An Unexpected Switch

Tea Room Brawl

Harry, Ron, and Hermione trudge on their way to Nagasaki. Hermione looks into their money pouch. "We're broke again!"

"How did that happen?" groans Ron, "We had 100,000 yen a couple of weeks ago!"

"Well, after the hotel, the groceries, you pigging out at the restaurant, we paying for some of the hotel damages, bribing a ride out of the city, and buying food along the way, we have no money."

"Oh, shut up Hermione. That hotel was a reprieve from the torture of this new world."

"We nearly got killed because of that hotel visit."

"Guys!" shouts Harry from behind him, "What about Voldemort being here?"

"What about it?" says Hermione plainly, "He would be alive during this time."

"But what is he during here, in Japan?" says Harry.

Ron shrugs. "We don't know, Harry. Maybe he's on vacation?"

"We can't worry about it now" huffs Hermione, "Right now, we have to get home and get back to our own bodies."

Harry sighs; internally, however, he thinks about how he can use Fuu's body to his advantage.

The three friends collapse on the ground in a town a half hour later. Hermione catches her breath and pulls out a map.

"Where did you get a map?" Ron asks.

"I bought it in the other town."

"And you talk about me wasting money."

"Buying something you need is not wasting money, Ron."

Harry groans. His best friends bicker more than a married couple, but they shut him up anytime he tries to talk.

"Anyway," continues Hermione, "We're in this small town called Watari. It's between twenty-five and thirty miles southeast of Nagasaki. We should get to Nagasaki in about a week if we don't spend a lot of time in one town."

"Back to the board-and-work game" sighs Ron.

"Hey guys" says Harry when Ron and Hermione stopped talking, "There's a tea house over there. Maybe we can find work there?"

Ron and Hermione look at where Harry is pointing. Sure enough, there was a small tea house. "Good idea, Harry" exclaims Hermione, "We can find work there. Some of the patrons maybe can put us up as well."

"Well what are we waiting for?" asks Ron, "Let's go!"

"Well, what do you think, Aiko?" the owner of the tea shop asks her sister.

"Well" says Aiko slowly, "It seems as though the men like to look at the younger maidens." The skinny old woman looks up-and-down at Harry, which creeps him out. "Did you see how they reacted to Sakura on her first day?"

"Oh yes" says Hoshi, the owner, "Where is that girl anyway?"

Suddenly, a teenaged girl with short, brown hair and a black kimono runs into the group. "Sorry I'm late, Madame Hoshi!"

"That's all right, Sakura" Hoshi sighs, "We have a new tea server." Then, she points out Harry to Sakura.

"Oh, please to meet you!" stutters Sakura as she shakes Harry's hand.

"You too" says Harry.

"This is only going to be temporary" says Hermione quickly, "We have to leave for Nagasaki in a couple of days."

"What's the point of hiring her for, then?" groans Aiko.

"She can pick up the slack Mika left when she had her baby" answers Hoshi, "That girl should be back in a few days as well."

"So that's settled" says Aiko, "You're hired…"

"Har…Fuu" Harry says quickly.

"One more thing" says Hermione, "Do you know any places where either the three of us can board or Jin and I can work?"

Sakura pipes in. "My father is a fish cleaner" she says, "All three of you can stay in our house if you two can help my dad out."

"That's great!" says Ron as he looks down at her, "Thank you!"

Sakura looks down and blushes. "You're welcome."

Two guys were watching as the three friends and the tea girl were walking out of the tea house. They can hear in the background an old woman screaming something about "being too lax with your workforce". The bigger of the two guys takes a swig of his tea. "Aren't those the three on the wanted posters?"

"Umm-hmm" the smaller guy answers.

"Dead or Alive?"


"Perfect. Should we attack them now?"

"No. Let's bide our time and attack them when they're most vulnerable."

"Sounds good to me."

The two guys continue to drink their tea.

Harry, Ron, and Hermione collapse on the floor of the front room. Mr. Goku, Sakura's father, had made this room their sleeping place. He is now sleeping in his room. Harry had told Sakura that he wanted to talk to his friends alone. Sakura, therefore, walked to the bathhouse by herself.

Harry has had a long day. Sakura hissed at him hundreds of times proper ways of pouring tea. It was even more embarrassing when female patrons pointed out his flawed tea-pouring ways. The men did not care at all. They look lustily look at Harry, some even being bold enough to grope at his bottom. Aiko and Hoshi had laughed at this, and Sakura whispered to him that the best thing to do is to swat their hands away. Harry does this joyfully and often.

Ron and Hermione's day wasn't any better. They were very grateful for the fish-cleaning job, but it was disgusting work. They had to cut off the head, cut off the tail, skin, drain the blood, and clean out the feces and eggs of a thousand fish. The smell in the work room was horrendous. Mr. Goku got really upset when they were sloppy and they hacked up a perfectly good fish. Ron and Hermione's constant bickering didn't help matters.

"Ok" says Hermione after a small rest, "We need to plan our route. We can spend three days here…"

"Isn't that kinda long?" Harry asks.

"We need the money and the supplies" Hermione answers, "Besides, we will only be a day later than I predicted."

"I guess that's not that bad" says Harry.

"Anyway, after we leave here, we'll be on the road for a day. After that, we can spend three nights in Kisho Village to restock and recuperate. A final day's journey will lead us straight to Nagasaki."

A light rapping is heard on the front door. "Well, glad we have that settled" says Ron as he goes to the door.

"Where are you going?" shouts Hermione.

"Me and Sakura are going to get some shaved ice" Ron answers.

"We don't have time for that! We need to get home!"

"We're not doing anything now, Hermione! I'm going out, and that's final!"

With that, Ron goes outside, where Sakura is waiting for him. "We have to stop him, Harry!" Hermione shouts.

"Just leave him alone, Hermione" says Harry, "Who says we can't have fun while we are trying to get home?"

"Then we should go out as well."

"No way. I'm not going to spy on Ron. Besides, I'm tired, and I'm going to sleep."

Hermione huffs and flops on her covers. Harry sighs and goes to sleep.

Ron and Sakura sit in a grass field behind the stand and eat their shaved ice. "The night sky is beautiful" she says after a long silence, "Look at all of the stars!"

"Yeah" says Ron, wondering when he will see the sky in his time again.

"When I was little, my Mom and Dad used to take me here all of the time."

After a short pause, Ron speaks. "What happened to your mother?" he asks.

"She got really sick" Sakura answers sadly, "She died when I was seven years old."

"I'm sorry about that" says Ron.

The two were silent for a long time. Finally, Sakura sighs. "Jin," she starts, "Your friends are named Mugen and Fuu, right?"

"Yeah" says Ron, thinking that this is an odd question.

"Then why did you call Mugen 'Hermione', and why did Mugen call Fuu 'Harry'?"

Ron looks down. She heard. Ron, however, came up with a great excuse. "Harry and Hermione are their nicknames" he says assuredly, "We call Mugen 'Hermione' because sh…he's so serious that he reminds us of a hermit. Fuu is called 'Harry' because of her beautiful hair."

"Do you have a nickname?" Sakura asks timidly.

Ron thinks. "Yeah," answers Ron, "My nickname is 'Ron'."

"Why is that?"

"'Ron' is backwards for 'nor', as in neither this nor that. They call me that because I am always disagreeing with them."

"Oh" says Sakura silently. Suddenly, a shooting star streaks through the sky. Sakura closes her eyes and takes a breath. Ron looks at her. "What did you wish for?" asks Ron.

"I can't tell you, or it won't come true" smirks Sakura, then, "Can I call you by your nickname?"

"Of course" he answers sweetly.

Sakura smiles, and then looks at him seriously. "Ron, promise me something."

"Okay. What is it?"

"After you go to Nagasaki, promise you'll come back and see me again."

Even though Ron knew that that will probably never happen, he takes her hand and looks her in the eyes. "I promise" he says.

The next day, Harry was glad to go to work. This morning, Ron and Hermione had another argument. Hermione could not believe that Ron told Sakura their real names. Ron, however, points out that it was Hermione, not him, who yelled out Harry's name. They went to work arguing. The small talk of the tea house is a reprieve from their constant bickering.

The reprieve ended suddenly when Harry sees Ron and Hermione at one of the tables. They weren't arguing, but the tension was so thick that you could cut it with a knife. Harry goes over there, thinking that it would be unfair to give Sakura up to the onslaught. "What are you two doing here?" he asks.

"Mr. Goku was nice enough to let us take a break and get some tea" answers Hermione.

"As long as you two don't start any trouble" Harry warns, "Try to behave for two more days."

"I will" sneers Ron. Hermione just rolls her eyes.

"Harry, watch out!" came from behind Harry. Harry then looks in horror as a big guy in a golden robe holds a large sword with Sakura skewered on it.

Sakura pulls herself off of the sword. She can feel as her blood gusts out of her body. A warm pair of arms wraps around her; she looks up and locks eyes with Ron. "I guess my wish won't come true" she stutters. Images of her and Ron married with children fade to black as she dies in his embrace.

"Serves her right for getting in my way" sneers the big guy, "Now, we can collect our bounty."

Ron and Harry glare at the oaf. Suddenly, with weapons drawn, the two friends attack him with all of their might. Meanwhile, Hermione's back is slashed by the smaller man. She blocks the next assault, and starts to attack him as well. Cups, plates, and tables are destroyed as the combatants try to kill each other. Other patrons run out in fear, along with Hoshi and Aiko. Sakura's body lies undisturbed in the battle royale. Hermione cuts the small bounty hunter's head off, and his decapitated body falls to one side of the room. Harry jumps on the big bounty hunter's back and slits his throat. As he is gasping for breath, Ron drives his sword straight into his heart. After the guy falls, Ron drops to the ground and cradles Sakura's body. He sobs softly into her breast.

The three friends leave the town of Watari. There is no way they could pay for the damage at the tea shop, so they avoid Ms. Hoshi and her sister. They wanted to give their condolences to Mr. Goku, but he threatened to kill them if he ever saw them again. The reason was obvious: they were the reasons his daughter got killed. As they started their one-day walk to the next city, they made a silent promise. They will not board with anyone else until they got to Nagasaki. Before they left, they did leave Mr. Goku a gift. On his front porch were three white roses and a grave marker for Sakura.

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