This fanfic was intended to be a Wizard of Oz story with the CR characters, but as you will slowly see, I strayed far from the original intent, even including more of Howl's Moving Castle than the classic film. Enjoy the story!
Chapter One: A Sad Beginning
In an open field, a mother was adjusting her daughter's hold on the broomstick, and fussing a little.
"Don't be too disappointed if it doesn't work the first time, Sweetheart. It took me until I was nearly a teenager to get it right."
"Don't worry, Mommy," the tiny brunette said confidently, having looked forward to this day for as long as she could remember. The woman sighed, and stepped back, holding her own broomstick ready in case of an emergency.
"All right Sweetheart; just like when your daddy taught you how to ride a bike."
The little girl nodded, and faced forward. She concentrated, trying to find the family power within herself. Slowly, her hair and dress began to dance with the wind, although it was a calm day. The little girl opened her eyes, and gave the mental command.
'Fly.' Her broomstick immediately shot into the air, faster and farther than she had ever experienced, when her mother would take her along for a delivery.
"Not so fast, Haru!" The mother quickly boarded her own broom, and shot into the air after her daughter. But instead of panicking, the little girl was actually laughing.
"This is fun, Mommy!" She shot higher into the sky, aiming for a cloud so she could touch it. The light fog seemed to splash around like water at her touch, and soaking her hand from the moisture. Her mother appeared next to her, her eyes wide with astonishment.
"Haru, you're a natural!" Kiki had never imagined that she would be jealous of her own daughter, at least over magic, but this sign was not one that could be ignored.
Her daughter would one day become a powerful witch.
That silent prophecy was proven to be all too accurate, as little Haru continued to grow. At the tender of age of eight, she had mastered five of her mother's spell books, and was working hard to get to six before leaving her home for the year of training that all witches took.
In fact, the young girl was so diligent with her studies that she hardly ever left the house. Kiki would always fret about that.
"Honey, why don't you go outside and play?"
The young girl would look up from her magic book, her eyes twinkling.
"Go riding? Sure!"
"Oh no, dear. I mean… little Hiromi's a good girl. Why don't you go play with her? Or how about that Chika girl?"
Brown eyes dimmed at the prospects, and the young girl turned back to her book to continue her studies.
"They don't like me. They think I'll turn them into frogs if I get angry at them, and they don't like even asking me to pass a pencil in school."
"Have you ever given them a reason to think that you're a good witch?" The delivery witch walked over, and firmly closed the book before putting it back on the shelf. "Sweetie, a girl needs friends. Go find one."
Haru sighed, and slipped out of her seat.
"Yes, Mom." The little girl walked out the front door with the same manner her counterparts were sent to their rooms. A dark cat sitting on the counter grinned at the woman.
"Good job, Kiki. Your girl was starting to scare me."
The witch sighed, and started dusting the bookshelves.
"Sometimes she scares me. It's not good for her to close herself off from the world, even if doing so will turn her into a great magic-worker."
The black feline nodded smugly.
"Just watch. She'll have friends enough in no time."
Several hours later, when the witch was cooking dinner for her pilot husband, her little girl skipped back into the house.
"Mommy! I made a friend!"
Kiki smiled warmly, and dusted her hands off on her apron.
"Who is it?"
"He says his name's Toto. He was almost eaten up by a wolf, but I made fire at him until he left poor Toto alone. Can he stay with us until he gets better?" The girl walked up to her mother, and opened her hands up to reveal a crow chick. Jiji stared at the little bird and licked his lips while her mother groaned.
"Honey, when I said 'go make a friend, I meant a human one. Crows are nothing but troublemakers."
"I can be nice," the chick piped. "I won't be a bother, I promise!"
Kiki stared at the chick, and then her daughter, who shifted uncomfortably.
"I gave him the gift of human speech, so that I could hear what he was trying to say."
Kiki started breathing harshly, knowing that by using her magic on the crow, she had forever marked it from its kind, maybe even making a return to its natural habitat impossible. The woman sighed.
"He can stay, as long as he wants to. But he will be your responsibility, not mine; am I clear?"
Haru nodded happily.
"Thank you, Mommy! Jiji, stop staring at my friend like that. If you eat him, I'll shave you until you're naked."
Mindful of his pride, the cat started licking himself clean, now pointedly ignoring the little morsel. The girl smiled happily while carrying her little treasure up to her room.
"I'll take good care of you, Toto. I'll be the best nurse ever!"
Indeed, her future as a powerful witch looked bright, being the only witch in centuries to have a crow for a familiar, as they were so difficult to tame, and Toto enjoyed being with the witch that had saved his life.
That is, before her confidence in flying became crippled for years, by the death of her dear mother.
Haru sipped at her tea; her dark eyes locked on the newspaper. The brunette stole a glance at the clock, getting more and more irritated with her father, who should have been home by now. He'd said he had something very important to tell her, and her curiosity was driving her insane.
The phone rang, making her jump up in surprise. Her father always called her his little kitten, with her manners. Holding one hand to her heart, she walked over to the phone.
"Is this Haru, Tombo's girl?"
"It is. Is something wrong?"
"I'm afraid so. This is Mr. Yashima, the airport director. I'm sorry to be the one to tell you this, but your father was killed in an accident about ten minutes ago."
Her heart stopped.
"The propeller in his plane went berserk, and a spark managed to get into the gas chamber. We tried to get to him in time, but…" he didn't bother to finish the sentence, certain that she would be able to figure it out.
And she did. She dropped the phone and fell to the kitchen floor, weeping into her hands…