Harry Potter vs xxxHOLIC
Harry Potter (c) J K Rowling and allied companies
xxxHOLC (c) CLAMP and allied companies
this is an unpaid fanwork. Take and d13.
note: xxxHOLIC is one of CLAMP's current series (they did Card Captor Sakura, Chobits, Legal Drug, Magic Knight Rayearth, X, Tokyo Babylon, etc). It runs in Young You (I think?) and is being published in English by Dell Ray Manga. Basically it's about a boy who sees spirits and things (I say 'sees' and I mean 'they either get horrible crushes on him or they try to eat him') who is tricked into basically being a bound slave of the Dimensional Witch, Yuuko Kirahara. Yuuko gives people what they want or need, for a price, and promises Wakanuki that when he's done enough work to pay off his wish, he'll be free of having to see spirits. It crosses over with the other current CLAMP series, Tsubasa, also published by Dell Ray. Both series cross over with almost every series that CLAMP's done so far.
Professor Snape tells him that he'll know he's there when he gets there. He goes down Knockturn Alley, and sees a path. It's not exactly dark and it's not exactly dirty but he knows it shouldn't be there. There's a smell of incense, old and dusty and harsh and sweet, hanging on the path like a visible presence. He follows the path because he isn't a coward.
It's just long enough to make him wonder how long he's going to have to walk, and then he stumbles into light again, looks around and sees a foriegn-looking house and a clothesline where a boy his age, in an apron and a kerchief holding back his hair, is hanging things. His hair is sticking out everywhere, and he has glasses. For one wild moment he thinks it might be Potter, because Potter would do chores like a house-elf, but the boy turns and looks at him with no recognition and then screams. It's an undignified yelp of fright.
"Excuse me," he tries, and then "Look, you idiot, I'm talking to you," and then "I'm trying to find someone called the Dimensional Witch, you moron!"
The boy stops screaming, peers at him suspiciously, and says something in a language he doesn't know. It's a fluid language and he has to stop a moment before he can place it. "I don't speak Japanese."
The boy rolls his eyes impatiently, and picks up his basket. "Wait," he says, in passable English, "I get Yuuko-san."
So he waits as the boy hops onto the porch and patters into the house, yelling at the top of his lungs. He looks around, sees that there's camillas and lilies and flowers he doesn't recognize blooming. The sun is bright here, and there's cicadas singing, a high shrill sound. He wishes they would stop. They make his head hurt. There's a scent of flowers and grass and living things. From the house he can smell the incense that led him here.
Something hops on his shoulder and he doesn't start. There's a little toy, like something to amuse children with. It's black and round with long rabbit ears. There's a cuff on one of the ears, silver, with a blue stone that doesn't look like sapphire and doesn't look like pearl. The thing is absurdly soft, like velvet. "Hello," it says.
"Hullo," he replies, wondering what it is.
"You're tired," says the thing, with the air of someone announcing something important.
"What?" he says.
"Don't mind Mokona," says a voice. It sounds like the incense smells. A warm, rich voice laced with amusement, at him or the world or just everything.
He looks up.
The Dimensional Witch is lounging opposite him. She's wearing a red dress slit to her hip and her hair is carelessly piled over her head with things shaped like butterflies holding it in place. She looks like a panther that had decided to come into the house for a change of scene. The-boy-who-is-not-Potter is slinking around the edges, shooting both him and the Witch suspicious looks.
There's two creatures, shaped like children, who pulled him into the house and made him take off his shoes. They're arranged around the Witch, staring at him with slight, knowing smiles.
He sits uncomfortably on the floor. The cushions aren't quite enough to make the floor endurable and he's not used to kneeling like this. Professor Snape told him to be polite, told him that this woman is capable of turning his brains outside his skull and putting his hair in his cranium, and then he'd be walking around with brains for hair and hair for brains. Which, Professor Snape added thoughtfully, wouldn't be much different than what he does now but it would be much less attractive.
She isn't exactly beautiful but she makes him want to look at her.
The-boy-who-is-not-Potter puts tea down in front of him and the Witch. The tea smells like jasmine, like woodchips.
"What have you come for?" she says, a long narrow line of smoke twisting from her pipe like a snake.
"I was sent," he said.
The Witch narrows her eyes at him. "I'll give your teacher the ingredients he needs for his potion, because he is a good customer and he brews the best hangover remedy --" here The-boy-who-is-not-Potter snorts and is magnificently ignored "-- I've found, but I am not in the habit of listening to people who send little boys to parley for them. What did /you/ come for, child?"
He stares at her for a second, confused, and then says, "The Dark Lord needs a way to defeat Harry Potter. He --"
"No," says the Witch, with terrible gentleness. "If your Dark Lord wants to have something to defeat that boy, he can come visit my shop himself -- if he can. If Harry Potter wants to have something to defeat your Dark Lord, I will sell it to him, but I don't think he needs it. What do you need? You, yourself."
"I," he says.
"Yuuko-san, you're scaring him," says The-boy-who-is-not-Potter.
"I'm not scaring him," says the Witch, placidly. "/I/ don't scare him at all. Do I, boy?"
"No, ma'am," he says, before he can stop himself.
"You see, Watanuki," says the Witch, smiling slightly. "Come, child. You wouldn't be able to find this shop if you didn't need something."
He looks down, and sees the little black toy looking up at him. He picks it up and smooths its ears, and thinks for a moment about puffskeins and wars and how the feathery edges of the toy's ears remind him of the wings on a Snitch. "I don't know what I need," he says.
"Very good," says the Witch. "You're learning." She stares at him until he looks up at her, and then she makes an annoyed face, like someone who has to deal with the ingredients at hand, no matter how poor they may be. "I don't work without pay, child. You have something in your pocket. That will do."
The-boy-who-is-not-Potter looks alarmed, but he finds himself reaching into his pocket, and pulling out his prefect badge. The little emerald chips of the snake's eyes flicker up at him. He feels like he is paying more than he should, than he should want to pay, like he should object, like it should hurt. He drops the badge into the Witch's hand without anything more than a vague sense of relief.
"I have recieved your payment," said the Witch, almost gently. With sympathy, he thinks. She knows how hard that was. She knew it better than I did, said another part of his mind. "You'll know what you've paid for when you see it."