A/N: So. I swear I haven't died. I've just been overrun with school work and work work and posting on Ao3 is easier from Safari, so that's where a lot of the newer stuff has been posted. I'll work on transferring things once spring break starts because I'm a smart person and have three finals on one day. (My planning skills are amazing.)
Anyways, I do have the next chapter of Moon and Shield in the works, but it needs major editing (and typing) before it's posted...so fingers crossed that that'll happen before the end of March.
Warnings: Crack. So much. Ichigo is posing as the headmaster of Shinou, okay?
Background: It's not really necessary to have any knowledge of Bleach to read this (although most of you probably have some anyways), but for those that have no idea:
Shinigami = "soul reaper" (lit. Death God) They run around making sure that all the ghosts pass on before they get corrupted by the human world and become Hollows (which look pretty monstrous), which prey upon other souls or people with high spiritual pressure.
Kurosaki Ichigo: the main character of Bleach, who tends to come at problems with a "we fight, now we're friends" but deeper perspective. Shinigami (kinda. It's complicated.)
Ishida Uryuu: snarky nerd who shoots spirit arrows to destroy Hollows (or, you know, Shinigami). A Quincy, who are humans with the ability to see ghosts and Hollows, and use their powers to get rid of them. There was a war between them and the Shinigami, much badness (that is, genocide), and he's not fond of the Shinigami as a result of later fall out from that (namely, his grandfather/mentor is killed as a result).
Inoue Orihime: ditzy healer who's amazingly smart. Her powers are rejecting time, and that's how she heals things (...probably. I don't think we ever really got an answer to this and I stopped at the beginning of the Quincy arc.)
Sado "Chad" Yasutora: gentle giant (think Hagrid, but minus the "they must be able to kill me" in order to be interesting for creatures). His powers are offense (his left arm) and defense (his right arm).
If you need further info, let me know, or google. Except anything that happens post Aizen-the-actual-evil-Butterfly is thrown out the window, because what the heck Kubo?
Disclaimer: I own neither Bleach, nor Harry Potter.
Also, this fic will be updated every Wednesday until it is complete because I'm actually finished with it. Holy crap.
Everyone seems to forget (or ignore) that the Shinigami Academy, Shinou, is a school of battle and war.
Hogwarts has since left that history behind; helped by the Statue of Secrecy eliminating a magical's ability to commit themselves to large-scale wars. Although, with it's hundreds of empty classrooms and converted armories remain as testament to that time.
Durmstrang grasps at the power the Darkness once held in war and battle, but lacks the magical, practical fields within their allied territories.
Beauxbatons was a place rooted in politics, networking, and information; though a few spies were turned out over the years, and while their roots held strong, they were never renowned for their physical prowess (save, perhaps, in dance and acrobatics).
"What? Add a fourth school to this traditional event? Preposterous! The public would be outraged by this – this – desecration of our history by some isolated foreigners that haven't poked their noses off their island for a couple hundred years except for those Yanks!" Cornelius Fudge exclaimed at Barty Crouch Sr.
"Indeed, Minister, it is most unusual that such a request would come so suddenly and about such a specific event, but the potential that exists in this association cannot be ignored. This is the first time this particular school has sought to establish ties beyond East Asia. We could further establish the prestige of Hogwarts and the British Isles, ensuring that we have more allies in the future, and regaining some of the influence we lost in the last War."
"Ah, er...well, I suppose. Perhaps it is time we start reaching out to the eastern wizards again. Merlin knows the Americans have been monopolizing them enough!" Fudge relented.
"Excellent. I shall inform the messengers shortly."
"Yes, yes. Do so. ...Oh, and Barty? What was the names of this blasted school?"
"Shinou Academy," was the monotone reply.
"Ah, well, alright then, thank you. Lauren will see you out."
"Good day, Minister."
Perhaps it's just as well that "four" is the homophone of "death" in certain languages.
In the Spirit World, a representative from each allied delegation drew a straw. Relief was not visible on any one leader's face, but there was a distinct hint to every spirit's reiatsu when they failed to draw the shortest straw. That is, until the Japanese leader was reached. He sighed, and many of his contemporaries could not help but feel amusement at the expression upon the face of the Gotei 13's Soutaichou. Unfortunately for him and the rest of his company, they are the ones stuck with dealing with the newest living world stupidity.
No one saw the slight smirk hidden by the ever-present sakkat's shadow.
In order to ensure that the most capable people are assigned the job, the captain-commander called in the Living World advisors.
"Ah, Kurosaki-kun! Since you're our resident expert on the living world, you and your friends will stand in for the instructors of Shinou Academy for a mission in the living world."
Kurosaki sighed in exasperation. He and his team had just finished off another threat in the Living World who had decided that the Zombie Apocalypse that was predicted should occur in reality. Obviously, the dead did not appreciate being forcibly reanimated in bodies that were, usually, much less powerful than what they were used to, and simultaneously enslaved to an idiot's will. Still, there was a problem and the Three Worlds didn't need any more stress on them after the zombie disaster.
"Scotland. It should last 7 months, arrangements have already been made."
Well, Ishida should be happy, Kurosaki thought. We'll be in the Living World for a while – he can catch up on his fashion magazines and orders.
Hogwarts' Great Hall is filled with students gossiping about the visiting schools and the upcoming tournament. They fall silent, as the doors slam open.
First comes Durmstrang, solid, powerful, demonstrating a unity that has been sorely lacking at Hogwarts for centuries. They march as warriors, staves in hand, striking sparks and then free running (for those Muggle-borns and half bloods that recognize it. The British Purebloods sniff at the show of physicality – one's magic alone should be enough) to demonstrate an amazing control of fire and their own bodies.
"I, Igor Karkaroff, Headmaster of Durmstrang, thank Hogwarts and the British Ministry of Magic on behalf of my school for not only hosting, but reinstating this fine tournament once again."
Then comes Beauxbatons, students dressed in periwinkle and other shifting shades, full of grace and charm. Perfection would be ashamed at their gliding steps and serene, but subtly excited faces.
"I, Olympe Maxime, Headmistress of Beauxbatons, thank Hogwarts and the collaborating Ministries of Magic for hosting the Triwizard Tournament once more."
There is a pause following the seating of the Beauxbatons students. Dumbledore fills it by raising his hands, saying, "And finally, a new competitor in this ancient contest, Shinou Academy!"
The other two school heads stiffen slightly – they certainly knew of this addition, but that never meant they had to like it.
Tradition says that Three is a strong magical number, not Four. This is the West. Underworld, Sea, Sky. They are a remnant of the Romans that has blended with the indigenous pagan traditions.
Suddenly, the air becomes difficult to breathe, as if the tension already present wasn't thick enough. Then two wood-and-paper doors appear within the larger ones that could seal the Great Hall from any incoming attack short of a fully mature dragon. The new set of doors slowly slide open to reveal a blinding white light. Those closest to the doors can see minuscule, dark specks that gradually increase in size until a small swarm of black swallowtail butterflies exit the portal.
Between one moment and the next, a group black-clad people exit the portal, one for each the butterflies, which paused for a moment before they scattered and dissipated among the stars. The students stand stock-still.
And then come the rest.
Straight through the gaps between each of the students, four more rush to the front of the formation in a shocking blur of color – all of them in Muggle clothes, albeit somewhat strangely adapted in the case of the man wearing only white.
"Good evening, Headmaster Dumbledore," the orange-haired man says. "We of Shinou Academy are thankful for the opportunity to be here tonight for the continuation of your illustrious tradition."
With a shallow bow of equals was it not for the fact that one was in another's school, the man finishes his speech. This is apparently the signal for all those who had come through the odd doors to bow in varying degrees, before they all straighten and, perfectly in sync, the black-clad students move to sit at each table, while the four instructors move to the head table.
"Now that we have all been introduced, let me say, 'welcome, guests,' and let us dig in!"
Surprisingly, no one comments about the swords each Shinou student carries at their hip. Likely, many believe them to be as decorative as the Durmstrang staffs.
"The contestant for Durmstrang is...Viktor Krum!"
There is applause as the teen stands and makes his way to the champion's chamber behind the head table.
Then the goblet spits out another slip of paper in a gout of flame.
"The contestant for Beauxbatons is...Fleur Delacour!"
More applause, and she, too, passes through into the chamber.
Another piece of paper is disgorged.
"The contestant for Shinou Academy is...Reina Suzuki!"
Yet more applause, and another walks up and into the chamber.
Finally the last piece of paper appears.
"And the contestant for Hogwarts is...Cedric Diggory!"
The cacophony that explodes is somewhat expected, simply for the fact that Hufflepuff makes up a quarter of the Hogwarts population – the dozen or so students each other school has brought cannot compare to the joy the house of the hardworking feels at having one of their own acknowledged.
It does not last. (Those so inclined will write it off as yet another point in the proof of the conspiracy against Hufflepuff.) After Cedric disappears through the door, the goblet spits another name, which Dumbledore catches.
The teen in question slowly makes his way up to the head table and through the door beyond.
And four foreign pairs of eyes narrow in something more than suspicion. Instead, their focus is more reminiscent of a protector, a warrior, who has found the target of their protection and finds the situation worse than previously perceived.
The meeting begins most calmly, with the Hogwarts Headmaster approaching his student and asking, "Harry, did you put your name in the goblet?"
"N-no, Professor! I didn't!"
This is, of course, the signal for a variety of accusations to be shouted and a round of blaming to begin, only to be over shouted by Igor Karkaroff.
"Of course he put his name in the cup - why wouldn't the boy want fame and money?"
"And yet," says orange-haired headmaster, who had not participated in the previous bit of shouting, "the boy does not seem as if he is in anyway excited to participate in this tournament."
And that, at least, forces the other adults (save the man lurking in the corner), to pause and look at the teen in question.
The Japanese headmaster continues. "It seems to me that all of you have become so caught up in this tournament that you don't recall who, exactly, are the participants. Certainly, it would be understandable if your champions were as upset as you have been - and I'm sure they are - but the one you are accusing, as I said before, does not appear to have desire for more fame, for that which he has, has only seemed to hurt him, given the British media. He does not appear to be lying when he repeatedly denied having entered either himself or having another enter him. It would be poor sportsmanship to do so, and I would think that those who've taught him for three years would have noticed if he were a team player or not. Especially as asking an older student would cause that student to likely lose their own chance at competing, given the number of students who've been camping in the room since yesterday."
"Yer right, lad, and Snape, if you even think of suggesting that this boy managed to confound both the age line Dumbledore himself drew, and an ancient and powerful magical artifact, I...suggest you reconsider," Moody adds his two Knuts to the conversation.
This simultaneously causes Snape to snap his mouth shut, and for the foreign headmaster to stifle a, if anyone had been watching, quick smirk.
"Ah, yes, well..." Ludo Bagman begins, trying to fill the awkward silence that arises as the other adults are forced to consider exactly what their complaints had been implying…and about whom.
"Er, the first event shall take place on November 24th. No more information shall be given at this time, as this task will test your courage and ingenuity in the face of danger and the unknown.
"Now I'm sure there are various parties being held in your respective honors, so go, have fun! Celebrate becoming one of the few chosen to ever compete in this tournament!"
"Hey, Potter! Wait up!"
Potter tenses, before half-turning to face the other Hogwarts champion.
"Yeah, Diggory? Are you going to ask how I got my name in the cup, too?"
"No, I just...wanted to apologize for even thinking you'd put your name in the cup. The Shinou Academy Headmaster is right – and I've played you enough times in Quidditch to know that you're a good sport. I'll try and talk the rest of my house around."
"Oh...um, thanks, Diggory." Potter relaxes and it's pretty sad, Cedric thinks, that already the fourth year is ready to weather the storm of Hogwarts' hate. Then again, Cedric can recall two years ago with ease. Potter already has experience in dealing with misplaced ill will. He's pretty sure that's worse – Potter would have been a second year….
Cedric smiles at the shorter teen and says, "No problem. 'Least I could do for doubting you."
Notices go up the next morning about cross-cultural classes, which would be held once a month, to better establish friendly ties with the other schools. Everyone is encouraged to attend...which means Hermione gleefully drags Harry with her the week following the choosing of the champions.
"Oh, come on, Harry! I know you and Ron aren't on speaking terms and the Slytherins are being idiots, but the Hufflepuffs aren't treating you too badly and you can't spend every weekend up in your dorm room!"
"Watch me," Harry grumbles in reply.
"Ugh, boys! Just, come with me – you might learn something and it might help with some of the tasks! You know, 'know thine enemy.'"
"Fine..." Harry really is capable of refusing neither Hermione's requests nor her orders.
"Beauxbatons was established in the early 1600's to accommodate the increasing need to blend in with French high society. Consequently, the focus of the school was politics, manners, and fine arts. While it was initially intended to be an all-girls school, one of the first teachers pointed out the benefits of including males in the student population. Therefore, other classes were added over the years, expanding the curriculum to what was expected of both males and females of high society.
"While gradually the courses have changed to adapt with the times…."
A few people in the audience snort. After all, modern is quite a relative term in the Wizarding World, when compared to the Muggle World – after all, the potential for Wizarding TV…. They are given a disdainful look as the professor continues.
"We maintain a focus on preparing our students for every formal occasion they might encounter – expected and unexpected alike."
"Everyone, gather round! Now, place your hand in the bag, and draw out a replica of what you shall be facing. Around each neck is a number that will determine the order in which you will compete!
"Ladies first!" Ludo Bagman exclaims excitedly, while offering the bag to Fleur.
"Ah, the Welsh Green!" It is tagged with the number one.
Next he offers the bag to Reina, who pulls out her own miniature dragon, with a three around its neck.
"Hmm, the Ukrainian Ironbelly!"
Then Krum is offered the bag, pulling out a dragon marked with the number 3.
"The Chinese Fireball, ooooo!"
Diggory is offered the bag next, removing "the Swedish Short-snout" with the number 4.
Which left for Harry..."the Hungarian Horntail" and the last performance in this macabre event.
Double post, because I forgot to cross post this two weeks ago. Newest chapter (chapter 3) will be up tomorrow!
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I haven't been all that active lately, but that's mostly because of school work - three history classes is a lot of writing...)
Reviews are greatly appreciated!