I suppose I must finally lay these stories to rest.
Guardian has been a long enigma. Years have passed since I last updated and even longer since I last enjoyed writing it. Fundamentally, the story is impossible.
Ichigo, to put it kindly, is too powerful. He is a sledgehammer in open heart surgery. In Bleach, the swing of a sword is enough to level a city block. The wizards of Harry Potter simply do not reach that level of power. With Ichigo around, even bound to Hogwarts, how was any of the conflict supposed to move the Harry Potter canon plot exist for long enough to involve Harry and co? More importantly, how could the Wizarding World we are familiar with in canon even exist?
Ichigo is too involved in the history of the Wizarding World. He has been there from the beginning and undoubtedly pushed individuals and innovations away from their original path. Offensive spells are stronger, as a small example. Past wizards and witches learn spells that imitate Ichigo's shinigami abilities. He's a game changer for battles and political maneuverings.
As someone whose role is to protect Hogwarts, could Voldemort even happen? Given the danger Riddle posed even in his school years, I don't think he could go unnoticed for long. But Riddle's a cunning guy. Say he does begin his assent as Voldemort and can hide himself from Ichigo. The means would certainly exist. Then we hit our next roadblock. Battles are suicide on the Death Eaters' part. Raids have to be lightning quick, simultaneous hits to multiple targets and even then Ichigo can easily apparate from site to site. There is little reason for Voldemort to even succeed in reaching Lily Potter. And this says nothing for how the Ministry and old family lines would be different.
When I initially plotted this story, I put too few limitations on Ichigo and did not realize the large scale effect of having a near god meddling with how the world developed. In my distaste for the boring task of rehashing canon, I threw in worldbuilding scenes. Too late, I realized the impossibility of asking readers to continually accept that Ichigo will always be conveniently out of the picture when Harry faces dangers.
Guardian requires a complete rewrite. I don't think I will be up for the task but I have written some words that give an idea for how the Guardian world should have looked like:
Everything, all the past chapters you just read, is a lie. That's just the way the world works sometimes. Life makes its merry way then the realization hits like a sledgehammer and everything is now wrong. Okay, admittedly, this level of revelation is a hit-or-miss, once-in-a-blue-moon affair, and usually not everything is shattered. But, here in this story, there certainly is a sledgehammer.
His name is Kurosaki Ichigo and he is a sledgehammer to the Harry Potter universe. This man has too much power. He can do too much. He can't even be dignified with categorization into "human," not while still being the powerhouse that is able to contest with gods. I joked before to friends that Kurosaki was like all the Bleach powers were shoved into an industrial blender then the slurry was temporarily housed in a human vessel. But honestly, he's too much for the Harry Potter universe. The longer he hangs around, the more plot he corrupts and silly, tiny me had Kurosaki hang around for a long time.
If Hermione ever set herself to dimensional travel, and the probability for her success once she moves past concerns over physical limitation and reality are fairly high, and compared the Guardian universe as it should be – not the lies I tried to conform to the Harry Potter plot – and canon Harry Potter, the odds of her being able to reconcile the two would be infinitesimally small. Sure the same people are present in the two worlds, and base personalities and culture hang around, but the two worlds are like estranged cousins on branches of a family that split centuries ago (so basically comparing the Weasleys with the Malfoys). Or perhaps that is an over-exaggeration.
Let's continue with having Hermione do the delicate grunt work of dimensional travel and the tedium of recounting the tale to a pair of boys who take several reminders to please not interrupt.
It's in his nature, bless his well-meaning heart, for Kurosaki to take the world bluntly and make it better in that headstrong way of his. Even if said world is decidedly not the universe he was born in and hardly the same time period or geographical location. Minor inconveniences really, although it briefly makes him wonder at the logic of the Arrancar, who clearly hail inspiration from some version of Spanish, and their fluent and predominant use of Japanese. It's probably, as most things are, Aizen's fault.
Kurosaki's main inconvenience is boredom. The initial bemusement at adapting his supernatural abilities to the new world wears off in due time and any coherent human magical society is still in the fetal stage at best. So he sets to wandering and not so accidentally running into magically inclined individuals since at least then he can't be blamed as the only trouble magnet in town. Forest. Whatever. It's definitely a town when he runs into the Hogwarts founders while they're still bumbling brats with odd notions in socially acceptable companions and coping mechanisms.
What will become the Wizarding World is starting to get on shaky feet, settlements cropping up here and there (and occasionally moving, but people keep to minimal grumbling when their window view changes overnight). Kurosaki takes the brats to one such settlement after their original town is not so subtly destroyed for reasons Hermione never figured out. There, he leaves the children for a few years, left alone to their ambitions while he continued drifting this way and that around the globe. Somehow, here Hermione suspects Hufflepuff, Kurosaki is convinced to stick around and this is when the Hogwarts founders truly launch themselves into the Wizarding society of the time. They learn, they travel, and they gather power, Kurosaki trailing behind like a fussing mother hen with the power of several nuclear warheads in his casual arsenal.
Then Hogwarts is founded and the issue of magical blood suddenly becomes Kurosaki's unwilling problem for the next several centuries. In the beginning, it's slightly ridiculous to make the immediate jump to discrimination against muggleborn children as the modern Wizarding World is inclined to. Magically inclined children were still appearing in high rates. All those currently pureblood families had to start from somewhere after all. The main problem is security. It's good an all to extend the welcoming hand to muggleborns but they had a tendency to lash out in the confusion and culture shock, not to mention the wrangling with muggle families. Magical communities were friendlier with the decedents of muggleborns that folded themselves into the Wizarding World. Not unlike reactions to immigrants, if much crueler to the first generation who highly depended on acceptance.
So far, close enough to canon.
All the while the squabbling over security and muggleborns are making their circuit up and down the Wizarding World, the topic of Hogwart's security inadvertently comes up. Hermione doesn't exactly want to point fingers, but she has a feeling that this development has Ravenclaw and many well-meaning parents to blame. As well as that whole, odd, so by the way, this universe was trying to reject me for a while and we reckoned that anchoring my existence to the school could patch that problem. Evidentially it did. Kurosaki could travel as he pleased still, but in exchange, he slipped on the role of protector like a well-worn jacket, curbing the threats to the school he could retaliate to. Basically anything physical and some that were not so physical.
When she made an interested inquire in if the school may have picked up a shade of sentience due to the anchoring, Kurosaki carefully skated around the topic. He was also quite insistent that, no, it wasn't his soul that was bound, it was his existence. Hermione didn't fully understand the difference, but let the matter drop.
The next few centuries were a largely uninteresting landscape of feuds and nudging from Kurosaki to try convincing the Wizarding community to be more accepting. Pride was inflating the Wizarding World, and people began losing sight of the original arguments against muggleborns. While not one to fully involve himself in politics, Kurosaki still played a heavy hand in the education of wizards and witches. Including the Dark ones.
Sometimes, Kurosaki could swear that the universe resisted his involvement in Wizard affairs. Physical confinement to Hogwarts wasn't enough. He was in a tug of war between some nebulous destiny and fate that wanted to run the course plotted at its inception before an intruder was rudely thrown into its midst.
Ron and Harry promptly lose interest in the logistics of Kurosaki's slow influence on Wizard affairs and Hogwarts and of course want to focus on the changes to their counterparts.
As in the muggle world, wizarding warfare had a code of conduct that most civilized combatants followed. One rule was to avoid physical harm to magical children, particularly the Hogwarts lot. Fat lot of good the rule did for any emotional trauma from living in a warzone and orphanage, but it did speak to Kurosaki's reach during wartime. After all, facing an unstoppable weapon of mass destruction almost every week was hardly anyone's cup of tea. Wars go by a different tune in this world.
The fact that Voldemort even happened was a surprise, but the kind of arrogance required to take the path of being a Dark Wizard is more of a personality flaw than anything one semi-immortal can influence. Teenagers will be teenagers, even if that happened to entail homicidal tendencies and an urge to spit in the face of everything decent.
The next surprise was that Voldemort kept at the Horcruxes. Perhaps the symbolic acquisition of the Founders' heirlooms pleased something primitive in Voldemort's hindbrain. Magical research was undeniably more enthusiastic due to Kurosaki's undying nostalgia for the conveniences of the future he grew up in. There were better options than carving up your soul like a Thanksgiving turkey. Voldemort probably just wanted to see the fit Kurosaki would throw over having to destroy the Founders' relics. Or he just liked collecting shiny artifacts after his stint at Borgin and Burkes. Who knows what happens in that twisted mind.
In the beginning, once Kurosaki and Dumbledore caught whiff that Voldemort possibly had intensions for immortality via Horcrux, the biggest despair was how many he may had created. Whereas Kurosaki as tied to one location, Voldemort could splinter into as many pieces as he deemed appropriate and safe. Appropriate and safe were not quite words in the wizard's vocabulary.
Spycraft was not in the Order's resume but Kurosaki didn't have a pack of Aurors he mostly trained during their teenage years for nothing. While some Death Eaters had the foresight to account for this training, the arrogance in their magical ability prevented most from fully comprehending the thorn in the side the Aurors would pose after graduating from Hogwarts. While slow to collect information, the Aurors hounded Death Eater forces and hampered some of the calamities that marred the canon first war against Voldemort. Not to mention that calling in the big guns was simple and quick enough.
And so, lo and behold to the Golden Trio's amazement, the Potters live. Or at least Lily. It makes fate – and much less importantly, Dumbledore – slightly squeamish to see the prophesy fiddled with like this, but hey. If the prophesy wanted Lily to die it should have said that explicitly. There is no Boy Who Lived (although there is a Please Don't Make The Potter Redhead Angry She Could Kill Us All).
Does Harry still get up to trouble and make his mom stressed out? Sure, but it's of a different flavor. Does Voldemort ever come back? Mate, there is no way Ichigo didn't notice Wormtail, Lupin, and Sirius running around. Heck, actually, the whole Wormtail-Sirius shenanigans could never have even happened since Lily was, you know, alive.
Butterfly effect doesn't even cover all these changes. At least Harry has more time for typical teenage drama and blowing things up.
There is also the awkward question of what on earth was with the Soul Society business. Simple answer: I was bored and needed something I could really fiddle with. So the Soul Society is out of the question. Good bye, it's been fun, sorry Kurosaki, you're forever alone.
Hardly makes the rest of the AU world less of a discombobulated mess.
Other points and events in the story exist somewhere in the recesses of memory and loose notes. If someone else wants to take up this story, that's their choice. This is simply my attempt to put this story to a close and express some of my frustrations with how complex the Guardian world is. I hated writing the last few chapters because I knew that I was writing the wrong plot. Guardian should have been a largely original story.
And with that, thank you to all the readers in the years past and you odd stranglers that I still see in my inbox. This is the end to Guardian on my side for now and I will be closing Sidekick as well. Perhaps after college I'll mess around with the concept again, but I won't hold my breath.
Au revoir everyone,