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!
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’?” Sirius replied innocently.
wasn’t fooled. “You’re grinning. That’s never a good sign.”
of nothing, Sirius asked, “Do you have the supplies here to brew the Polyjuice
this was bad. This was very, very
bad. “Not all of them. Why?”
have an idea.”
Remus said sarcastically. “Since it
involves Polyjuice Potion, it’s bound to be a winner.”
need a wand, Moony. And, to get a wand,
I need to be you for an hour or two.
Hence, Polyjuice Potion.”
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.
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!”
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.
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.
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.
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
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.”
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
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.”
to Remus’s current wand, anyway. Sirius
took the wand and gave it a wave.
the whippy sort, then. Try this
one. Yew and unicorn hair. Eight inches.
tried that wand. Again, nothing
happened. This pattern repeated itself
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.”
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.”
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
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.
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?”
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.
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.”
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.
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
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.
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.”
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?”
likely,” Mr. Ollivander replied. “Let’s
look to later sources, then. Schoolmates
to whom you have a particularly strong tie, perhaps?”
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.
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
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
“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….”
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?”
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.”
gave it a wave. Nothing. He continued to try various wands with no
one, dogwood and phoenix feather… no, this one is damaged. Looks like the rats have gotten it.”
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.
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.”
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.
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
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.
froze at the sound of Ollivander’s voice.
He turned back to face the wand salesman, Remus’s hand still on his
Black must have had quite an influence on you, Mr. Lupin.”
breathed again and let go of his wand.
“Yes. I suppose he did.”
careful, Mr. Lupin. Mr. Black is
presumably still at large.”
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.
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!”
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
like a heap to me. How was your trip?”
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
just now, thanks,” Remus answered. He
eyed Sirius quizzically for a moment and then remarked, “I believe you’re
beginning to lose your looks.”
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.
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.
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.”
choked on a sip of tea. “Rats?”
two men looked at one another for a moment.
Half a beat later, the cottage rang with their laughter.