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The Time Before

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Prolog

              It was late evening and a blonde haired boy with golden fox ears and tail around the age of five could be found running around the house looking for his older brother. He skidded to a halt in the living room where his brother was on the couch with his long-time boyfriend. “Haru-ni-san, will you tell me a story before I go to sleep?”

              “Naruto, you should already be asleep, but I will tell you a story anyway. Which one do you want to hear?” Naruto climbed onto the couch to snuggle between Haru and his boyfriend, Kakashi, he thought for a moment before replying, “I want to hear about you and tou-san and the time before I was born.” Haru looked over at his boyfriend and they shared a look that said, ‘Should have seen that coming.’

              “Alright, settle in then and I’ll tell you the story.” Naruto got covered with his blanket and settled in to hear his favorite story, about his brave otou-san and his aniki’s adventures outside the elemental nations. “Once upon a time, there was a land outside of the elemental countries called England. This place was home to a great many wondrous things including the hidden wizarding world that was going through a war with a very bad man, they called him the Dark Lord . . .”

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Chapter 1

England, October 1982

              An old man stood at the end of Privit Drive looking around to make sure there was no one around watching what an old man might be up to in the middle of the night. He took what looked like a fancy zippo lighter out of a pocket of his dress, which looked like an old blind vaudeville actress had picked it out. He held out his arm and the lights from the streetlamps flew into the lighter and the street became dark. A tabby cat had been sitting on the curb came forward toward the man when it began to change shape into the form of an older woman in an outfit similar but in much better taste than the man’s dress.

              “Albus, you can’t possibly be thinking of leaving him here with these people. They’re horrible, I saw they son kicking his mother, while she practically dragged him down the street, screaming about ice cream and sweets that he had wanted from the market.” The woman’s Scottish brogue was crisp with her displeasure about the situation.

              The old man didn’t seem to be fazed at all by the woman’s outburst and popped a piece of yellow candy into his mouth before responding to her, “Minerva, they are his family, they will take care of him. There is no one else that will raise him to the specifications of the weapon that our world needs in the future. Hagrid will be bringing him any moment now.” As if on cue, the sound of a motorcycle came from the sky and a giant man with a sling over his shoulder landed in the middle of the street. He dismounted carefully and made his way over to the other two people.

              “Headmaster, Professor, he fell asleep over Bristol and has been snoozing soundly since.” The man handed Albus the sling with a tear in his eye.

              “Thank you, Hagrid. You can go back to the school now, we won’t be needing you anymore tonight.” Hagrid nodded and got back on the bike and flew into the night. “Minerva, Harry will stay here until he is ready to come to Hogwarts when he is eleven. He will be fine, don’t worry so about something so inconsequential.” The woman huffed in indignation and disappeared with a pop. The man moved to the house marked number four and spoke to the sleeping toddler in the blanket he carried. “Harry, you will not be happy in this house, and that is the way that I want it. You need to be sufficiently cowed when you come to school. There you will be tested and trained to the point that you will win, but just barely.” Albus said this last thing with a cruel smile on his face as he laid the child on the front stoop and put a letter in the blanket then walked away eating another candy.

              What Albus failed to realize was that they were not alone on the street. There in the bushes were two men, one with dirty blonde hair and golden eyes and the other with black hair and blue eyes. They had followed the old man to this street and had heard everything the old man had said to the child, and they were fuming with rage that their godson would be treated in such a manner.

              “Remus, we have to do something, we can’t leave him here with these people!” the black haired man whispered to the other man.

              “I know, Sirius, but what are we going to do? We can’t keep him ourselves, I’m a werewolf and you’re wanted by the aurors for questioning.” Remus replied while racking his brain for what they could do with an infant.

              “I’ve got it!” Sirius exclaimed. “I have a friend who could take him in until we get everything settled here, then we can go and live with them and help with Harry.” Remus thought about the pros and cons of the idea then became just as excited as Sirius.

              “That’s a brilliant plan, my dear Padfoot. Now we just need to get Harry and get out of here so that you can contact this friend of yours.” The two friends snuck up to the stoop of number four and carefully picked up Harry before disappearing without a trace.

When they rematerialized, they were outside a little cottage in the middle of the woods. They moved inside and Remus set about making a place for Harry to sleep and Sirius sat down to write the letter to his friend in a little known part of the world called Konoha.

Dear Minato,

This is Sirius Black and I have a bit of a problem that you may be able to help me with. You see, my friend James and his wife Lily died recently and my old headmaster tried to place their son, Harry, in a home that would have been more than unsuitable. I was hoping that we, my friend Remus and I, could send Harry to you in Konoha for a bit until we can get there to take care of him ourselves.

The government officials here are absolute idiots and think that I might have had something to do with James and Lily’s deaths. Remus is a werewolf, I’ve told you about them before, and therefore isn’t allowed to take care of Harry. It should only be for a couple of weeks at most if all goes well, which means me not being arrested. If that does come about, I will send Remus to Konoha to help with Harry and will follow as soon as I can escape custody. Please send a response with the owl as soon as possible, for we cannot stay hidden for long.

Hopefully yours,

Sirius

Sirius folded his letter and sent it with Remus’s mail owl and went to find Remus and Harry. He found them in the bedroom, Remus was sitting in a chair staring wide-eyed at a piece of parchment, his other hand in fist. “Remy, what’s wrong? I sent my letter and we should get a response soon.”

“I found the letter that Dumbledore left with Harry, I cannot believe that man! He has the audacity to tell those wretched people to abuse Harry as much as they deem necessary but to keep it short of debilitating injury and death! I want damn old man’s balls on a pike! How dare he try to do this to our Harry?! He will stop at nothing to hurt our boy and I will not stand for it. I will walk to where ever this friend of yours lives if I have to, but I refuse to let that man anywhere near our boy!” By this time, Remus was pacing as he ranted so Sirius picked up the letter and read for himself what the old fool had been trying to do to his godson.

After reading it, he sat in shock and tried to sort the thoughts that were flying through his cranium and the only conclusion that he could come up with was that Dumbledore may have had something to do with his friends’ deaths. Remus halted his pacing to see his friend sitting in shock at the letter and immediately moved to comfort him. “We have done all we can for now, Sirius, let’s go to bed and try to get some rest.” Still needing comfort from each other, the two men cast silencing and notice-me-not spells around Harry’s crib and snuggled together on the bed to rest. Several hours later they were awakened by the front door being blasted open and aurors filed in only to leave moments later with a bound, gagged, and unconscious Sirius being dragged between two of them.

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Konoha, Later that day

Minato Namikaze reread the letter from his old friend Sirius Black and tried to think fast about what to do. He knew that he would help his friend, Sirius had told him about James Potter before, but how to get them here? He could ask the Hokage to send a team for them, but Minato would rather get them himself. All he had to do was talk the old man into letting him take his team with him, that would be the problematic part of his request. So, all he needed was an incentive to get the old man to agree.

An hour later, Minato was walking into the Hokage’s office with a brown paper bag in his hand. “Morning, Hokage-jiji. I have a request so I brought something with me to smooth the way a bit.” He plunked the bag onto the desk in front of the surprised hokage, who just raised an eye brow.

“Do I even want to open that?” he asked while poking the bag with one finger to make sure it wasn’t going to explode or anything. “Why don’t you tell me what this request of yours is before I open it.”

Minato took a deep breath before starting his explanation, “Well, I got a letter from an old friend this evening, he and another of his friends are having some trouble and he has asked me to take care of his godson for him while he took care of it. The only problem is that my friend is in the outside nations and I don’t want to trust anyone but myself and my team to retrieve them and bring them here. I need your permission to take my team and to bring back three people, two adult males and an infant male, with the intention of citizenship to the village.” He took a breath and realized that he had said all of this in one breath.

The Hokage just looked at Minato for a moment before turning away from him to pack and light his pipe. He thought for a moment while slowly puffing on his pipe to help him think, he had questions, some of which he knew would not be answered for a good long time. “What could these men bring to the village? I need details before I can make a decision one way or the other.” He looked expectantly at the student of his student and sat back to listen.

“Well, they have magic. It’s like chakra but channeled a different way and it uses a different set of pathways. They could do any number of things around the village, my friend could do gate duty and his friend, from what he’s told me, could be a teacher at the civilian school. The child that they asked me to care for will undoubtedly have this magic but is still young enough to be trained in using his chakra. They could also bring us information on the current happenings in the outside nations.” Minato started to pace anxiously around the office waiting for the Hokage to think and make his decision.

“Alright, Minato, gather your team and head out as soon as possible. I want these people here and safe within the next week. Get things settled with the law enforcement there and then bring them back. I want you to get there and have your team follow to help with the transportation of the civilians. You will leave tonight and your team will leave in the morning and meet you by night fall so give them the coordinates and directions specific to the rendezvous point. This is an S-class, Minato, and I want it treated like one.”

Minato came to attention and saluted his leader, and with a smart “Hai, Hokage-sama”, he shushined out of the office and to the place that his team met for training. Before he went though, he glanced back over his shoulder to see the hokage blushing furiously with a slight nosebleed looking into the paper bag that held the ‘incentive’ which was the newest volume of his old sensei’s hentai book series.

He found Rin first at the hospital and he informed her of the new mission and left her to prepare for the morning. Next he found Obito at the ramen stand and just as quickly informed and left him to pack. Last, he went to his apartment because he knew his last team member would be there sulking. He went in the window and found Kakashi meditating in his living room. As he always did when his student seemed unaware, Minato tried to sneak up on the boy just to see how high he would jump. “Hello Minato-sensei. Do we have a mission?”

“Damnit, Kakashi, can’t you just once at least pretend that I can sneak up on you? Yes we do have a mission, we are going to an outside country called England to help a friend of mine protect his godson. I’m leaving tonight and you guys will leave in the morning, you will take point until you get there then I want you to protect the boy and my friend’s friend on the way back to Konoha and report to the hokage. I will be staying there until my friend is cleared of any trouble and then will head back. Do you understand the mission?” Minato had on his serious face so Kakashi knew that this had to be an important mission.

“Hai, sensei, I will do my best to make you proud.” Minato smiled at the boy, he knew that since Kakashi’s father had killed himself when he was younger that the boy had been looking to his team sensei as a father figure. Even though most of the time he acted more like an adult than his sensei did. “Get some rest Kaka-chan, you guys have an early start in the morning.” Kakashi didn’t bother trying to tell Minato not to call him that, as it wouldn’t do any good, nodded in agreement and went to bed. Minato gathered his supplies quickly and left the shushin coordinates on the kitchen table where Kakashi could find them in the morning and made the first jump towards England.

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Remus was ready to panic the next morning, the Aurors had come in the middle of the night and arrested Sirius, leaving Remus with several bruises, a bloody nose and a crying baby. The only reason they hadn’t found Harry was that the two men had had the foresight to silence and disillusion the area where the baby was sleeping. He could only hope that Sirius’s friend would arrive soon and that he would be able to help Sirius and protect Harry at the same time. Around eight in the morning there was a knock on the door. “Who is it?” Remus said as he pulled his wand so if he had to defend himself and Harry.

“My name is Minato Namikaze, I’m a friend of Sirius’s. He sent me a letter last night asking for my help to relocate.” Remus kept his wand ready as he cracked open the door to look at the man on the other side. Sirius had shown him a picture of his friend and told him about some of the things they had done together, in case he was taken before his friend could get there.

“How do I know that you are who you say you are? You could be anyone under polyjuice or even henge. Tell me something that only Minato and Sirius would know.” Remus looked at the man for any sort of reaction that would indicate that he was not who he said he was. Minato had expected this and was ready with an answer.

“Sirius and I first met when we were fifteen, he had just run away from his parents and had been traveling when he ended up in Konoha in a bar, on the wrong side of some jounin. I had to step in before he got hurt too bad, I let him sleep off the alcohol at my place and we’ve been friends ever since.” Minato watched Remus for his reaction and was pleased when he lowered his wand and opened the door further to let him in.

Remus could find no flaw in the man’s story and it had been one of the stories that Sirius had told him. He led Minato into the living room and told him to sit so that he could get Harry from his crib. “So, you must be Remus, Sirius told me about you a couple of years ago when he last visited Konoha. The Hokage has given permission for you three to become citizens of the village so that no one can take you from there. My genins will be here in a couple of hours to take you and the baby to the village so that I can help Sirius get everything in order. Where is he anyway?” He saw the other man’s face fall and knew the news wouldn’t be good.

“They took him in the middle of the night. Took him straight to Azkaban, not even a trial or interrogation to see if he was guilty or not. There’s no way to prove that he’s innocent otherwise since the switch was never recorded anywhere.” Remus was almost in tears and was cuddling Harry even closer, trying to find comfort where he could. Minato just looked at him, hoping that it was some kind of sick joke, but he knew deep down that it wasn’t and that his friend was in hell.

“Moo’y, don’ cwy. Paddy come back soon, you see!” Little Harry turned his head as much as he could toward the door and shouted, “Come in! Paddy come with!” the two adults stood quickly and readied for a fight when the door opened.

“Minato-sensei! We need some assistance over here! This guy showed up out of nowhere and passed out so we brought him the rest of the way here. Do either of you know this guy?” Minato’s three students came in the door dragging an unconscious man between Kakashi and Obito with Rin clearing a path to the couch. Remus gasped when they lay the man down and he saw who it was. Pushing Harry into the nearest person’s arms, it happened to be Kakashi, Remus ran to the bathroom to get potions to heal the man’s various injuries. Boy and baby just looked at each other for a moment before Harry decided that it would be fun to see why Kakashi’s hair stood up like it did.

“Here Sirius, drink these, they’ll help you feel better and then we can get out of here. You, me, and Harry in a new place with no Dumbles to bother us and no aurors chasing us. That’s a good lad, drink up.” Remus started dumping potion after potion down Sirius’s throat until the man regained enough consciousness to push him away. Sirius sat up on the couch and looked around at the new people in his house, glee and relief crossing his face when he saw Minato, slight confusion at Obito and Rin, and hilarity at Kakashi as he tried to fend off a rather determined Harry from making him bald prematurely.

“Minato, old friend, it’s good to see you. I’m glad you got my letter and could come, are these your genin team? I can tell you now that the masked one will be called on for baby-sitting duty, Harry seems to like him.” Sirius had a glint in his eyes when he said this. Remus was rather flabbergasted when he turned to see what Sirius was talking about and nearly had a heart attack when he saw what Harry was doing to the poor boy.

“Harry, it’s not nice to pull someone’s hair like that, you need to stop and be nice.” Remus scolded Harry on Kakashi’s behalf. Harry pouted cutely, the kind of pout that only babies can produce, and acquiesced with a muttered ‘K, Moo’y’ in Remus’s general direction. Kakashi sighed in relief that the boy had finally stopped only for it to be cut short when he felt small hands reach for his mask. Remus gave up and turned his attention back to the other adults in the room and joined their conversation.

Minato started off, “Guys, we need a plan to get you three out of here and back to Konoha. The Hokage has granted you citizenship so that won’t be a problem, but is there anything that you need to do before we go?”

Sirius and Remus thought for a moment before Sirius spoke up, “We need to go by Gringotts and let the goblins know that we have Harry and that no one other than us is to have access to any of the vaults in our name, especially Harry’s. I know that Dumbledore will try to leech off the Potter estate if he thinks that Harry is in his control, not to mention that he will think that I have been incarcerated and that Moony will be too distraught to try and see Harry let only try to gain custody. If everything goes right, he won’t know what really went down until we are gone.” Remus nodded his head in agreement of the assessment and to show that the planning could move forward.

“Okay, we need to get to the bank as early as possible so as to avoid detection and from there we can see if the goblins can make us a portkey to get back to Konoha quicker, ‘cause the sooner we get there the better for all of us.”

“The bank is always open so we can go right now if Sirius is feeling up to it.” Sirius nodded that he was, “Then I can make a portkey real quick and we can go. You may want to let your team know what is going on, they look a bit confused.” Remus went off to make the portkey while Minato and Sirius explained the plan to the three genin, Kakashi was still trying to keep his mask in place against the year and a half old terror. Sirius saved him by taking Harry, who pouted for a moment before becoming all grins again when he saw that his Paddy had him.

Remus came back as the explaining came to a close and announced that they were ready to go. “Everyone grab hold and don’t let go ‘til we get there.” Was all the warning they got before they felt a hook behind there navel and were gone.

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