The Sugar Quill
Author: Three Sickles Short (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: A Visit To Mr. Ollivander  Chapter: Default
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

Disclaimer: Everything belongs to J

Disclaimer:  Everything belongs to J.K. Rowling—Sirius, Remus, Ollivander, unicorn hairs, rats….  Okay, so she probably doesn’t want the rats. 

 

A/N:  Though this is technically an outtake, you don’t really need to have read “HP and the Forty-Eleventh Fifth-Year Fic” to get it; it can stand on its own.  Enjoy!

 

 

            Sirius Black had several different smiles.  There was the regular smile, the charming smile, the tight smile … and there was The Grin.  Remus Lupin hadn’t seen The Grin in years, and the sight of it now, stretched across his best friend’s face, made him distinctly nervous.  The Grin meant that Sirius had a plan—a plan that was either stupid, reckless, dangerous, frankly insane, or some combination of the above.  Remus set down the book that he’d been reading and steeled himself for battle.  “What?” he said flatly.

            “What, ‘what’?” Sirius replied innocently.

            Remus wasn’t fooled.  “You’re grinning.  That’s never a good sign.”

            Apropos of nothing, Sirius asked, “Do you have the supplies here to brew the Polyjuice Potion?”

            Oh, this was bad.  This was very, very bad.  “Not all of them.  Why?”

            “I have an idea.”

            “Wonderful,” Remus said sarcastically.  “Since it involves Polyjuice Potion, it’s bound to be a winner.”

            “I need a wand, Moony.  And, to get a wand, I need to be you for an hour or two.  Hence, Polyjuice Potion.”

            “Convince me,” Remus said.  The old pattern.  It was amazing how quickly they fell into it.  In school, it had been Remus’s job to be the sceptic.  James and Sirius were the idea men, and Remus was the one who tried to shoot the ideas down, to find the holes, the places where plans could go wrong.  He’d find a hole, and then James and Sirius would go back to the drawing board to fix it.  Remus’s ability to see five steps ahead had been one of the main reasons that the Marauders rarely got caught.

            And Sirius convinced him.  It was dangerous, yes, but not unduly so, and the plan was so simple.  Remus would whip up a batch of Polyjuice Potion.  Sirius would drink the Potion and turn into Remus for an hour.  He’d then Floo to Diagon Alley, buy a wand at Ollivanders, and Floo home.  Shouldn’t take more than half an hour at most.  He’d take along a thermosful of the potion just in case he was delayed.  If anything went wrong, he’d transform into Padfoot and disappear into the crowd.  “It’s fool-proof, Moony!  Fool-proof!” 

            “Which is a good thing, as you’re a fool,” Remus replied.  The old pattern.  The schoolboy banter.  How he’d missed it.  He supposed he’d better make a trip to the apothecary in the village.  It looked like he’d be brewing a potion.

 

*

 

            Sirius Black landed in a heap in the fireplace at the Leaky Cauldron.  In his youth, he’d been good at travelling by Floo Powder, always managing to land on his feet, but he was out of practice.  Ah, well.  He brushed the ashes from Remus’s robes, ran a hand through Remus’s hair, squared Remus’s shoulders, and headed out to face the wizarding world.

            The wizarding world didn’t pay much attention to the mild-looking figure in the shabby robes, and Sirius reached Ollivanders with no trouble.  A bell tinkled in the distance when he entered the hushed environment, and memories flooded in.  It had been many years since he had come here.  He’d come with his mum.  His mum, who’d let him take an extra ride in the Gringotts cart when he’d “forgotten” an item from his grandmother’s safe.  His mum, who’d taken in his school chums for a week every summer.  His mum, who’d been killed by Voldemort.  And now it was starting again.  

            These cheerful thoughts were interrupted by a soft, “Good morning.”  Sirius turned, and there was Ollivander himself, looking just as he had on that day a quarter-century ago when Sirius had last seen him.  “Remus Lupin.  It has been many years, but it seems only a short time.  What can I do for you today?”

            “I need a wand,” Sirius replied.  To forestall any questions, he pulled out Remus’s current wand (which Remus had been kind enough to loan him “for verisimilitude”) and added, “A spare.  For duelling.”

            “Ah, yes.  Defense always was a strong point of yours.  This one is ebony and unicorn hair, is it not?”  Sirius nodded, trying to look wise.  He actually had no idea what was in Remus’s wand, but the ebony part was right.  “Let’s measure you—you’ve grown a bit; all children do—and see which wand chooses you this time.”  Ollivander snapped his fingers, and a tape measure began to measure Remus’s arm.  Ollivander turned his attention to the shelves full of wands in boxes.  Sirius felt a twinge of apprehension.  The tape measure was getting Remus’s measurements; would those work for him, or would he end up with a wand tailor-made for Remus?  The wand was supposed to choose the wizard, and he hoped it would know which wizard it was choosing.

            The tape measure was starting to gauge the length of Remus’s eyelashes by the time Ollivander snapped his fingers again to stop it.  He turned back to Sirius with an armload of boxes.  “Let’s try this one, shall we?  It’s rather similar to your current wand.  Ebony and unicorn hair, but this one’s a bit whippier.” 

            Similar to Remus’s current wand, anyway.  Sirius took the wand and gave it a wave.  Nothing happened. 

            “Not the whippy sort, then.  Try this one.  Yew and unicorn hair.  Eight inches.  Rather stiff.”

            Sirius tried that wand.  Again, nothing happened.  This pattern repeated itself several times.

            The stack of wands grew higher, and Mr. Ollivander was beginning to look perplexed.  Glancing nervously at Remus’s pocket watch, Sirius said, “Would you excuse me for a moment?  I’m on some medication right now, and it has to be taken at very precise times.”

            “Ah, yes.  Your … condition.”  Sirius furrowed Remus’s brow, confused.  What condition?  Oh, Remus’s condition!  But how did Ollivander….  Before Sirius could finish that thought, Ollivander continued, “Use the back room, if you like; I’ll stay here and give a bit of thought to this problem of your wand.”

            Sirius stepped into the back room, still wondering how Ollivander knew that Remus was a werewolf.  Of course, the wand salesman did rival Dumbledore for unexpected bits of knowledge and cryptic self-expression, so his possession of this random bit of Remus-trivia should hardly be surprising.  Sirius looked around the room curiously.  It looked surprisingly normal, just what one would expect a storeroom to look like.  And there was a sink; that was handy.  Sirius uncapped the thermos that he’d brought along, took a deep breath, and downed half its contents.  He made a horrible face.  Merlin, was that stuff ever foul!  He got a mouthful of water from the sink, rinsed away as much of the aftertaste as he could, spit it out, and returned to the main room.  Mr. Ollivander regarded him impassively.

            “Most people undergo some changes in their lives in the twenty-five or so years after they buy their first wand,” he remarked.

            Do tell, replied Sirius’s inner smart aleck, but he managed merely to nod in an appropriately interested sort of way.

            “When children come in to buy their first wands, they are usually much easier to outfit if they are from magical backgrounds.  This is because children’s wands often share some characteristics of their parents’ wands.  I did not sell your father his wand; he bought it in France, did he not?”

            Sirius nodded again.  Remus’s father had been a Frenchman by birth and had been educated at Beauxbatons.  Sirius had liked Mr. Lupin.  He had died a few years ago, another event that Sirius had missed.  Pettigrew would pay for making Remus bury his father alone.

            “But your mother bought her wand from me.  Her first wand had a unicorn hair at its core, as does your current wand.  You see the parental influence.” Sirius nodded, and Ollivander continued, “It’s much harder to outfit Muggle-born children because there is no pattern.  There is no parental wand to look to for guidance.  With adults, the problem is different.  Adults have usually been deeply affected by some people other than their families—teachers, friends, perhaps a spouse, and also enemies.  And the magic of those other people leaves its trace—a trace that the wands can sense.  A different sort of wand wishes to choose you, Mr. Lupin, because the man that you have become has been influenced by different people than those who had influenced your eleven-year-old self.”

            Mr. Ollivander paused to let that sink in.  An interesting explanation, Sirius thought, although completely wrong in this case.  The problem was that he wasn’t Remus, so the wand salesman was looking for the wrong influences, but he couldn’t very well tell Ollivander that.  Best to play along.

            “Who are people who have influenced you most deeply, Mr. Lupin?”  When Sirius goggled at him, Mr. Ollivander continued, “I realise that this is a very personal question, and you need not answer it if you wish not to do so, but it might make finding the proper wand a bit easier.”

            This presented Sirius with a dilemma:  Should he answer as Remus, or as himself? “Ah, how do you mean ‘influenced most deeply’?” he asked, stalling for time. 

            “People who have had the most impact on your life, for good or ill.  Your best friends, perhaps, or favorite teachers, but also your sworn enemies, or the teacher who never gave you a fair chance.  People who have shaped your character.  In your case, the person who, shall we say, passed your condition to you might be a good example.”

            “I was bitten as a small child,” Sirius said, his feeling of the surreal increasing.  “If my biter had been an influence, wouldn’t it have shown up the first time I came to get a wand?”

            “Most likely,” Mr. Ollivander replied.  “Let’s look to later sources, then.  Schoolmates to whom you have a particularly strong tie, perhaps?”

            “My best friends from school are all … gone now.  The Potters and I were very close, and so was….” Sirius trailed off, suddenly overcome by a superstitious fear of speaking his own name while in someone else’s form. 

            “Ah, yes.  The Potters.  Their son was a very interesting case; his wand….” Now it was Ollivander’s turn to trail off.  “But perhaps he would not wish me to speak of this.”

            “His wand shares a core with … the wand that killed his parents.  I know.”  When Mr. Ollivander looked surprised, Sirius added, “I taught Harry in school a few years ago.  We keep in touch a bit.”

            “Indeed.  A fine example of the influence that another person can have, as I said, for good or ill, on wand-choice.”  He paused for a moment and then continued with, “At any rate, the Potters’ wands.  Mahogany for Mr. Potter, with a core of….”

            Sirius couldn’t take any more.  Hearing about James and Lily, about their wands, was suddenly more than he could bear.  To stop Ollivander’s talking, he blurted, “Sirius Black.”  Mr. Ollivander stared at him.  “Sirius Black was one of my best friends.  And then he was responsible for the deaths of the people that I loved most in the world.  He’s the person who has influenced me most.  What kind of wand did he have?”

            “Dragon heartstring and dogwood.  Very odd combination.  Let’s see what we can find.”  Mr. Ollivander turned back to the shelves and began pulling out wands.  “Try this one,” he said, handing one over.  “Dogwood and unicorn hair.”

            Sirius gave it a wave.  Nothing.  He continued to try various wands with no success.

            “This one, dogwood and phoenix feather… no, this one is damaged.  Looks like the rats have gotten it.”

            “May I see that?” Sirius asked.  Mr. Ollivander handed over the wand, the handle of which had what looked like teeth marks on it.  Sirius felt a jolt up Remus’s arm, a tingling warmth.  He brought it down, and a shower of stars and lightning bolts shot from it.  “I’ll take it!” Sirius said.

            “But the rats….”  Mr. Ollivander looked more closely at the wand.  “I suppose they’ve only gotten the handle.  I could replace it.”  Sirius nodded vigorously.  “Give me perhaps twenty minutes.”

            “I’d better, ah, take my medication again,” Sirius said.  Mr. Ollivander, on his way into the bowels of the shop, waved a negligent hand toward the back room.  Sirius entered, took the rest of the potion, rinsed, and returned.  He took a seat in the spindly chair and tried to wait patiently for Ollivander to finish.

            Dogwood and phoenix feather.  Harry’s wand had a phoenix feather.  And rats.  Sirius smiled ruefully.  He’d seen what rats could do to his wand; perhaps some day he’d get the chance to see what his wand could do to rats. 

            “All finished,” Mr. Ollivander announced, returning.  “That will be eight Galleons.  Shall I wrap if for you?”

            “No.  I’ll take it just as it is,” Sirius replied.  He handed over eight Galleons, and Mr. Ollivander gave him the wand.  He slipped it into Remus’s pocket beside Remus’s wand and turned to leave.

            “Mr. Black.”

            Sirius froze at the sound of Ollivander’s voice.  He turned back to face the wand salesman, Remus’s hand still on his wand.

            “Mr. Black must have had quite an influence on you, Mr. Lupin.”

            Sirius breathed again and let go of his wand.  “Yes.  I suppose he did.”

            “Be careful, Mr. Lupin.  Mr. Black is presumably still at large.”

            Sirius patted his wand pocket.  “I’m safe from him now,” he said.  Ollivander nodded, and Sirius left the shop.  He considered Apparating home now that he had a wand of his own, but he decided that it had been too long; if he couldn’t even land on his feet when he used Floo Powder, he’d splinch himself for certain.  He strolled back to the Leaky Cauldron and Flooed to Remus’s house. 

            Remus greeted him with, “Who is that devastatingly handsome wizard in a heap in my fireplace?  Give Lockhart a run for Most Charming Smile, that one would!”   

            “Vanity is really not an appealing trait, Moony,” Sirius replied.  “And I was not in a heap.”  A matter of course, that retort.  He had landed in a heap again, and he knew it.

            “Looked like a heap to me.  How was your trip?”

            In a lightning-quick move retained from his Dueling Club days, Sirius trained both wands on Remus, who raised his hands in mock-surrender.  “Pretty good, I’d say.  Care to repeat that comment about me being in a heap?”

            “Not just now, thanks,” Remus answered.  He eyed Sirius quizzically for a moment and then remarked, “I believe you’re beginning to lose your looks.”

            “Lose your looks, you mean.”  Sirius hurried over to the mirror and watched as his own face replaced Remus’s.  “Oh, that’s much better,” he said.

            “Why don’t you give me back my wand so that I’ll feel safe arguing that point?” Remus suggested.   Sirius grinned and tossed Remus his wand.  Remus caught it neatly, pocketed it, and took a seat on the sofa.  “What took you so long?” he asked.

            Sirius collapsed into his favorite armchair and answered, “Well, since Ollivander thought he was finding a wand for you, it took a while.  But we got it figured out in the end.  And then he had to replace the handle of this one.  Seemed the rats had been at it.”

            Remus choked on a sip of tea.  “Rats?”

            “Indeed.” 

            The two men looked at one another for a moment.  Half a beat later, the cottage rang with their laughter.

//
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