The first thing he noticed when he woke up was that he wasn't dead.
That shouldn't have been possible.
He'd been ambushed by that bastard snake Orochimaru and left for dead. There was no way that snake would have won if he had faced him directly…
The next thing he'd noticed was that there was a beautiful girl by his side, staring off somewhere with a faraway look to her eyes. Beautiful green eyes…a shade he didn't think was possible and probably couldn't be reproduced in any manner.
"W-where am I?" his voice croaked out and he unsteadily started to help himself up.
He'd startled her back to awareness and she looked at him in concern, with her perfect emerald eyes lighting up eerily as she turned to him and helped him up.
"Sorry, but I'm not quite sure where we are at the moment," she confusingly replied, a strange accent coating her voice.
Why was he getting the feeling that there should be a language barrier?
"I'm Harry Potter. How do you do?" she gave him a strained smile, looking extremely weary but trying to mask it for him.
He swallowed harshly, trying to quickly process what information he could glean from the quick observations he'd already made.
"Sabaku no Rasa," he replied, inwardly frowning to himself as what he knew wasn't matching up. Seeing the slightly uncertain look on her face, he tried to quickly figure out the why. "Rasa. Rasa is my given name," he ventured.
She nodded, face clearing up. "Ah. Harry's mine," she smiled reassuringly.
"H-Harri…" he tested out, looking at her uncertainly. She looked back encouragingly and nodded, so he accepted that he'd said it well enough. "Harri…you said that you don't know where we are? What happened?"
"We found you," she volunteered. "Er, well, I did. My friend, who's not here right now, had been off making sure we were…safe," there was something more to that, "and I was setting up camp. I found you badly hurt and hurried you to our camp, making sure to help you get better quickly. I was worried. It looked like you were dying."
'I was,' was what he'd wanted to reply. He was dying and he shouldn't have survived. And yet here he was, alive and well, and looking like he'd only had minor injuries and was well on his way to perfect health. What on earth did this girl do? He figured only the legendary Tsunade could have been able to bring him back from the brink of death, and maybe even that's a stretch.
"You shouldn't move around so soon. You're still healing a bit from the…medications," Harry gave a hesitant pause at the end that had him even more suspicious.
"Who are you? Are you with Orochimaru?" he demanded, narrowing his eyes at her.
She blinked in surprise and sat back warily.
"Orochi-what? Who are you talking about?"
He could tell she wasn't lying, but that got him nowhere. And the fact was, even if she wasn't with the snake bastard, she should still know who the snake-nin was.
"Orochimaru, the snake sannin. A traitor from Konoha," he answered shortly, still confused and wary, but he pulled back on the hostility. After all, she did help him and very much saved his life.
"Not to be ignorant or anything…but what's a sannin? And where's this Konoha?" he saw her literally biting back her embarrassment at not understanding him, but he felt growing horror at what her words were implying.
"You…you are not a ninja?" he hesitantly ventured, risking the question.
She looked at him in bewilderment and a lot more wary.
"I'm sorry, but…there are no ninja. Maybe you hit your head harder than I thought," she mumbled, reaching behind her for a vial.
His hand shot out and grabbed her arm, forcing her to stop what she was doing and look at him in alarm and slight fear. He let go quickly, inwardly wincing.
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to alarm you. I'm just okay; I don't need any more medicine." 'I want answers.' "Do you know what chakra is?"
Such a simple question could answer quite a bit for him. It just depended on her answer on what more questions he needed to ask.
She uncomfortably shifted, shaking her head in the negative.
"No. What is it? Is it something you can do?"
He took a moment to try to figure out how he was going to phrase his next words.
"It's…a strange energy. It allows me to…do extraordinary things." It was best to keep vague. A thousand different ideas kept hitting him from all sides and he had to be careful on what he revealed, but to control the information he gave out as well. The information he revealed, while unwise otherwise, was given because he had no choice and was unclear enough he could twist his words easily to fit whatever response she gave him.
"Sounds interesting. A lot of people can do extraordinary things, so you might have to be a bit more specific about that," a new voice entered the conversation.
He tensed and snapped his head towards the source, watching the new girl suspiciously. This was probably the friend Harry was talking about, though he was still on his guard. Still, he should have sensed before she came in –he must still be too disoriented and out of sorts.
"It depends on what you consider extraordinary," he snapped out sarcastically.
The bushy-haired brunette raised an eyebrow and Harry just watched guardedly.
"So it's like magic?" Harry hesitantly asked, cutting the sudden tension.
He had no idea why she was hesitant, but she'd just provided him a good explanation to describe chakra. "Yes, like magic. Only magic isn't real."
He could tell by the widening of their eyes and the stiffening of their bodies that that wasn't the right thing to say, though he didn't know why.
'Muggle,' the brunette mouthed to Harry. At least that's what it looked like to him, though he's never heard of the term before.
"I'm sorry, but we're going to have to obliviate you," he could guess it was out of misguided sense of honor that she'd informed him of whatever it was she was going to do to him, but he wasn't just going to stay still while this newcomer went and did whatever to him.
He did not like the sound of this 'obliviate' thing.
Faster than she could act, he'd darted out of bed and was by her side in seconds, grabbing the arm that was holding a…stick (what the hell?) at him threateningly and twisting it behind her back. He held her up as a shield, just in case Harry decided she was going to attack him as well.
"Mister Sabaku," he scrunched up his eyebrows at this 'Mister' title, though he presumed it was like –san where he was from. "Please let go of my friend," Harry asked him calmly.
"I'm not a…Muggle," he bit out, still holding onto this new girl who had upset the nice little talk he had been having with Harry. "I don't want to be…obliviated."
"We're not going to harm you," Harry said soothingly. "You're not supposed to know of us or what we can do. That's why we have to obliviate you. We're just…going to erase your memories. It won't hurt. It'll be quick and painless and we'll make sure you're taken cared of after we disappear."
This alarmed him even more. "I don't want my memories erased," he gritted out. "I am not a Muggle. I just want to return to my home, to Suna."
Both girls exchanged looks, even with one of them being held in a painful arm lock.
"I am unfamiliar with both Konoha and Suna," Harry admitted once again.
His eyes darted around for a weapon, just in case, because things were becoming too bizarre.
"If you let Hermione go, then we'll listen to you. It's best if we just talk this all out and you can tell us your situation, so we can understand what's going on," Harry once again spoke calmly.
Hermione looked unhappy and was shaking her head. "We don't know if he's a Death Eater, or he's just a Muggle caught up in this. Either way, Harry, this isn't a good idea. Don't be so trusting."
Harry shrugged. "You know me, hero complex and all. Sorry, 'Mione. He needs help and I want to help him. Even if it's all a trick," she shrugged again, looking back at the other girl apologetically.
Rasa frowned, but he surprisingly let go of the other girl. He tensed, waiting for an attack, but none came. Instead, Harry was looking expectantly at him and Hermione was watching him warily, rubbing her shoulder.
"I was dying…dead," he started out uncertainly. "I was just betrayed by Orochimaru and was lying in the desert. I remember nothing else, except lying there waiting to die. Then, next I know, I am here and Harri was beside me as I awoke."
"Can you tell us more about chakra and what that has to do with…ninjas?" Harry asked tentatively, while Hermione gave her a confused look.
Rasa haltingly started to explain about where he came from, the strange conclusion of being in a different place without chakra firmly reached, though he wouldn't quite say a different world. All the evidence he'd gathered, everything that's been said and he'd analyzed and picked at, pointed to him being somewhere where chakra didn't exist and ninja seem to be uncommon if not nonexistent as well.
"I believe him," Harry said afterwards, though her friend looked skeptical. There was an underlying tone of guilt that was hidden, as well an odd look on her face that was undecipherable. Rasa still caught it and kept it in mind, even as Hermione moved on to something else.
"Alright, so he's from somewhere with ninjas and where they use chakra instead of magic. There are ninja villages and feudal lords and all this," Hermione sighed. "This is very hard to believe and take in, but since Harry'll no doubt put faith in you, I'll just have to take it with a grain of salt. Plus, if it was up to her, she'd probably drag you along to keep taking care of you and then help you once our whole Quest is over."
"I hear a capital Q in that quest," he deadpanned.
The girls traded another look, but said nothing. Instead, Hermione moved to go back outside and Harry hesitantly moved closer to him again.
"Hermione's gone back out to make sure our protections are covered. I think you should go back to bed and rest, Mister Sabaku," she said softly.
His frown deepened. "Just Rasa. I am…uncomfortable with this 'Mister'. Harri is okay?" it was his turn to be hesitant, inwardly scowling at himself for his lack of manners. Where he was from, given names must be used with permission and he had been using hers without one.
"Yes, of course," she smiled brightly, and he could somehow tell she hadn't done so in so long. "I hate formalities. Harry is just fine."
"I don't understand what is going on? Where am I? There is a lot that is going on and I don't know, and I don't like being kept ignorant. I have never liked being in the dark, where I cannot have any control, even if it's a little bit," he explained himself, trying not to sound frustrated.
Harry frowned, but looked like she'd conceded.
"There is no chakra in this world," she started out quietly. But at least he was somewhat sure that it was another world now. "There are…people with magic and people without. Ninjas are only folklores or ancient history, and in history they've never been able to do what you've said you can do."
She started explaining a little of the Wizarding World and its history, and then she started in on this 'Lord Voldemort'. He'd then been caught up to what the two girls were doing, and how they were now trying to keep going with their third member having gone AWOL on them.
"This Ron left the two of you by yourself?" he asked, frowning again.
"It's another story," she avoided. "But now we're stuck on the locket and how to destroy it. We've been discussing going to…Godric's Hollow."
"The place where your Dark Lord came to kill you and your family," he confirmed bluntly. She flinched and he inwardly winced, but said nothing so that he didn't bring any more attention to his brusque observation. "It may be a good idea, but it could also be a trap."
"It crossed our minds, but only briefly," she admitted. "We were a little more focused on the good the trip might do us, especially for the Quest."
"And personally for you," he nodded and she shifted uncomfortably. "You should have been brought to this place earlier. You had a right to, but what's done is done and now's as good a time as any."
"Rasa, I think it may have been my fault that you were brought here," she confessed suddenly. "I was having one of my moments last night when I saw a shooting star. It's completely corny and everything, but magic can be a little corny," she shrugged.
"I wished that I had somebody with me that would listen and I could talk to. Someone I could lean on," that was the short version of it, he could tell, but she didn't seem to want to air out all her troubles, especially to a stranger. "And then you showed up this morning after 'Mione and I moved again. She left to cast protection spells and I was setting up camp and then found you. Hermione wasn't all that happy to come back to camp and find that I'd dragged in a stray, but she let me continue healing you while she kept going back out to check the spells in paranoia."
Rasa sighed. "I think that it was for the best. If you hadn't of, I would still be in the desert without anyone knowing and probably dead by now. It's because of you that I'm not. So thank you, bringing me to another world or not."
She gave him a tentative smile that he returned tiredly.
Ron had been gone. It had been some weeks since he'd stormed off while she and Hermione had trudged on, when she'd found another red-head on the brink of death. She'd levitated him to camp in a panic, not even thinking if this man was a threat in any way, even if he wasn't a Death Eater. She took care of him, even when Hermione protested and argued that the man could be a danger to them, finally making her aware of that fact.
Still, she'd stood her ground for some reason.
And now Rasa was by her side, helping them plan what to do in different worse-case scenarios and pointing out flaws and good points in their planning. He was really good at it too, almost like he'd had experience. She had a feeling that was true.
"We should set out soon," Rasa noted. "It's best to not stay here for long, and we've planned as perfect as we can get it. Plus, we shouldn't over-plan and overanalyze everything."
Hermione nodded in agreement and she just stayed quiet. The brunette stared between the two, before giving a meaningful look towards Rasa, leaving after. Harry stared to the side, lost in thought and hadn't noticed the exchange.
"Are you alright, Harri?" he asked, suddenly beside her.
She nearly jumped, but controlled herself at the last second. He probably caught that anyway, the too-observant ninja.
"Ninjas are too sneaky," she muttered, mock-glaring at him.
He just gave her a small smile. "'Ninja'. Where I am from, we do not need to attach an 's' to ninja or shinobi."
She nodded, showing she understood, and he moved closer to her.
"Are you alright?" he repeated, not letting go of his question.
She winced but looked up at him. This was something she really didn't want to answer. It's such a simple question, but it was always a loaded one when it came to her.
"I honestly don't know. I'm just exhausted right now. We've been traveling for so long, being on the run, and having no progress while we're at it. One of my best friends stormed off and left us behind, I don't know what more this war is going to want from me, and I don't know if I can keep going on or if I can even keep hope."
He hesitantly grabbed her hand and gave it a small squeeze.
"There. Don't you feel better getting all that out? Aren't I here to listen to you and be your confidant? You wanted someone to lean on, so lean on me, Harri."
It was strange how this stranger helped her feel calm and safe. She'd just met him that day and already she felt she could trust him and do all that. Funny how accepting he seemed to be of why he was supposedly there and how easily he'd taken to it. How'd he remembered her words and used them to comfort her as well…
And as for him, well if those were the reasons why he was there, then by Kami he'd fulfill his role the best damn way he can.
It was only bonus that her eyes were so beautiful and that shade of green was beyond rare, and he'd always had a habit of putting value on things. Rubies were a bit plentiful in Sand, but emeralds were definitely not.
He had the strangest urge to capture her and never let go.