I'm terrible. I should be hanged, drawn and quartered and then set on fire. I cannot express my shame at having taken this long to update. After posting this story I'm going to take a gun to my head so deep is my shame.
A few points though, because of the plethora of questions regarding these matters:
1. I WILL NEVER ABANDON THIS STORY. I know that so far my updating schedule has been shitty to be perfectly honest, but I do have a life outside of anime and fanfiction and that's just the way it goes. I'm not going into details but I had a bit of a rough patch this last while. I promise you all that I'm doing my best and I thank you all for being patient with me. You guys are all wonderful! *blows kisses*
2. I will NOT bring in any more shinobi. Sorry. Quite a few of you have expressed a desire for Voldemort to bring some Akatsuki members over or something or Konoha to send extra help—but no. I have way too much on my plate as it is for this. There is so much planning that goes into this story it's not even funny. I have files and notebooks filled with ideas and timelines and character bios and calendars of events and…yeah. Five shinobi is enough, thank you very much. XD I assure you that there will be more than enough happening to entertain you.
I know I have quite a couple more reviews to respond to, but I figured I'd spend my time working on this chapter instead of responding. I will respond eventually however, so you'll still get a response!
I'd like to thank all these people for their wonderful reviews! Doll-Fin-Chick, captivated fairy, Duder Skanks, Malix2, birningice, Lupanari, Utena-Puchiko-nyu, Isana, littlefoxx567, Orihime-San, airnaruto45, MadnessLover, Javiur, Sabaku no Sable, Payce99, Mesonoxian, Hitokiri Shinzui, fayfan, Yumetaka Kourui, Lord Rebecca-Sama, TJ, Game-girl209, Midnightmich, GreyFitti, actressforever, Soraya the All Speaker, Venus914, Kale Henderson, Whitemagic58, Little Kunai, Ice Vixen X, NightFury808, nanashiindou, Lunatic Pandora1, naruto-lost-deathnote, Pissed Off Irish Chick, Daughter of Hades1995, Key, ArashiKage Naruto, candyman123, BetahimeTsukiko, Rakugosha, MidniteCurse4Eternity, Yarra, NomadSaw, Uzumaki Naruko14, yaoifangrl4ever, Lightningscar, TheArdisaur, crazzyredhead, Namikazelil, Kakashifangirlnumber1000, Kisa, kimcat, disneytiger, Petite Pixe524, Sharfan, JK, Sharfan (6), AnimeFreak2468, ANBU's Golden Lioness, Minato loves cal bears, melonhed85, Thais of the Star, Canna-Chan, TiinyDottTee, sanmitamaya, Tinchek(3), quintupledots915, AvatardsUnite, MM, Furionknight, , lego825, RokibaHatake, SilverLunaMoon (5), KakashiRulez, gintamachick, TheDepressedFairyFromHell, Mollybobcat, TrickeDLUnatiC, imouto12345, FOXANBU, EarwenTelrunya, silver fox 99, Piffsheep, 92Nemmy92, Wind Chakra, Serena-loves-Angst, Blinded in a bolthole(6), Wind Chakra, Uchiha Bara(7), ShirouHokuto, Xbud, XLord31, colbub, Kaka 3, JoSchmo666 (6), Ice Demoness Loveless, maneatingraccoon, Rinn, hitsugayataichoda, SaturnXK(7), Ember Spy, manateeface, mishap, JayneParker, naien543, haruhi65, Red Blaze (2), pyromania101, skie89, KageHisakata, thecis123, omally-dood, writer's legend, (blank), melkyre, virginger(2), PHr33k, AustinMinatoUzumaki, justMe, XxKyuubiRoxX, Rikuluver4ever, .Apples, DreamFeathers, Skipper311, Frostfire613, MuffinMan95, Failisse, ILoveDeaththeKid888, Ladyyuuki16, Tsukiyo no Masaru, ScribbleX3, Minator loves cal bears, Rika24, Xxsarbear-chanxX, Haytang, DragonPrincess91, BewareTheIdesOfMarch, Hikari no Minerva, Sessho's Girl, Featherain (2), Rain on a window, Burnzs (2), RedEYES-Fallen, BladeofRays, theo darkstar, RandomCitizen, Sypher14, Calliopic, Tenma Sosei (2), Wheelchairmaniac99, A Neverending Dream of Flight, Asshole, Guest, Anonymous 3, jay 8P, SasoriTactic, kaori and Yoshi, Wilfite, To Fly Or To Dream, GirlAnimePrincess, Guest, arogus98, Guest, WatermelonCat, WRose, MKTerra, MR-Obsidian-NZ, FlyingTurtleduck, Willwazooka, kyzalon (7), , littlechick2013, K (2), Ali-Kun, Tae, sakura240, StrawberryMelody, Moriviv, Katsumi-phoenix, and ToveSiwe. If you've changed your name since I've last updated, be sure to let me know so I know who you are! :)
And I'm sorry this chapter is shorter than the rest, but I figured any update was good enough.
Now without further ado, here's the summary and next chapter of NDH!
Summary: Lupin goes to Konoha to ask for the shinobi's help, and then Sakura and Kankuro come along as well to protect Gaara. Everyone is happily reunited, and Naruto gets Dumbledore's original watch from the will. They all help with the wedding, but then the Death Eaters come and Naruto and the Trio leave. With the Ministry fallen, the shinobi work with the wizards to best figure out how to fight back, warn wizards of the truth, and protect Muggle-borns. Kankuro goes with the twins to get helpful stuff from their joke shop but run into another Death Eater and some Snatchers. Kankuro defeats the Death Eater and gains a wand. Ginny and Sakura go to Luna's house to invite Mr. Lovegood to start publishing the truth of what's happening in The Quibbler, but also to discuss starting Dumbledore's Army up again with Luna. Gaara goes shopping with Mrs. Weasley and helps ease her worries about Ron and the others. Meanwhile, Naruto protects the Trio as they try to find a place to stay. Two Death Eaters find them, but are defeated and Naruto takes one for interrogation. They learn that by saying Voldemort's name they'll be discovered. Naruto is forced to torture the information out of the Death Eater, but his actions were influenced by his unresolved hatred toward Pein for killing Jiraiya. He gained a knowledge of what it's like to be consumed with revenge, but overcame it and hopes to use his experience to help Sasuke. He and the Trio learn about the locket and send Kreacher after it. Then Lupin comes to check up on them and he's told about Voldemort's curse. He rushes back to the Burrow to tell the others, but learns he's too late to warn everyone.
Molly gasped. "Merlin's beard! Kingsley and Kakashi!"
Lupin whipped around to meet her. "What do you mean by that?"
Arthur mirrored his wife's horrified expression and answered, "The two of them just left on a mission a few hours ago. It was an undercover mission to try and scope out where You-Know-Who is hiding.
"We have no way of contacting them without blowing their cover."
Kakashi was starting to feel like his old self again. He was on a mission, traveling through forests with danger beside him. Granted, he wasn't able to move as fast as usual and his companion was a wizard and not a shinobi—but it was the closest experience he could get. And Kingsley seemed like a very capable wizard so he wasn't complaining.
They were currently tracking a group of Voldemort's followers who seemed to be made up of two Death Eaters and five "ordinary" wizards. It had taken them a full day and a half to find them, and now the two of them were simply trailing them in the hopes that they'd eventually be led to Voldemort's hideout. Normally something like this would be nigh impossible without Ministry assistance since the group of followers kept Apparating, but that's where Kakashi's specific skill set came in.
To track them, Kakashi used the same trick he used back during the Triwizard Tournament, when Naruto and Gaara were whisked away by a Portkey. The second the wizards disappeared, he body-flickered to the area and sent out his chakra like physical tendrils to read the magic signature. He would then draw runes in a circular pattern on the ground and use a reverse summoning as soon as Kingsley grasped his shoulder.
The technique would never bring them to the exact same spot that the wizards had Apparated to, but Kakashi had gotten as skilled as one could get, and even then, perfection wasn't really what they were aiming for. They needed to be close enough to see what was going on, but far enough away that their presence wouldn't be noticed.
It was on their fifth re-Apparition that anything worthy happened, and Kakashi and Kingsley were lucky to even make it in time. One second the Death Eaters and followers were laughing around a fire after having settled down for the night, and the next they stopped what they were doing and vanished. Kakashi was just barely able to gather his meager supplies and read enough magical energy to see where they went. Going into it, he and Kingsley knew this time they would be brought somewhere important, because all the other times it had been obvious the men were about to leave.
When they arrived, it was in a cluster of trees and bushes at the end of a clearing. It was obvious they had traveled far, because unlike their previous location where it was late at night, here it was just nearing nightfall, with the sky still smothered in a pink and orange hue. The importance of the unexpected disappearance also became very clear.
"Round 'em up!"
There were a few seconds of screaming and yelling as curses were thrown left and right, then silence. Somehow, the group of Voldemort's followers had chanced upon a family who were on the run by the looks of it. They had tried to fight back with their own magic, but the Death Eaters had the element of surprise.
Kakashi's eyes narrowed at the sight of the bound parents and children in front of him, and if Kingsley's tightened grip on his shoulder was any indication, he felt the same.
"Most likely a family with Muggle-born parents on the run," Kingsley whispered, his voice just audible enough for Kakashi's ears. "Some people have been smart enough to run after the persecution started."
"But how were they found so fast?" Kakashi muttered back. Kingsley's grip tightened when a dark wizard abruptly kicked the captured family's father. "Did they trip some sort of alarm? We need to figure out how they're finding these people so we can make sure it doesn't happen again."
Kingsley lifted his hand off Kakashi's shoulder and cast a few intricate spells into the air, ones that Kakashi had never heard before but made sure to commit to memory. After a moment's silence the dark-skinned man shook his head.
"I don't sense any sort of magical entrapments," he said. "If I were them I would have set up a spell that reacted to magic being used, but as you can see that family has been here for at least a couple hours, and this location is remote enough that they wouldn't have to be cautious with their spell-casting." He sighed in frustration and shook his head in defeat. "There has to be something else at work here."
"We can do a more in-depth sweep of the area later," Kakashi said. "Do you think they'll be taken to Voldemort or some other secondary location?" Saving these people was their top priority certainly, but if they were able to track them all the way back to where Voldemort was hiding that would be even more beneficial. However, another alternative would be to ambush the Death Eaters now, then track them in their retreat.
Kingsley's brow furrowed in contemplation as he observed the dark wizards arguing in whispers before them. "The chance is slim. I can't see what—"
The words died on Kingsley's lips as the two of them suddenly found themselves surrounded by all but two of the Dark Wizards, who had stayed behind to guard the captured family. The men surrounding them had their wands pointed directly at their throats and the smile on their faces was all too smug for both Kakashi and Kingsley's liking.
"Wondered how long it would take you to notice us," Kakashi chuckled, his carefree voice cutting into the stunned silence. "See, my friend and I were just about to start making bets to pass the time."
Despite his flippant tone, Kakashi was highly confused. He knew he wasn't the best judge of a person's character, but he knew how to judge a man's fighting ability. There was no way these wizards could have sensed them! From what he learned the last time he was in this dimension, no one had senses as sharp as a shinobi. They were mere civilians in that sense. The only possible alternative was that there was some sort of magical detection charm nearby, but both he and Kingsley hadn't been able to detect anything. What was it?
Oh well. Hopefully they could solve that little issue later. Their main priority was to free the family and not give Kakashi's identity away.
Kakashi whispered for Kingsley to go help the hostages and leave the rest to him until the others were safe. The other man gave a barely perceptible nod, and then as one unit they moved. Kingsley Disapparated from their position and immediately opened fire on the two guarding the captured family. Kakashi withdrew his wand and kunai, felling two of their enemy immediately. (He let the one with the kunai embedded in his shoulder live)
By all accounts this should have been a relatively easy extermination (with the word "relatively" used because Kakashi wasn't allowed to kill them all) which is why what happened next was completely unexpected. All the remaining wizards surrounding Kakashi pointed their wands upward and bellowed, "Levitast!
In the span of an instant, all the raised wands were suddenly connected to each other by a single, pulsating strand of white electricity which then shrunk to the size of an average head, and headed straight for Kakashi. It happened so fast and was so unexpected that he didn't have time to dodge.
Kingsley snapped his attention over to Kakashi's area at the sound of the man's shrill howl. The light given off from the electricity that coursed through his body was bright enough to force the large man to hold out an arm to shield his eyes. He chanced a glance at the people he had just set free and saw they were looking in the same direction he had been.
"Go now!" he yelled. "Don't worry about us—we'll hold them off, but you need to leave!" The father looked a little startled at his harsh tone but nodded and immediately Disapparated with his family. Now that their safety was assured (for the time being), Kingsley turned his attention back to his cohort.
The magicked electricity had already run its course through his body, and Kingsley saw the end result of Kakashi's body collapse on the ground; a few pulses of electrical discharge crackling into the air. Kingsley sent a few curses at the men closest to Kakashi and to his relief they leapt out of the way, providing a clear path for him. The large man deflected a number of curses aimed at him using a shield charm and once he reached Kakashi, threw an arm around the other man and yelled,
"Deprimo!" He was nearly thrown back by the powerful blast of wind, but had thankfully aimed it well enough that he and Kakashi were unaffected. While it succeeded in disorienting their opponents—it was only temporary. He needed to discuss their plan of attack with Kakashi.
To his relief, Kakashi groaned and shifted beside him, turning on his side to blink up at Kingsley with unfocused eyes.
Kakashi's mind was reeling. Was that . . . but no—it couldn't be possible, could it? No matter, there was no use worrying about it now, but that spell felt too similar to his Chidori to dismiss it. Thankfully it wasn't as destructive, or else he would be in much worse shape.
"It appears following them is out of the question," Kingsley said dryly.
"Injure the remaining and return to the Burrow in five," Kakashi said. He grasped the offered hand, stood up, and mentally erased the pain. There would be time to attend to his injuries later. Now their focus was in making it so these Death Eaters would be unable to attack other innocents for at least a few days.
Kakashi and Kingsley started firing curses left and right, hoping to catch the fallen Death Eaters off guard. Unfortunately, most of them either employed a Shield Charm or simply moved out of the way in a cloud of black smoke. Kakashi couldn't exactly complain though—he preferred his opponents to at least prove somewhat of a challenge.
There wasn't much time for thinking for the next three minutes, as both Kakashi and Kingsley had their hands full dealing with the remaining six Dark Wizards. Kingsley managed to kill one by magicking a branch to swing down and break the man's neck, while Kakashi knocked two out by slamming their heads together.
Their enemy was understandably enraged by now and the two Order members couldn't help but share a smirk as they stepped closer together. The remaining Dark Wizards were enclosing them in a half-circle, and the second Death Eater thrust out his wand yelling, "Telumis!"
Kakashi twisted his body and kicked Kingsley out of the way as a barrage of assorted knives came charging toward them. Kakashi's eye narrowed as the weapons embedded themselves into a tree with uneven thuds.
There was no denying it now. Combined with the Chidori-like spell earlier, it was clear the Dark Wizards were copying the shinobi's attacks. They had created spells that mimicked their techniques and were now using them in battle. Despite Kakashi's anger to see his moves manipulated by such evil men, but he couldn't help but be slightly awed by their resourcefulness. And besides, he was the Copy Ninja after all so it's not like he could fault others for doing it.
Out of nowhere a hand griped his arm, and as Kakashi moved to slice it off, the world shifted, twisted, and turned inside out. When the world righted itself again, Kakashi knew he had been forcibly pulled into Side-Along Apparation.
He immediately body-flickered away from the Death Eater for a chance to get his bearings, since the man's purpose was clearly to disorientate Kakashi enough to gain an advantage over him. He could feel the sun beat down upon him with a tangible oppression, and the brightness of it in comparison of the darkened night they had just come from made his vision swim. When he could see, Kakashi took a brief, two-second glance at his surroundings.
It reminded him of the expansive desert that led to Suna, though instead of rolling sand dunes there was nothing but flat earth resembling cracked mud. An extremely familiar green spell pulsated toward him, and Kakashi's face split into a wide grin as he leapt out of the way. It seemed his opponent had brought him here, with no other signs of life for as far as they could see, for a simple execution. Little did the man know it would be his execution, rather than Kakashi's. Now that it was only them, he was allowed to go full out.
"Doton: Doryū Jōheki!" The ground beneath the Dark Wizard's feet bulged and rose up into the air, knocking the man off balance. As the man let out a cry, Kakashi charged forward, kunai in hand. Before the man could alter his position as he fell, Kakashi plunged the kunai into the man's neck from behind. The man let out a gurgled cry and Kakashi withdrew the blade. A small cloud of dust billowed out as the body collapsed on the ground and the dust swirled around Kakashi's feet. Then with a sigh, he reached down and wiped the kunai against the man's clothes.
While this mission had been a relatively successful one, all it did was raise questions. How were the Death Eaters able to track their enemies so quickly? And not to mention—how many of their jutsu had been converted to spells?
The three wizards plus Naruto spent a few moments just staring at the door Remus disappeared behind.
"Good call on remembering to tell him that," Ron said as they made their way back to the warm fireplace to finish their butterbeers.
Naruto nodded. "I'm just glad we had a way to let the Order know," he said. Now that the excitement was over, everyone listlessly resumed what they had been doing before.
Harry reached a hand out for the Daily Prophet that Remus had left behind and started leafing through it. He was well aware that the chances of reading anything positive were slim, but he felt an odd sense of duty partially influenced out of curiosity to find out what was going on since the collapse of the Ministry. He soon came across an old photo that caught his eye.
It was of a young Dumbledore and his family, with a headline above it entitled:
EXCLUSIVE EXTRACT FROM UPCOMING BIOGRAPHY OF ALBUS DUMBLEDORE
The newspaper crinkled underneath Harry's clenched hand, but he read on with a type of morbid curiosity. Dumbledore's past was such a mystery to him, though he soon regretted the decision. He discovered that Dumbledore's family had apparently moved to Godric's Hollow after the issue with Ariana.
Harry's eyes narrowed as he was reminded of the fact that both he and Dumbledore grew up in the same area—and the man never bothered to talk about it. However, now that Harry was thinking about it, he found himself entertaining the thought of taking a visit to Godric's Hollow for some possible answers. He turned around to voice his thoughts to the others, but was interrupted by a deafening CRACK!
Harry yelped and jumped out of his chair, his nerves frazzled from both the loud noise and the mass of struggling limbs that appeared out of nowhere just a few feet from him. He was trying to calm his rapidly beating heart as Kreacher disentangled himself from the mess and bowed low to Harry.
"Kreacher has returned with the thief Mundungus Fletcher, Master."
Mundungus made a move for his wand, but thankfully Hermione was faster.
Hermione caught the wand and before Mundungus could protest, he found himself shoved to his knees, arms bound, and with someone's hand on his shoulder and back of his head, tightly gripping his hair and preventing him from moving.
"Wha' the bleedin' hell?" he said, struggling against Naruto's grip for a few seconds. "Wha've I done? Setting a bleedin' 'ouse-elf on me, what are you playing at? Wha've I done? Lemme go, lemme go or—"
"You're not exactly in the position for making threats," Naruto growled, tightening his grip on Mundungus's hair. The shinobi crinkled his nose at the smell of the man he was restraining. He stank of stale sweat and tobacco smoke, and Naruto fervently prayed the interrogation wouldn't take too long.
"Kreacher apologizes for the delay in bringing the thief, Master," Kreacher croaked, sending a small bow in Harry's direction. "Fletcher knows how to avoid capture, has many hidey-holes and accomplices. Nevertheless, Kreacher corned the thief in the end."
Harry spared a moment to send a grateful smile to the elf. "You've done really well, Kreacher." He then walked up to Mundungus and pointed his wand deliberately at his nose. "Right, we've got a few questions for you."
"I panicked, okay? I never wanted to come along, no offense, mate, but I never volunteered to die for you, an' that was bleedin' You-Know-Who come flying at me, anyone woulda got outta there. I said all along I didn't wanna do it—"
Naruto frowned. Weren't they looking for a locket? What was he talking about? Thankfully, Ron whispered a reminder about what happened when Moody died and they were transferring Harry to a safer place. Naruto nodded his gratitude and refocused his attention to the discussion before him.
" . . . you cleaned out this house of anything valuable," Harry was saying, but was cut off by Mundungus.
"Sirius never cared about any of the junk—"
Naruto glanced up at the sound of pattering feet and barely leapt out of the way (releasing his hold on Mundungus in the process) to avoid getting hit with the saucepan that Kreacher just clanged over the vagabond's head.
"Call 'im off, call 'im off, 'e should be locked up!" screamed Mundungus, cowering as the pan was brought near his head once more.
"Kreacher, no!" shouted Harry.
The elf's thin arms trembled with the weight of the pan but did not lower it. "Perhaps just one more, Master Harry, for luck?" Ron and Naruto snickered.
"We need him conscious, Kreacher," Harry said firmly, though the corners of his mouth quirked in amusement. "Though if he needs persuading, you can do the honors."
The elf bowed his thanks and shuffled back a few feet, his great pale eyes still fixed upon Mundungus with loathing.
"When you stripped this house of all the valuables you could find," Harry began once again, "you took a bunch—"
Deciding that Kreacher's threat served as reminder enough, Naruto fell into line beside Ron and simply watched Harry's interrogation. He kept his muscles tense though, ready to pounce at any moment's notice.
" . . . What did you do with it?"
"Why? Is it valuable?" asked Mundungus.
"You've still got it!" cried Hermione.
Ron scoffed. "No he hasn't. He's wondering whether he should have asked more money for it."
"More?" The man laughed bitterly. "That wouldn't have been effing difficult . . . bleedin' gave it away, di'n' I? No choice."
The four teens leaned in. "What do you mean?"
"I was selling in Diagon Alley and she come up to me and asks if I've got a license for trading in magical artifacts. Bleedin' snoop. She was gonna fine me, but she took a fancy to the locket an' told me she'd take it and let me off that time, and to fink meself lucky."
Naruto scratched his head in exasperation. He knew English well enough but this guy was making his head hurt trying to work through his accent. At least he was able to get the basic meaning of the conversation, but he didn't particularly like the feeling he was getting about the new owner of the locket.
"Who was this woman?" asked Harry.
"I dunno, some Ministry hag." The man considered for a moment, brow wrinkled. "Little woman. Bow on top of 'er head." He frowned and then added, "Looked like a toad."
Naruto watched the reactions of his wizard friends in confusion—Ron groaned, Hermione's hand flew up to her mouth in shock, and Harry dropped his wand. It hit Mundungus on the nose and shot red sparks into his eyebrows, which ignited.
"Aquamenti!" screamed Hermione, leaving Mundungus soaked and sputtering but no longer on fire. There was silence for a few moments as Harry, Ron, and Hermione stared at each other in dread. Harry's right hand started tingling and he suppressed a shudder at the unpleasant memories of the vile woman.
So . . . does this help ease the justified anger you all undoubtedly have toward me? ^^; Did you like this new aspect to the war? Voldemort was able to combine shinobi fighting style with magic, thus leveling the playing field a little more.
Again I apologize for such a short chapter, but the next one will be longer and you'll get to see Kakashi return to the Burrow, learn of what happened with the meeting with Luna's father, and what happened when Gaara made cookies with Molly.
I once again apologize for taking so long to update!
And as a quick note, I have a Facebook account set up now so you can contact me immediately. :) The link is on my profile.