his mind that was becoming his biggest problem of all was one blond blue eyed male who happened to be snoring away (and being quite oblivious) beside him. There was something, something—that Sasuke knew not the name off, doing something inside him. What that something was doing, Sasuke did not know and that—bothered—him. He had an inkling feeling of what it could be but his mind did not seem in wanting to comprehend it. It was evasive and the feelings and thoughts of this something seemed to flutter away whenever the Uchiha wished to get a grasp of it so that he could thoroughly examined it.
'A fluttering feeling—,' Sasuke mused and his brows furrowed in thought and finding the thought to be annoying to say the least. Lying upon his back atop the bed with arms crossed and propped behind his head, he continued to contemplate his unusual predicament. After a much and rather long silence encased the already semi silent room, Sasuke sighed and rubbed a hand over his eyes as he finally realized then that there was, in all actuality, really no point for him to contemplate his situation at all to begin with. He already knew what he was feeling. It was only the fact that he wished not to admit to his feelings that was the problem for he knew if he were to admit to his feelings—it would only bring upon him ill fortune. Or so he thought. He just wasn't sure.
And yes. Uchiha Sasuke knew a lot of things and the majority of the things he knew, he wished he never knew at all. They were a hindrance, a plague, a complete disturbance. He had no need to be thinking of his feelings but his mind and (Sasuke grudging hated to admit) his heart seemed to think otherwise and the conclusion that both (his mind and heart) had come up with, left him quite baffled and speechless.
Broken out of his revere by movements from beside him, Sasuke watched as Naruto shifted about in his sleep. His breath hitched as the blond male turned to fully face him as Naruto had turned to sleep on his side. From this angle, Sasuke was given a great view of Naruto's peaceful slumbering face. It was a sight indeed and before he realized what it was that he was doing, he had one arm extended out and fingers were gently then caressing the side of Naruto's exposed cheek. The blond continued to sleep, unperturbed.
'Damn,' the Uchiha cursed but did not remove his fingers. He instead turned onto his side as well and gazed openly at the face before him. For once, his expression was completely opened and he was happy that no one was there to see it. Fingers subtly glided across the surprisingly smooth cheek, softly and slowly etching along the slightly visible whisker like marks that was there.
"Dammit," he softly breathed. "Dammit Naruto. Whether you like it or not, I'm falling for you." Those were the word he had never wanted to hear coming out of his own lips but whether he liked it or not, they escaped him, seemingly to have a mind of their own. From those words, it was also a turning point for Sasuke. He had thought that he would never admit to it but just now, at this very moment, he said aloud that he was falling for his blond friend. It was a sort of revelation in all aspect that the Uchiha could think of and he just found it too hard to believe. Somehow or another though, Sasuke felt a weight left off his shoulder. It was comforting and rather welcoming in a way and he wonder why he hadn't admitted to his feelings sooner.
After a moment, he chose then to remove his hand. Still able to feel the warmth that radiated from the other upon his palm, he balled his fingers into a tight fist and placed his hand at his side and it was well into the night before Sasuke finally allowed his mind to fall into the sanction of dreamless slumber.
By morning however, Sasuke was nowhere about and Naruto had groggily sat up with a hand unconsciously pressed to his cheek, a confused expression etched clearly across his face. Naruto had a feeling that he should be weary of something but before he could figure out what he should be weary about, he had fallen back asleep and the thought was soon left forgotten.
By late morning—everyone were finally fully awaken, washed and dressed. Naruto, Sasuke (having returning before anyone would wonder where he was) and Sakura were down at the pub below their room helping themselves to breakfast. Well, Naruto was anyway as Sakura was busy looking through a heavily bound textbook, seemingly doing more research about the place, and Sasuke was reading what looked to be a newspaper. The only odd thing about it was the fact that the picture in the front page had people moving about it. All three were quite surprised by it, yes, but they kept the thought to themselves. They had read about these moving pictures after all but that did not keep them from wondering of it though.
"Look at this," came Sasuke's voice and Naruto glanced up from his plate of sausages and eggs to look over at the other. Ramen for breakfast seemed a very appealing idea but with one pink hair koinochi stating that Naruto needed to eat something other than 'that junk' (so stated by Sakura) he opt for for a normal English breakfast instead.
Sasuke leaned forward upon the table, his face completely compose and clear of any of his previous thoughts from last night, and placed the opened paper flat upon the table before them. He pointed a finger to a heading and read aloud.
"Scene of Terror at the Quidditch World Cup," Sasuke read and then turned to look at his two companions. "It seems that trouble is already starting before we even get a chance to begin our mission." He sighed and sat back whilst his gaze travel up to the black and white picture of the Dark Mark.
"I don't understand," Naruto decided to speak up then. "What does that stupid skull snake thingy have to do with our mission?"
Sakura rolled her eyes. "Didn't you do your reading?"
"Obviously not." Sakura sighed before explaining. "That mark is called the Dark Mark and is known to only be used by Death Eaters when they kill and before you ask, Death Eaters are minions of Voldemort—the enemy of all good people and the one who we should be weary about while we are here. He is the person we are to protect the castle from." She turned her attention to Sasuke then who had a thoughtful look upon his face. Naruto had one as well. She opened her lips to speak but thought better of it and clamp it shut. It would seem that the Uchiha had something else on his mind beside the paper before them. Whatever it was, Sakura knew well enough not to impose. It was two early for her to intervene after all but she was growing quite annoyed at how slow the man was moving and she felt that such emotions could become a hindrance to the mission. The other needed to get his act together soon.
'If Sasuke doesn't make a move soon or do it before this mission is over, I'm going to literally kill someone.' Sakura heaved a frustrated sigh that did not go unnoticed by her two male companions. Noticing this, she offered a weak smile for cover.
"I'm heading back upstairs," she stated loudly and in a much too innocent tone. Standing up, she snapped her book closed and turned away as to ignore the curious stare from Naruto. She was really fighting the urge to turn around then and tell her blond friend to hurry up and 'Get a clue'. Inwardly sighing and clutching the book to her chest, she left the two to their own affairs.
The two weeks came and went and before they knew it, Naruto and his friend were packed and ready to leave for King's Cross Station.
They were all decked out in new attires with Sakura in a nice light blue, one shoulder, short sleeve top and white skirt and Sasuke in his navy blue, short sleeve sport jersey that adapted nicely to his lean upper body. He wore the usual cargo style pants that hung loosely over his black sandals. Naruto, well—even if he looked quite appealing in his new attire of a sleeveless white and orange jersey and knee length shorts, the fact that somehow there was always orange somewhere in the outfit was quite amazing.
With everything where its suppose to be, each slung their pack unto their back and left the Leaky Cauldron- after they bid their farewell to Tom anyway. The age man had been quite helpful during their stay there after all.
Out in the busy street of London, England, it was thanks to Sakura who had done a full study of the maps that they found King's Cross Station easily enough and with a quick deduction of their surroundings, they easily managed to find the strange portal between Platform 9 and 10 that lead to the area of Platform 9 ¾. It seemed to be quite an obvious place to figure and the ninjas had to wonder how anyone here at the station would not notice it. Seeing as they were not wizards though, they decided not to waste their time in wondering about it and let it be. They also did not want to draw any attention to themselves by just standing around while staring at a blank wall. It would look quite odd after all and they quickly stepped through the portal.
Granted the view of a large red train that read Hogwarts Express upon the side, they knew immediately that they had came to the right place. Looking about they could see that they were quite early as only a few people were about. They had about an hour left before the train was even to leave. Taking this as a good sign as they had no wish to run into anyone or be bombarded by questions of who they were, they handed in their tickets to the conductor and was pointed the way to their reserved compartment. In all actuality- it wasn't any different from any of the other compartment that was there.
With their things stored away, Sasuke and Sakura could see how jumpy and elastic their blond friend was behaving.
"Its about time that we are able to start our mission," stated Naruto who currently had his head stuck out the compartment's window. His Puffskein of which he had yet to name seemed to have attached itself to his blond hair. The creatures pink fur fluffed and fluttered about in the soft breeze that could be felt from the open window. Outside, Naruto could see students coming through the portal and making their way towards the train. His excited blue eyes roamed all about the place as he talked, finding it hard to keep them still.
"Just sitting around in that stuffy room was beginning to get boring." Naruto pulled his head back in and turned about to glance at his two friends and frown when they seemed to be practically ignoring him. He puffed out his cheeks and pouted.
"Oh come on! Don't tell me you two aren't excited as well?"
"We are excited, can't you tell?" Sasuke deadpanned and turned to gaze dully at the blond. Naruto give him a bland look as he basically could hear the sarcasm in the other's tone.
"Yeah, Naruto," Sakura chimed in. "We are excited. We just choose not to show it." Even though she said thus, Naruto had a hard time believing it also, especially when she had her nose in another book. Giving up, Naruto sighed and quickly stood. That, at least, drew their attention for a bit. Sasuke raised a brow while Sakura blinked up at her blond friend.
"You two are boring." He huffed out and then offered a wide grinned. "I think I'm going to explore the train," he said in a jubilant and rather mischievous tone and dashed out of the compartment before either could say anything to stop him. His last words were, "Watch my Puffskein for me," and he was gone and said Puffskein was now bouncing about the compartment before settling itself upon Sasuke's lap.
"Stupid Naruto." Sakura sighed as she gazed solemnly at the opened compartment door. "I hope he doesn't cause any trouble."
Sasuke gave a 'hn' in agreement and gaze wearily at the pink furball. The corner pf his lips twitch upward to form the smallest of smiles when the small creature began to purr.
In the next thirty to forty-five minutes or so, Harry Potter was also making his way through the portal between Platform 9 and 10. Walking into the wall, he and the Weasley's were then standing within Platform 9 ¾. Just before they had come though, Mr. Weasley had received a strange message in the even stranger of fashion (well, according to Harry anyway as he had never ever seen a floating head, Mr. Amos Diggory's (Cedric Diggory's father) head at that, in a burning fireplace before).
That aside however, the name mention during the conversation had gotten him quite curious as to who this Mad-Eye was, but before Harry could think or ask on the subject, he found out quite soon enough that 'Mad-Eye Moody' was a nutcase, according to George anyway and a great wizard, according to Bill.
'A nutty wizard,' Harry had thought then. 'That sounds very appealing.' Harry could particularly hear the sarcasm in his voice and without thinking more on the subject, Harry had returned to his room to grab his things so that they could leave for the Hogwarts Express. As the Weasley had not their car nor were they able to borrow one from the Ministry, they had resort to taking the normal Muggle way and called for cabs. It was not a wonderful experiences at all as they had to cram into the back to sit with all their luggages. It was a very cramp and uncomfortable experiences.
Now that they had arrive however, Harry, Ron, and Hermione boarded the train and found themselves an empty compartment in the far back. As they had walked through the aisle, the trio picked up small tidbits of there being a hyperactive blond running a-muck somewhere about the train. Harry's first thought on who the blond was was of Malfoy but quickly pushed the thought aside as 'hyperactive' was not something he would have ever associated with said person.
'Must be a new kid,' Harry wondered vague and immediately ignore the topic and entered their chosen compartment. Unfortunately, they had the ill honor of sitting in one that happened to be located behind Draco Malfoy and his cronies. Their door wide open, the could clearly hear the conversation coming from the other compartment of which Malfoy was talking rather smugly of a place called Durmstrang. Before they could hear more though, Hermione had softly slid their compartment door closed.
"Durmstrang's another wizardry school?"
"Don't you guys know anything?" Hermione asked and huffed a sigh. "Well—yes, it is and it's got a bad reputation. According to An Appraisal of Magical Education in Europe, it puts a lot of emphasis on the Dark Arts." She said thus in a sniffily tone and crossed her arms hauntingly across her chest.
Seeing it, Harry left the subject as is but Ron continued either way. The conversation went on then of where the school was and how it was hidden. No one knew, or so Hermione says. It was just like Hogwarts, hidden by magic. That said, they all left it at that. Moments passed and the train had long taken off. Outside their compartment's window, rain fell heavily down upon the moving train and the sound created as each droplets hit the top of the train was quite soothing to Harry's ear.
Many of their other friends dropped by every now and then but Harry did not pay much attention, not even when Ron began boasting about his day at the World Cup and the things he had gotten there. It was all quite uneventful really, that is, before Malfoy decided to stick his head into their compartment anyway.
"We saw him up close," Ron was telling the others, one of them being Neville. Victor Krum was the main topic of their current conversation. "We were right in the Top Box—"
"And it'll be your first and last time, Weasley."
Malfoy stood there before their door, his two cronies, Crabbe and Goyle standing imposingly behind him.
"Go away Malfoy. We didn't ask you to join us so go and suck up somewhere else and leave us be," Harry deadpanned, glaring at the blond boy and got the satisfaction of seeing the corner of Malfoy's eye twitch in annoyance.
Malfoy glanced then about the small compartment and stop when his eyes landed up a maroon colored cloth that seemed to be covering what looked to be a cage. The sound of something thrashing about it could be heard but Malfoy's attention was on the grubby cloth. It was Ron's dress robe, something that was required for their forth year.
"What is that?" the male asked in mock surprise and look quite disgusted as he noted the condition of the attire. Malfoy smirked as he watch Ron try to hide it but with much quickness, he reached over and seized it before the other could. Holding onto the moldy cuff he showed it to Crabbe and Goyle.
"How ugly," Malfoy said in an all to happy tone. "Don't tell me you plan on wearing this piece of junk? No, don't answer." Malfoy face twisted into an ugly sneer. "You are. You're too poor to buy anything else after all." The blond laughed then, Crabbe and Goyle's voice soon following. Stopping, he silenced the two behind him with a hand and toss the robe back to the red head who was now seething, face red in anger and embarrassment.
"Eat dung Malfoy!" was all Ron could say and Malfoy laughed again.
"So," Malfoy began, quickly changing the subject as he had grown bored of it. "Are you going to enter Weasley? I'm betting you would. The fame would do you and you pathetic family some good. There's also the money. If you were able to get a hold of it, then maybe you can get a hand on some decent robe—"
"What the hell are you talking about, Malfoy!" snapped Ron.
Malfoy looked annoyed and he crossed his arms over his chest. "Are you going to enter?" he repeated but seeing their looks of confusion, a gleeful smile spread across his lips. "You don't know. How great is that and here your father works at the Ministry. Pathetic." He smirked. "My father told me ages ago." A smug look appeared upon his face.
It bothered Harry to watch it and he wanted to wipe the look of his face. 'And really, what was he talking about?' Harry wondered. He would not say that he hadn't guess that something was up for during his stay at the Weasley's, hints had been dropped about, hinting that something big was to happen at Hogwarts this year. Was that what Malfoy was mentioning about? Tuning his attention back to the blond boy, he could see that the other to be still talking. Unable to tolerate it any longer, he spoke.
"Enough of your jabbering, Malfoy. We don't need to hear anymore of your useless crap."
Malfoy clamped his mouth shut, an indignant look then crossing his face a moment before he open his lips to say more but was stop when the compartment on the other side of Harry slid open and a beautiful pink haired girl stepped out, a very annoyed look upon her face.
"Anatatachi shounen tachiha shizuka?!" she said in a tongue none there could understand. They were all too surprised to question her though, quite stunned by her sudden appearance.
Harry and Ron and most of the people in the other compartments took the moment to stick their heads out then to see who it was that had spoken.
The woman, seeing their confused looks blinked, place a hand to her ear and then sheepishly chuckled before muttering something incomprehensible that sounded very much like a curse and disappeared back inside her compartment a moment before popping her head back out. She held something in her hand that she then clipped to her right ear.
"Sorry about that," she said now in clear and understandable English. "Now, what I said before. Will you please be quiet?" Her green eyes narrowed dangerously and all the boys there took an audible gulp. "I have a person sleeping in here so if you would, please quiet down or else I'll make sure your lips remain permanently shut." The woman smiled as she said thus and that made the threat all the more frightening. Watching her then heading back inside her compartment, the aisle of the train was engulfed into an awkward silences of which Malfoy was the first to break.
"Che. Stupid chit," was all he said and turned to leave. Everyone else took that as a sign to leave as well, quietly returning to their compartments. Neville and the rest bid their leave and left as well.
"Blimey." Ron muttered after the other was gone. He had just sat down on the opposite side of Harry. His eyes were wide as he gaze across his seat to the other. "Who was that hot babe?"
Hermione, who was seated next to him was unfazed by all the previous commotion, her nose stuck in her book still. Her eyes did give the slightest of twitch at Ron's comment but she ignored it. She was curious as well however but she decided to keep it to herself.
Everything soon enough returned to normal as the boys went on bickering about the World Cup, Victor Krum, and anything else that would come to mind, especially of the beautiful pink haired woman. When thinking that things had finally settled back down, their compartment door was suddenly banged opened and a frantic blue eyed orange blond blur dashed inside, slammed the door shut, and dived into the corner and seemed to try in making his body as small as possible as he hopped upon the seat, his back to them, and had his legs crunched up to his chest. Hands that were frantically searching about for something and having grabbed for Ron's dress robe, the person pulled the cloth over himself. He looked now like a large lump of dirty rag. (Yes, Ron's dress robe was just that ugly.)
The golden trio had at that moment jumped far away from the other and were now all cuddling to one side of the compartment near the door and were staring wide eyed at the person who was trying to hide himself, and doing a rather good job at that, beneath Ron's dress robe. Hermione's book had fallen onto her lap, forgotten. They were to startled to say anything at the moment.
"Shh! I'm not here!!" the person had turned his head about and wide blue eyes stared at them. They tried to make out his face but with the robe wrapped so about him, it was hard to make anything out beside his eyes. They made to say something but the force of the person's stare made them think otherwise. Dumbfounded and too stunned for words at the suddenness of it all, they dumbly nodded their heads.
A look of relief entered the other's eyes and that seemed to slowly settle the forming tension in the room.
"Thanks," was all he said and turned away and promptly covered himself once more.
Just as he had done so, the door to their compartment burst opened again and a small group of girls stuck their heads in. They glanced about, seemingly looking for something and the golden trio watched as their eyes landed upon the bundled up dress robe. For a moment there, Harry, Ron and Hermione were sure they saw it tense up.
The group of girls appeared oblivious though and brought their attention to the golden trio.
"Have you three seen a tall orange blond male with blue eyes coming this way?" one asked and they appeared quite eager for an answer.
When the trio shook their head the group sighed and said, "Oh well—" smiled politely, "thanks anyway—" and left.
Silences ensued a moment before Hermione took it upon herself to speak up.
"Erm—I think you can come out now." The bundled move about and seemed to straighten, the dress robe sliding off the other to reveal messy sun kiss locks. Turn about, the trio could now clearly see his bright blue eyes but what really got their attention most of all was something else all together.
"Phew. That was close," the blond exclaimed and sagged back into the seat. "Thanks so much for covering me!" he continued. "Can't believe how persistence those girls were!" The man glanced up then, wondering why no one was saying a word. Seeing their face, he asked, "What?" They were staring at his face. "Is there something on my face?"
Ron broke out of his revere then and began laughing. The tension lifting, Harry and Hermione followed suit. Well, Hermione tried not to but it was hard.
"What?!" the blond man whined, seeming very oblivious and confused. "What is it?"
"Pftt!" Ron placed one hand to his lips and pointed at a finger at the man with the other. "Your... pfft... face—pfft! Make up!"
"Eh?" The stranger still seemed quite confused.
"Oh stop it Ron." Hermione said through muffled laughter. "I don't think we should be laughing at him."
"Well you're one to talk 'Mione." Ron said laughing. "You're laughing as well."
Hermione's face flushed at Ron's word and she quickly enough calmed herself. She turned her attention back to the stranger.
"I'm sorry for laughing but you... have make up all over your face."
She watched as his eyes grow wide a moment in apparent shock and they all could see that something had click inside the other as a look of realization then came over his face and a very noticeable blush spread from one ear to the other across his face.
The stranger sheepishly laugh. "Oops. I had forgotten." He sighed. "Those girl had decided to put make up on me," he mumbled, explaining.
"Why?" asked Harry once he and Ron had stop laughing. He was becoming rather curious as to how the blond male had gotten himself into such a predicament.
"Well—" and so he began his explanation, after a brief introduction anyway as Hermione had pointed out that they knew not each other's name.
Stating that his name was Nicolas was all he had said of himself before going on of how everything came to be. He was new, they figured, as the man had mentioned that it was his first time ever riding upon the Hogwarts Express and had decided to explore the vast vehicle. After a long bout of exploring and noting that the train was getting crowded, he was going about the compartment trying to find his own when he happened across a wrong one that belonged a group of sixth year students. They talk and Nicolas had thought they appeared nice enough. It started out in a friendly conversation with him asking innocent and curious question about the train, the school and the likes when one of the girls suddenly stated that he had a pretty face. That simple statement lead from one thing to another and one girl wondered aloud if he would look good with make up. Ron and Harry decided at that point of the story to burst into laughter once more.
"Hey! Stop laughing." Nicolas pouted but continued. "They had asked so nicely and I just couldn't bring myself to refuse but after a while when I asked them to stop, they wouldn't and so, I ran for it! You two should be feeling sympathy for me. Not laughing." Nicolas pointed an accusing finger at Ron and Harry and that seemed to only made them laugh harder.
Hermione on the other had was glaring.
"Honestly, you two, grow up already." She sighed and turned her attention to Nicolas and smiled up at him. Even if it was only a short while ago that they had met, they were getting along quite well. Although she wished to know more of the other, she knew it would have been too rude to ask. "I'm terribly sorry that you had to go through that," she said instead. "How about I help you remove your make up?" The male brighten and nodded his head.
"That would be great. Thanks Hermione and you two! Stop laughing already. It's not that funny. No wait. Okay. Fine. It is funny but—" He sighed. "Ugh. Stop laughing!"
"Fine fine. We'll stop but you got to admit, the make up look surprising good on you." Harry tease but noticing Hermione's glare directed at him, he raised his hand in defeat. "No need to look at me like that. I'm not laughing anymore see?" From across, he noted that Ron was still laughing, somewhat muffled anyway, and Harry nudged the other with his feet to get him to stop as well.
"Honestly," Hermione muttered as she noted this. "Boys." Shaking her head and leaving them be, she returned her gaze to Nicolas who seemed to have a rather happy expression upon his face.
"What is it?" she asked, sounding curious as she dug about her belonging for a clean cloth.
Nicolas softly chuckled. "Nothing. It's just that you three remind me very much of my own friends. A bit anyway." He grinned.
"Oh? Are you're friend here as well—ah – found it," she softly exclaimed, her question forgotten as she pulled out a small white cloth. Glancing up at Nicolas, she beckoned him to lean forward. Just as he complied and Hermione had her hand that was holding the cloth extended towards his face, the door to their compartment slid open once more.
In the compartment on the other side of Harry and a few minutes before the curret happenings, Sakura heaved a weary sighed as she turned her gazed to the darken window beside here. The darkened sky and harsh weather seemed to only grow worse as time passed but she did not pay it any mind though, her thoughts on the people outside her compartment. At first, she had silently listened but as they continued to yap on and on outside her door, she had had enough of it and had yanked off her earring, hoping then that that would keep her mind off of it. When it didn't, Sakura had decided to shut them up herself.
As she had forgotten to replace her earring, she calmly endured the embarrassment and had gone to retrieve it and placed it back on before returning.
"Sorry about that. Now, what I said before. Will you please be quiet? have a person sleeping in here so if you would, please quiet down or else I'll make sure your lips remain permanently shut." Satisfied with the shock look that adorn each of their face, she headed back in to only heave another sigh as she noted the sleeping person before her.
There on the opposite seat was Sasuke, sound asleep. Sakura had expected this out of Naruto but to see Sasuke sleeping at this time of day, something must really be wrong. Glancing at his handsome face, she could see then the tired lines about his eyes. 'What could have caused them?' she wondered. 'Was he not getting enough sleep?' Sakura sighed. The Uchiha's problem didn't take much to think upon. It was quite easy to deduce that what was bothering Sasuke was the one and only person who could get under his skin.
Looking rather exasperated and deciding to just leave the other be, Sakura smacked a hand to her forehead before sitting down and returning her gaze to the dull and fogged window.
It was long after when Sakura noted movement from the corner of her vision. She turned her attention to the other.
"Finally awake I see."
Sasuke ignored the comment and asked instead, "Where's Naruto?"
Sakura sighed at the questioned asked. So typical of Sasuke to asked about Naruto first thing when he wakes up, she was thinking and fought the urge to roll her eyes.
"I don't know. I think he's still exploring the train." She frown. "It been a long while now though. Maybe he got lost?" It seemed unlikely.
"How can a person get lost on a train?" Sasuke asked dryly. "You go straight. There is no other direction you can go."
Sasuke shook his head and raked a hand through his hair before standing up.
"I'm going to go and look for him." He glanced to Sakura. "Stay here in case he returns while I'm gone," he then said as he notice that she was about to get up as well. Seeing Sakura sit back down and nodding her head, he left the compartment.
Out in the aisle, the Uchiha glance up and down the walkway, wondering which way he should go when he caught the familiar sound of the person he sought coming from the compartment next to his. His brow furrowed. There was no way he could mistake Naruto's voice.
Coming to stand before it and not even bothering to knock, he slid the door open and his obsidian eyes were quite shock at the scene before him. He notice not the other three that was there for all the Uchiha had eyes for was of his blond teammate. The corner of his lips twitch and he felt the urge to laugh but being a person who did no such things, he settled with a slight cough instead as he quickly schooled his features of any noteworthy emotions.
"Moron," he deadpanned. "What the hell happened to your face?"
"Sas—Samuel!" the blond quickly corrected himself and grinned, completely ignoring the glare the other directed at him.
Sasuke sighed and finally noted the others within the room. His dark eyes trailed from the bushy haired girl who sat across from Naruto and then to the black haired boy who sat next to her and and the red one across from him.
"..." His eyes trailed then back to the black hair boy for a moment longer before he glanced up to gaze at Naruto, a brow raised questioningly. Naruto said nothing and only offer his trademark grin before turning his attention to the bushy haired girl before him.
"Don't mind him, Hermione. Even if he doesn't look it, he's a good friend of mine."
"Oh." was all the girl said and offered the blond a smile. The two boys that were there seemed to relax at Naruto's word. Sasuke had notice that they were quite tense when he had opened the door.
"Come on. Lets go back to Sarah. She's been wondering where you were." It wasn't a total lie. He knew though that she must have been wondering. Giving them all one last glance, he turned to leave, knowing that Naruto would follow.
"Alright." Naruto stood after biding the three there an apologetic look. "See you later guys." With a wave to his new friends, he left, the door to their compartment closing shut behind him. Just as he entered his own compartment however, he was immediately bombarded by questioned from Sakura. Question of where he had been, of the make up and after explaining, Sakura, who had been laughing, help Naruto to remove the make up.
"You know, the black haired boy was Harry Potter," he said in a soft tone. Sakura was still trying to get the eyeliner off from around his eyes as he spoke. "Funny huh that I would run into him of all people."
"Yeah. What a coincidence," muttered Sakura. Done with the eyeliner, she tried to wipe away the lipstick on his lips. "Really Naruto. How the hell could you let some girls put make up on you?" Exasperated that it wasn't coming off as good as she wished, she began whipping harder and promptly ignore the blond's protest.
"Well, they asked nicely and I didn't want to hurt their feelings. If I had known though that they would be that persistence, I wouldn't have agreed." Grimacing as Sakura wiped at his face harder, he decided it best then to remain quiet.
From the other side, Sasuke silently watch, quite amused even if his face show nothing of it. From the compartment over of where one Harry Potter and his friends occupied however, the golden trio had now gone into an animated talk of 'Nicolas' and his friend 'Samuel' as they wondered who they truly were and what business they had with Hogwarts. They couldn't be new students after all.
As the train came to a stop, every student on board had long changed into their robes and were now filing out and into the heavy downpour that awaited them outside. Everyone was talking animatedly with one another but quieten immediately when three strangers climbed out of the train.
The silences went unnoticed though as everything about them were drown out by the sound of clashing thunder. The rain decided then to come down even harder than before. Everyone, including the three stranger cursed at their predicament and they grudgingly made their way to the castle.
From behind, a largely built man gathered the first years.
"Oooh, I wouldn't fancy crossing the lake in this weather," came a girls shivering voice and everyone silently agreed as they got onto the horseless carriage. Well, it wasn't so horseless for the three strangers but they were too wet and tired to bother in saying anything off it.
Following closing behind the many students, Naruto and crew passed through the gates and up the sweeping drive. Before them, the ninjas could see Hogwarts castle coming nearer as from the distance, the lighted windows proved to be a beacon of welcome, to show that they were almost there. Once the carriage came to a stop before a flight of stone steps, the students jumped immediately off and dashed quickly up the stairs and into the warmth of the castle.
Naruto was in awe of his surrounding and took the moment to allow his eyes to roam about the place. It was huge- possibly the largest building that he had ever seen and it appeared to be very ancient indeed.
"Wow," he found himself softly exclaiming and a few eyes turned his way, giving him curious look. He knew that they must be wondering who he was and why he was here. Not just him. They must be wondering of his friends as well. He knew though that he could not give them an answer. The students weren't to know of the mission after all. The decision was up to their client. From over the crowd of students, Naruto could see his newly made friends, Hermione, Ron, and Harry. He tried to get their attention but before he could, a woman came waltzing down the hall, her face looking naturally grim and her graying hair tied tightly into a bun upon her head. A pair of rectangular spectacles adorn across the bridge of her nose. She silently noted the students and the three ninjas and approach them first.
"You three must be them," she said, eying the three with a cautious gaze. She had a right to be weary after all as she had never met them before and knew not of what they were capable of. Seeing the three nod their heads, she continued.
"I am Professor MacGonagall. Please follow along with the rest of the students then as we make our way into the Great Hall." That said, she turned her attention to the many students who were craning their ears to try and hear what they spoke of.
"Well, move along then!" she ordered sharply, causing the crowd to jump. "Into the Great Hall, come on."
As everyone headed up another flight of stairs and entered through the large set of double doors on the right, Naruto, Sasuke, and Sakura gazed at one another a moment before following close behind. They were then offered quite a spectacular view as they witness the overly large room that held four long tables filled with other students and a magicked ceiling that showed a cloudy night sky. Flashes of lights could be seen forking across the sky and the sound of rumbling thunder could be heard every now and then as the students went about to sit down at their appropriate tables. While the students situated themselves into their Houses table, Professor MacGonagall led the ninjas up to the front table and off to the side of where there were rendered out of sight from the students below. An olden man with a long white bread and bemused eyes that glowed mysterious behind his half moon spectacles came forward to welcome them in a soft and raspy voice.
"Welcome, ninja's of Konoha. I have long awaited your arrival." The old man smiled. "I am Professor Albus Dumbledore, your client and also the headmaster of this school." He nodded his head towards the three as Naruto, Sasuke, and Sakura offered him a deep bow. "There is no need for formalities. I wonder instead however if I will be given the honor of knowing your names?"
Naruto, who had form a liking for the man immediately, offered a wide and friendly grinned and opened his lips to speak but was cut short when Sasuke spoke first of which caused the blond to pout but decided to let it be.
"If it is alright with you, we wish not to disclose our true names."
"Ah. Tis a pity but I suppose I can agree to that."
"Then you may call me Samuel. My blond friend here is Nicolas and the woman is Sarah." The three offered then another deep bow, their fist clasped before them as they did so to show a sign of respect. This Albus Dumbledore was the sort that seemed to truly deserved it. There was just something about him, despite his oldness, that spoke of great power.
"We wish to know of what we are to do now that we are here. We have a small understanding but we wish for you to fully explain it to us."
"Ah yes—what you shall do. As I do not wish to alarm my students, I had mention in the letter that I wish for you to go undercover. Throughout the two weeks, I have kept in touch with your Hokage and we have now come to a decision." He glanced to Sakura. "She has mention that the young lady here was a medic and has decided that she shall go undercover as an assistance to our head nurse, Madame Pomprey. For you two gentlemen, your Hokage was not specific and thusly so, I have decided on what you two shall do on my own." As Dumbledore smiled, his eyes appeared partially closed and his face took on a serene look.
"I would like the two of you to pose as a sort of teacher's assistants, alternating between each teacher throughout the school. That will give you reason to roam freely about the castle with little suspicion. The head of each house has already discussed it and has agreed that this is the best thing to do. In your spare time, however, you are allowed to do as you please. My only wish is that you keep your presence unknown to the student when you are about so. Is that agreeable?"
The three glanced to one another, turning their back to the old man a moment as they debated the issue at hand. It was a moment later before they turned back to face their client.
"We accept," all three said simultaneously and nodded their heads.
"Good." Dumbledore turned then to head back out but stop himself as he then remembered something. "Ah- there is something else that I wish to speak to you of but I suppose you shall hear of it along with the rest. Come then," he beckoned and they came back into the open. Eyes were turned their way, a few quietly whispered and others openly talking and pointing in their direction.
Extra chairs had been added to the end of the long wooden table where all the teacher sat and they knew it must be for them and they promptly sat down as Dumbledore waved them to it. The man then came to the center and sitting down upon his own chair. They followed suit but before the three ninjas could get a feel of the room, the door to the Great Hall opened up once more and the woman that had lead them here was now leading many drench and shivering first years towards the center of the room. The ninjas watched then in rapt silences as the woman place a wooden stool on the ground before the first years and atop of it, an extremely worn and patched up pointed hat.
To say that Naruto and his friends were quite startled that the shabby thing had started singing was an understatement. Naruto was in open face awe as he watch the hat sing. Sasuke was in silent contemplation as usual and his hard and icy face was hard to make out. Sakura looked rather appreciative of the object. She had read up after all on how wizard liked to magicked things, the thoughts of the wizards and/or witches being able to remain in the item for a long period of time. From the look of the hat, she knew it must have been a very—very long time since he it had been magicked.
Once it had stopped singing and applauses followed, the 'Sorting Ceremony' began. It was a tradition that has always been done within Hogwarts that allowed them to easily figure which house best suit the new students. It was a long while before it was over and when it was, the hall burst into applauses and Professor Dumbledore then offered everyone to 'tuck in'.
Surprisingly, with those word, an assortment of food magically appeared upon the table. Sasuke was left blinking and Sakura and Naruto, gaping at the many food that was there. Magic—magic was truly an interesting and very conventional power.
Naruto happily dug in, his behavior very much like the students below. Although he was quite disappointed that there was no ramen, he had to admit that the food was quite delicious—different but delicious.
When everyone had had their fill, every dish and tray practically licked clean and not a crumb was in sight, Albus Dumbledore took that moment then to stand and address the entire hall.
"Welcome," began Dumbledore, smiling around at them all. "Ladies, gentlemen, student, staffs and guest. I hope that you are all well fed and watered to your heart's content. I must once more now ask for your attention while I give out a few notice. As usual, I would like to remind you all that the Forbidden Forest is off-limits to all students- as is the village of Hogsmeade to all below third year.
"It is also my painful duty to inform you that this year, the Inter-house Quidditch Cup will not be taking place." At this time, grunt and groans of disapproval spread across the students below; objections were loudly spoken and question asked. Dumbledore promptly held up a hand and all noise cease.
"Please settle," Dumbledore continued. "The reason why this is so is that another event will be taking it's place in the coming month of October and will be continuing throughout the school year. It will take much of the time and energy from your teachers but I do assure you—that you will enjoy it quite immensely. I have great pleasure in announcing that this year at Hogwarts—"
His voice was then cut off by the sound of loud rumbling and the door of the Great Hall bangging open. Everyone blink, some jumping up in startlement as head turned to face the newcomer that was now coming down the aisle between two House table. A dull clank echoed throughout the hall with every step he took.
The man had a face that was hard to describe. A contorted face with scars all over that was twisted in the most disturbing of ways and his shaggy mane of hair didn't prove to help either way in improving his horrific looks, nor did his nose of which appeared to be missing a large chuck. His eyes though, his eyes was what caught everyone's attention. His eyes was what made him frightening. While one appeared rather ordinary, dark and beady, the other was large and round as a coin and a vivid, electric blue. It was moving carelessly about. Up, down, from side to side, and even back into his head and only white was seen.
Reaching Dumbledore, they shook hands and spoke quickly to one another, muttering and nodding their head a moment before Dumbledore smiled and gestured him to an empty sit at his right hand side before returning his attention to stun silent room, smiling brightly to all that was there.
"May I introduce you to your new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher?" The headmaster glanced from one side of the room to the other. "Professor Moody." The usual applause that came when greeting a new teacher did not come. Everyone seemed too shock to say anything and seemed to be more enthrall by his bizarre eyes and could only stare. People began silently muttering among themselves however but Dumbledore cleared his throat to get their attention once more.
"Now—as I was saying. It's my great pleasure to inform you that the Triwizard Tournament, an event that has not been held for over a century, will be taking place this year at Hogwarts." Immediately, everyone's attention was taken away from Moody's eyes and brought to stare dumbfounded at their headmaster. For those who knew what it was stare opened month and appeared quite stunned for words. Some did voice their question though and that seemed to lighten the mood within the room when a red headed boy shouted, "You're JOKING!" and everyone laughed. The tension in the room ease then and Dumbledore assured him that he wasn't joking. The man then went on to briefly explain what the Triwizard Tournament was. To simply put- it was a friendly competition between the three largest European schools of wizardry: Hogwarts, Beauxbatons, and Durmstrang and from each school, a champion was chosen to compete in magical tasks.
"The Heads of Beauxbatons and Durmstrang will be arriving with their shortlisted contenders in October and the selection of the three champions will take place on Halloween. An impartial judge will decide which students are the most worthy to compete for the Triwizard Cup, the glory of the school, and a thousand Galleons personal prize money."
The students below began immediately to boast their eagerness to go for the tournament but Dumbledore's next word halted all their thoughts.
"Eager as I know you all to be, I apologize to say that the Heads of the participating school, along with the Ministry of Magic, have agreed to impose an age restriction on contenders this year," he said. "Only students who are of age—seventeen years or older—are allowed to put their names up for consideration. This" —Dumbledore raised a hand to silence the hall as people began then to loudly protest— "is all I have to say on the matter and that I will personally ensure that those who are underage do not try and enter. Now—" He glance to the side, twinkling eye now upon the silent ninjas who had yet to move or even say a word throughout the entire conversation. The attention on them had been forgotten when Moody had made his appearance but now that Dumbledore had his eyes on them, all eyes seemed to be directed at them once more as well.
"Now," Dumbledore repeated. "I will be introducing some other newcomers into our staffs this year." He waves a hand toward Sasuke, Naruto and Sakura who appeared quite startled to see that now all attention were upon them. They quickly schooled their features though before Dumbledore continued. "In the furthest corner is Ms. Sarah and next to her are Mr. Nicolas and Mr. Samuel." Each in turned stood and offered a slight bow of their head when the name was mention and quickly sat back down. "Miss Sarah is a newly appointed assistant nurse to Madame Pomprey while the other two will be a sort of assistant teachers. Although they will not be teaching, they will however, be watching. Inspiring teachers, they are, and wish to gain experiences here at Hogwarts and I am deeply happy to have them here. They will be attending each of your classes randomly so do not mind their presence. Due to our busyness in organizing of the Trwizard Tournament, we have yet to prepare a place for them to stay. However, I think it is best that they are allowed to temporarily room with the Gryffindors. Are there any objections?" None came.
"Now it is late as is and so I believe that it is time for you all to head to your Towers and get ready for bed." Everyone knowing a dismissal when they heard one, they began to file out, not without much animated talking anyway. There was so much to take in after all. Their new DADA teacher. The Triwizard Tournament. The three new strangers. This will indeed be one interesting year.
Metaphysical's Ending Notes - Translation Note & Et cetera.:
"Anatatachi shounen tachiha shizuka?!" --
(Will you boys be quiet?!)
I'm sorry for the lateness and of how crappy this chapter turned out. I've been having internet problems and can't get on my computer as often as I wish. Now...
About this chapter: I got nothing really as nothing major happened in this chapter.
Now- here's a little something. Care to name Naruto's Puffskein?
Since I couldn't think of anything, I'm hoping you can.
I would appreciate it a lot if you did.
Now-- if you would so kindly- press that review button. Please and thank you.
Oh- and before anyone is confused- Soifra and Metaphysical are the same person. I just wanted a new alias.