Chapter 15 – Wands and Their Owners
A/N: My thanks to everyone who has reviewed this story. I have a question, does it creep you guys out to get responses months after you've reviewed? Because I feel bad leaving reviews without a response, but I've fallen behind and I don't want anyone to feel like they're being stalked.Chapter 15 – Wands and Their Owners
~~1944, Ollivander’s, Diagon Alley~~The pair that entered his shop were not his typical customers, that much was obvious. They stood side by side, appearing at ease but for the wariness in their eyes that identified them as the soldiers they had become in the past few months. Their very presence was a threat, but not to him. Rather, they brought hints of the future on their shoulders.
Garrick Ollivander nodded a greeting. “Minerva McGonagall,” he stated. “Red oak and phoenix feather, eleven inches.” His gaze moved to the other figure, studying him closely. “And Angel, the vampire with a soul.” The vampire wasn’t what he had expected, but still, Garrick had hopes. “Albus told me you have need of my services.”
“Yes,” McGonagall said curtly. “Regretfully, my wand was broken in an… altercation on the Continent.” She looked away, and Angel moved closer as if in comfort. When she met Garrick’s eyes once more, however, he found no sign of uneasiness. “I find myself in need of a new one.”
There was a story there, to be certain, but Garrick had no desire for details. “Indeed. Let me see…” he said, running through his collection in his mind as he moved toward the boxes lining his walls.
Perhaps half an hour later, Minerva was the owner of a new wand (fir and dragon heartstring, nine and one half inches, stiff, good for transfiguration). She made to leave, Angel following behind, when Garrick spoke.
“Angel,” he said, halting both of them in their tracks. “Might I have a word?”
The vampire turned to Minerva, and they seemed to have a conversation without saying a word. After a moment, Angel turned to Garrick and nodded. “Of course,” he agreed, his voice betraying a hint of curiosity. He moved back to the counter, his posture loose as if expecting a fight.
Having no illusions that Angel wouldn’t be telling Minerva everything the moment they left his shop, Garrick made no particular effort at discretion. He took a moment, all too aware of the vampire’s eyes on him as he chose his words carefully. “There are three materials I use for the cores of my wands,” he began. “Unicorn hair, dragon heartstring, and phoenix feather.”
Angel nodded, his expression a mixture of confusion and impatience. Garrick continued. “I have flashes of knowledge related to my craft, and this I know: a day will come when a wizard will need something else. He will be special, his circumstances odd, and a bond will require a different core altogether.”
Angel shifted his weight, his face going carefully blank. “What do you want from me?” he asked bluntly.
“I think you already know. The core this wizard needs will have to come from you, the vampire with a soul.” Seeing Angel hesitate, he played his trump card. “With this gift, much good will be done.”
Angel glanced over his shoulder at Minerva, then turned back to Garrick. “Put that way, how can I refuse?”
Getting to leave Hogwarts was a bit of a production.
Having finally been deemed well enough to leave the hospital wing, Xander had happily spent the night in his own rooms. He was getting dressed when he heard a knock on the door, and opened it to find a crowd of Sunnydalers loitering outside.
Xander grinned. “Well, if it isn’t Willow, Buffy, Faith, Dawn, Giles, and Angel!” he cried. “Come on in!”
“Oh, we don’t want to come in,” Willow said, her chin tilted at a determined angle. “We’re here because we’re going out
. With you.” She frowned. “Not as in ‘going out with you’; we don’t want to date you—“
“Speak for yourself,” Faith muttered, giving Xander a dirty smile. No one but him seemed to notice the way Angel’s face darkened at that comment.
“Anyway,” Willow said loudly, pointedly ignoring Faith, “what I meant is that we want to go with to the wizard town.”
“Diagon Alley,” Giles supplied, giving Xander a hopeful look.
Xander groaned. “Et tu, Giles?” He met Angel’s eyes across the crowd, and saw a hint of a smile on the vampire’s lips. “Look, guys, do you really think a giant group of muggles wandering through Wizardville—“
“Diagon Alley,” Giles corrected.
“—would be a good idea when they’re in the middle of a war?”
Buffy gave him a hard look, her hands drifting to her hips. “You don’t think we can take care of ourselves?”
It was tempting to point out that they hadn’t done so well the last time they had a run in with wizards, but Xander was quite fond of his extremities, and didn’t want Buffy twisting anything off. He settled for glancing at Angel, and could tell he was thinking the same thing. “I’ll have plenty of people protecting me,” Xander said instead. “Angel’s coming, and McGonagall.”
“And Harry,” Angel added.
“And Harry,” Xander agreed without missing a beat. “You see? And all we’re doing is going to look at wands, which Harry says can take forever and be very boring. You’d be better off staying here.”
They looked unconvinced. Xander gave Angel a pleading look, and the vampire spoke. “We want to fly under the radar here. How could we do that if there are ten of us?”
“We don’t want to endanger Xander,” came a voice from behind Angel. Everyone turned to see McGonagall standing impatiently. “I’m certain you agree. Xander, Angel, it is time to go.”
The Sunnydale group seemed a bit stunned at being so summarily dismissed. Angel and Xander took advantage of their momentary surprise, and skedaddled.
Other than Hogwarts, Diagon Alley was Xander’s first experience with wizarding culture. The biggest lesson he learned from the visit was that the wizarding world was indeed at war.
Diagon Alley was scarcely more than a ghost town when Xander, Angel, McGonagall and Harry arrived. Many of the magnificent shops were closed, and those that were open were empty. The few shoppers they encountered on their trip looked pinched and worried, hurrying through the streets while casting anxious looks over their shoulders.
Harry shook his head when he noticed Xander watching the passerby. “Lucius attacked a wizarding town just a couple of days ago,” he said softly. “It’s not usually quite this vacant.”
Xander was about to reply, when the word “Malfoy” caught his eye. He hurried over to an abandoned newsstand, picking up a stray newspaper, only to drop it when he realized the pictures moved. “Wizards,” he muttered fondly, bending to pick it up when he realized Angel had already done so. He took back the paper with a smile of thanks.DRACO MALFOY NEW HEAD OF FAMILY LINE
, the headline screamed.A reliable source has informed the
Prophet that Draco Malfoy has taken over leadership of the Malfoy line from his father, Lucius. The younger Malfoy believes this proves his innocence, but this author finds it more likely merely to indicate another plot afoot by father and son. Dumbledore may vouch for the younger Malfoy as much as he wants, but the public remains unconvinced.
“What’s that saying?” Amelia Arbor, a muggleborn housewife, commented when asked about the Malfoys. “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree? That explains the whole rotten family to a ‘T’.”
In other Malfoy-related news, our source confirms the existence of an illegitimate heir to the Malfoy fortune. Referred to as Alexander Harris, he is the result of an illicit affair between Lucius and an unknown witch. His allegiance remains unknown, although his sudden appearance is suspicious—
The paper was suddenly torn from his hands. Xander looked up to see Harry set fire to the parchment with his wand. “Don’t believe what you read,” he said, sounding unbelievably weary. “Wizarding journalism is a joke.”
Xander tried to smile, but the expression felt strange on his face. “Guess that explains why Draco didn’t come with us.” He hesitated. “How did they know all that? About Draco being the Head of the line, and about me?”
“That Auror,” Angel murmured, sounding murderous. “The witch. I’m sure she went right to the Prophet
“Unfortunately, that does seem likely,” McGonagall agreed, exchanging a glance with Angel.
“Yeah,” Harry concurred tiredly. He changed the subject. “Ollivander’s is right over there.”
Ollivander’s, where he would be getting his very own wand. Xander’s life never stopped being weird. Affecting an energy he didn’t really feel, he bounded over to the small storefront, letting the others follow in his wake.
Once he entered the store, it took a moment for his eyes to adjust from the bright summer day to the dim lighting inside. By the time he was able to make out a man at the counter, everyone else had made it in.
“Professor McGonagall, Mister Potter, Angel,” the man said, his oddly pale eyes never leaving Xander even as he greeted the others. “And Alexander Harris. You can call me Ollivander. I know exactly what it is that you seek.”
Xander swallowed. “Well, um. Good. Since this is a wand store, and I need a wand.” Harry tried to hide a snort of laughter under a cough.
Ollivander’s gaze finally turned away, much to Xander’s relief, as he focused his attention on Angel. “I told you much good will be done,” he said, and the vampire started.
“Wait,” Angel said, surprised. “You still have that?”
“Have what?” Xander asked, more than a bit curious. Why would Angel have met with a wand maker before?
Ollivander moved to the back of his shop, reaching for a box at the very bottom of a very tall pile. Xander held his breath, but the pile remained steady even as Ollivander removed it. “This,” he said simply, moving uncomfortably close and opening the box to reveal a long wand with an angular handpiece. “Try it,” he encouraged, sounding eager enough that Xander hesitated, glancing at Angel for reassurance.
Angel sighed, looking a bit trapped, but his eyes were warm as he looked at Xander. “Go ahead. It won’t hurt you.”
Taking Angel’s word for it, Xander hesitantly reached for the wand. The moment his fingers touched wood, he felt a familiar warmth as a golden beam surrounded him. Xander’s eyes fell shut as he felt Angel, suddenly everywhere, touching him with large, capable hands. He felt safe for the first time in years, as well as terribly aroused; he could only hope the others didn’t notice.
Trying to pull himself together, Xander took a shuddering breath and opened his eyes, his gaze unerringly meeting Angel’s. There was a bright, possessive light in Angel’s eyes that made him ache with a fresh need, and Xander reluctantly looked away, his breath harsh in the surprised silence. “Holy shit,” he managed, his voice a bit rough. “What was that?”
“That was your new wand,” Ollivander replied, sounding ridiculously pleased with himself. “Yew and hair of a souled vampire, twelve inches. Good for dueling.”
“Souled vampire… my wand has your hair in it?” Xander squeaked, looking back at Angel. “When… what… how
“It was made the last time I was here,” Angel replied, sounding as unsettled as Xander felt. He shrugged. “I thought it would be gone by now, but I guess I’m just not a hot commodity.”
“Any hotter and my pants would melt off,” Xander muttered under his breath, forgetting about vampire hearing. Angel’s eyes narrowed in a predatory manner, but thankfully no one else seemed to hear him.
“You made a wand with vampire hair?” Harry asked curiously. “I thought I tried all your wands when I came to get mine.”
“It only felt that way, I’m afraid,” Ollivander replied. “Although I must admit, finding your wand was a trial unlike what most experience.” Harry seemed oddly pleased by that.
McGonagall cleared her throat. “I’m afraid we do not have time to socialize,” she said, sounding almost regretful. She gave Xander a pointed look, and he jumped slightly.
“Right! Money,” he mumbled, digging around in his borrowed robes for the bag holding his money, newly changed to wizarding currency. He fumbled around for a moment, then gave up and handed Ollivander the whole bag. “Just grab whatever you need, okay?”
McGonagall sighed in exasperation, but Harry and Angel laughed. Xander ignored them all, as did Ollivander, who carefully picked out the coins needed. Before he gave back the pouch, he paused, studying Xander until he shifted uncomfortably.
“You know what they say, about yew wands,” Ollivander said.
“Um, can’t say that I do.” Xander eyed his money bag hopefully, but Ollivander made no move to hand it over. Xander sighed. “What do they say?”
“A yew wand is rare,” Ollivander replied, still staring at Xander, unblinking. “Not for the meek, nor those who lack power. A good wand for dueling, as I said before, and cursing in general.” He leaned forward, and Xander fought the urge to back away. Speaking softly so the others could not hear, he added, “There are those who believe yew wands make Dark wizards.”
Thinking of his dark heritage, Xander swallowed, his hand convulsively tightening on his wand. He felt Angel approach, hovering at his side, and it gave him the courage to ask, “What do you think?”
Ollivander smiled, or grimaced—it was hard to tell which. “A wand chooses the wizard, but it still does your bidding. You choose your path, Mister Harris.” He held out the money bag, and Xander grabbed it. Before Ollivander let go, he added, “As well as dueling and curses, yew is strong in protection spells. Remember that.”
Xander stumbled back in surprise when Ollivander finally let go of the bag, and managed a weak smile. “I’ll remember. Goodbye,” he said faintly, before he seized Angel’s hand and fairly ran from the store.
He remembered little of the return to Hogwarts. Just as they were about to enter the castle doors, Harry grabbed his arm. “Xander, wait,” he said quietly.
McGonagall paused. “Meet me in my office this afternoon, Xander, and we will work out a lesson schedule.” At his nod, she swept away.
Angel looked like he wanted to stay, but Xander waved him off. Once they were alone outside the castle, he turned to Harry. “What’s up?”
Harry shrugged uncomfortably, looking away. “You’ve heard of Voldemort, right?”
Xander blinked at the unexpected topic. “The big bad before Lucius, yeah? Your big bad, so I hear.”
“Right.” Harry ran a hand through his hair, sighing. “My wand and his, they shared a core. ‘Brother wands’, they’re called. It saved my life once, and my wand has been nothing but great.”
“Okay…” Xander said slowly. “Good for you.”
Harry shook his head, finally meeting Xander’s eyes. “What I’m saying is, I got a whole speech from Ollivander when I got my wand, too. And it’s not… just because you have a yew wand doesn’t mean you’ll be the next Voldemort, just like me having the a feather from the same phoenix doesn’t.”
Xander’s face fell. “Voldemort had a yew wand?”
“Ollivander didn’t tell you that?” Harry said, surprised. “I couldn’t really hear what he was saying, but you looked a mite skittish, so I assumed—“
“Yeah, well, only asses assume!” Xander snapped. “Or something like that.” He pulled out his wand, studying it. “It doesn’t look like something that would make me dark, and when I first touched it, it felt so…”
“I know the feeling.” Probably not, Xander thought, remembering the sharp bite of arousal, but kept his mouth shut. “It won’t, okay?” Harry said, shrugging. “That’s what I wanted to say. It’s just a wand. It can’t tell the future.”
Xander nodded. He wasn’t sure if he believed what Harry was saying, not completely, anyway, but he felt better for having heard it. Harry nodded back, then turned to enter the castle. “Harry,” Xander said impulsively, “why do you think Angel can feel my emotions but I can’t sense his?”
Harry turned back around, looking a bit confused at the question. “Well, everybody sort of broadcasts their emotions, unless they’re trained not to. That’s why an empath can sense how most everybody’s feeling. A connection like you have with Angel, I reckon you should be able to sense each other’s emotions.” He gave Xander a thoughtful look. “Are you blocking him?”
“The huh?” Xander replied eloquently. “I mean, I don’t think so. Why would I be blocking him?”
Harry shrugged. “When empaths don’t want to feel emotions, they block everybody. Maybe you can’t feel Angel’s emotions because you aren’t letting him in.” Seeing Xander had nothing to say to that, Harry headed inside.
Xander slumped against the castle wall, staring into the sunshine, and didn’t go inside for a long time.