Disclaimer: not mine
Sasuke fought the urge to fall to a knee, panting, even as Naruto stood opposite him, blond hair limp from sweat and the dunking he'd taken in the river. The deadline was in three days and he honestly didn't know if he'd be cleared or not. He hadn't had a breakdown in six days, or lost his temper for no reason, so that was an improvement. He'd had blood taken yesterday for a final check pre-mission, if he passed and Kakashi-sensei okayed his combat then he'd be cleared to go looking for his family. Otherwise he'd be stuck on Konoha worrying while the others plus another team went.
Naruto grinned at him, Sasuke smirked back , and then they moved, rushing at each other only for Sasuke to dodge to the side as Sakura's fist slammed into the ground where he'd been a split second earlier, the ground cracking. She was the cleanest of the three of them, other than her very dusty gloves and a smear of mud on one cheek, green eyes bright as she smiled. This…this was how it always should have been, but it hadn't all been his fault. Sakura had needed a reality check, to push her to actually train, and Naruto had needed to grow up as well.
He glanced at the two of them and then over to where Kakashi was watching them, raising his hands in the beginning of a seal in question. Their sensei hesitated but then nodded in permission so he looked back to his teammates to find Naruto grinning and eager, Sakura adjusting her gloves before nodding. He nicked his thumb and then went through the signs, summoning for the first time since coming back. It was risky but if anyone could deal with out-of-control snakes, it was his team.
Naruto grinned as Sasuke summoned the snakes, not summoning toads to counter because Sasuke was obviously testing if he could still control them. He'd only summon if they went crazy or he accidentally called one of the really big snakes. There were three plumes of smoke and the hint of movement in the grass, good nothing really big. Of course small snakes weren't exactly safe either since they tended to be poisonous. He was basically immune to most poisons thanks to the fox, and Sakura was getting really good at dealing with stuff like that apparently, so they should be okay.
Kakashi watched the snakes vanish into the grass, tracking them and ready to intervene if necessary. He could understand Sasuke wanting to work with the summons, to see if he had any chance of using them in combat again, or if the snakes would turn on him for killing Orochimaru. Better to test it in the controlled location of their training ground and with the team since the four of them could easily deal with a few snakes. If Sasuke could no longer control the summons, then that was a powerful tool gone from his arsenal.
Could Sasuke summon larger snakes? He'd assumed when Sasuke made the seal in question that he summoned snakes and had been proven right. The assumption was due to Orochimaru, why would he have his 'future body' summon a different animal after all, not to mention summoning contracts didn't exactly grow on trees. He knew Sakura had recently signed the slug contract and Naruto had been summoning toads since the chūnin exams, they really were a new generation of the sannin but they would have a better future than the last, they would.
He watched as Naruto spammed some clones, all armed with kunai, even as Sakura danced back before launching herself at Sasuke. Would the snakes move to defend him?
Tsunade studied Team 7 before looking down at the reports on her desk. Sasuke's latest bloodwork was a lot better, although still not fully normal. It may never return to what was considered normal due to the procedures he had undergone. Kabuto had been an excellent surgeon, the scars all but invisible, but she was even better. Without the records, it was impossible to determine everything they'd done to the boy, but it seemed he was back to combat fitness. Kakashi had reported the session with summoning, he wouldn't be able to do that in the field, not yet and maybe not ever. Still, most shinobi didn't have summons so it wasn't important to clearing him. And she wouldn't clear him for general missions, not beyond a D-rank, not yet, but this was a special case.
"Team 7," she looked at them all, seeing Sasuke straighten slightly as he realised he was included. She looked at Naruto who grinned, turning to grab an object behind him before handing it to the shocked Uchiha, it was the sword that had been tucked into his rather…fetching belt. Seriously, why had Orochimaru been so obsessed with large purple bows? "You'll need this too," she opened a drawer and drew out a brand new hitai-ate, she would have simply had Naruto return his old one, but it had a rather serious mark on it that made it inappropriate under the circumstances.
He took the village symbol and stared at it for a few moments before tying it around his head, getting grins from his teammates. He then surprised her by bowing. "Thank you Hokage-sama."
"Jiraiya sent his latest report and he's narrowed down your search area to a country called 'England', specifically the capitol city of 'London'. Unfortunately that's as far as he can get, it appears someone has been very careful in protecting the information on the Uchiha and either Kakashi or yourself is needed."
"Sharingan based genjutsu?" Kakashi asked, and she nodded.
"Or at least something strong enough to need them to break," she agreed. "But he's sure that the records are concealing living people."
"That's great!" Naruto cheered, while Sasuke looked shocked for a second before hiding it.
It wasn't surprising that he hadn't been allowing himself to hope for more than records of deceased family. She just hoped they got there in time, although Jiraiya had not reported any signs of Itachi, yet. Then again, if he had more information than them, he might already be to the family. She knew the boy knew that, could see it in his eyes, but it was nice for him to have some hope after everything.
"He's sent a seal that he says Naruto should be able to copy, it will allow you to speak and understand the native language," she handed the paperwork to Naruto who frowned, studying it.
"Yeah…I can do this, but it'll take a bit, even using clones," he admitted.
"How long?" Sasuke pressed.
"That gives you all time to pack for a civilian infiltration mission. Outside of the Elemental lands, shinobi are not known so you have to pass as civilians. Be careful when using chakra, as far as we know they can't detect it but we don't know who cast those illusions on the records. Jiraiya will meet you in London but then he has to return. He'll have some emergency transport scrolls for you to use if you have to get out of there fast, otherwise you will be using their methods of transport which he has arranged in advance. Good luck."
She just hoped they didn't need it.
Naruto studied the seal carefully, it was more complicated than the ones Ero-Sennin had been training with him so far, but he could spot the various components. He could decipher parts of it but not all, but he didn't need to in order to copy it. and he had to copy it perfectly or who knew what it would do to them, so you know…no pressure or anything. He laid out his materials and then his hands formed the familiar sign, four clones appearing around him, he didn't need to tell them for them to get to work, leaving him to pack.
Sakura easily packed clothing suited for passing as a civilian, at least locally, but she knew the chances were high that in such a different society, she'd still stand out. She'd have to check what Naruto was packing since he only ever wore that jumpsuit before. Yes, his clothes had changed while he was gone, but did he have civilian gear? She made sure she had plenty of medical supplies since she'd be team medic for the mission and she had the feeling it would end in combat. She took extra since she didn't know how many people they would be finding or their condition.
She was nervous, Itachi was not the kind of opponent she ever wanted to face, even if she'd been trained in genjutsu herself to an extent. They'd spent the two weeks working on their teamwork as well as getting Sasuke back to mission ready status so at least they shouldn't be tripping over each other or anything but still…the man had taken out Kakashi-sensei before!
She finished her packing and headed downstairs for dinner, informing her parents she was leaving in the morning for a mission and didn't know when she would back. They weren't pleased but she was used to that. Her Dad was mostly supportive, but she knew what her mother wanted. She had let her go to the Academy to meet a wealthy clan heir and secure a good marriage, not to actually become a ninja. Well, Sakura was a ninja and she knew she was becoming a good one now. Yes, she'd like to marry one day but she would do it for love and not money. Even when she'd chased after Sasuke it had never been for the Uchiha money.
Sasuke…her Shishou had not been gentle in going over her behaviour regarding Team 7. The way she'd behaved towards both boys had been so wrong and she knew that now. Still, knowing that Sasuke's actions had been under the influence of that seal had been so relieving. She'd been sick to think she'd missed the signs he was so…coldblooded. And the Sasuke who had returned to them was very different to the boy he'd been, he was traumatised, still suffering from what Orochimaru had done to him, but also far more self-aware. He'd apologised to her! She still felt for him but she knew he wasn't in a good place to even consider trying to like someone, not yet. Maybe he'd never be ready for a relationship and she would never try to force one.
Sasuke stood by the gate, unsure what he felt as his pack rested against his leg while he waited for the rest of his teammates. He could feel people watching him as they passed, knew they were talking about him, but they'd done that ever since that night. Though now there was mistrust in many of the gazes. The Hokage had announced his return over a week ago, stating that he had been cleared of all charges because he hadn't been acting of his own free will.
He knew it would take time for people, especially other shinobi, to trust him. part of him didn't care but he also knew that trust was important in their kind of life. He trusted his team and he hoped they trusted him; Naruto seemed to without hesitation. Sakura was different to how he remembered but not in a bad way, she was not a little girl playing at being a ninja anymore, no longer the deadweight holding the team back. And despite how he used to taunt Naruto, he hadn't been the one holding them back. He'd actually proven quite a quick thinker in combat what with that plan to deal with Zabuza and several other times.
He glanced over at the blond to see him going over the seal again. Who'd have thought the brat from the Academy would be learning Seals from one of the sannin? How much further would he be now if the teachers had paid more attention back then? Naruto had changed, there was something…steadier about him now, but then again they were older. Naruto glanced up, grinning at him, but there was concern in his eyes that Sasuke would have missed back then.
"You've re-checked that a hundred times," he muttered.
"Do you want to be blown up or something if there's even a tiny error?" Naruto teased and he blanched, looking at the blond in concern.
"It wouldn't, would it?"
"Seals are tricky and temperamental," he shrugged which wasn't very comforting. "But Ero-Sennin's a master, his work is good."
"Right. How about use it on Kakashi-sensei first?" he asked, and Naruto laughed.
It took them three days to reach the port and another four at sea to reach a country called Japan. Before the boat docked they all changed into civilian gear, Kakashi using a scarf to help conceal his face, a normal patch over his eye. It was an obvious source of amusement to the three teens, even as they made their way to the 'airport', all four staring in shock at the vehicles that flew. That was… they shook it off and made sure the paperwork Jiraiya had sent was in order, making their way through check-in and security; getting their weapons through machines made to detect metal had been interesting and had involved a trip to the bathroom and several clones henged into various insects to fly the weapons passed the machines.
Being stuck inside the flying machine for over twelve hours was not any of their idea of fun but they all had things to read in preparation for the next stage of the mission, plus a lot of passengers were speaking the language their seals were designed for, giving them the chance to get used to it. at least they had seats in something called 'business class' so even Kakashi wasn't cramped in the seat. The food was passable and the tiny tv's on the back of the seats were interesting too. They took it in shifts to sleep like they would on any mission so they were well rested when they finally arrived in England.
According to the pamphlet, Heathrow airport was the largest aviation hub in the world, and she believed it. She'd thought the one in Tokyo was busy but this was…insane! She'd thought Konoha had a good-sized population but compared to these countries…it was scary to realise how large the outside world was and just how vastly outnumbered they were. They all stuck close to Kakashi-sensei, not wanting to get lost, although it'd be easy to find each other since everyone around had less chakra than the civilians back home. Still, better not to waste time by getting separated in the first place.
Thankfully, Jiraiya-sama had included maps of London in the information for them as well as a list of places to go for things like accommodation, which he'd pre-booked for them, food…and the government buildings that held the records they needed. She could almost feel Sasuke becoming tenses the closer they got to answers but he looked relaxed enough to fool those around them. It was too late to go to the building now, so they took a 'taxi' to the hotel and she was pleasantly pleased to find it was a reputable establishment and not something in the local equivalent to the red-light district. They had two rooms and it was obvious the staff expected her to room in the second alone, so sharing with the opposite gender was frowned on, but that was okay since the room balconies were next to each other, the gap nothing to even an Academy student. So Kakashi-sensei joined her in her room since Sasuke seemed to be doing well staying with Naruto.
Naruto lay in the massive bed, not sure if he liked it or not, it was firmer than what he was used to except for camping on the ground. It didn't sag like his own which was nice. He shifted again, rolling to look out the gap in the curtains, unable to see the stars because of all the city lights. London was…scary. He'd spent the last few years on the road but he'd never seen anything like what they had since leaving the Elemental nations. There was so much noise, too many strange smells, too many people. He rolled again and then nearly jumped as he found Sasuke in his bed.
"What?" he blinked, and then Sasuke offered his hand…like he did when Sasuke had a nightmare. Oh. He took his hand, the two of them shifting around a little to be comfortable.
"Go to sleep, the room's warded," Sasuke murmured.
Naruto closed his eyes, he was right, they were safe and they had a busy day tomorrow. It took a while but eventually he fell asleep.
Sasuke stared up at the building feeling…daunted, he had not expected something quite so large. They had Jiraiya's notes but still, it was going to take some time, and they couldn't just sneak in and around, there were too many cameras and other types of security that they could trip without realising it. One firm rule had been that they were not allowed to be caught using ninja techniques. No, they had to appear that they had a reason to be in the various areas. Dealing with the people themselves would be easy enough if necessary, it was the recording equipment that was the worry.
"Sakura, how do you feel about changing your hair colour?"
"Sensei?" she demanded.
"The looks you've been getting for the colour won't help in a government building," he pointed out, and he was right.
Thankfully, they carried temporary dies for when henge wouldn't work so it didn't take her long to duck away and then return with very average looking brown hair. It…didn't suit her at all and from the look on Naruto's face he agreed. With the clothing she'd purchased earlier, she blended in well enough, other than being a bit younger looking than most. Sasuke nodded and moved to walk slightly behind her, guarding her back, feeling strange wearing the darkened glasses that would hide his Sharingan. If anyone asked, he had a condition than made him very sensitive to light since there was no way he could fake being blind. Of course, Kakashi had decided they'd train on that once back home, wonderful.
They had the map of the building and a list of where to go, but it was also obvious that visitors were checking in at the front desk so that was where they went.
Sakura took a deep breath, feeling Sasuke press a hand briefly to her back, something he wouldn't have done before, but it helped. They could do this, they had to do it. She would ask for the records they needed but if that didn't work, Sasuke would use the Sharingan to ensure cooperation. She just had to stay calm and stick to the script, just a student doing a genealogy project who needed the records of her family, nothing to cause any alarm. She smiled brightly at the woman behind the desk. "Good morning."
"What can I do for you?" the woman asked, sounding bored, good. Bored people weren't as attentive.
"I'm looking for some family records for a genealogy project."
"I'll need to see id please and the family name."
Sakura handed over the id she'd been given. "The name is Potter, last one I know of is Charlus."
"Hmm," she turned to her computer and Sakura watched, it was a lot more advanced than any she'd seen back home.
The outside world was just full of technology and she supposed it made sense, they needed it for things that her people used chakra for.
"I'm not seeing any records for a Charlus Potter going back over a hundred years," the woman said, and Sakura frowned. That didn't make any sense, surely they kept records on everyone.
"Maybe it hasn't been added to the computer yet?'
"All archived records going back two centuries have been computerised," she stated but both shinobi stiffened slightly, there was something off about her reaction.
Sasuke stepped forward and Sakura let him do what was needed, waiting as soon the woman agreed to show him the hardcopy records. She fought the urge to fidget too much as she waited, if something went wrong….but not twenty minutes later they were back.
"Thank you for your help," Sakura offered, forcing herself to act natural as they got back in the elevator. "Did you get it," she murmured without moving her lips.
"Yes," he answered.
He watched them leave the building, spotting Naruto-kun and Kakashi nearby playing back up. They had the records now, soon it would be time for the next step, to ensure they took the boy away from his so-called family. His foolish little brother always reacted rather predictably when he was involved and yet…there was something different about him now that he couldn't quite determine. Well, he'd see soon enough.
Sasuke set the file on the table, almost reluctant to open it, what if it was a dead end? He could feel them watching him but it was…comforting, silent support for whatever he needed. He took a breath and opened the file, thanks to the warning his Sharingan was active, piercing the illusion. "Charlus had a son, James… who is deceased," he told them, that was….no, wait… "There's another layer," he murmured.
Kakashi moved up to look as well and Sasuke let him, he might have both eyes, but Kakashi had been using his sole Sharingan a lot longer. "That's some very heavy protection," he agreed. "I think we're going to have to fully break it, which means we can't return the file."
"I placed the decoy," Sasuke told him. he took a deep breath to steady himself and then worked to break the illusion, Sakura and Naruto watching with bated breath. "Harry Potter," he whispered. Family, he had family, now all they had to do was find him.
Probably unbelievable how they got the records but ninja and wizards are pretty crazy anyway. Figure there are family records in the muggle world just hidden since otherwise it'd be hard to explain Harry's existence to enrol him for school and stuff. His mum would have records but then they would have had to add his Dad's when they married so she could keep roots in the muggle world. There's probably an underpaid ministry worker who has to do that for those who marry muggleborns and stuff.