Konohagakure was, as always, a bustling metropolis. The mid-summer heat had yet to put a damper on the lively citizens as they went about their daily chores. A chorus of laughter could be heard from the high building that held the Hokage’s office as a group of civilians walked passed on their way to the market district, completely oblivious to the tension just a few meters above them.
The sound of the passing civilians did nothing to improve the rapidly deteriorating patience of one Uzumaki Naruto as he glared down his former sensai.
“Mah.” Hatake Kakashi scratched the back of his neck. “Naruto. Don’t look at me like that.”
The pink haired kunoichi to Naruto’s left put her hand on her best friends shoulder. “Let’s hear him out, Naruto.” Haruno Sakura turned her attention fully to her Hokage and awaited what she was sure would be bad news.
Kakashi stilled, and released a sigh. He spoke as casually as one in his position, surrounded by his most precious people, could. Taking the ‘rip it off like a bandaid’ approach. “We lost contact with Sasuke a month ago.”
“Oh.” Naruto visibly deflated and laughed, his cerulean eyes lighting with mirth. “Is that all? That's normal for him.”
Sakura, ignoring Naruto’s lighthearted remark had gone still. “What aren’t you saying, Kakashi-sensei?”
The Hokage stood from his chair and turned to face his village. “The last we heard from him he’d been hunting an unknown target. His last letter was vague and heavily coded. From Sasuke that’s not surprising. What made us cautious was the content of the decoded letter.”
Naruto’s eyes had widened, and Sakura braced for an outburst. Naruto had come a long way since his genin days, not one ninja in his acquaintance would disagree. But being one of his closest friends she knew he was still prone to outbursts on occasion. Most of them having something to do with Sasuke.
“What did the message say?” Naruto asked, body tense.
Kakashi pulled a piece of paper from his Kage jacket and handed it over to his former pupil. Naruto and Sakura huddled together and read the decoded message together.
Strange chakra, small village in north eastern Kumo. Recon established strange jutsu, a figure turning rock to water and back grasping a narrow stick. Further recon established the figure to be around average height and build for a female. Features unearthly, almost alien. Will gather intel, estimate, and eliminate the threat.
The medic finished first and looked up at her Hokage. Eyes hardened, she questioned; “Features unearthly, almost alien?”
“Kakashi-sensei, permission to --” Naruto’s voice rang out, crushing the message in his hand.
“Denied.” Kakashi said, voice hard. “You have Jonin exams coming up. You’ve pushed it back a whole year because Iruka-sensei said you needed more time to study the basics you’ve forgotten. These exams are important, Naruto. If you want to be Hokage you have to advance.”
Naruto growled in frustration. “But Sasuke could be injured! Sakura agrees with me!”
For her part, Sakura bit her lower lip and steeled herself. Sorry Naruto. “I agree with the Hokage.”
“Wh-What? Sakura!” Naruto sputtered, eyes blown wide. “No way, Sakura. Sasuke could be--”
“I KNOW.” Sakura yelled, then took a breath and willed herself to calm down. “I know. But Sasuke chose to leave the village and take care of threats outside the Land of Fire. He knows the risk he runs in doing so. He’s not stupid. He wouldn’t get himself killed. Sasuke trusts the village to you, Naruto. You have to work towards becoming Hokage.”
Naruto seemed to puff up like he was going to say something. And in a show of his maturity he released his breath and remained quiet, despite the fact that his crossed arms and stiff posture showcased his obstinate nature. Any other time, Kakashi might remember his student’s genin days and give into the nostalgia. But not today.
Sakura then turned to her former sensei. “Permission to--”
“OH WHAT THE FU--”
“Don’t finish that sentence.” Kakashi warned, and Sakura shut her mouth violently. “Denied, Sakura. The hospital needs you, especially with the jounin exams coming up.”
Naruto growled and glared at Kakashi, drawing attention back to his black and orange clad figure. “So what, you just want to leave Sasuke out there with no knowledge of how he is or if he’s even still alive?”
Kakashi’s eyes narrowed on his student. “Of course not. I sent an ANBU squad after him this morning. I’m informing you now so that you’re aware of the situation. I’m giving you this because I trust you both not to run out of the village as if you were rowdy genin with something to prove. You wanted frequent updates on Sasuke. This is one of those updates.”
The medic and future Hokage stared at each other and then back to their former sensei. “Hai, sensei.”
Kakashi seemed to relax. “Good. I’ll let you know if there are further updates. Dismissed.”
A few seconds, that’s all the time he’d bought himself with his last fireball jutsu. He was dangerously low on chakra, and his enemy’s cackling laugh told him he’d failed to eliminate her. Hastily, Sasuke pushed himself to his knees, scrawled across a piece of tag paper and summoned a snake.
The cackling drew near and Sasuke struggled to stand. He lifted his broken sword and pointed it in the direction of his enemy.
The dirt clouds cleared with a wave of the stick she held in her right hand. Her grey eyes glinted dangerously and met the sharingan without flinching.“You die now, and I get to live again.”
Sasuke lunged, pushing his last bit of chakra into a chidori.
The woman sent him a rotten tooth grin and the last thing Sasuke noticed was a flash of green and a cry. “AVADA KEDAVRA!”
Azkaban prison had improved dramatically since the end of the second wizarding war. Delphini Riddle had heard stories from her uncles when they’d escaped during Voldemort’s second reign. She was lucky to be locked away in a post-dementor prison, that much she knew. But being in prison in general didn’t bode well for her time restrictions and it wouldn’t be long before she would have to make a break for it.
The problem was that security was tight around here. Especially after Sirius Black’s escape several years ago followed by a mass breakout of Death Eaters. Still, it could be done. With just enough finesse.
That, and she’d had plenty of time to plan for this outcome while training with Severus over the years.
A blast of magic hit the cell door, causing Delphi to acknowledge the Auror peeking through it.
“Fuck you, Voldecunt.”
“Very original. Ten points to… Ravenclaw, perhaps?” She used her best Severus Snape sneer and kicked her dinner tray through the slot in the bottom of the cell door. “Make yourself useful and return this to the kitchen, will you?”
She snorted and rolled her eyes when the guard sent a stinger at her and walked away, leaving the tray and grumbling about Death Eaters. The guards never grew tired of harassing her for her parentage. Despite the fact that she’d not been raised by The Dark Lord and had been instrumental to her biological father’s takedown and Harry Potter’s furthered fame.
But nobody cared to know her story. Not a single member of the prestigious Order of the fucking-stupid-name Phoenix had asked her anything before they’d kicked her into a cell and slammed the doors of Azkaban behind her. Presumably warding it so heavily that not even Salazar Slytherin could make his way inside.
That was alright, she told herself. The people who mattered to her knew. She rolled her names in her mind like a mantra. Severus, Draco, Theo, Blaise, Astoria. Severus, Draco, Theo, Blaise, Astoria. The only ones who cared to know. The only ones who mattered.
I need to get out of here. She reminded herself. She’d only accomplished a fraction of her goals by eliminating her biological father. Her other father, the real one, the man who’d raised her, lay in wait in another dimension for her to catch up to him. If he’d made it in his post Nagini poisoned state.
Delphi sighed and laid down on the cement, turning so her body faced away from the cell door. Using her jagged fingernail she scratched another line into the caked grime on the wall of her cell. Today made 1,026 days since she’d willingly turned herself over to the wizengamot. 1,026 days since the end of the war, and only 79 days before her closest ally would die if she didn’t get the hell out of Azkaban.
She drifted to a fitful sleep, her mantra lulling her in a way that counting sheep never would. She tossed and turned until a strong masculine voice she’d not heard in more than ten years whispered in her ear and shook her to her core.
My last heir falls. The time has come, little one.
Delphi shot to her feet, eyes blown wide and heart beating frantically her dark eyes searched for the face that matched the voice. He couldn’t be here… could he? She wondered. Seeing no one Delphini reminded herself to breath and backed up until her back hit the cool stone wall.
As Delphi steeled herself she took stock of her surroundings. There was no way he’d be in her world. He was long dead, first off, and even the living of that world couldn’t travel here. Magical beings could absorb the other worlds chakra and survive. But beings of chakra could not survive her world for long.
The dim light of the moon coming through the air slots in the cell told her it was late, which meant security would be at its most lax, although that wasn’t by much. Had she enough energy to make this escape happen? She wasn't sure. She’d been stronger when she’d first come to Azkaban but mental trauma and melancholy had stayed her from escaping then. Plus she’d not wanted to call any further attention to Draco had she decided to bail at the time.
But if what the voice had conveyed was true then she was out of time and needed to leave for the Shinobi world immediately. It was the agreement she’d made with him when she was a child. Eighteen years ago for her, roughly nine hundred years ago for them.
Delphi closed her eyes and cleared her thoughts. Focusing solely on checking what little chakra reserves she had from her time spent adapting to the Shinobi world. Using them, and the little jutsu she actually knew, would be the only way to bust herself out of Azkaban. Justus were easier and more powerful than most of her wandless magic, although she’d tried to integrate the training with her magical education over the years. Chakra and magic were similar, but the subtle differences and nuances made it tricky and sometimes volatile if combined.
There, the ebb of her chakra network flared and she took a deep breath. Slowly, because she’d not used them in years, she worked her way through the hand seals and pulled on her chakra reserve.
“Merlin help me.” Delphi said, just as she’d finished the seals and used a basic replacement jutsu to change places with a tray of food that had been left right outside her cell door.
“Now comes the harder part.” She formed the seals for the body flicker technique and began racing towards the entrance.
She’d passed an Auror guard sleeping on the third floor of the prison and slowed, grabbing his wand from where it protruded from his robe and continued without another pause. Managing not to barrel into a couple of Auror’s joking about a betting pool about the next professional Quidditch match, she made it to the front gate without notice.
Delphi slunk into the shadows and contemplated her next move. It wouldn’t be long before she was discovered. She had three options. One, she could use a jutsu to blast the door and hope that the chakra attack would diffuse the wards.That option would drain her small reserve to nothing and she’d rather use another jutsu later if she had too. Two, she could try to dismantle the wards with the stolen wand. She probably could manage it, though it would take time and depend solely on whether or not the wand would bend to her will. Three, she could get caught and executed.
Silently cursing The Dark Lord for blasting his way through the original wards, and thus causing the Ministry to update them, Delphi began dismantling the wards in small doses. If she could get a crack large enough for her to wiggle through she’d have no problems apparating from there.
Unless the Ministry had placed anti-apparation wards around the prison. The weasles.
She was about halfway through the layers of wards when the alarms started ringing.
Shit. She thought, brushing sweat from her brow with her dirty uniformed sleeve. Taking a deep breath Delphi began ripping through the wards rapidly, knowing she was making mistakes, as footsteps came rushing towards the front corridor.
Cries of; “It’s that Death Eater bitch!” “Voldemort’s daughter!” “That filthy wench is missing!” could be heard. She was almost through it now, but the footsteps grew closer.
“At the gate!” One voice yelled.
Idiots. She thought, they’re Aurors! Shouldn’t they know better than to announce their position?
The wand she was using was currently rather compliant, and so she paused in her disassembly of the wards and threw up a shield just as an Auror rounded a corner and threw a stunner at her. He counter with a mumbled encarsorus just as she sidestepped and sent a body bind at him. It hit and he went down. Suddenly three more Auror’s rounded the corner and one hit her with a slicing hex.
She hissed in pain as another tried to disarm her. She shielded from it but left her right side open to attack. Another burst of pain as a slicing hex tore through her hip. Decidedly agitated, Delphi threw a cascading jinx onto the nearest offender and through that stunned them all.
As they fell, Delphini made note of more steps thundering towards her and without ceremony she launched herself backwards and into the wards, releasing the last bit of the chakra she could spare the second she collided with the wards. A huge bang and flash of light ensued, but she ran and dove into the cold water surrounding the wizarding prison. Using the cover she gathered her strength and apparated directly to her designated safe house.
The house’s wards accepted her instantly and she felt the rush of safety surround her. She took a deep breath and coughed. Spinner’s End hadn’t changed at all. Dusty, dingy, though surprisingly still standing.
At least the Fidelius Charm has held. She thought, drawing the borrowed wand. “Expecto Patronum!”
The silvery crow burst from the end of the wand and flew in the direction she had intended. For now, she summoned three potions from the cellar and downed them quickly. Then she took the stairs two at a time and entered the bathroom, stripping away soaking wet grime covered prisoner’s uniform.
She entered into the creaky old shower and washed the smell of Azkaban from her skin. Delphi moaned as the warm water hit her skin but washed quickly. She had no time to dawdle.
Once clean she exited the shower and summoned clothes from her bedroom, dried herself and dressed quickly. She sighed, looking down at her loose fitting robes. She’d lost quite a bit of weight in Azkaban.
The sound of the floo activating put Delphi back on her guard. It wasn’t likely to be an enemy but she held her wand at the ready and slowly descended the stairs, eyes on the great room. Once she hit the last step, Draco Malfoy sauntered into the hallway.
They looked at each other.
“Draco.” Delphi’s dark eyes softened.
The platinum blonde male took two steps forward and wrapped his cousin tightly in his arms. “Delphi, it’s been too long.”
She squeezed him tightly, breathing in the soothing scent of his cologne. “I don’t have time. Spinner’s End is secure but who knows what the Ministry could have up their sleeve.”
Draco reluctantly pulled away and nodded. “Thirty second run down, then? I married Tori a year and a half ago. She’s six months pregnant and we’re having a son. Theo and Blaise are together. Long story short it was a drunken night that lead to admission, bloody finally. The ministry has lost their fucking minds and have began taking restitution from the old families. The wizarding world has completely lost touch with our core values, but I’d rather not get started on that. Father is still in Azkaban and Mother sends her best. She saw your patronus. I have your bag, and your wand.”
Delphi patted her cousins face affectionately and Draco passed her the small bag. “Congratulations, Draco. Send my love to everyone. Have no fear of the Ministry, I’ll find a way for our people to thrive again. Continue to act in my stead and be prepared.”
“Merlin, we’ve all missed you cousin. Be safe.” Draco said, his silver eyes flashing.
Delphini nodded. “I swear I’ll find a way, Draco.”
Draco turned abruptly and walked into the fire. He spared his cousin one last look. “We have faith in you.” He dropped the ash and was gone in a flash of green fire.
It took Delphi less than a second to apparate away, landing directly in front of a muggle statue. She took one step up to it, whispered a few words, and was sent spinning through time and space.
When next her feet touched solid earth she was on Shinobi Lands.
She is not of this world. Caution. She steals chakra reserves.
The words were scribbled hastily on the back of a deactivated exploding tag. And the blood stain on the top right corner worried him. This seemed a lot like the last missive they would receive from Sasuke.
Kakashi had the utmost faith in his former student’s abilities. Even with his chakra reserves effectively nulled Sasuke was still a force of nature. Could he be injured? Of course. Could he be killed? Eventually. Though Kakashi doubted anyone but Naruto could end Sasuke’s life. Still, the blood stain worried him.
It turned out that he was right to be worried. It was five days after the missive came that ANBU returned with the body of Uchiha Sasuke.