The Hidden Counties

Chapter One

Parallel universes, strange bodyguards and a... Blood debt!?

Rosemary Potter hated where she was at the moment, she really did. Of course many people have called Rose's tastes strange over her very few years on the earth, but his time anyone would agree. Very strange people and very normal people were both alike scared of war.

She knew she was not normal, you could never be normal when you happened to be a very famous witch – yes, a wand waving, and broom flying witch. The part of the matter was that they – Rose's friends and her, were in the middle of fighting a war. This war, as many people had classified it was the 'deciding' war. The war to end all wars with Voldemort, he'd either win and rule or lose and die – this was it.

Rose knew the only reason that this would be the deciding war was because of her – and that damnable prophecy. The stupid thing had gotten everyone believing that she was the chosen one – the only one who could kill Voldemort. She did as a matter of fact happen to be the only one who was able to defeat him, but she wasn't sure how everyone else knew of this. It was confusing.

At this point in time, Rose knew what she had to do – even if she didn't want to. Rose had to defeat Voldemort she really had no choice in the matter. The easy part was over – the easy part of course being trying to figure out how to do defeat old Tom. The hard parts was on Rose and her friends now.

She'd had a mission – to find and destroy all of Voldemort's Horcruxes. It wasn't the easiest thing that she could have ever done in her life. Dumbledore had left her quite the task to do with that. She wondered sometimes – Why was it her that had to do all of this? Ron and Hermione were doing this with her, but it wasn't their job – it was hers.

Rose was very grateful for Ron and Hermione's continued help and support – she really was, without them she wouldn't have gotten as far as she had. Voldemort had six Horcruxes, and so far five of them were gone thanks to their help.

The first one had been Tom Riddle's sixteen year old diary; she'd destroyed that when she was twelve. She hadn't meant to then, she had just wanted to save Ginny's life. She hadn't even known what it was back then.

The next had been Dumbledore, he'd destroyed the ring. Then they had destroyed the locket. Hufflepuff's cup had been the next victim on their hit list. Then they'd gotten the people inside Hogwarts, (namely Ginny and Neville) to destroy Ravenclaws tiara thing. There was only one thing left – Nagini, Voldemort's pet snake.

This one so far would have had to be the hardest – because Rose knew that Voldemort was on to her. She knew that he knew that she was hunting his Horcruxes. This made him paranoid and he wasn't letting the damn snake out of his sight.

This would have to be the only reason that Rose was going through with Hermione's insane, and not to mention crazy plan. Rose was getting despite for a solution, all she wanted was the war to be over and then she could go back and beg Fred to take her back. Yes, it was a grand plan – granted she didn't get killed in this stunt they were pulling.

What was the stupid stunt they were pulling, one might ask? It was relatively simple to begin with, if you ignored every rule they were breaking and possibly ripping a hole between two universes and damaging both of them to the point of destruction. They were going to transport themselves to another dimension.

It was simple really. According to Hermione there were many different ones – but the one that had been recorded in history as the one most connected to theirs – for some odd reason – was The Hidden Countries.

There wasn't much known about them, except that they all spoke Japanese for some reason. Many people that had been there had either chosen to stay there, or come back but be very cryptic about the time spent there. So there wasn't much to research on.

With that in mind - Hermione had done more research and then they all knew Japanese thanks to an odd spell/seal thingo. Rose was glad for Hermione's portable library at that moment. At the start she had been convinced that they didn't need that many books – but with this crazy plan? then she was sure that the library of books was very needed.

But no amount of preparedness was going to help her gain a confidence with this plan. It was idiotic and stupid, but what else could they do? It was the only way. Rose was willing to do anything at this point – anything.

"It's ready, you ready, Rose, Ron?" Hermione asked softly. She was hunched over a simmering cauldron, a thin sheen of sweat covering her face.

Rose and Ron looked at eat other very briefly before nodding their heads in union. They had an agreement – while they both thought this was easily the most stupid thing they'd ever done. It was their last option – they're last hope. And for the love of Merlin it better work out for the better.

:) **~THC~** (:

They'd been travelling around the forest for awhile. Rose hadn't known that ripping the fabric of the universe and getting into another dimension meant spending the rest of her life lost in a forest. It didn't seem at all fair, but then again what Rose called 'the rest of her life' had so far been just over an hour.

No one had ever accused Rose of being an overly patient girl.

To say the least Rose was very happy when they'd finally managed to find their way out of the forest – she'd been getting nervous in there. They'd found themselves on a dirt road – not a very fancy dirt road – but a road was a road, and the three without much talking decided to follow the road. The best idea they'd had all day – of that Rose was sure. After an hour or two, they'd stopped by a lake for a break.

Rose didn't know if it had been safe to stay in the open like this, would they get hurt or something or the other? Hermione assured her they were perfectly safe but...

"Are you sure that this is safe?" Rose asked again as she laid down near the edge of the lake. Hermione was sitting against a tree not too far away from Rose as was Ron.

"Yes, for the last time. It's perfectly safe for us to be out and about here," Hermione responded clearly irate.

"I'm just making sure... Geez, no need to go all PMS on me..." Rose said trailing off slightly. Hermione's eyes widened and she looked like she wanted to strangle Rose. Maybe she shouldn't have said that? Where was her brain to mouth filter again?

Ron for once in his life decided to be the peace keeper. "Okay, so now that we're here... what's next?"

Rose looked at Hermione for the answer to that, Ron seemed to have directed the question at Hermione as well. Hermione looked at them both with a raised eyebrow.

Ron groaned, and Rose felt his sentiment. "Are you telling me that you -"

"Shh!" Rose interrupted with a very soft hiss.

Ron looked at her confused. "Someone's coming, I can feel it."

Rose stood up, before Hermione shook her head and said, "No sit down, hopefully they just pass us off as teenagers enjoying the afternoon by the lake."

Rose's eyebrows shot up at that and she watched the anger spike on Ron's face. "Hopefully? What do you mean hopefully?"

"Well - "

"Shut up!" Rose said again, when she noticed who she had somewhat sensed before.

There were five of them. And four out of that five had some sort of vibe going on – a dangerous one. But the three youngest – they couldn't be older than eleven or twelve, seemed to be on a very basic level.

Rose couldn't bring it in herself to fear the children. Or the old grey haired man – he was about as dangerous as Lockheart. No, what made her pause was the white haired male – white hair, such an odd colour but hanging around with Tonks who favoured pink, Rose wasn't one to judge. Hell, one the of the pre-teens had pink hair – so she shouldn't judge... out loud.

He was tall, easily six foot tall – maybe more, or slightly less, she wouldn't know but he was really tall. From the small amount of skin she could see, he was fair-skinned too. He only had one eye – or she could only see one eye, which was very dark, maybe an onyx colour? ... Was that even an eye colour? He had some sort of headband with a metal plate covering his other eye, and a navy mask that covered most of his lower face. Was this normal?

Rose continued to assess what she figured was the biggest treat that she'd seen so far – a survival instinct really. The older male – because he was diffidently around the late twenties – early thirties, was also very interesting. He wore a navy coloured outfit, baggy navy pants, and a navy long sleeved shirt that was rolled up slightly, with two red swirls on the sides. He wore a green sleeveless jacket – a flak jacket? He wore sandals and had bandages wrapped around the end of his pants leg. It was an odd slight.

But it wasn't the clothing or his looks that had Rose intrigued, no it was his decidedly lazy expression and posture and still managing to set off all of Rose's danger alarms. It was a puzzle surly – one that Rose probably wasn't going to be able to solve – it was a pity really.

"Hey! You kids shouldn't be out here! You know who dangerous it is right?" The gray-haired man, that Rose had deemed about as threatening as Lockheart yelled at them, seemingly worried for them. Awe, that was really nice of the stranger.

Rose now looked over the man; he was a nice person after all. You had to be nice when you took concern for three teens that you didn't know. In Rose's book this made the man okay. He had grey hair – very different from the interesting man's hair. He had glasses, a beard and dark-looking eyes. He wore a sleeveless v-neck shirt with some sort of belt, dark-coloured pants, and a towel around his neck and a pointed wooden hat.

It was saddening that he wasn't as big a mystery as the white-haired man was. The only thing that stopped her think 'just another old man walking past' was his face full of genuine concern – for them. It was an oddly novel experience.

"Ah yes?" Hermione said with a warm smile, "Danger? We're just travelling though..."

In essence a smart story. Just travelling though, but where were they travelling to exactly?

The grey-haired man frowned at them, "Oho, it's not safe for kids like you to be wondering around these parts! You best get to your destination very quickly!"

While he was saying this, Rose's attention shifted to the other people in the old-mans party. The white-haired man had gone oddly rigid, he still looked calm but he also looked ready to fight. His eye narrowed at the three teens. The younger children just looked annoyed at the interruption. It was then that Rose wondered what it was that they were all doing.

"What is your destination?" The white-haired man asked, softly – but his voice as hard as steel. What an odd thing! It was so confusing! Rose felt like she was Hermione at that moment – just wanting to take apart that man and see how he managed to act the way he did.

"Nowhere in particular." Ron said in a carefree voice. Rose knew better than to think he was being carefree – but playing the part of teens travelling for the fun of it? They could play that.

"Just going from town to town – trying to see it all," Rose added on the end to support Ron's words. He didn't seem convinced. Rose wasn't sure how she knew, but she did. He still had that look of pure laziness and the posture of a person ready to strike but Rose knew that he was very paranoid about them. She wondered why? Could it be because of what they were doing? What were they doing that required an old man, an adult and three children? "Pretty fun, really."

An eyebrow was raised, was that all she was going to get? A raised eyebrow? Then suddenly the white-haired man shouted, "Everyone, get down!"

All the people in his party instantly ducked down to the ground. The old gray haired man got dragged down by the black-haired boy. Rose saw a giant ass sword plant itself on the tree opposite them. Rose didn't have to be Hermione to know if they hadn't ducked then all of their heads would have been chopped off. What kind of place had they taken themselves to?

A man jumped down onto the sword, and stood there for a minute as if assessing his environment. Rose used this time to see how dangerous this guy would be. He was tall, and noticeably muscular with very pale skin. He had short spiky black hair – a similar colour to her own – brown eyes and very small eyebrows. He - like that white-haired ninja - had a mask over the bottom half of his face – but these looked like bandages. Was it common here to have masks? Rose was starting to believe that it was almost mandatory to. He too had a headband with a metal plate, it had a strange marking on it but he had a giant slash though his and his headband was sideways on his head.

He was an odd person and Rose's first instinct was to run, very, very far away. Rose usually listened to her instincts – but for some reason she didn't this time. It was because of an urge to see what would happen, what kind of place they had found themselves in.

"Well, well, if it isn't Kirigakure's nuke-nin, Momochi Zabuza. The demon of the mist," The white haired ninja whispered, in a voice loud enough to carry though the entire field. For the time being, forgetting that Rose and her friends were there.

Rose was in a state of slight confusion, what was a Kirigakure? It sounded like a sort of town, possibly. A nuke-nin was an unheard of term; she'd have to ask Hermione later on that one. And lastly she guessed that the man's name was Momochi Zubaza. The statement left a hell of a lot more questions than it had answered.

Momochi stared at the white-haired man with a serious stare. Rose watched as the battle-ready, lazy man turned into a solitarily serious man, intent of winning a battle. How in the name of Merlin did he do that? It was so cool, kind of – in a certain way... maybe?

"Sharingan no Kakashi," Momochi muttered back in a deep but carrying voice. So this was the white-haired man's name was? Kakashi? At least she was placing names to the faces now. "Sorry but... the old man is mine."

He looked at the old gray-haired man like how a death eater would look at a muggle or muggle-born. Not a pleasant look. Rose's instincts were screaming at her to run, but the only thing she did was glance at Ron and Hermione and back up slightly so the three of them sat – crouching slightly, all together. They had serious looks on their faces, but they didn't seem to be willing to leave and not watch what was unfolding. This suited Rose fine.

"You three protect Tazuna-san," The man – Kakashi ordered the children with a brief almost un-noticeable glance back at the three teens. He reached to his headband with one hand while giving some sort of hand sign with the other. "This guy's on a whole other level than the other two. Against him... I'll need this."

This made Rose's brain whirl – other two? Was he some sort of body guard? That would make sense, he was a bodyguard and he was protecting Tanzuna? While the three children were... his apprentices? It was a bit young for them to be dragged into something like that...

Kakashi evened out his headband raising it over his second eye. Joy, now he had 20:20 vision... now what?

"I get to see it so early... I'm honoured." What in earth's name was that guy on about? What is it? Why in Merlin's name was she and her friends still here? They should run now. But she couldn't seem to want to pull away. This was going to end badly for her, she knew it.

"Let's see how things pan out – wands at the ready but remain unseen!" Rose hissed out to them so quietly that Rose almost didn't hear her herself. She even said it in English – she was undoubtedly very paranoid.

The three young children formed a perimeter around the old man. The black-haired kid in the front, the pink haired girl to his left and the yellow haired kid (because there was no way that that colour was blonde and not yellow,) was to his right. Together they formed a sort of triangle shape.

The three children brandished some sort of strangely shaped knife. Rose felt the slight triennials of panic. They really should get out of there – they should. But as it stood – there was a lot of things that they didn't understand so far and these were the only nice people she'd seen so far. And truly kind people were very hard to find. So with this in mind she stayed put.

"I'm here to kill the old-man," Momochi said bluntly. Causing shivers to go up Rose's spin, a cold-blooded killer then, she saw Ron and Hermione pale at those words. "But it seems... I'll have to beat you first, Kakashi!"

Momochi grabbed the handle of the sword and kicked off the tree in a fast blur. It was... concerning to see a man so... big move so fast. Rose could berley keep up with his movements!

"Ninpo: Kirigakure no Justsu."

After the words had left Momochi's mouth a thick fog, a mist covered the whole area making it almost impossible to see. Rose felt the needed to get out now, before they all died.

"Protego," Hermione hissed out, causing what Rose knew to be a bubble surrounding them. At least they'd be safe – most likely.

"He'll come after me first," Kakashi calmly informed his students. There! How did he remain so calm in the middle of a battle like this!? Was it some trick of how he was raised? Were things different here by that much? "Momochi Zabuza... was known for his mastery of the silent homicide technique. Before the enemy even notices it, they're dead. Be careful."

Rose almost didn't believe how harsh and blunt this man was being with children so young. She had always admired blunt and straight to the point people, what was the point in sugar-coating it when you were going to die? But... they were so small... the blonde haired one even more so... Rose almost involuntary tensed, this was a fight – a very, very scary fight.

"Eight choices," a disembodied voice whispered. "Liver, lungs, spine, clavicle, neck, brain, kidneys... Heart."

This seemed to be an odd and rather messed up person they were dealing with. Should they step in on this fight or let it play itself out? Rose felt and hand grabs her arm, she recognised it as Ron's, and she understood what he meant. Don't interfere until absolutely necessary. Rose trusted Ron with matter's like these – the strategic move. Man was a mega-mind on strategy.

Rose couldn't see anything happen, she couldn't hear anything happen. Until the fog lifted sightly and she saw the white-haired man – Kakashi stab Momochi. He exploded into a ... puddle of water? And Rose thought she'd seen strange things before...

"Sensei, behind you!" The yellow haired kid, in a neon orange jumpsuit yelled, his cerulean eyes widening drastically.

Kakashi barely had time to turn his head and see that Momochi was already swinging his sword at him. The sword cut though the white-haired man like butter... he disappeared into... a puddle of water as well. What was with the people here!?

"The hell?" Ron muttered from his spot next to her. Momochi turned his head to see the three teens, and Rose realised that Momochi had forgotten they were there. There and easy for being used as a hostage or something. But, these people wouldn't care about them if they had to choose. Rose was sure they'd pick their mission over three teens they'd talked to for a whole of five minutes.

But then again, the shield was still there. It wasn't like Momochi could hit hard enough to break it, right?

"Don't move. You're finished."

Another Kakashi – really how many of him was there? He appeared behind Momochi with one of those oddly shaped knives in his hand pointed at his neck.

"Cool! You rule! Kakashi-Sensei!" The blonde kid yelled happily with a relived grin, relaxing heaps.

Momochi gave a dark humourless laugh. "Finished? By your crass imitation of my jutsu?"

Another Momochi appeared – now really! - behind Kakashi. "I'm not that easy to fool!" He yelled at them, as the first Momochi disappeared into a puddle of water.

"This is ridiculous," Hermione muttered under her breath. Rose agreed with the brown haired girl's words almost exactly.

Momochi used some sort of momentum to anchor his sword in the ground, and then shift his hands as he pushed off the blade as he launched a kick. Epic, but really not what Rose was hoping to see. Kakashi flew backwards from the force of the kick.

Before Rose knew it there was a really big sword in front of her face – not yet touching Hermione's shield. She froze and so did everyone else in the field.

"Heh, now Kakashi – what will it be? Three innocent kids or... the old man?"

Rose restrained herself from cursing the man – considering there was a shield charm up; it would most likely rebound and hit her. That would be bad.

Rose watched as Kakashi froze and watched the scene, she felt... like she might die. But then again she had a shield and she didn't think this Momochi could break it too easily. Hopefully.

Momochi brought his sword back further until it hit the shield and was sent rebounding off the shield. He froze, everyone looked slightly shocked. Rose realised this was a bad thing, a very bad thing.

"Now what's this? A special little group, huh?"

Rose was never known to have a brain to mouth filter – she should really invest in buying one of those, it might be useful in the near future. "Teh, sure thing, idiot..." she mumbled under her breath – not meaning for anyone to hear. But somehow he had.

Rose added superhuman hearing to her list of characteristics about people who were natives to this universe.

Faster than Rose could comprehend he brought his sword back and wacked the shield. Not dissolving it completely, but Rose could sense a crack in the shield – one more hit was all it would take.

The people here were also unusually strong – so much so that they could break a magical shield with a sword. A muggle weapon, Rose wasn't sure if she should be annoyed at this new revelation or not.

Either way with the second swing and the other people just standing there, watching like it was some sort of entertaining show, Rose and her friends ducked and rolled as the hit cleanly broke Hermione's barrier.

Rose rolled away but was still the closest to Momochi, her short black hair falling into her emerald green eyes. She should really invest in some sort of headband.

Momochi grinned darkly and went to hit Rose – as she was closest- to be stopped by a blur of blue and white. Oh no, she had not just been saved, no. That would be bad.

Rose watched on as Kakashi fought on with Momochi, did he realise what he'd just done by saving her? She owed him a blood debt. She had to do something for him that was equal to the worth of her life – which was usually done by saving his life.

Blood debts were serious things. Not something that could be ignored. She was a witch, one with a pure-blood father – not meaning to sound racist – and pure-blood's at least the ones with honour and a smidge of pride always repaid their blood debt.

Rose as a matter of fact did have honour and pride. She knew she should have run when she had the chance. Because now? Now she was in debt to the frankly slightly interesting, and very irritating (Because she has to waste time on him now,) White-haired man, or was he a bodyguard?

A/N- This is a really re-written version of my first story, with the same name. So if you've already read a story 'slightly' like this then it was mine... I needed to change it slightly to fit the end place I wanted it at – I also felt like some things weren't very... clear and not very well thought out... I take that back – it was well thought out – trust me. But it wasn't coming though in my writing – so here's go number two. And there is not going to be go number three or anything. Just number two. Sorry for the fuss guys, really.

Sorry to all of you guys, but I hope you like the newer 'and better' (In my opinion anyway) version. Review and tell me if the new first chapter is better than the old one! Or if you're only just finding this...If it's any good to begin with... Thanks for reading!

Ja ne!