A/N: So, this chapter update took longer than even I expected. Life happened. Procrastination happened. Writer's block happened, which is kind of the same thing as procrastination. The things I had to go through to finish this chapter... arrgh. Anyway, here it is along with a scene or two that I've sort of been dangling in front of you like an unopened box of cookies.
"Apparently there is nothing that cannot happen today." – Mark Twain
The day of the official reading of Albus Dumbledore's Will
"Mr. Potter," a voice called from down the wide and carpeted hallway. Though Harry couldn't recall the voice, he was all too familiar with having his name called in public by complete strangers. He'd personally prefer having another go with the killing curse than shake another hand and be stared at, but he was told that sane people didn't do that sort of thing. And, that if he just smiled and nodded things would eventually die down or someday another boy/girl-who-did-something-supposedly-impossible would come along for people to gawk at. Harry wasn't really in the mood to fake a smile though. He could feel his headache growing, starting right at the point between his eyes. He sighed, gathering his strength as he stalled the inevitable by pretending to clean his glasses. Harry massaged the bridge of his nose before replacing his eye-wear and then he turned around.
"Yes?" he said to a man much older than himself, perhaps older than Dumbledore was. He was much shorter than the late Headmaster though, with wide shoulders and a bulbous nose set between a pair of world-weary eyes. That was the only thing really similar. Harry halted his thoughts as he realized he was comparing everything about this stranger to Albus Dumbledore. It wasn't entirely strange since he'd just left the will reading for his old headmaster - the official one, without Minister of Magic interference - but he was in that hallway, a few random left turns and right turns away from the room it had taken place in, to try and clear his head. Harry resisted shaking his head to clear his thoughts. When he did that, people tended to worry about him a little too much.
The old man then surprised him by saying, "Difficulty clearing your head these days?"
"Er, yes," Harry replied. In fact, he'd had a headache for the past week and the highest doses of muggle medicine and potions hadn't been able to calm it down to more than a light pulsing behind his eyes. He wasn't sure, but it felt like the man was prodding for a deeper answer to a question he had yet to ask. What that was, however, Harry had no idea.
"Well, it should pass," the man said a little more matter-of-fact tone than Harry was comfortable with. The barely of age wizard discretely readied his wand.
"Is there something you wanted?" Harry asked. "I'm afraid I should be getting back."
"To the will reading?" The man's bushy eyebrows rose. "I was quite upset to hear of the passing of Mr. Dumbledore."
"Professor Dumbledore," Harry automatically corrected. The man's eyebrows rose higher.
"Oh, yes... Forgive this forgetful mind of mine. It's just - it's a shame to hear of another death in the Dumbledore family."
"Do you know the Dumbledore family well?" What Harry really meant was, "are you a friend or just one of those people who read Skeeter's book?" The man shook his head, which Harry thought confirmed that he was just another Skeeter follower.
"I'm afraid the only one I personally met was the young Miss Ariana. She had quite the... potential to do great things." His words struck a chord in Harry. It reminded him of his first time in Ollivander's wand shop. Great things. Terrible things. The old man seemed to notice the shift of Harry's thoughts in his eyes.
"Perhaps that was a bad choice of words," the man said.
"Perhaps," Harry replied. "If you'll excuse me..." He moved to head back down the hallway. It was likely that he'd forgotten when exactly those left turns and right turns were, but Harry was willing to risk getting further lost so long as he could find some solitude again.
"Mr. Potter," the man called again. Harry paused, but only turned his head to look at the man. Turning around would probably keep him there longer than he wanted to be. The man's expression looked very grave. "When that headache of yours clears up tomorrow, please contact me."
Harry took the offered card without saying a word. He watched as the old man shuffled down the hallway in the opposite direction until his short figure turned the corner. Harry then looked at the card. It had a phone number on it, the first unusual thing about it since most wizards didn't use phones. And then he looked at the rest of the text.
Worker of all things mystical and mysterious
"Huh?" Harry said. He turned the card over, found the other side blank, and then flipped it back to the text. Harry hurried down the hall to try and catch up with him, but found the next hallway empty and the only doors along it were all locked. It was a dead end too.
The next day, Harry woke up with a clear mind and, for the first time in a week, his headache was completely gone. He called Mr. Woodham's number.
Konoha (Present Time)
It was easy to slip open one of the windows and slip inside the apartment. Too easy, Kakashi thought. He was used to seals and genjutsu - at least a latch in place. There was one but it was left in the open position. Kakashi was beginning to wonder whether this was going to be his easiest mission, or possibly his worst. Underneath the underneath, he told his team. Well, he couldn't really see under the surface of this place, which had him on edge.
The room he entered turned out to be the foreign woman's bedroom. There was a general air of femininity about it and, plus, he was fairly certain the man, Harry, didn't wear skirts. Seemingly random charms and baubles hung from the ceiling, and the bed... he wasn't sure what to say about the colors of the bedspread.
Kakashi turned towards the corner of the room when he thought he saw movement out of the corner of his eye. There sat a desk with a few more random and strange objects on it, along with a mouse sized replica of an eagle perched on a branch. The bird blinked and cocked its head at the silver haired shinobi.
Kakashi blinked back. "Hmmm..." He was drawn into a short staring contest, as he contemplated the possibility that the eagle might be the security. It didn't start screeching, or disappear somewhere to warn its master. If it turned out that it was though, it was already too late to hide from the thing. Kakashi internally sighed. This was the problem with trying to sneak around foreign grounds. You were never quite sure if you'd just taken the wrong step.
Tsunade-sama had at least informed him of what to look for if their... magic was to in any way react with his chakra. From what she'd described though, it would take a significant amount of magical output for that to happen. Perhaps it was different when magic was placed on an object or a person. Knowing something has already been done isn't quite as helpful as being able to anticipate the next move, but it had its benefits. The question was how was he going to do that?
After considering a few things Kakashi slowly approached the eagle, the only obviously magical object in the room (despite the oddity of everything else). He uncovered his sharingan. Nothing out of the ordinary. Then, he infused his hand with chakra and brought it close to the eagle. He thought he felt something similar to what Tsunade-sama described, though the sensation didn't spread farther than the elbow of his outstretched arm.
He inched his hand a little closer. The eagle didn't seem to mind - perhaps it wasn't sentient after all - and so he moved just a little bit closer. There was definitely some kind of reaction. Interesting. Kakashi was about to draw back his hand, continue on in his personal investigation of the foreigners' living space, when the eagle spread its wings - no wider than the wingspan of a sparrow - and one of the tips brushed against his hand. The prickling sensation increased ten-fold, spreading quickly through the silver haired man's body.
Kakashi's eyes widened. "Oh no."
"Did you hear something?" Sakura asked as they were making their way towards the stairs of Naruto's - and now Harry and Luna's - apartment building. They had parted ways with team Asuma and Harry and Luna had invited the two shinobi back to their apartment to show them a few things they'd collected on their travels. Naruto cocked his head and listened intently. The witch and wizard paused like their two younger companions and within seconds turned to each other to exchange a look.
"Merlin... so that's what happens?" Harry muttered.
"Eh? Harry-san? What happens? Did something happen?" Naruto asked the wizard.
"We had a visitor," he answered.
"Had?" Sakura said. She and Naruto followed the two up the stairs and in less than a minute they were to the apartment door.
Nothing seemed amiss when they entered until all eyes were drawn to Luna's bedroom door. Tendrils of smoke curled up from the bottom of it. Naruto dashed to the door, swinging it open only to breathe in smoke that smelled like burnt wood, fabric and plastic. He coughed, clearing the air with a quick wave of his one arm while the other covered his face.
The room, for the most part, was untouched. The corner by the window, however, was black. The window itself was shattered, and there was a half crumbled desk and chair. Nothing else in that area was recognizable, though there was something dark and shiny melting down the one leg of the desk that was still mostly intact.
"What happened in here?" Naruto asked. Both he and Sakura were wide eyed as they examined the damage. They turned when they heard a sigh from Luna.
"And I just finished decorating," she said. They let her pass and the blond witch took a closer look at the oozing object in her bedroom. "I think it was my eagle figurine that did it."
"Did what?" Both young shinobi asked.
"There was a chakra user in here while we were gone," Harry said. "Seems he touched something he shouldn't have. Remember what I told you about the brooms, Naruto?"
"About the magic stuff?" Naruto asked. Harry nodded.
"Seems that, to some degree, magic and chakra don't mix well after all." He gestured to the mess in front of them. Though Sakura wasn't present for the conversation mentioned, she seemed to understand well enough. She gaped, along with Naruto, now at the damage done.
"S-So, what happened to the person who was in here?" Naruto asked causing Sakura to pale both at the thought that it might be someone they knew and that they were in a similar shape as the desk and chair.
"Oh, they made it out," Luna answered, turning away from her charred desk. "So there's really nothing to worry about... Except maybe how I'm going to redecorate, of course." She looked oddly thrilled at the idea now.
While Naruto and Sakura were left wondering who it was that had caused the scene in Luna's bedroom, they were hurried back into the living room to sit on the couch. The two had teacups in hand before they realized it. To Naruto's delight they happened to be the ones that changed colored as well. When Sakura's turned a hazy brown, Harry decided that it was about time to reassure the two.
"We've set up some security around this place since we got here," he said, drawing Sakura from her thoughts. Naruto was too busy taking sips of his tea and trying to change the color of his cup. "Nothing extensive, but it's enough for me to tell you that I know for certain that whomever was in that room wasn't seriously harmed."
"Harry-san, you don't seem upset that someone was in here."
"I think I would have to be surprised first before I could be upset. This isn't the first time we've been on foreign land, and we're already aware that your village has been keeping a close eye on us."
"Oh..." Sakura replied. She wasn't sure what else she could say. Sorry? If the ninja had been in their apartment under orders from the Hokage, then it shouldn't be her place to apologize. There was still the possibility that it wasn't even one of their shinobi. Sakura thought briefly of asking Harry if he knew, but decided against it.
Instead, she asked for more tea, ignoring the fact that her cup was now a brownish black.
Kakashi-sensei was on time. It was the first indication that something was off. Sasuke's gaze was immediately drawn to the second unusual thing.
"What happened to your hand?" Sasuke asked.
The silver haired ninja didn't look up from his book as he casually slipped the hand in question into his pocket before saying, "Nothing serious. The foreigners, Naruto and Sakura arrived ten minutes ago."
"You wanted to meet them?" Sasuke said a little skeptic that was his teacher's only reason. Getting the silver-haired shinobi to tell you all of his plans, though, was about as easy as bringing the dead back.
Kakashi shut his book. "I might as well." He pushed off from the side of the building and made for the closest entrance. Sasuke followed.
What are you up to, Kakashi-sensei?
"Kakashi-sensei... what are you doing here?" Sakura asked, surprised to see her teacher at the door. His shoulders were casually slumped and he had his right hand stuffed into his pants pocket. And, though he was obviously smiling - well, not so obviously considering you could only see his eye - Sakura got the odd impression that he was annoyed. She mentally shook her head. Since when did Kakashi-sensei really get annoyed?
"Kakashi-sensei?" Naruto asked. He had been engrossed in examining the cards with moving pictures Harry and Luna had pulled out to show them up until hearing their teacher's name. Sasuke, who had been standing out of sight, chose that moment to cut in front of the silver haired ninja into the apartment without any greeting. Sakura blinked, but didn't say anything. She motioned for Kakashi to enter.
Harry and Luna looked up as first Sasuke, then Sakura and finally Kakashi came into sight again. "Oh, Sasuke, it's good to see you and..." Harry's gaze landed on Kakashi.
"This is Kakashi-sensei," Sakura quickly said. "He's our team leader and he trains us."
"I see," Harry said. The wizard's expression grew still before he suddenly smiled and nodded. "It's nice to meet you." Kakashi nodded back. Luna stood up and offered her hand to the silver haired ninja.
"Pleasure to meet you."
Kakashi stared at the hand for a moment before extending his own hand, which happened to be the one that he'd kept in his pocket. Sakura immediately raised an eyebrow at the bandage that was covering it. Luna, surprisingly, gently took the injured hand into her own and rotated the hand so that it was palm down. Kakashi grew tense, but didn't try to draw his hand back.
"You should consider re-bandaging this," she said.
Kakashi's response was a forced calm. "Oh? Why's that?"
"It's wrapped clockwise. Very bad luck for wounds. Counter-clockwise is much better," Luna said as she released his hand. She dug into the pocket of her skirt and then drew out a metal tin. Offering it to the silver haired ninja, she said, "It's my own special salve. Helps with healing."
"Ah... Thanks," Kakashi said, hesitantly taking the tin. He fell silent and as the seconds of silence increased, the awkwardness became hard to bear.
"Ano... Kakashi-sensei," Sakura said, desperately trying to break up the atmosphere. "I'll help you re-bandage, come sit over here. Would you like some tea? Harry-san, do you have any tea cups that don't change color? Not that I don't like them, uh, what I mean is..." Sakura's attempt to make things better, to put it simply, was going very badly.
Harry stopped her before she could start do anything worse, like offer Kakashi-sensei some pumpkin juice. "I think we have a few normal ones, yes. I'll go get them. Luna, how about you show our guests a few souvenirs from our travels while I go get them?"
As he moved into the kitchen, Luna sat back down on the couch. She looked thoughtful before a smile grew on her lips. They all watched, curious, as she took off one of her earrings. What looked like a small radish dangled from its hook.
"This is something we picked up a few years back."
"It's, er, very nice and... unique," Sakura said.
"I think it's kind of weird," Naruto said, earning a thump to his head. While he nursed the fresh wound, Luna laughed. Her laughter made Sakura think of multi-colored bubbles, oddly enough.
"I get that a lot," Luna said. "But the interesting thing about this is what you can't see. Would you hold this for a minute, Sakura?" Sakura nervously stuck out her hand, allowing Luna to drop the earring into her palm. She frowned when she couldn't see anything special about it.
"Uh... is it supposed to do something," Sakura asked. She suddenly heard the clink of a teacup dropping. The pink haired ninja turned to look at her blond teammate curiously. She was going to ask him what was wrong, but then he spoke. She knew exactly what was wrong after that.
"Ehhh? Why can't I understand Naruto? And... and why isn't my mouth moving right?"
"Because you're speaking English," Luna answered. All eyes went to her. Sakura felt relieved for a moment when she could understand her. That relief was short lived.
"Wait... I don't know English!" At that moment, Harry returned from the kitchen with the teacups. Everyone was momentarily drawn away from Sakura's crisis as he calmly set them down in front of Sasuke and Kakashi as if he hadn't walked in on Sakura's nervous squeaks.
Sakura apprehensively watched as first Naruto spoke and then Harry answered, all of which she understood none of. Then, Harry spoke again and this time it was very clear. "You can hand the earring back to Luna," he said in English. Sakura was more than willing to do just that.
"Did the earring do that?" Sakura asked. The end of her question trailed off as she realized her mouth was working the words in the way she was familiar with once again.
"She's back to normal," Naruto said. This earned him an eye-roll from Sasuke. Kakashi seemed very interested in the earring now, though.
"That earring is some type of translator?" Kakashi asked. Luna nodded as she placed it back on her ear.
"It works a little differently than your typical translator, but yes."
"Meaning?" Kakashi asked.
"It causes the one that is in possession of it to speak the language of whoever in their presence they consider to be foreign. It obviously has its limits. If you were among a group of foreigners, for example, who all spoke a different language it would only be able to focus in on one."
"So, you don't actually know Japanese? I thought that since you had an accent..." Sakura trailed off.
"The person who invented it said that he didn't want his device to be used for deception. Anyone trying to blend into another society in order to hide or spy wouldn't be able to use its translating abilities to their advantage because there would always be an accent." Harry said.
"We're not trying to hide the fact that we're foreign, so we find them very convenient," Luna added, tapping the radish earring and making it swing on her ear.
"And they look like radishes?" Sasuke asked. His brow furrowed as he watched the movement of the strange jewelry piece. It was clear that he didn't like the fact that something so useful looked so strange.
"That's just what Luna's looks like," Harry said. "Mine looks quite different."
"And where's yours?" Sasuke asked.
Harry smiled. "Safely tucked away," he answered. Sasuke's expression was blank, but it was obvious to the trained eye that he was annoyed.
"Where exactly did you come across such a device?" Kakashi asked, pacifying the brewing situation. "I'm not familiar with anything like it."
"Somewhere very far away," Luna answered. "Very nice people, but we haven't been able to visit again… Would you like to see some pictures?"
The conversation soon dissolved as Luna and Harry produced a few albums – did they really travel with so much stuff, the ninjas wondered – for the group to look through. Kakashi, being the type that knew quite well when asking another question about the translator would seem more like an interrogation, decided to silently enjoy the pictures with his students. If he thought that the few images that moved, the figures in them occasionally waving out at them, he didn't say anything. Sasuke, for his part, silently looked through the albums as well though he kept glancing at Harry as if he were looking for something out of the ordinary, which he probably was. Sakura sighed. She could feel a team meeting in the near future. And, it turns out that she was right. When she got home that evening, she found a note pinned to her door.
Team 7 Meeting. Noon. Bridge.
A/N: There you go. The translating device and its history are not from any fictional or non-fictional world that I'm aware of, just in case you were wondering. There are similar devices/artifacts/things in other original stories, but I wound up creating something else. Perhaps I'll write a side story where they visited that particular world? Anyway, I always had something like that in mind when it came to explaining why there wasn't a language barrier. I've come across HP fanfics that use translation spells, but I decided to go in a different direction. Anyway. Review. Please. My creative hamsters are hungry! I hope you enjoyed the chapter!