Note: There are some continuity issues that I want to address before anyone asks. Sakura/Hermione's birthday is 28th of March, and I'm changing the Hogwarts rules so that a student enters school during the school year they turn 11, so Sakura has just turned 12 and finished her second year of school. Her personality is also more Hermione-ish because Hermione is at Hogwarts before Sakura meets her team. In Naruto, the graduation takes place in October, but I'm changing the time line around to fit better, so now the graduation is at the beginning of June. Also, in Harry Potter, spells travel maybe ~10 feet per second, which is slow enough to dodge or counterattack, but that would be useless against a ninja, so for the sake of this story, spells travel at the speed of light. The only time delay is the length of time it takes to actually say the spell. If they're not out of the way by the time it fires, even a ninja can't dodge. That is all for now. Please enjoy.
Despite being well aware of the basilisk's presence as it stalked me through the hall, I was still mildly shocked to wake up in the hospital wing several weeks later by Madam Pomfrey. I could still taste the mandrake drought so it didn't take me long to deduce that I'd been attacked while trying to sneak through the school. My barrage of questions about everything that had happened when I was asleep was met with a hasty summary of what had transpired over the past few hours. After taking a long moment to absorb it all, I took a deep steadying breath and grinned. Everyone was alive. Ginny had been taken but was safe now. Harry and Ron were heroes again.
The fact that the page describing the basilisk was no longer in my hand told me that they had come to see me while I was unconscious and that my final act before being petrified had been useful, even if I couldn't deliver the information personally.
I rushed down to the great hall, where the whole school was having a midnight celebration, and I didn't even worry about wearing the loose hospital gown, as everyone else was in their nightclothes anyway. I yelled out "You solved it! You solved it!" at them, and watched with pride as they grinned back at me with twin expressions of exhilaration and relief. Their explanation was much more detailed, and I listened with rapt attention, at least until Professor McGonagall came in and announced that the end of year exams had been canceled.
"Oh, no," I said. I had been counting on those exams to show everyone at home how well I'd done this year. But, then again, I'd spent over two months this year in the hospital wing between the fiasco with the polyjuice potion and being attacked by a giant snake, so I supposed I shouldn't complain too much.
"Only you, Hermione," Ron laughed, but I was still so happy that I could only grin back and laugh too.
During the last few weeks of school, I made sure to study up on everything I'd missed and to cram in as many new spells as possible before the train arrived to take us all home. I spent the last few hours with my friends playing around with the sort of carefree abandon that we hadn't seen since the first attack, and then it was time to say goodbye. Harry gave us his telephone number, and I hugged them both one last time. I would have to make up an excuse later for not being able to call him. I'd told them both I would be spending all summer in France to discourage them from inviting me over and explaining any delays in my answering their mail. But I could worry about formulating more excuses after I'd sorted out everything else.
"Your aunt and uncle will be proud though, won't they?" I asked Harry, wishing my part in the adventure had been a bit more substantial. "When they hear what you did this year?"
"Proud?" said Harry. "Are you crazy? All those times I could've died, and I didn't manage it? They'll be furious..."
I couldn't tell whether or not he was joking, but I couldn't bring myself to spoil his cheerful mood by asking about it. Instead, I linked my arm with his and Ron's, and we walked together into the muggle's Kings Cross.
And then, they were gone, Harry with the Dursleys, and Ron with his family. I walked over to stand beside a nearby pillar and waited. Hogwarts students filed past, and I waved at a few familiar faces. But soon they were all gone, and the muggles were not paying me any attention. It hadn't even been ten minutes, and I was starting to miss my friends already. Instead of moping, I scanned the platform for any telltale sign that someone was there who shouldn't be. I was unsurprised to find a brown haired, middle-aged, utterly ordinary looking man walk casually toward me.
"Haruno Sakura," the disguised ANBU said with a lighthearted smile. "I'm here to escort you back to Konoha."
As always, the trip back wasn't fun. Summoning jutsus rarely were. After a whirlwind of chakra and the sensation of being hurtled across vast stretches of space, I found myself standing unsteadily in the Hokage's office with my trunk and only a slight queasiness to worry about. The ANBU reached out a hand to brace me as I nearly fell backward. I glanced over at him to see that his hair had turned blue, and his face was now covered with a bear mask.
"Haruno Sakura," said the Hokage. "Have you prepared your mission report?"
"Yes, Hokage-sama," I said.
From my jacket, I pulled out the mission scroll and laid it on the Hokage's desk. He took it with a cursory glance.
"What is the status of your current mission?" he asked.
I fidgeted slightly before stilling my hands with an effort.
"There were some complications this year," I said. My face began to heat slightly as I recounted the events of my second year at Hogwarts with all the professionalism I could muster. I stumbled a bit over turning myself into a furry cat-girl, but the Hokage didn't say anything. I moved on rather quickly. He did frown deeply when I explained about being attacked by the basilisk, but he waited until the end before speaking.
"It seems that the risk factors associated with this mission are greater than I initially believed," the Hokage said gravely. "This was supposed to be an extended D rank mission, but it has been clearly elevated to at least a C rank, and it may no longer be appropriate for someone of your skill level."
That was a blow to my pride, and I flinched, looking down. I wanted to object, to say that I'd helped, and that everything had worked out alright in the end, but the recent summary of events was still more embarrassing than praise-worthy. Some Konoha ninja I was turning out to be.
"Hokage-sama," I said, but I stopped and tried to think of a way to turn this around. "Hokage-sama, I was chosen for this mission because I was noted as having this ability...because I am a witch, and witches and wizards are not born in ninja villages very often. Most ninja haven't been very successful in infiltrating wizard society simply because the portal that separates our worlds can only be bypassed by a witch or wizard or someone with magical blood. But even recessive magical genes are rare." I glanced over at the Bear ANBU. "And even if we're not at war with the wizards, I...we need as much information on them as we can get because they can freely enter our world even while we have difficulty entering theirs." Stop babbling, I chided myself. He already knows that, and you know that he knows that. "I believe that I can complete this mission. The threat from the Heir of Slytherin is over."
"The threat from Voldemort was 'over' at the end of last year as well," said someone behind me. I turned to see the counselor Koharu standing by the door. I hadn't heard her come in. Great, I was just showcasing all of my amazing abilities today, wasn't I?
The Hokage puffed on his pipe as I tried to think up a suitable response.
"I can still gather more information," I said. "There are no current threats..."
"No one is doubting your loyalty or your desire to perform," said the Hokage. "But there remains the fact that you do not have the necessary combat skills required to complete the mission. Even if this situation has been dealt with, there is no guarantee that something similar will not arise in the future. And while the spells that you returned with after your first year were somewhat useful, they are not in the realm of something I would risk the life of one of my Genin for."
I felt the last vestiges of my pride deflating like a punctured balloon. So, not only had I risked my life and stumbled my way through another year of secretly learning magic in a far-off country, but the Hokage didn't even consider it worth the effort to due so. I contemplated bowing my head then and meekly requesting to be withdrawn from the mission I'd just dedicated the last two years of my life to, but a loud HELL NO from my usually quieter inner self gave me a chance to voice my last hope at salvaging this situation.
"There is a reason why I want to return for at least one more year," I said, and I forced myself to meet the Hokage's eyes. "Because of my exemplary performance in all of my classes and my desire to take a heavier workload, one of my senseis told me about a special program they have at Hogwarts. If I am accepted, I will be given a magical object called a Time Turner. The Time Turner has the ability to send the user several hours into the past."
I paused to given them a chance to absorb this information. True time ninjutsu supposedly existed at one point, but the knowledge had long since been forgotten and no one had been even remotely successful at recovering the lost art. The chance to study something that could go backwards through time, even if it was a magical object rather than a chakra laden one, would be something even the Hokage could not pass up on.
I watched as the Hokage stilled and gave me a very intense stare. He knew what I was thinking, and I hoped he thought I was right.
"You're sure?" Koharu asked sharply. "You believe that you will gain access to this object long enough to bring it to us to study?"
"I will find out later this summer when I receive word from my sensei," I said carefully. "If this is something you would be willing to consider," and I dearly hoped it was, "then I ask that you wait until the owl arrives to let me know either way. Until then, I request to be placed with a Genin team under a Jonin instructor, so that I can increase my skill as a ninja."
The last bit came out a little faster than I had intended. I wasn't sure if I was asking for a favor or not, but all things considered, I didn't think it was too much of a long shot.
"So, you want to buy some time to increase your abilities by dangling a valuable object under our noses," said Koharu, shaking her head. "Your attempts at bribery and persuasion are woefully transparent for a kunoichi."
"I'm sure a Jonin instructor would be able to help me with that too," I said before I could think better of it.
Koharu's eyes hardened, but the Hokage chuckled.
"I will concede that a rash decision could cost us valuable knowledge that we could greatly benefit from," he said. "And you are correct about needing training. I have asked you to postpone your training for the sake of this mission, and I believe it would be reasonable to place you with an instructor while you are here. I will reserve my decision until you receive your notification."
My heart swelled, and my bruised ego lifted a bit.
"The graduation for the Ninja Academy was yesterday, and I believe we have an uneven number," he said.
"Normally, we place more experienced Genin whose team members have become Chunin into these groups, but I will see to it that you are given priority. Report to the Academy tomorrow at 7:00 am to receive further instructions. Also, after reviewing your coursework, I will have you return to demonstrate your new abilities under a diagnostic jutsu for our research. Dismissed."
I bowed and left, trailing my trunk behind me.
As I walked down the hall, I realized that while it hadn't gone quite the way I'd hoped, it was still better than nothing. I reached into my pocket and felt the familiar ridges of my wand. I knew it wasn't an awesome ninja blood-limit. It wasn't even terribly useful yet, but it was still mine, my talent. My magic and my quick mind had helped me graduate from the Academy two years early even though I still had pretty low level taijutsu, very few ninjutsu, and no genjutsu to speak of. I suddenly felt a twinge of worry. What about my new teammates? What about my new sensei? What would their skill levels be? And what would they think of mine? Somehow I doubted they would be very impressed by my wand waving. Maybe if I got one of them with my petrificus totalus...
I squashed the worry and lifted by chin up. No, I wasn't going to doubt myself. Everything would be fine. I'd survived trolls, a giant three headed dog, devils snare, and a basilisk. I am Haruno Sakura and Hermione Granger. I didn't have anything to worry about.
And with that thought, I marched back to my home to see my parents and prepare for the next day. I had a lot of work to do.