As promised~ The second chapter of To be Different, posted and ready for reviews!
But before that, I have to make a few things very clear okay?
1) DIVERGING FROM CANON
As you know, I adopted this fic from SaturnXK and I consider this first and foremost her fic, her baby. So I might not stick to Naruto Canon if it goes against the fic too much. Okay?
2) ADDING MY OWN CHARACTER
With that being said however, I still would like to retain Gaara in this fic since Saturn loves him so much XD And will be adding Sai and Sasuke into the lineup. Hope this would work!
3) ANBU INVOLVED
Naruto - Fox
Sasuke - Snake
Sakura - Slug
Sai - Raven
Hinata - Cat
Kiba - Wolf
Tenten - Dragon
Neji - Hawk
Shikamaru - Dear
Ino - Dove
Gaara - Raccoon
Extra (Mentioned but not involved in mission)
Choji - Boar
Lee - Tortoise
*Lizard, Mouse and Sparrow are ANBU instructor OCs that I added in as extras.
4) HONORABLE MENTIONS
-In which I reply to reviews left by my amazing readers-
Krazyfanfiction1 : Well, I can't touch to much on the subject other than say that I will keep to what Saturn had done. So I'm sorry but you just have to stay tuned ^_^)
MysteryAsia , Wanted2234 and mustbeatuesday : Don't worry, I understand where you guys are coming from! :D
And to all my other reviewers, Favourites and Follows, I can't thank you enough for the love and support you've given this fic! I love you guys 3
While Harry Potter was asleep after the harrowing night he had encountered, five lithe figures were battling the sands of the desert to get to the hidden leaf village. The journey could take up to two days, depending on the mercy of the sand surrounding them. Thankfully, they have ample time to recuperate once they had reached there, their client confirming that he would personally come to fetch the ninjas he hired in four days.
Tsunade had sent a hawk in advance to her secretary, prompting her to give word to the rest of the ANBU hired to start packing and preparing for their mission. It would end only the beginning of next summer so they need to start prepping.
Gaara himself quickly transferred the authority of acting Kazekage to his brother as soon as the situation was relayed, effective immediately. After offering the Hokage and her three ANBU personnel a chance to rest for a few hours in the nearby inn, they had set off at the crack of dawn. Cat was behind the two Kages (One of which were already garbed in his ANBU attire) while Hawk and Raven at the front. The desert was still cold but the temperature will surely and steadily rise with the sun.
After a long day and a half journey, they had reached the outskirts of the forest surrounding Konoha. The tall bulky trees had provided much needed shade after battling the harsh desert sun. They were now resting at an abandoned hut that travellers were free to use. The took the opportunity to have some of their packed and rationed food as Tsunade elaborated further on their client to the Kazekage.
"We do have records of Albus Dumbledore-san meeting the Third around ten or so years ago," She bit into her bread and took a swig of water from her canteen. The three ANBU were refilling theirs using the water from a nearby spring, leaving the two village leaders to discuss more private things.
"It was…Not a very legal trip by his people's means," She explained after heavily swallowing the mixture of bread and water, "His people's politics are petty…Bah…But he intrigued the old man…And after Dumbledore-san explained the situation, the both of them sort of…Stroke a chord with one other. He was sad, when I told him that the old man passed away,"
Throughout the explanation, Gaara didn't say much and after she finished, he gave a soft hum to indicate that he fully understood. Thankfully, Gaara managed to be briefed about the mission's details before that…'bird' had abruptly formed inside his office. He was admittedly interested of this foreign world, knowing about it only through hushed words of the Elders when he first was appointed as Kazekage and through secret scrolls stashed deep inside the Suna library.
Taking a swig of his own drink, he let out a barely audible chuckle, his mouth quirking a few millimeters
"Yes?" Tsunade questioned him, raising a thin immaculate eyebrow.
"You Konoha ninjas…" He said with a tone of well concealed amusement, looking up to see the sunlight filter across the leaves fluttering on their branches, "You really have a knack of getting yourselves into surprising situations,"
The Hokage scoffed. Her own mouth forming a smirk as she raised the canteen to the Kazekage, as though toasting him, "Heh, the sooner you know, the better Kazekage-sama,"
Sakura Haruno turned to see the source of the call, "Ah...Naruto…Good morning," She was carrying an armful of paper bags filled to the brim with medicine items and ingredients that even Naruto was unsure what it was. She stopped walking, waiting for the blond to catch up with her. She gave him a cheerful and bright smile.
"Do you need help?" He questioned as he got nearer, referring to the paper bag. She shook his head.
"No, I can handle it," She reassured, "What's wrong? Do you need anything?"
"Not particularly, just needed to talk to you. Can we go to Sasuke's? We can stop by your place to drop off your…Uh…Groceries,"
"Of course Naruto," She agreed, knowing Naruto would ever want to meet them in private was because of any ANBU missions, "Let's get going,"
When they arrived at the Uchiha compound, Sasuke was sharpening his weapons. He was grinding the edges of a kunai against the whetstone methodically. Beside him was a pile of other Kunais and Shurikens alongside his sword. He heard a knock at the door accompanied with a loud cry.
"Yo, Sasuke!" He heard his door being knocked, "Come out here will ya? I need to talk to you. Sakura-chan's here too!"
He sighed as he heard the loud voice of his blonde teammate. Sasuke stopped what he was doing and set the items aside. He got up on his feet and went outside to meet them. If both Naruto and Sakura were here, then he could predict what he wanted to talk to him about.
"Yo! Teme! Bout time!" Naruto gave his ever sunny smile and raised his hand as a way of greeting. Sakura greeted him politely, apologizing for their intrusion. Without her knowing, her teammates were rather impressed at how she was much more mature than the Sakura they were first assigned with.
"Good morning Sasuke-kun,"
He gave his signature hum in reply to their greetings and closed the door behind him. He knew it won't take too long, "I take it you have something to tell us if you're meeting us together Dobe,"
"So what if I do?" He gave a friendly scoff, "Maa…" His light and playful tone began to soften and turned a bit serious, "I just want to give you guys a head's up. We have a mission soon; a big one, no, HUGE. It's ranked A Class for now. Tsunade-baachan will give you briefings when she returns,"
"Ahh…So that's it…" Sakura nodded and sounding thoughtful. She sat down on a flat mossy rock under a tree nearby Sasuke's door. Naruto was standing up, with his hands crossed and looking at his teammates with his cerulean eyes which were now filled with a kind of seriousness that the other two thought didn't quite suit the blonde. Besides, he was notoriously known for his sunny and playful attitude (outside the mask of course). Sasuke crossed his own arms, leaning against the door.
"How long?" He questioned.
"We will only return next summer so if you accept the mission, pack for the cold as well," He slipped in the reminder, "Bring anything you need but we will have quite comfortable accommodations as well as food. We should be joined by Gaara and seven others,"
Sakura and Sasuke knew better than to ask more since they would know who will be their teammates during the briefing anyway. It was just customary for their team Captain to give a head's up before long missions so that they could purchase any necessary supplies. For Sakura, this was particularly crucial since she would need time to gather and pack enough supplies to last the whole group for an entire year!
But, she reminded herself that with a group that large (eleven, she mentally did the math), there should be more than one medic nin and they could share medicine and ingredients between them.
"So that's all, I'll see you during the briefing,"
Tsunade was going through several stacks of her paperwork when several poofs were heard. When she looked up, eleven ANBUs were already on one knee, and a large dog that sat on his muscular hind legs obediently. They were finally called to meeting her for their mission briefing. They stood up one by one and waited for her to speak.
"ANBUs," She set her brush down, "I'm glad to see you're all here. As you might have heard from Fox and Stag, I have a new mission for you. A mission outside of the Elemental countries,"
The ANBU that didn't know about that particular detail blinked in shock under their masks. But of course, they didn't let it be too obvious.
Damn dobe...When you said the mission was big, I never thought it's THIS big… Sasuke hissed to himself while the others seemed to be thinking along the same lines.
"Outside the Elemental Countries, there is a secret community of wizards; humans that are born with a magic coil that's similar to our own chakra. They can perform various feats in an aid of a wand and incantations which I was make known will concentrate the energy inside of them and project it," She explained to the ninjas the info she had gotten from their client, "However, their own world have their own share of evils. The most prominent is known as Lord Voldemort. He had tried to kill a boy 15 years ago. But somehow it backfired on him and seemed to kill him in the process. But as of last year, he has risen to power once more and is now a threat more than ever. That is the rundown of what had happened. I'm sure when you're there you'll know the full story,"
She pulled out a scroll from her drawer, "Our client, Albus Dumbledore-san wanted to hire the best ninja he could to guard the boy which Voldemort tried to kill, as well as protect his school from any and all threats," She threw the scroll to Fox who caught is effortlessly, "His name is Potter Harry. Or in their way of speaking, Harry Potter,"
"Those will be the mission details as well as Potter-san's description. I should remind you that the boy is of alpha priority, he is prophesized to one day bring down Lord Voldemort and restore peace in their world. You must NOT let him die. If he does, it's possible Lord Voldemort WILL rule over not just the wizard community, but non-magical folk as well. He might even take an interest the Elemental Countries. I'm sure you all know how we are still reeling from the last war. We cannot afford another one,"
"Understood Hokage-sama," All of them chorused.
"Alright. Fox, Raven, Stag, Hawk, Cat and Raccoon had accepted the mission. I need to hear your answer," She casted her eyes to Dove, Dragon, Snake, Slug and Wolf, "Do you accept?"
One by one said that they will accept the mission while Akamaru gave a loud bark.
"Very good," She gave a satisfied smile, "I'll let Dumbledore-san know that everyone is ready. For now study Potter-san's features and discuss what you need. Dismissed,"
The Anbus disappeared into swirls of leaves and one in a swirl of sand.
As the sky on the day Dumbledore claimed he would arrive brightened, eleven ANBU personnel and a large nin dog were already lined up into a row in front of the Hokage, prepared for their long term mission. All of them were fully garbed with their satchels, weapons and supplies, armed to the teeth as well. Fox took some time before their client was supposed to arrive by going through some of his suggestions with their village leader, who listened with sharp eyes and rapt attention.
"I understand," She responded after they had finished explaining, "I shall bring it up to Dumbledore-san later. If he agrees, I give you my permission,"
Judging from the letters she gotten and also the little 'surprise' at Racoon's office, this particular client seemed to be more open minded and would listen to them if they have a request. And since this request could make the mission immensely easier, he might actually agree.
"Hai. Thank you Hokage-sama," Fox gave a low bow and stepped back into line.
At sharply 6 am, there was a loud crack as a figure seemed to swirl into view. The ninjas didn't seem perturbed since they were expecting a client. Though, their hands were always ready to whip out a kunai or a shuriken if necessary.
Raven, Cat and Hawk wasn't surprised when they could finally see for themselves who and how their client looks like. He really was how his voice suggested being; calm, wise and greeted them with twinkling eyes behind polished half-moon spectacles.
"I believe a good morning is in order?" He spoke in slightly accented Japanese and gave a polite smile which was almost hidden by his busy white beard. It was quite a majestic piece of work, that beard of his; Dove admitted to herself. (She was always quick to notice these sorts of things).
It was pure white like the lilies she so often worked with and tumbled down to the old wizard's deep purple robe like a long waterfall, ending up being tucked under his belt.
"Welcome," Tsunade greeted him, "It's an honor to finally meet such a close friend of the Third's,"
"And it's a pleasure to finally meet you, Hokage-sama," His aging yet strong baritone was heard, slow yet as clear as his blue eyes. She turned to Tsunade and gave a customary bow.
"ANBUs," After a pause, "I would like to introduce Albus Dumbledore-san, headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. And I believe as of now, our client,"
The aging headmaster surveyed the team he hired, giving them a nod of greeting.
"Dumbledore-san, might I introduce to you the personnel involved with the mission?" She gestured to the eleven armor clad special ops ninjas in front of her.
Usually, Tsunade would spare the trivialities of introducing one by one of hired ANBUs. However, this particular mission will have tendencies to be political and diplomatic. So, she decided that the headmaster should have an inkling of who will be guarding his students, "Fox will be the captain,"
Fox stepped out of the row again and gave a brisk bow before straightening his back and stepping back in line.
"You've met Raven,"
Raven did the same, stepping out, bowing and after standing back up, going back into the row.
"Stag, strategist and Slug, head medic,"
Slug and Stag stepped out together, giving the same gestures as their captain and second-in command.
"And the others, Snake, Cat, Hawk, Dove, Dragon, and Wolf with his partner Akamaru. Finally, this is Raccoon. He is not from my country but he is the leader of a country that had been a close friend and ally to ours. I wanted him to share this experience as well,"
The others didn't step out, bowing from the row. Akamaru dipped his head slightly with a soft whine.
"I'll leave it to Dumbledore-san to explain everything he needs. Now I can only wish you the best of luck," She gestured for him to proceed.
"Thank you Hokage-sama," They chorused.
"Very well…I trust your leader to pick the best she could to guard my students," His small smile didn't leave his lips, "It's an honor to meet all of you. I've seen for myself what ninjas such as yourselves can do and I believe I am hiring the best people I can for the job,"
"Thank you, Dumbledore-san," Other than a slight tumble in pronouncing the foreign English name, Fox didn't seem fazed in conversing with him, "We shall try our best to protect the children of your school,"
Dumbledore looked satisfied at Fox's answer, "I believe you will, Mister Fox. Now, firstly I have to cast a spell on each of you. Not many people speak Japanese in the Order I'm afraid," He briefly explained, sparing a glance to the Hokage who nodded in understanding.
"Of course, but can I take a few more moments of your time?"
Dumbledore gave her his full attention, "But of course Hokage-sama, what can I be of assistance?"
"Fox and Stag requested for most of the team to be sent to Hogwarts early, to get a layout and familiarize themselves with the castle," She explained, "Of course, some of them will stay with Potter-san to guard him. They shall work out between them which of them would be best to stay with Potter-san and which of them will leave. I give you my word whoever they pick would still be able to guard him efficiently,"
"I see…" He paused and his polite smile turned into a thoughtful frown, "…Very well…I shall make the necessary arrangements, both with the staff and the caretaker. Please wait for me to tell you when it's ready,"
"Hai," the eleven ninjas spoke together.
"Now then…" He pulled out his wand from his robe. The ANBU slightly tensed up but Tsunade raised her hand slightly, a signal for them to stand down.
"Like I said, this will be a spell so you could speak and understand English while retaining your Japanese," One by one, he casted the spell that was aimed at their throat. It resembled a waft of purple smoke that coiled around their necks and diffused into their skin.
So that's a wand, Slug eyes the long rod of wood held by the old hand in interest. She rubbed her throat which tingles after the spell was casted, it must be special kind of wood, to be able to support the flow of their magic like that.
"Do you understand me now?" The old wizard spoke again, this time in English.
The eleven ninjas nodded and the dog whined, "Y-yes…" Fox tried to test the foreign language.
Dumbledore's smile brightened, "Alright then," He checked his ornate watch, "Not long now," He pulled two other items from his robe, a green bottle marred with scratches and dirt, and a piece of parchment. He placed the bottle on Tsunade's table and handed the parchment to Fox. He scanned through the English words and then stowed it into his back pocket without a word.
"This will take us to the headquarters," Dumbledore switched back to Japanese so Tsunade would be able to understand them, "Each of you place a finger here now. Hurry, hurry,"
The ninjas looked uncertain that the old bottle would be able to transport them anywhere, but they complied. Akamaru stood on his hind legs and touch a paw against the bottle.
"It will be nearly 12:30 pm when you arrive," He explained, "Some of the Order members will be waiting to welcome you. Now, brace yourselves. In three…"
Tsunade watched them with a bead of sweat streaking down her temple, gulping slightly. She could feel a bit of a pressure radiating steadily from the bottle as the headmaster counted down A light began to sparkle and soon shined from the depths of the bottle.
The ninjas braced themselves as the light got brighter.
With a jerk of their navel and a sudden flash of light that even prompted Tsunade to shield her eyes, the ninjas and the dog swirl out of existence.
At Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place, the atmosphere was rather heavy and stagnant with negative emotions.
Usually the atmosphere was light hearted despite the secrecy and danger surrounding them and the dingy house they were in. However, after they knew who Dumbledore had hired to guard Harry, they seemed to be unable to feel the same. While the young ones were curious about these guards, most of the older members of the Order were scandalized to know who the guards were. Unlike the populace of the Elemental Countries, wizards from old families and high ranking Aurors knew what kind of people lived there- mercenaries and warriors that only the highest payer were safe from.
"What is he playing with…Hiring NINJAS to guard Harry…?" Harry Potter's father, Sirius Black growled ever so softly. He ran a hand through his straggly locks. Lunch had long finished but almost none of the Order members made a move, waiting for the ninjas to arrive. Only Mad Eye had went upstairs, saying he wanted to check on the brooms that were going to be used for the flight tonight.
"I supposed we'll just have to see, won't we Sirius?" Molly Weasley said with sort of stiff tone. She was sitting next to Sirius' left while Lupin on his right. The children and the rest of the Order members that were present were scattered across the table seating.
As soon as she said that, there was a flash of light from the hallway. They heard several heavy thuds, short breathed oofs and clinks of metal accompanied by several hushed tones speaking a language they didn't understand.
"Well…" Lupin stood up and pulled out his wand, "I suppose we're about to find out- Stay HERE kids," He turned, warning the Weasley children and also Hermione. The other adults followed Lupin's lead and followed him to the hallway.
To their initial horror, they saw several figures that could very well be in Death Eater garbs. With their dark and grey scheme and masks decorated with oriental swirls that depict snarling animals. What more, their backs were strapped with weapons that were downright barbaric. Swords, scrolls and even a gourd! There was even a dog bigger than a wolf!
Lupin raised his wand along with half a dozen others, looking bewildered. This couldn't be the ninjas Dumbledore hired! They were more like murderers, not guards!
"Who are you?!" Sirius demanded, looking almost as shocked as his best friend. He aimed straight at the one with long pale blond hair who was nearest to him.
The ninjas slowly got up. Hands hovering over the pack strapped to their legs, "We are ANBU hired by Dumbledore-san," One of them spoke. He had shockingly golden blonde hair and they could see blue eyes shining through the holes of his mask.
"You can't be!" Molly's voice raised several pitches, "How do we know they're not in league with You-Know-Who?!"
"If you people would actually care to listen to my captain," A voice groused out, sounding frosty and annoyed. It came from one of the guards with ebony black hair and a sword strapped to his back. He was right beside the blond that spoke, "You would know that Dumbledore gave something to him to relay which I'm sure would clear up the situation,"
His sharp tongue immediately silenced the wizards. The ninja behind him, a female with short pastel pink hair mumbled something to him that was inaudible.
The blond ninja who they knew was now the captain nodded. His hand slipped into his back pocket and pulled out a piece of folded parchment. He threw the parchment as though it was a shuriken with one hand and it landed right at Sirius' feet.
He bent down and picked it up, opening it in the meantime. Once his back was fully straightened, he read the short note with the handwriting he knew to be the headmaster's.
To whomever of the Order it may concern, these are the guards hired and chosen to protect Harry. I can fully ensure that they are no way a threat unless threatened
-Professor Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore.
"They're telling the truth…" He folded it back and rumpled it in his free fist, though still frowning and looking unsatisfied. How can they hope to protect his godson when they looked like they are equipped to kill him?!
They heard thuds of wood against carpet from behind them, "They're here already? The guards?"
"Yes Mad-Eye," Lupin replied the question of the overzealous auror.
"Good, good," His gruff voice sounded satisfied, "Vigilant too. I like them. Come, come," He gestured for them to follow him, "I'm Mad-Eye Moody,"
The other Order members looked even more horrified that Mad-Eye was so easy to call the lethal looking guards as one of their own.
Fox nodded, not minding much about the tangible feelings he felt radiating from the wizards, "Where's Potter-san?" He questioned him, pinning him as the man that would actually give them what they need, a man that meant business.
"I'll tell you in the meeting room. We're picking him up tonight,"
"I see…" Fox said a few more words in Japanese to the ninjas behind him as they seemed to look at one another. One of them replied back with an equally hushed tone, a lanky looking one with hair tied tightly on the top of his head. They couldn't sense it, but the ninjas were uncertain of this seasoned and battered wizard with an electric blue eye. Although it didn't have Ibiki's stare, it was still creepy to see it move around on it's own accord like that.
"…Lead us the way, Moody-san,"
As the ninjas followed the auror, Ron and Hermione looked at each other, speechless. Their eyes easily conveyed what each other was thinking.
Harry will NOT be happy.
So that's all for now! I hope everyone enjoyed the chapter. I'll try to write the best I can for chapter 3 so stay tuned and review!