An Unexpected Switch

The Return of the Yazuka

After a day of traveling, Harry, Ron, and Hermione set up camp just outside of Kisho Village. The previous day was very…stressed. The trio of them had hardly talked to each other. Ron, who was very depressed, lashed out anytime his friends tried to speak to him. Harry was mostly caught in his own thoughts, not really paying attention to the others. Hermione was the only one who was focused on getting to Kisho Village as quickly as possible.

"Okay" says Hermione as the trio sits on the grass, "We can rest here for a day, load up on supplies, and arrive at Nagasaki in about two or three days."

Ron just huffs. Hermione, her patience shattered, gives Ron's shoulder a hard shove. "Ron!" she screams, "We have to stay focus so we can get home!"

"Oh yes" Ron scorns, "Let's hurry up and get up home. Then, we won't have to think about Sakura, the girl that got killed just by associating with us!"

"You know that not true" Hermione sneers, "Yes, I'm very upset about Sakura's death. I wish it would have never happen, but it did. There is no way we can change that, no matter how much we want to. Stopping our mission out of grief is neither going to help Sakura or us! You need to pull yourself together, Ron!"

Ron turns away from her. "Easy for you to say" he says quietly, "If it's not in black-and-white, you don't understand. Nearly everything has a rational explanation, and if it doesn't, it's not important to you."

Hermione bits her lips. Harry could tell, even through the body of the strange man, that Hermione was deeply hurt by that statement. Harry would have rebuked Ron for his statement, but he had something else on his mind.

"Hey you guys" states Harry, "What if we were sent here for a specific reason?"

"What reason could that be?" snaps Hermione, seething after Ron's remark.

"Maybe we were sent here to stop Voldemort" answers Harry.

"Oh for heaven's sake, Harry!" screams Hermione, "Come off of Voldemort! For all we know, he sent us here. Look how vulnerable we are without our magic! Voldemort could kill us with a blink of an eye!"

"We're not helpless, Hermione!" shouts Harry, becoming angry, "We've learned many things while we've been here. Besides, we have the element of surprise. He won't even know who we are!"

"Our goal is to get to Nagasaki and get back to our own lives. We can't put our lives in obvious and unnecessary danger!"

"Straight and narrow Hermione strikes again" says Ron as he rolls his eyes, "'It must be this way and only this way. Any other way is idealistic, irrational, and idiotic'."

Hermione turns her back to both of them. "Fine" she yells, "If you two want to stay here, go ahead. I'm going to Nagasaki and going home!"

She runs away from Harry and Ron, leaving them to dwell on their own thoughts.

Hermione walks through Kisho Village's bazaar. "How dare Ron say something like that?" she huffs under her breath, "I am sad about Sakura's death; I don't have to mope to show it! And Harry didn't even back me up. All he's been thinking about is destroying Voldemort. We'd be sitting ducks if Voldemort found us!"

Hermione tries to wipe the tears from her eyes, but they continue to fall. Although she understands that in this place, she has to keep up the pretense of a strong warrior, she cannot help what she feels inside the soul of the warrior. It is unbelievable how her two best friends could hurt her that way. She would never leave them here if she found the way home; however, she wants them to believe that she would. They would then see how important getting home is, and appreciate how important she is.

Hermione did not notice a hooded figure behind her watching her.

The hooded figure runs to an extravagant compound about twelve kilometers away from Kisho Village. "Where are you off to, Kazumi?" asks a female behind the figure.

Kazumi turns around and takes off his hood, revealing a scarred face topped with a shock of black hair. He looks at the woman with the black hair and eyes. In her arms she holds a three-month old, brown-haired baby to the breast of her red kimono. Kazumi bows to her. "Welcome back, Lady Kinimoto" he says.

"Where are you off to?" she repeats.

"To see your father" he answers, "I think I've found someone he's been looking for."

"What a coincidence" Lady Kinimoto says, "I was just heading to see Father myself. We can go together."

Kazumi and Lady Kinimoto enter the Kinimoto throne room. There, Kinimoto and Atari were kneeling on their mats drinking tea. Kinimoto chuckles when he sees them walk in; Atari, on the other hand, looks shocked. "Tsunami" he starts, "My lovely daughter. It's been a while since we've seen each other. How are you, and how is my granddaughter Aiko?"

"We're both fine, Father" she answers, facing Aiko towards him to prove his point.

"I don't think that this is the best place for a baby, Tsunami" says Atari.

"My daughter can bring my granddaughter to visit me anytime she wants" sneers Kinimoto, causing Atari to draw back from the sudden hostility. Tsunami faces Aiko towards her.

"Aww" she coos, "Your father is worried that you'd somehow get hurt here. Your father should realize that the Kinimoto main house is the safest place in the world."

Kazumi snickers as Kinimoto folds his arms and looks at his daughter with pride. Atari looks down at the table in shame. Tsunami has a way of making him look weak in her father's eyes.

"So what are you doing here, Kazumi?" asks Kinimoto, changing the subject.

"Oh yeah" answers Kazumi, "In the bazaar, I saw a strangely dressed tanned man with a wild hair style. He fits the description of the guy who killed Yoshi."

"Interesting" thinks Kinimoto.

"Did you also see a blue-robed samurai with glasses?" says Atari suddenly.

"No" responds Kazumi, "I didn't see the samurai that handed your ass to you." Both of the Kinimotos start to snicker.

"Those samurai could be useful to the family" Kinimoto states, "What if we get them to join the family?"

"The weird-dressed ronin, most definitely" says Atari, "His intelligence will be very useful to us. The one with glasses, no. He's too unpredictable; he might destroy us all."

"You're absolutely right, Atari" states Kinimoto, "Though your reasons are selfish ones. If the tanned one is in the bazaar, then the other two shouldn't be far behind. Atari, go find the tanned samurai and convince him to join our family. If he says no, come back to the compound. Do not in any way, shape, or form go and find the blue-robed samurai. Kazumi, go and find the girl they're traveling with. Try to split her off from the blue-robed samurai. We can use her as leverage to convince the tanned one. Do not engage battle with the blue-robed samurai."

"All right, boss" says Kazumi as he leaves.

"As you command" murmurs Atari as he goes out of the door. Tsunami leaves Aiko in her bed and follows him.

"You are going to listen to Father's orders, right Kisho?" she asks.

"Of course" answers Atari, cringing. He hates when Tsunami uses his first name in the main house. "A good lapdog always listens to his master."

"That's not fair, Kisho. You didn't become second-in-command by being a lapdog. There's a good reason why Father told you not to find the blue-robed samurai."

"Yeah, because he probably thinks that I can't do it."

"He's probably saving you for something important."

"Yeah, whatever." murmurs Atari, and he dashes off, despite Tsunami pleads to heed her warnings.

Hermione has calmed down a bit and done half of her shopping. The best thing to do is ignore both Ron and Harry's pettiness. She'll get all of them to Nagasaki if she has to carry both of them all of the way there.

Suddenly, a brown-haired samurai comes towards her. Recognizing him from the description Ron gave her, Hermione's hand goes instinctively to her sword. "What are you doing here?" she sneers.

"Kinimoto manor is about twelve kilometers away from here" Atari answers, "In case you're wondering, Kinimoto is the family I work for."

"So what's your point?" sneers Hermione.

"My boss believes that your intelligence would be useful to our family" Atari answers.

"Never!" Hermione shouts, "You kill people ruthlessly; I wouldn't join you if my life depended on it."

Atari shrugs his shoulders. "That's unfortunate." With that, he walks out. A chill runs up Hermione's spine. She runs back to tell Ron and Harry what she saw.

"It's been an hour since Hermione left" Harry says as he looks up at the clouds.

"You know women like to do a lot of shopping" Ron huffs, "Even if she's in a man's body, she's a woman through and through."

"You're absolutely right, Ron" Harry starts, "Hermione is a woman, and women can get hurt easily."

Ron rolls his eyes. "Harry, don't start."

"Hermione's right, Ron. We have to get out of this place. Our staying here won't bring Sakura back to life. Our getting killed here won't bring Sakura back to life. If everyone stopped their lives every time one of their loves ones died, then no one would go on. I know I sure wouldn't have."

Ron remains silent, but Harry knows that his words have hit home. "I'm going to go look for Hermione" says Harry, "Join me when you're ready."

Harry goes and walks towards Kisho Village. Halfway to the village, something hard hits Harry's neck, and Harry blacks out. Kazumi gingerly throws Harry over his shoulders. "Capture the girl without engaging the blue-robed samurai" Kazumi recalls, "Yeah, I think that I did that well." With that, he goes through Kisho Village to get to the Kinimoto compound.

A flash of pink catches Hermione's eye as she runs back to her camp. Then, she gasps in horror as she sees a hooded figure dash past her, carrying Harry like a sack of potatoes. At first, she thinks to continue on to camp and get Ron to help her. She decides against it, however, for two reasons. One, Ron wasn't in the right mood to help her and two, who knows what that person would do to Harry in the time she took to get Ron.

So Hermione runs after the hooded figure, just as planned.

Ron sighs and gets up. Harry's right; there's no point in stopping your life for the dead. It's not like they would appreciate your sympathy where they are now. Also, he really needs to apologize to Hermione. As practical as she is, she stills has feelings. He should have never even suggested that she didn't.

Suddenly, Ron sees a figure on the path. By the time he recognized who the person was, he was on the ground with a deep slash on his chest. He had to roll quickly on his stomach to dodge Atari's next attack. Ron then gets up and starts to run. "Once again you run like a mouse sensing his last moments alive in a front of a cat" Atari snarls, "Your stomach trick won't work this time; I'll slice you up before you get a chance to touch me!"

Ron did not know what to do. Soon, he would get tired of running, and be ripped apart. If he stops, however, he'll be sliced like packaged salami. Ron had to figure out someway to slow him down. Then, he got a brilliant idea.

Ron doubles over and rolls on his back. "That maneuver will prove fatal, my friend" says Atari as he slashes Ron's torso again. Ron's moves a bit; the result is a deep slash, but one that did not hit any vital organs. Ron then uses Atari's sword to propel his own blood into Atari's eyes, nose, and mouth. Atari was surprised for one second, but that moment's hesitation proved fatal. Before he could cut Ron's arm off, Ron had cut his head off.

Ron staggers to the ground as it starts raining blood from Atari's decapitated body. Then, he gets up. He had to make it to Kisho Village and find Harry and Hermione. Somebody was probably after them as well. Before he leaves, Ron goes and picks up Atari's head. Might as well show his gang what he's capable of.

Hermione follows the hooded figure into a grandiose establishment. She deducted that this was a ploy to get her to join the Kinimoto family. Her deduction was confirmed when not a single guard tried to stop her in her pursuit. Hermione then stops in a vast room. There, a corpulent kneels at the end of the room. The hooded man removes his hood and puts a sword to Harry's neck as he comes to. Kinimoto, as Hermione realizes, gets up and folds his arms.

"It seems as though you didn't take Atari's offer" Kinimoto says, "So we had to resort to this." With that, Kinimoto looks at Harry. Harry tries to move, but Kazumi tightens the sword around his neck.

"A smart man like you can figure out this proposition" addresses Kinimoto, "Either join us, or she dies."

"Don't do it!" shouts Harry, "We have to go home!"

"Aww, that's sweet" mocks Kazumi, "'We have to go home!'"

"It seems foolhardy to die when you don't have to" says Kinimoto, "Decide now."

Hermione looks down and bites her lower lip. "All right" she whispers, "I'll join you."

"Excellent" says Kinimoto.

"Yeah!" shouts Kazumi as gets ready to take the sword away from Harry's neck. Kinimoto, however, stops him.

Kinimoto walks up to Harry. "My friend Atari, wherever he is now, tells me that you can kill without touching someone. That's very interesting."

"Not as interesting as it is when I kill while touching them" sneers Harry. To Kinimoto's horror, Harry removes a dagger from his kimono and stabs Kazumi in the chest. The sword falls, and Kazumi follows it, minus his heart.

"Come on, Her…Mugen, let's go!" says Harry, but that was all that he could get out. Kinimoto had grabbed Harry's hair and had slammed him into the ground. Kinimoto takes Kazumi's sword, but before skewering Harry, he turns the sword to block Hermione's attack.

For a few minutes, Kinimoto holds off his two assailants. While he dodges their attacks, he wonders why none of his men have come to help him. "Whatever," he thinks, "I can take these two on by myself."

Hermione does not know what to do. Sooner or later, Kinimoto was going to kill them both. She had to do something unexpected to throw him off. Out of the blue, Hermione uses her arms and legs to propel herself into Kinimoto's chest, making Kinimoto drop his sword.

Stunned, Kinimoto slams into the wall. Then, he took his last breath as three blades enter his body.

Harry and Hermione take their blades out of Kinimoto's body. "I thought we were surely dead" huffs Harry.

"I thought we were too" sighs Hermione.

"Harry! Hermione! There you are!"

Harry and Hermione turn around as a blood-soaked Ron comes in with a decapitated head. "Ron!" Hermione shouts. She goes over to him and socks him, breaking his glasses.

"Hey, what gives?" shouts Ron, "Do you know how much I had to go through to get here?"

"How much you went through?" yells Hermione, "Me and Harry were nearly killed by a Yakuza boss and one of his men!"

"Well, I'm sorry I couldn't help you, Hermione" sneers Ron, "I was too busy fighting the rest of the Kinimoto gang on half-tank. I had to use my own blood to put a stop to this guy!" He holds up Atari's head. Hermione turns her back towards him.

"If we were all together, we would have had a better chance against them" she says quietly.

Ron looks down at his feet. Harry just looks between the both of them. All three of them turn toward the door when they hear a bloodcurdling scream.

Seeing piles of dead Kinimoto members was hard enough. Seeing Kisho's head and her father's skewered body took Tsunami over the edge. She grabs the head and flops onto her father's body. The three strangers look at her with sympathy as Tsunami sobs over her fallen love ones. A second later, she grabs Kazumi's sword and attacks them. Hermione blocks her attack, taking the sword away from her. Tsunami glares up at them, tears in her eyes.

"Just kill me" she growls, "Kill me like you killed my father and my husband."

The trio looks at this young girl with pity. Hermione was about to give Tsunami a merciful end to her pain when they hear a baby cry aloud. Tsunami sighs.

"My baby" she cries, "She senses the death of her father and grandfather. She shall soon see the soul of her dead mother as well."

"No" says Ron suddenly. He then looks at Hermione but talks to Tsunami, "Although this situation is terrible, you can't stop living because of the deceased. You have live on", then Ron turns to Tsunami, "for yourself, and your daughter."

With that, the three friends leave the Kinimoto household.

"Hermione, I'm…" Ron starts when they were outside. Hermione, however, cuts him off.

"You've shown inside that you understood what I was saying before. I'll take that as an apology."

Ron smiles. Harry sighs and shakes his head. "All right you two" says Harry, "Let's promise not to split up ever again while we're in this world."

Ron and Hermione look at Harry. "We promise" they say.

With that, they continue on to Nagasaki.

Tsunami cuddles crying Aiko. "Don't cry my sweet baby girl. I know you'll sad about the death of your grandfather and your father. I am too. Don't worry. We're going to rebuild the family, and you are going to be the head of the family after me. Then we're going to find those three who did all of this and kill them."

From then on Aiko Atari became Aiko Kinimoto, and she became a very formidable Yakuza boss.

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