Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto or Harry Potter; they belong to Masashi Kishimoto and J K Rowling respectively.

I am making no profit from this story, it is only for entertainment.

Thank you to all those who reviewed, favourited and followed this story.

Surprise!

Another chapter a week after the last one was posted? It's more likely than you think. Once chapter a month is going to be my minimum but I'm hoping to post more than that. We're so close to the end that I'm super excited to write!

I got some of the Charms OWL questions from Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery.

Also I could not leave this gem by TheEtherealShade in the comments.

Kakashi: *is complicated and has emotions*

Harry: *surprised Pikachu face*

It just fits so well with this story!

Things are going to start picking up from here so I hope you enjoy!


Chapter 28: Exams

The Great Hall was hushed that morning, filled with the sound of turning pages and frantic scribbling. Kakashi ignored the quiet mutterings of the students around him and just focused on his porridge. He was not one for last minute cramming; he either knew it or did not at this point. There was no reason to panic when he had done the work. It was now just a matter of answering whatever questions came up to the best of his ability.

Neville knocked over the marmalade next to him and Kakashi reached out to set it right. His friend smiled over at him in thanks but he could see the nerves painted all over his face. Kakashi patted his shoulder firmly before he returned to his bowl. He was not sure if that was any comfort but the boy stopped dropping his knife and fork for the rest of the meal.

They were required to wait around the Entrance Hall until long after the rest of the students left for lessons. He had spotted Rinri in the crowd of green ties and he was satisfied to note she was trying to avoid his gaze. She had taken his warning seriously then.

Finally the teachers called them back to the Great Hall and it was completely rearranged. Single, separate tables built for one were spread uniformly throughout the hall, all facing in the same direction towards the staff table. Instead of the usual candles and goblets that occupied the table, it was filled with ink bottles, parchment and spare quills. A large hourglass sat beside McGonagall as she watched the students filter to their seats. Kakashi took his own seat and waited for the room to settle.

"You may begin," McGonagall announced.

Kakashi took up his quill and turned over the page.

1. (a) Give the incantation and (b) describe the wand movement required to make objects fly.

That was simple. He quickly noted down Wingardium Leviosa and the motions required to cast the spell. He looked to the next question.

2. In which scenario would you use Cistem Aperio?

Another easy one; opening a chest. Personally Kakashi would rather pick the lock than use a jutsu but the wizards were determined to find a spell for every occasion.

3. What is the incantation for the Exploding Charm?

His mind was thrown back to the altercation with the Death Eaters in February. That was a spell he was not going to forget anytime soon.

He made his way steadily through the exam paper, most of it coming back to him easily from his revision. He was confident Neville would be able to handle this; they had gone over most of the content of the exam over the past week. It was all about memorisation; Kakashi had not even had to use the Sharingan for these exams. He had stopped using it to study once he had caught up with the first four years of textbooks.

He placed his quill down and allowed the ink to dry. Flipping through the pages of parchment, he scanned over his answers and could not find any he wanted to change. He settled them into a neat pile and looked around, the heads around him still down and at work. There was still sand falling in the hourglass; did he just have to sit here? In the Konoha academy, when they finished a test they went up and handed it in. Less chance of having it copied that way.

He sat back in his chair for about half an hour before McGonagall finally called time. Kakashi rose from his seat when his papers were collected, following the other students out of the hall. Granger was already talking to the other two boys about the exam.

"I'm not sure I did myself justice on the Cheering Charms, I just ran out of time, and on question twenty-three-"

"Hermione," Weasley interrupted. "We're not going back over the exam; we've told you this before."

"Kakashi, how did you find it?" Granger whipped around to face him.

"It was fine," he shrugged. "The questions were straight-forward and I completed them within the time."

Granger stared at him for a long moment, an unreadable look on her face, but before she could speak Kakashi walked off, going to stand by Neville.

They headed off to lunch, the massive tables suddenly reappearing. Kakashi ignored the chatter around him as he picked various fruits from the selection. The students began to be called out of the hall alphabetically and soon it was his turn. He hesitated for a moment, eyeing Potter, before he was forced to follow the small group of students from the hall.

Flitwick pointed towards one of the examiners.

"Tofty has just become available, Hatake, if you want to head over there."

Kakashi nodded to the short man and made his way to the examiner, an old balding man sitting in the far corner of the room.

"Mr. Hatake, our Asian exchange student," said Tofty. "Let's get started, shall we?"

The practical exam was simple; Kakashi only had to utilise Magen: Kokoni Arazu no Jutsu to make it through the test. Rather than actually manipulating the object, he could just control what the examiner saw. The rest of the hall was too preoccupied with the other exams to notice anything amiss.

He was finished promptly, the old man smiling at him as he was dismissed. He was not allowed back into the waiting area so he sat against the wall in the hallway, eyes closed and focused on detecting any danger that could approach the examination hall.

Soon enough, Neville came out looking pale and Kakashi cocked his head at him. Neville did not stick around, heading back to immediately start studying for the Transfiguration exam the next day. Potter followed not long after and Kakashi trailed him back to the common room where he met up with Granger.

Transfiguration and Herbology did not pose any issues and other than the flamingo incident, there was nothing of note over those two days.

The first time the exams actually started to go wrong for him was on Thursday, during the Defence Against the Dark Arts practical. Genjutsu was of no use in the exam and Kakashi realised that he had no way to deflect or guard against the spells that were directed at him. It was the same issue he had been coming across in his battles against the Death Eaters; magic and chakra were fundamentally different.

The jutsu that were more commonly used by shinobi were based on the elements; his own Raikiri was lightning based. It was very rare that techniques would use pure chakra. Minato-sensei spent years on the Rasengan and only two people could perform the technique now. Spells, on the other hand, were more commonly used as pure energy, like Expelliamus or Diffindo. Kakashi could not deflect those like he could the more physical spells like Aguamenti; with that spell he could just deal with the water.

The best he could do was dodging the spells, ensuring that he did not move any faster than a wizard would. His exam was stopped midway so the examiner could ask if he was going to cast any counter-jinxes or defensive spells. When he told them he would not, they noted something down on their piece of parchment and dismissed him. He had no qualms with failing that exam; in a true battle, he would win. It made little tactical sense to rely purely on defensive jutsu.

Umbridge was waiting in the doorway to the Entrance Hall and she sneered as he passed.

"You have not been able to pick up the material as well as I would expect of a Hogwarts student," she spoke down to him. "Perhaps that is a sign that you should not return next year; I do not think we shall be inviting anymore exchange students either way."

"I only followed your teachings," Kakashi replied mildly. "You did not want us to use our wands and so I complied."

He also could not cast them but she did not know that.

"Dodging spells is not befitting of a wizard," Umbridge scoffed. "You should have been able to perform the spells after studying the theory, Mr. Hatake. You could hardly expect to pass the exam by casting no spells."

"I thought the exam reflected the teaching," Kakashi shrugged. "I will know better for future examinations."

Umbridge began to turn a lovely shade of purple so Kakashi took that as his queue to continued walking down the corridor, stopping just out of her sight. Potter exited the hall a while later and for once, kept his mouth shut around the horrible woman. He followed the boy back to the common room as he had done for the past three days, breaking off once they had arrived to sit with Neville.

"I'm going to fail Potions," Neville's breath came out in short bursts. "Snape's probably already failed me."

"We have more than two days to prepare for the exam," Kakashi replied calmly, placing his hands on the table. "That is more than adequate to review the key components of the material. Snape cannot fail you before you have sat the test; that is tampering and he will lose his job."

"Really?" Neville turned to him, his breathing starting to settle.

"I would ensure it personally," he nodded.

They soon became absorbed in studying, ignoring the nervous chattering around them.


It was after dinner on Sunday that Malfoy approached him.

"Tell me how you're cheating."

Kakashi looked back at the boy, confused.

"I am not cheating."

Malfoy scoffed, folding his arms. His robes were rumpled and black bags hung beneath his eyes. The exams were hitting him hard it would seem.

"You must be," Malfoy narrowed his eyes. "I've been watching you, you know. There's no way you would be so flippant about the OWLs unless you knew you were going to pass. The only way you would know that is if you knew the answers beforehand."

Kakashi just stared back at him.

"So come on, fess up," the boy prodded. "I'm on the Inquisitorial Squad and a Prefect. I can dock points and give you detention. Tell me how you got the answers."

"I do not care for points," Kakashi shrugged. "Nor your detentions."

"They really will send you back to whatever backwater in Japan you came from," Malfoy grinned. "Between my father and Headmistress Umbridge, you don't stand a chance."

Kakashi did not bother to hide his annoyed expression. He did not have time for grand-standing, spoiled teenagers.

"So you are going to go report to your father, like the perfect copy you are?" Kakashi demanded, turning to fully face the Slytherin. "I have said this to you before but you must have been deaf at the time. You are nothing without him or Umbridge; you do not think for yourself and you will suffer for it."

Malfoy opened his mouth but no sound came out.

"You cannot intimidate me because I have no reason to fear you," Kakashi continued. "Within these halls, you have a modicum of authority which you proceed to abuse and wield as a weapon, rather than actually fulfilling your role as a leader. Outside of Hogwarts, what will you do? Tell your father when someone will not listen to you? Die in the upcoming war? Become another in the long line of Malfoys' to be remembered on the losing side?"

Kakashi sighed harshly, reining in his annoyance. This will accomplish nothing.

"I will be leaving in two weeks," he said somewhat calmly. "You will not bother me again and you will leave Potter and Neville alone in that time. Am I understood?"

Malfoy instinctively nodded his head at Kakashi's tone, his eyes wide. He stalked off, leaving behind the rattled fifth year. Perhaps he could have handled that better but he really did not have time. The last thing he needed was being pulled up again in front of Umbridge for a false accusation.

The boy did vaguely remind him of his younger self. Not in the cruel, bullying sense but in that he was stuck in a toxic mindset cultivated by his family history. Kakashi had been arrogant too and abided by all rules, regardless of the consequences. It had taken the events at Kannabi to shake him out of that and there was nothing he wanted more than to shake his younger self out of that attitude before it got his best friend killed.

He knew Malfoy would have a similarly awful awakening; that he would live the rest of his life in regret that he did not change sooner. That was not Kakashi's role though even as he saw Malfoy walking a similar path. A stranger could not help him; it would have to be personal. Malfoy would just have to learn the hard way and Kakashi had a feeling that the war would be particularly tough on the boy. He hoped it would not be too late to salvage something for Malfoy; that he did not have to lose everything to realise what he had.

It was hard to come back from that.


The rest of the exams passed relatively quickly with mixed results. Kakashi breezed through the written portions as they only required memorisation. There was no critical thinking that he could discern within these exams. The issues arose in most of the practical sessions; he could not properly prepare potions as he was missing that magical spark that activated their effects. He effectively made several particularly disgusting drinks.

Care of Magical Creatures was not any better. The Knarl had been easy to identify if only because it had been vicious in its attempts to draw blood from him, while the hedgehogs around it remained indifferent. He did not even have time to offer the thing milk to draw it out of the group like he was supposed to; it just went straight for him. The Bowtruckles had remained steadfast in their dislike of him and had proceeded to throw sticks at him every time he tried to demonstrate correct handling. He gave up on them relatively quickly; it was not worth distressing the creatures just for an exam.

He could have done without the Fire Crab. The task was to feed it and clean out the creature's habitat without sustaining burns. He accomplished this task, avoiding the flames with ease, but it had been like pulling teeth. It was difficult to get anything done with a constant stream of flames directed at him. By the time he got to the final task, picking out a diet for a sick unicorn, Kakashi was sweaty and annoyed. He would be glad to leave behind this nightmare of a class.

Divination was simple in that Kakashi completely fabricated the answers. It was mostly nonsense anyway; while the gift of prophecy was a very real phenomenon it was foolish to think that just anyone could do it. The toads of Mount Myōboku were the only summons capable of it as far as he knew; in the wizards' culture, he was willing to bet the centaurs were the only legitimate source of foretelling the future. He did not think reading tea leaves or peering into a crystal ball would tell him anything about the years to come.

Potter and Weasley were glum after that exam but Kakashi knew that there was no way for that kind of exam to go right. He accepted the failure grade.

That evening they climbed to the peak of the Astronomy Tower to a cloudless sky filled with stars. Kakashi had never actually minded Astronomy; gazing into the indifferent night sky in the peace of night had always felt like a breath of fresh air. The stars and constellations were very different back in Konoha than they were here but it had not been too hard learning the new patterns. Star navigation was actually well-studied by shinobi but it was classified more as a tool, like their jutsu, rather than a field of study. Navigating the Land of Wind desert was much easier using the stars rather than landmarks; when there were only sand dunes around for miles it was easy to turn oneself around.

The stars also served as a reminder of how far he was from home. During the first few weeks at Hogwarts, it had been disconcerting to see the wrong sky reflected back at him. It had driven home the unfamiliarity of his new home for the next ten months. The only constant was the moon which was shining brightly that night, flooding their surroundings in a soft white glow. Soon enough the new constellations had become second nature to him and as he looked through his telescope to fill in the blank star-chart, he found himself frowning at the thought that he would never see them again.

Part way through the exam, Kakashi noted the figures leaving the castle and crossing the lawn. He recognised one of them as Umbridge but he quickly dismissed any thought of the group. They were not after Potter or himself so he would leave them to it. They had only gone to Hagrid's hut.

Sometime later, there was a loud 'BANG' that echoed throughout the hushed night. Kakashi instinctively tensed for an attack, about to move himself in front of Potter when he spotted Hagrid's door and relaxed. He watched calmly as six figures attempted to restrain the half-giant and failed spectacularly. For all his negative opinions on Hagrid as a teacher, the man could put up a decent fight. The children around him cried out in panic and Kakashi kept his eye on Potter to ensure he would not do anything stupid.

However, as McGonagall stormed out of the castle to face the figures and was subsequently stunned, even the examiners voiced their distress.

"Not so much as a warning!" Tofty gasped in horror. "Outrageous behaviour!"

It was when one of the men targeted Fang, Hagrid's dog, that Kakashi felt the anger build. He willed Hagrid to destroy these culprits; they were after Hagrid, not Fang. There was no reason to attack an animal that was just trying to protect its owner. There was never a reason to attack an animal unless they were in battle against you, but this was no battle; this was an ambush. Hagrid finally escaped, Fang limp in his arms, and Kakashi let out a breath. He hoped the dog was okay.

Tofty coughed awkwardly.

"Um...five minutes to go everyone."

Kakashi quickly scrawled the finishing touches to his star-chart and handed it in. The common room was completely full and the students were talking over one another, discussing what had just occurred. Kakashi had managed to avoid the bulk of the discussions, settling against the window and glaring at anyone who came near. There was nothing they could do for Hagrid now.

He rose the next morning and sat among the exhausted students at breakfast. He was more than adjusted to only having a couple hours of sleep but the same could not be said of the Gryffindors. He watched in amusement as one of the fifth years used their notes as an impromptu pillow. The final exam was that afternoon and Kakashi could see no issues; History of Magic had to be one of the easiest subjects offered at Hogwarts. It was not like the academy at home, where you had to break down each historical fight and analyse what each opponent did wrong. Here he just had to regurgitate whatever the ghost said, supplemented by the textbooks.

He entered the Great Hall and took his seat, turning the page over at the examiners' word. He thought it was going quite well until Potter started screaming.


Harry dashed away from the infirmary, his mind stuck on finding Ron and Hermione and telling them what he had seen. He finally found them in one of the corridors, heading towards him. He took them to an empty classroom on the first floor and slammed the door shut. He whipped around to face them and held in a startled yelp at the sight of Kakashi standing in the room. He had half a mind to ask how he had got there but dismissed it just as quickly; he had bigger things to worry about.

"Voldemort's got Sirius."

"What?" "How do you know?"

Ron and Hermione spoke over each other, their faces pale.

"I saw it when I fell asleep in the exam. He's in that room in the Department of Mysteries in the Ministry. I've seen it before; it's at the end of row ninety-seven. He's torturing him, guys, he's trying to use Sirius to find whatever he's been looking for."

He sat down on a desk, his legs shaking.

"We have to go there. We have to save him."

"But Harry..." Ron spoke up and Harry snapped his head towards him. "How did Sirius get there? He's been in hiding."

"How did Voldemort get into the Ministry?" Hermione added, her voice shaking. "It's five o'clock...there's no way both Voldemort and Sirius snuck in past the Aurors."

"It's always empty when I'm there-"

"But you've never been there! You've only dreamt it!"

"Then how do you explain Ron's dad?"

"Harry has a point," Ron said quietly, looking over at the girl.

"It's...it's just so unlikely," Hermione snapped. "Why Sirius? How did Voldemort get to him? We don't have any real proof!

"Harry saw him, Hermione," Ron yelled back.

"What if it's a trap?" Hermione pleaded, tears in her eyes. "Voldemort knows you're the sort of person to go save Sirius. Remember what happened with Ginny? He knew you would run off to save her!"

"What's that supposed to mean?" Harry snarled.

Before it could escalate further, Kakashi finally spoke up.

"It is a trap."

The three of them whirled around to face the shinobi.

"How do you know?" Harry demanded.

"It is what I would do to lure you out," Kakashi stated calmly. "Granger is correct; the moment you find out someone is in danger you will try to save them. You stop thinking."

"You can't know that!"

"It is the most logical conclusion from the information presented."

"Fuck your logic!" Harry yelled in his face. "Sirius is in danger; I saw it with my own eyes."

"Then we confirm it with the fireplace," Kakashi was unmoved. "I know that short of knocking you out that you will not let this rest so we will dismiss this notion now. Then you will stay here. Agreed?"

Harry nodded and turned, shoving his way out the door. Somewhere along the way they picked up Ginny and Luna who agreed to act as lookouts while Ron went to distract Umbridge. Harry had run back to the dorm to grab his Invisibility Cloak and he quickly threw it over himself and Hermione as the girls cleared the corridor in front of Umbridge's office. Kakashi had vanished from sight but Harry didn't doubt that he was close by. He was a bit surprised that Kakashi was allowing him to do this to be honest.

They finally got into Umbridge's office and Harry flung the Cloak off and slid to kneel in front of the orange flames. He grabbed a handful of Floo Powder.

"Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place!"

The flame flared green as he threw the powder in and he shoved his head forward. The sight that greeted him was the cold, empty kitchen of Grimmauld Place. There were no lights on or signs that someone had been there recently; there was nobody. Harry felt like he was going to be sick at the wave of dread that washed over him.

There was suddenly a faint scuffling sound near the door of the kitchen.

"Who's there?" Harry called out. "Sirius?"

Kreacher popped into view, looking happier than Harry had ever seen him.

"It's the Potter boy," Kreacher mused. "What does he want, Kreacher wonders."

"Where's Sirius?"

"Master has gone out, Harry Potter," Kreacher replied, sounding far too happy compared to when he normally mentioned Sirius.

"Where's he gone? Where is Sirius, Kreacher?"

The house elf only laughed. The sound was broken and scratchy, like it had not been uttered for decades.

"Kreacher!" Harry yelled in frustration. "Where's Mad-Eye or Lupin? Or any of them?"

"All gone, all gone," Kreacher sang. "Nobody here but Kreacher and the mistress."

He turned and Harry's heart dropped at his words.

"Master will never return from the Department of Mysteries. Kreacher and his mistress are alone again!"

The house elf proceeded to leave the kitchen, indifferent to Harry's cries for him to come back, to answer his questions. Harry was about to try again when someone grabbed him by his hair and yanked him back. He turned to shout at Kakashi when he came face to face with a furious Umbridge.

"You think," She started as she dragged his head further back to stare at the ceiling. "That after two Nifflers I was going to let any more nasty, scavenging little creature into my office without my knowledge?

Harry swallowed harshly, the lump travelling slowly down his throat.

They were in trouble.


Kakashi watched Umbridge hold Potter's hair, his eyes darting around the room and taking in the situation. He had a Slytherin pointing his wand at him and each of the kids had been caught, their own captor hanging over them.

He knew he should have not gone along with this plan. He should have just shut Potter down when it was first mentioned. Instead he had let his feelings get in the way.

He knew what it was like to be held back from rescuing someone who meant so much to him. When the Kyūbi attacked Konoha, he and the others his age had all been ordered back and told not to fight. He had been forced to watch as the beast had rampaged through his village; when he had heard of the casualties, they had haunted him for many nights after. He could have helped them; he could have done something. The worst part of that whole night had been when he had found out about Minato-sensei and Kushina-nee. There was nothing he wanted more than to turn back the clock and save them. He wanted Naruto to have his parents.

Instead someone had stopped him, saying it was for his own good. He had hated it and he did not wish it on anyone. So when Potter had demanded that he save his last living family member, his godfather, Kakashi had been weak. He had spent too long around these kids; back in September he would have just knocked him out and been done with it.

Now he stood with a power-crazed Ministry official and several hostages. He glanced over at where Neville was being held. He had no idea when the boy had stumbled across them but he was cursing every deity that he had gotten himself involved.

Umbridge continued to scream at Potter but when she threw him into the desk with a loud 'thud', Kakashi was not going to stand for it. He squeezed his captor's pressure point and the kid dropped like a stone. He shunshined rapidly in succession, taking down each Slytherin quickly and painlessly. They were still students after all. He caught the shocked look in Malfoy's eyes just before he took him down.

He whirled around to face Umbridge as the last Slytherin slumped to the floor. She had dragged Potter from the ground and held a wand to his neck.

"Who are you?" She demanded, unable to keep the fear out of her voice. "You shouldn't be able to apparate on school grounds."

Kakashi suddenly felt Ishida approaching the office at the edge of his range. He took his spare mask from his pocket, slipping it on as he shrugged off the heavy Gryffindor cloak.

"I did not apparate," he calmly stated, watching the end of the wand bob against Potter's neck.

"I said tell me who you are!"

"Kakashi Hatake. Let go of Potter."

She gripped him tighter.

"Who do you work for?"

He remained silent and she jabbed the wand into Potter's throat, causing the boy to cough.

"Who do you think I work for?" He tried instead.

Umbridge appeared to turn something over in her head and her eyes widened.

"No," she stated, starting to sweat as the terror set in. "Dumbledore wouldn't have gone so far. He wouldn't have hired a shinobi; not in his precious school."

"I am not here for you," Kakashi replied, keeping his voice level. "Just let Potter go and we will be on our way."

Umbridge only dragged the boy a few steps back.

"Your kind would never just leave in peace!" Umbridge screeched. "I've heard about you lot. You kill for money and for pleasure. You're barbarians who destroy everything in your path."

Kakashi raised his hands, showing he was unarmed. The woman was panicking; he could not allow her to harm Potter in her distress. She had already shown a capacity for hurting the students.

"Now that's not nice."

Ishida sauntered in, stepping over the unconscious students and grinning at the ones staring. She stepped up to stand beside Kakashi and he fought the urge to take a step away from her.

"From what I've seen of you wizards, you aren't much better."

Kakashi vowed that if this idiot got his charge killed that he would make sure she followed swiftly after.

"Has she used any illegal spells?" She asked him, her eyes still on Umbridge.

"No," Kakashi grumbled back. "I have not allowed her the opportunity."

"Way to fuck with my mission," she sniped back and Kakashi almost struck her down then and there.

"I am not sacrificing students just so you can get a 'job well done' sash," he said sternly, the warning in his tone. "Least of all my charge."

He was gratified to note she did back down at the warning.

"Okay, Dolores Umbridge, we can either do this the easy way or the hard way," Ishida resumed grinning. "Come quietly and you may only get a lifetime in prison instead of two."

Umbridge's face paled another shade whiter, her hands shaking.

"You don't have the authority. Dumbledore doesn't have the authority."

"No," Ishida agreed. "But Edward Stonewall of the Magical Congress of the United States of America does; or did you forget about all the crimes you committed in that country too?"

Kakashi did not bother to hide his eye roll. It was typical of young, less-experienced ninja to showboat; he thought it was unnecessary to share all of these details. She was only doing it to see the reaction of Umbridge after the 'big reveal'. It was fatal to do against other shinobi but against civilians, most saw it as a great opportunity. Kakashi was of the opinion that shinobi should just do their mission. It did not matter if anyone knew what they had done; as long as they did their job right and served their village.

It was a bit ironic coming from him, who was known throughout the Elemental Nations for his feats during the war. He had been in the Bingo book for years.

Ishida did provide the ideal distraction however. Kakashi shunshined behind Umbridge and grabbed her wand, the spell hitting one of the walls instead of Potter. He held it out of reach as he punched Umbridge in the face, feeling her nose give way in satisfaction. She dropped into a heap on the ground and Kakashi threw her wand to Ishida. She glared at him as she snatched it out of the air.

"She's still my takedown," she hissed. "Did you have to punch her though? I might get flack for turning in damaged goods; you could have just hit the nerve like you did with the kids."

"Whatever."

He completely ignored her. He looked over to check on Potter to find him staring down at Umbridge.

"I've wanted to do that all year," he said faintly.

So had Kakashi, although he did not voice it out loud. He swept the room to find them all staring at him. Granger and the two Weasleys' already knew about his true identity but Lovegood and Neville did not. Lovegood did not look too fussed as she poked at Warrington on the floor. Neville, though, Neville was staring at him, an unreadable look in his eyes.

Before he could approach his friend, Potter spoke up.

"Also since when are you two working together?" he demanded. "Last time I saw you two in the same room you were trying to kill each other."

"That's still very much the case," Ishida spoke up. "We just have to tolerate each other until the end of the school year."

"But you were after Umbridge?" Potter turned to her. "Did Kakashi know?"

"He's had to help me and in return, I don't kill you."

The words sunk in and Potter took a hurried step back.

"Wait, what? Why would you kill me if you were after Umbridge?" He rushed out, trying to put some distance between them.

"To spite me," Kakashi spoke up, tearing his gaze away from Neville.

Potter stared at him before turning to resume staring at Ishida. She just shrugged which did not help Potter's nerves.

"Wait, when did you have time to help on another mission?" Granger spoke up, confused.

"My primary objective was to protect Potter but I have had several other duties during the year," Kakashi replied, a bit bemused despite the fear curling in his gut as Neville remained silent. "Did you think I spent all my time following you around?"

"Yes!" Potter burst out. "You have not left my side all year! I thought you were going to follow me into the bathroom at one point!"

Kakashi dismissed him; Potter tended to be a bit dramatic. They still had the 'Sirius' problem to resolve.

"I'll keep an eye on these guys while I contact Stonewall-san about Umbridge," Ishida said quietly. "No one will follow you to the Ministry."

Kakashi's head snapped to the Iwa nin in surprise. She was frowning deeply and refused to look at him.

"I hate it but I owe you," she grumbled. "After this we're done; this evens out you taking down Umbridge and getting her wand."

Kakashi continued to stare at her. She was serious; she was willing to do one non-hostile action for him. This would not take away their hatred and prejudice against each other. She was still from Iwa after all. His previous threat to eliminate her when they were back in the Elemental Nations also still stood. In this one moment though, there was a truce. He decided not to over think it.

"Potter, did you confirm Sirius' location?"

A switch flipped within Potter and the urgency crept back in.

"He wasn't there! Kreacher said he wouldn't be coming back from the Department of Mysteries. He knew where Sirius would be!"

Kakashi nodded. He was reluctant to let Potter go to a potentially hostile environment but at this point they had no choice. He would have to knock out every student in the room for that and he did not want to do it. He would just have to be vigilant in his protection of Potter.

"We will go to the Ministry," he relented. "You will stay close to me and if I say hide, you will hide. Understood?"

Potter nodded quickly, already reaching for the Floo Powder. It was almost as if a spell had been broken over the room. The Gryffindors headed to the fireplace, Lovegood on their heels. Kakashi had to go first to scope out the situation but he stopped Potter, turning to Neville.

"I said I would tell you the truth," he tried to desperately get his sincerity across. "I promise I will tell you everything once we get back."

"Why were you here?" Neville asked quietly. "Was it all just to maintain your cover? Befriend the weird, fat kid then no one will suspect you?"

Kakashi's heart broke.

"Neville, I was here to protect Potter and Hogwarts. I promise that I really am your friend."

"Kakashi, we gotta move!" Potter called out to him.

Kakashi gently squeezed Neville's arm and turned, grabbing a handful of green powder and stepping up to the fireplace. No matter how much he wanted to talk things through with Neville, convince him to believe the truth, that Kakashi valued him greatly and it had nothing to do with the mission he did not have the time. He had to commit to the mission which right now was keeping Potter alive at the Ministry.

"Department of Mysteries, Ministry of Magic!"

As he called out the name and stepped into the flames, he could not help but feel he was leaving Neville behind like he did Obito. That he was putting the mission above another friendship.

He hoped this would not end the same way.


Magen: Kokoni Arazu no Jutsu = Demonic Illusion: False Surroundings Technique

This concludes the twenty-eighth chapter.

Please could you review about what you like and what I can improve upon? Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated and I will always strive to improve your reading experience in any way I can.

Arigatou gozaimasu