Splash of Pink
Disclaimer: I only dreamed of owning Naruto and Harry Potter. If that happened, I would be the richest woman in the entire universe. :)
I hope you guys like it!
Edit 03/16/15: I went back and decided to add more details because I thought it had been a little bare while rereading it haha.
"Certain words/phrases in italics mean a different language is spoken."
- Chapter One -
"I think you should put some colour in there." Sakura suggested while pointing to a spot on the canvas.
"That would totally ruin the mood." the artist countered, his expression blank as he continued to work on his painting.
"But it's all black and white." Sakura said with a slight frown, a whiny edge to her voice. Sai finally looked up from his painting and turned to his companion.
"There's grey." he told her in a matter-of-factly tone while pointing to a grey area in his painting. His companion resisted the urge to groan.
"But it's boring." Sakura said with slight exasperation. Sai gave her a blank look before going back to his painting of a waterfall done in black, white, and grey.
Standing in front of the Hokage's desk, the two ninjas waited patiently for the Hokage herself to show up. The Hokage had summoned the two of them for a mission briefing, although Sakura found it a little strange. It wasn't that strange for them to go on a mission together, but it was rare that it was just the two of them. They usually went in teams of three or four, and sometimes even more. The strangeness aside, Sakura was excited about the idea of going on a mission again after a long break from her last one. She only hoped it wasn't going to be a boring escort mission again.
Upon hearing the door slam open, they turned and greeted Tsunade, who nodded curtly to acknowledge them as she walked briskly to her desk, followed by her pig Tonton.
"As you already know, you are both here for a mission briefing." Tsunade said briskly, making eye contact with the two shinobi as she addressed them. Both of them nodded in confirmation.
"Recently, a bizarre request came in," she started slowly, clasping her hands together in front of her face and resting her elbows on the desk. Curiosity sparked in Sakura, but she said nothing and waited for Tsunade to elaborate.
"A man by the name of Albus Dumbledore has made a request for two of my shinobi to help retrieve an item for him. As to what the item is, he did not say." Tsunade said, her eyes surveying the two shinobi before her and their ractions.
"Tsunade-shishou, that's an English name..." Sakura said with uncertainty in her voice, a look of confusion on her face.
"Our client is the headmaster of a school called Hogwarts, which is located in Scotland." Tsunade explained. Sakura's eyebrow rose as she turned to look at Sai, who appeared indifferent even after hearing that bit of information.
"Shishou, how did he find us? And can we even trust someone that we know nothing about?" Sakura asked wearily, not getting good vibes from this mission. She didn't even know where Scotland was.
"He contacted me through my crystal ball. He somehow managed to establish a connection. It was apparent he's British, but he speaks very fluently in Japanese. He has introduced himself to me, and has clearly explained his request. I can't explain it to you, but you know you can trust him." Tsunade finished somewhat lamely, not quite meeting their eyes. Sai thought it was a poor excuse for hiding the fact Dumbledore probably offered her a large amount of money. He looked over at Sakura, and knew she thought the exact thing.
"Hokage-sama, this may be a good way to establish international connections, but how do we get to Scotland? We don't know even where the country is." Sai pointed out, his fake smile in place.
"That, has already been arranged. All I need to know now is whether the two of you accept the mission or not. I warn you right now, this mission will be a year long S-ranked mission." Tsunade warned.
Sai appeared unfazed while Sakura's eyes widened slightly in surprise.
"S-ranked..?" she voiced faintly, not quite believing her ears. She was still a Chuunin, so logically S-Ranked missions shouldn't be available to her, unless there was absolutely no other available Jounin or higher ranked ninjas. As far as she knew though, there were quite a number of available Jounin still within the village, her old sensei for one. This caused Sakura's eyebrows to furrow even more in confusion as she waited for Tsunade to further explain her decision to send just her and Sai.
"Sakura, I know you registered for the Jounin exams but I can't allow you to participate just yet. This will be a better alternative for you. This mission will be one year long, and it will give you lots of time to think things over." Tsunade said, her hazel eyes softening slightly as she spoke directly to her student. Sai noticed Sakura stiffen a little at being turned down from taking the exam, her hands unconsciously curling into fists.
"Shishou, I don't understand. Why would you allow me to participate in a S-Ranked mission, yet you won't approve of me taking the Jounin exams?" Sakura asked as calmly as possible, keeping as much of her frustration under control as possible.
Tsunade stared at her student for a moment before giving a quick reply. "The mission was only deemed S-Ranked for formality's sake, since you are required to travel to an unfamiliar continent. However, the mission difficulty would be A-Rank at most."
Sakura's brow remained furrowed. "That still does not answer my question Shishou. Why can't I take the upcoming Jounin exams?" Was she still not good enough in her mentor's eyes? Was she still lacking somewhere? Sai glanced at Sakura briefly from his peripheral out of concern, but quickly returned his attention to the Hokage.
"I don't think you are ready yet," Tsunade replied curtly, which effectively dampened Sakura's mood even further. "Sakura, you may have improved your battle techniques and skills, but you still lack certain Jounin qualities. That is why I believe that this year long mission will be a good learning experience for you." Tsunade told her, hoping Sakura would understand that she had her best interests at heart.
"Hai, I understand." Sakura replied with a sigh, and an edge of bitterness to her voice. She didn't completely understand what qualities she was missing and wished her shishou had elaborated, but she was smart enough to drop the subject before her shishou's infamous temper flared up. She will just have to trust her decision and hope for the best. Sai almost wanted to stare at Sakura in disbelief for her quick acceptance on the issue. He knew her well enough that taking the Jounin exams was her next biggest ambition and it was something she wanted more than anything else at the moment. Aside from Sasuke returning that is.
"Tsunade-shishou, what kind of school is Hogwarts?" Sakura finally asked, her curiosity firing up once again. Tsunade gave a relatively sly smile in return at the question, which made Sai and Sakura shoot wary glances at each other.
"I thought you'd never ask." Sakura's brow furrowed once again, not liking her mentor's tone of voice at all.
"For the next year, should the two of you choose to accept the mission, will be attending Hogwarts, the School of Witchcraft and Wizardry." Tsunade said slowly, making sure her words sunk in. Sakura had a look of disbelief on her face while Sai had his poker face in place.
"Magic exists?" Sakura managed to sputter out, her jaw dropping slightly.
"Tsunade-sama, how are we um... expected to perform magic?" Sai asked politely, though you could hear the doubt in his voice.
"In their country, the magic they use is actually the spiritual energy we use to mould chakra with. Their means of channelling that energy is through a medium called a wand. You were trained to combine spiritual energy and physical energy in combination with hand seals. For magic to work, you need to focus on gathering only spiritual energy. Wands are made so they can amplify and transmit spiritual energy into their so-called spells and curses. This was how Albus Dumbledore had explained the concept to me when we discussed the technicalities." Tsunade explained.
'Technicalities?' Sakura thought with disbelief. There was no way the thought of performing magic a technicality.
There was a moment of silence as the information that Tsunade just told them slowly digested in their brains. The disbelief was still strong, but Sai and Sakura both thought carefully about the mission.
"I accept this mission." Sai confirmed after a while, his face completely blank. Sakura looked at him with surprise, wondering how he managed to remain calm the entire time. Not wasting anymore time deliberating, Sakura also gave her answer.
"Shishou, I also accept this mission." Sakura said determinedly. If completing this mission was what it'll take to prove herself worthy of taking the Jounin exams, then she will give it her all. Tsunade beamed at the two of them and clapped her hands together joyously.
"That's great to hear! This mission will be a once in a lifetime experience, but I have great faith in the two of you. On another note, you two can't reveal to the other students your mission or the fact that you're ninjas. If asked, say you are from Japan. Meet here tomorrow at 7 o'clock sharp. Dismissed!" Tsunade told them, and they both nodded in confirmation before leaving the tower.
"Sai, how the hell did you manage to stay so calm?" Sakura asked nonchalantly as the two of them sat by the waterfall, Sai working on his painting once again. Sai instantly knew she was referring to the mission, as opposed to the Hokage refusing her application to the Jounin exams.
Sai deliberated for a moment before responding, "Promise you won't be mad?"
"Promise." she replied, wondering why she would be in the first place.
"Tsunade-sama had lightly gone over the mission with me a few days earlier." he replied, and tensed up, preparing for the explosion. Even though he made her promise, there was no guarantee she still wasn't going to blow up on him.
"WHAT?! So you were just pretending?!" she exploded, looking at him incredulously. Sai had expected this reaction.
"You said you wouldn't be mad." he reminded her. He saw -out of the corner of his eye- Sakura looking skywards, mentally counting down in her head to calm herself down.
"Why would she do that? And why didn't you warn me?! Hell, why Shishou stopped me from taking my exam is my biggest question." Sakura fumed, crossing her arms and pouting in anger. Sai didn't reply immediately. Instead, he concentrated hard on getting the texture of the water just right.
"Hokage-sama specifically told me not to say anything to you. Also, she's worried about you." Sai finally answered, his voice becoming softer near the end.
Sakura's eyelids lowered slightly as she sighed. She pulled her legs up and rested her chin on her knees. "I knew that, but I just want to prove to myself that I can catch up to Naruto and Sasuke...-kun." she confessed gloomily, hesitating at the honorific after Sasuke's name.
Since their last Sasuke retrieval mission had failed, both Naruto and Sakura had trained very hard in hopes of catching up to Sasuke. However, Naruto is more or less the same as Sasuke in the manner that he learned and trained better while abroad, leaving Sakura behind once again. It becomes depressing to always have to be the one left behind, and Sakura felt the only way she could even redeem herself, as the last original member of Team 7 was to at least rank up. On the other hand, since Sai was the only other member in Team 7, he took it as his role to keep his fellow teammate company and most of all, happy. The last thing he'd want is to have Naruto grill his ass for making Sakura unhappy.
"Sakura, you've changed a lot since-"
"Not enough obviously, if I'm still lacking certain qualities as Shishou puts it!" she exclaimed angrily, her lips pressed together tightly to prevent them from trembling. Tears of frustration pricked at her eyes, but she refused to let them fall and blinked them back.
"Sakura, no one is comparing you to Naruto or Sasuke. We can see that you have been trying your hardest. Overexerting yourself won't get you anywhere." Sai said matter-of-factly, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. Rather than feeling better, it made Sakura feel worse instead. It was as if he was telling her that no matter how hard she tried, she would always be below Naruto and Sasuke's level.
"Sai, just shut up and paint." Sakura told him curtly and turned away from him, trying to calm herself down and to avoid taking her frustrations out on her teammate. Sai obeyed but observed the girl from his peripherals, who started taking her frustration out on the grass by pulling them up in tufts.
Sai made a mental note to not bring the subject up again, as it clearly distressed and upset Sakura. Sai had made a promise to Naruto before he left again for his training, and he intended to keep it until Naruto returned.
'I promised to keep her happy.'
At 7 o'clock sharp the next day, the two shinobi arrived at the Hokage tower. Tsunade almost let a wistful expression show on her face when she saw Sakura, feeling sad that she wouldn't be able to see her apprentice for an entire year.
Sakura smiled weakly. "Shishou, I promise to take care of myself! This will be a great opportunity for me to learn some new things. This mission will be a success." she said with a confident gleam in her eyes. Over night, Sakura had come to the realization that she just might be following in Naruto and Sasuke's path; it was time for her to do a little travelling and growing from her experiences abroad. Sakura and Tsunade shared a knowing look with each other, and a silent thank you was passed.
"As the leader of this mission, I will do my best to make sure this mission succeeds." Sai said expressionlessly, the same look of determination in his inky eyes.
Tsunade smiled lightly. "Well, as the two of you are clearly prepared, I have nothing more to say." She pulled out a wrapped bundle from her drawer. When she unravelled the bundle, inside was a very old and dirty hat that was patched and frayed in several spots.
"Dumbledore sent this to me by the means of an owl. He explained in his note that all you need to do is touch it. It's called a Portkey, which allows you to travel great distances he said." Tsunade explained, feeling a little overwhelmed and confused herself.
'This will be by far, the strangest mission I'll have the honour of doing.' Sakura thought, before touching the hat in unison with Sai. At once, a strange force glued her hand to the hat as the room around her swirled and blurred out of sight.
'I think I'm going to be sick.'
Edit 03/16/15: Let me know what you guys think! :)