This is just a quick, short-story idea I had for a small crossover with Harry Potter and xxxHolic. As usual, respective authors of J. K. Rowling and CLAMP own the rights to their amazing characters and storylines, I just took the honor of blending them in (what I hope) is an enjoyable read!
Removal of the Curse
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
Exams had finally ended and everyone was packing to go home. The early summer heat had settled in on Hogwarts, and the students were enjoying their freedom from their classes and their duties as students. Minerva McGonagall, acting Headmistress of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, however, was sweltering under the heat of her heavy robes, stuck in the office correcting a mountain of exams. They were finally getting enrollment back to normal after the chaos of five years earlier, and the last minute fixes to the school had been completed. Around the office, the various portraits of the Headmasters and Headmistresses of times past chatted quietly with each other or took afternoon naps. Minerva glanced up at the one with the silver, half-moon spectacles, seeing him snore lightly in his frame. She smiled to herself, although it was a bittersweet one.
"It's been six years since you left us," she whispered to herself. "And not a day goes by that I don't come across something in this school that reminds me so forcibly of you that it hurts…"
She put her quill back in the case and stood up, her bones crackling in protest to the movement. She sighed and another half-hearted smile crossed her face. She was getting far too old for the nonsense this school kept throwing at her. She left the office and began the journey towards the staff room; it was time for the final staff meeting of the year, and they had something very important to discuss.
Through the halls, various students occasionally crossed McGonagall's path, laughing and playing a little louder than they probably needed to at the time. They usually shut up as soon as they caught sight of the Headmistress, fearing her wrath, but since she had more important things on her mind that day (as well as realizing they were just blowing of steam after weeks of oppressive studying), McGonagall merely smiled at them and continued on her way without a word.
She arrived at the staff room a good ten minutes before the meeting was to start, seeing it in pristine condition, with all the parchments clearly stacked and ready to go for the meeting. She made a mental note to thank the house elves for their work, especially the recovering alcoholic female they'd accidentally inherited from Crouch nearly a decade previous. She sat at the head of the table and waited, as the rest of the staff began to arrive. Last, of course, was Horace, who muttered one of his usual excuses about talking with a certain promising student, before he squeezed himself in next to Flitwick and Hagrid.
"Good afternoon," said, smiling. "We've made it through another year with nothing more serious than a few Fanged Frisbees and one minor flooding of the Hufflepuff Common room. Hats off to all of you for a fantastic job."
A quick, standard round of applause followed her words. The meeting continued with the usual closing-of-school checklists, announcing who would be staying in the castle and who would not, and recommendations for different changes in the coming school year. Finally, after three parchment pages worth of clerical nonsense, they arrived at the last two issues McGonagall wanted to discuss.
"Firstly," she said, standing. "I have not received any further notices about whether or not the Ministry of Magic will finally appoint a true Headmaster or Headmistress to Hogwarts, or whether they'll just expect me to take over the job for yet another year. I would have thought five years would be enough for them but there you have it with politics…"
The various staff chuckled darkly. After the defeat of Lord Voldemort, the Ministry of Magic had really put all of their focus in clearing up their good names from the time when they had "fallen," and while they'd made a lot of progress in that particular department, a lot of other areas had suffered. Hogwarts still didn't have a full-time Headmaster or Headmistress, and they were hiring for a couple of classes on a per-diem basis.
"Which brings me to the second point," said Professor McGonagall with a heavy sigh. "As you're all aware, Professor Nicholson, our Defense Against the Dark Arts Professor, has decided to leave the country and study in the African bush and, thus, we are once again going to be holding mid-summer interviews for the position."
The rest of the staff groaned inwardly. They'd been hearing the same announcement since what felt like the 1950's, and it was really wearing on them. In five years they'd gone through five professors for Defense Against the Dark Arts. By now, two had left of their own accord, one was fired for poor conduct, one died in an unfortunate accident abroad, and one was forced to resign and flee the country amid an unrelated scandal from her family. They'd had no problem replacing the Muggle Studies professor, a wonderful little man from France who had been with them ever since the defeat of Voldemort, plus they still had two teachers on staff for the least popular class Hogwarts even offered.
"Minerva, this is getting ridiculous. That position is cursed, and, at this rate, we're not going to find anyone to take the position," said Professor Sprout.
"Yes, she's right…" added Professor Sinistra. "The Daily Prophet has started doing a pool for whoever guesses the right date on which Hogwarts announces it needs another new teacher."
"I'm quite aware of what that despicable tabloid says," said McGonagall, sighing. "The problem is, the curse that we thought would disappear with Lord V-Voldemort is still there, and I don't know if there is anything we can do about it."
"Minerva, if I may…" said Professor Trelawney, standing and sending her shawls and beads flying around.
"Of course, Sybyll…" said Professor McGonagall, biting her cheek slightly out of irritation.
"My fellow professors, it is clear this curse is a work of magic that transcends even that which we can apprehend," she said, dramatically, her hands waving slowly above her head. "We have been unable to do anything about this curse, and it is of my opinion that the time has come for us to search for an outside influence with which to rid this awful affliction that threatens to hold Hogwarts forevermore."
"And just what are you suggesting?" asked Slughorn, with a poorly-hidden eye roll.
"Yea, no 'ffense Professor Trelawney," Hagrid said, "Bu' I don' see how anythin' can be done fer this sitiation…"
"My comrades!" Trelawney exclaimed in surprise. "What I mean to suggest is that we should consult the one with the power to grant desires and wishes. The Dimensional Witch."
Silence followed this dramatic suggestion. A few people sighed, exasperated, and others merely exchanged concerned looks. The Dimensional Witch… one of the most controversial women in the entire wizarding world. Had it really come to the point where they were ready to ask the help of a figure who may or may not have powers they'd never even heard of?
"What nonsense," said Madam Pince, scoffing. "That miserable Quibbler did an article on that woman two years ago, claiming she had the ability to open up new worlds to people. Sounds like a bit of gifted Illusion magic if you ask me."
"I've met her before," said Professor Sinistra, thoughtfully. "She's very famous among Astrologers and Astronomers alike. Though I admit, she is a bit frightening to behold…"
"This is also true," squeaked Professor Flitwick from his stack of books. "Her powers are, at the very least, formidable, even among our standards. Whether she has the ability to transcend dimensions, however, is something I can't attest to as it's certainly not my area of expertise…"
The staff talked amongst themselves about the Dimensional Witch as McGonagall fell into internal musings. The Dimensional Witch… well, they didn't really have too many other options at this point. McGonagall was well aware of the Witch for Dumbledore had spoken of her very highly, but she wasn't quite ready to believe about the Dimensional things. However, after deliberating with herself, she made the decision to write to her, and sent an owl out soon after the meeting ended. Professor Trelawney, much to the chagrin of McGonagall, was in the Owlery when she sent the letter.
"I had a strong premonition that you would be here, Minerva," said Trelawney mysteriously as she sat amongst some of the owls (many of whom seemed irritated about the intruder on their perches).
"Yes, well," said McGonagall, sighing. "An outside consultant may be just what we need. If she can't do anything about it, then we can always offer her a job, I'm sure with her abilities she would be a very valuable addition to our staff."
"She will not accept such a suggestion," Trelawney said, warningly. "However, she will be happy to render her assistance to you, for a price. Just be ready to pay!"
She cackled and tottered down the stairs of the Owlery. Professor McGonagall let an impatient hiss escape her lips as she picked a strong-looking barn owl and set it to flying. She knew the Witch was roughly in Japan somewhere and that it would probably be weeks before the bird even made it there. As she left, she failed to see the owl disappear with a brilliant flash halfway over the lake.
Somewhere in Tokyo, Japan
Kimihiro Watanuki felt as though he was melting, even with his school's summer uniform on. Yuko had decided that she'd wanted hot food today, too, and the boy felt his anger boiling as he left the kitchen and headed for the front lawn, the place his boss waited. He felt the steam rising from the meal he'd prepared (British-style fish and chips, a departure from her normal desires for traditional Japanese cuisine) and already thought about what cool treat she'd force him to create when he dropped it off to her.
"Watanuuuki," came the whine as he rounded the corner. "I'm soooo hungry…"
Annnnnnnd she's already started drinking, Watanuki thought with a heavy sigh. Two bottles of sake lay discarded next to the tub of ice water she dipped her feet in. Mokona floaed on her back, a can of beer resting on her stomach, while Maru and Moro took turns pulling on a chain that sprayed Yuko with some refreshing water. They stopped and sprinted to watanuki, dancing around him and cheering as he set the meal before his boss.
"I've never made anything like this before," he said, sighing. "I almost burned my arm on the grease so you better appreciate this!"
"Yes, yes, of course, just get me some more of the expensive stuff from the storage room," said Yuko, picking apart a hunk of fish from the basket, watching the steam rise of it. She blew on it and inhaled the food, squealing with pleasure at the flavor.
"Glad to know I can use fryers correctly," Watanuki said, flatly, as he headed back to get her more sake.
As he walked, though, a strange flash erupted above him and, with a yelp, Watanuki saw a large, gray owl plummeting towards him. The owl, eyes bulging and making a very panicked hooting noise, seemed completely out of control as he slammed into the boy's face knocking him flat on his back. The owl twitched, confused and panicked, as Yuko, Mokona, Maru, and Moro burst into hysterical laughter at the scene on the floor. Moreso when Watanuki tried to talk, his words muffled by the dazed bird.
After a while, they calmed the bird down and realized he had a note attached to his foot. Yuko moved the party inside to her parlor, and when Watanuki finally got her the sake she'd ordered, he saw her reading the letter, which was written on thick, yellow parchment. He sighed and sat down, nursing a goose-egg right above his nose.
"What's that about," he grumbled, barely protesting as Mokona took a chunk of ice out of Yuko's tub and put it on his forehead.
Yuko gave him a lopsided grin. "Oh just a long-distance request for my assistance."
"Long distance? As in from another world?" Watanuki asked, wondering exactly where the now-snoozing owl had come from.
"So-to-speak," said Yuko. "A place called Hogwarts. I'm sure you've never heard of it, of course, but it's a special place where beginners learn some forms of magic."
"Oh," said Watanuki, immediately losing interest.
"I think I'm going to take a journey," said Yuko, smiling. "Maru, Moro, please pack my old trunk. Watanuki, go to the storage room and look for a silver, satin-lined box with a wand inside of it, please."
The two girls sprinted off with cheers while Watanuki grumbled and went to deal with what Yuko had ordered him to. Meanwhile, she headed to her bedroom and into her impossibly spacious walk-in closet, looking carefully through the rows and rows of clothing before finally finding the thing she was looking for. She smiled and held up the robe, stepping carefully into it and tying it around herself. It looked far more European than Asian, although she still had her traditional butterflies stitched in silver all around, as well as much wider sleeves. Looked in the mirror and twirled around, seeing it shimmer and trying to remember the last time she'd warn it.
"Yuko, I got it," came the call of Watanuki, as he entered her room.
"Thank you, Watanuki," said Yuko, taking the box from him and sliding it open. She loving picked up her magic wand, caressing and checking it for any blemishes.
"What is that anyway, Yuko? I didn't think you needed a magic wand for your stuff," said Watanuki, his head cocked to the side.
"This isn't just any wand, Watanuki," said Yuko, with yet another one of her signature grins. "This is the wood of a Yggdrasil, containing the hair of a Norn. It was a customized payment I received from a job I did way up north many years ago. Just out of curiosity, do you know what any of that means?"
"Not a word," said Watanuki, flatly waving his hand at her. "Other than you got some other poor soul in your clutches and extracted some magical device from him."
Yuko smiled and whirled the wand through air, showering the room with sparks. Watanuki, screeching something about setting a fire, leapt backward into the wall. Yuko laughed happily and headed for the entrance hall with Watanuki, now nursing another goose egg on the back of his head, sprinting to keep up with her.
"Watanuki, would you like to join me and come to Hogwarts?" asked Yuko as Maru and Moro stood next to her trunk in the entrance hall.
"No thanks," said Watanuki. "I'd rather stay in this day and age. Besides, with summer holidays coming up soon, I only have limited time with Himawari…"
"Alright then," said Yuko. "You have a few days off. Enjoy them while you can, but be careful. I can be reached by that owl if you need me, make sure he gets rest and food and water every day after school alright?"
"Wait a minute!" shouted Watanuki. "How does that count as having time off if I still have to come here and feed that bird everyday!?"
Yuko, who had already used the wand to create a teleportation glyph under her, merely grinned and cackled, slowly disappearing into the nether, on her way to Hogwarts to sort out that which needed to be sorted out with the staff. Watanuki sighed angrily as Maru and Moro waved goodbye to their mistress and Mokona hopped annoyingly on top of his head. Watanuki groaned once more, muttering angrily about Yuko's unreasonable demands.
"The owl wants something," said Mokona, pointing.
The owl had poked its head out and around the corner, its eyes fixed creepily on Watanuki. The boy felt highly uncomfortable as he approached the bird slowly and carefully. He asked it whether it wanted food but the bird just fixed him with a stern, disapproving stare that left Watanuki even more frustrated than he'd been with Yuko. After screaming at the bird for not being decisive, Watanuki sighed and rubbed the bruise on his forehead. It was going to be a long few days until Yuko got back.
Hm. Well I'd intended for it to only be a chapter long but this story is just gonna take probably two or maybe three chapters for me to finish. Thank you for the patience, sorry I'm incapable of writing anything that can be labeled as "short" ehehe…!