Jeg Har Kommet Tilbake
This was actually the chapter that started the divergence for me, and not just because I was moving away from the 'shadow mage' and towards my Norse mythology idea. There was… a bit of Oedipus complex content, questionable thought patterns regarding Ginny - which weren't even worth making over into Luna-related thoughts because again, questionable - and some just plain character behavior that made no sense given that the characters were supposedly sane humans. Anyways, as always I encourage you to read 'n review, especially regarding my Mandarin. It's all from Google Translate, so it's probably horrible.
When Harry woke up early the next morning, he felt someone warm lying next to him. Opening his eyes, he blinked and tried to process what he was seeing. A redhead was lying in bed with him… Ginny? Had he gotten sucked back into his old universe and found by his stalker, who'd decided to take some liberties with his unconscious body figuring she'd never have another chance? Or slid through time and space again to another new universe where he had no taste and actually was with Ginny? Then he wandlessly summoned his glasses and put them on, the fuzzy world snapping into crystal clarity.
Oh. It was his mother. Right. Last night had ended with the talking, then the crying, then more talking until she ended up running out of energy and falling asleep in his bed. Wow, the fact that he'd made that particular association added a whole new dimension of creepy to any thoughts involving him and Ginny in a romantic relationship. Then again, even if he was a hair Oedipal - which he most definitely was not - but on the off chance that he turned out to be… did it really matter? As long as he didn't go killing his father or actually shagging his mother, everything was fine, right?
…yeah, no thanks.
Sneaking out of bed was a bit more difficult than he anticipated owing to his smaller body, but eventually he succeeded and made his way down to the kitchen to start breakfast. Today he was going to Diagon Alley to get his supplies. He'd tried to talk his parents into letting him go alone, but alas it was not to be. Which was understandable; they thought he was an eleven-year-old with little practical magical knowledge and no way to defend himself. Still, he knew Ollivander's was going to cause problems for him and Harry wished he could make at least that part of the trip alone.
At least it would just be him and his mother. His father was - surprise surprise - working, and Lily was trusting the twins and Cassie to stay out of trouble. Or if something catastrophic did happen, Dora was home on a study day and would be in her room if something catastrophic happened. After all, with only him going off to Hogwarts this year, it didn't make sense to turn the shopping trip into a family outing. It worked out better for Harry that way; he was a lot closer to his mother than his father and if anything odd happened, she'd be a lot easier to talk into hiding his secrets, even from James. After all, she was keeping secrets of her own from him…
As he trooped down the steps, Harry realized that his case of mistaken identity that morning was the first time he'd thought of anyone from his old universe since his arrival. The more he thought about it, though, the more sense it made. He had no real idea how he'd gotten here, much less how to get back home, and would soon be starting school all over again with the people he'd once known. Sure they wouldn't be the same versions he'd once known but they'd be close enough and granted he'd never see the old ones again… why go on mourning their absence? Not that there were many people he genuinely missed. Plus this world had living versions of a number of people who were gone in his world. Lily, Sirius, Remus, Tonks… Hannah, Neville, Daphne, and Luna presumably. That more than made up for the loss of Su in his mind.
Harry was snapped out of his thoughts when his mother kissed him on the cheek, joining him at the stove as he prepared breakfast for the family. Now that he was helping most mornings as well as pitching in with the other two meals every now and again, his sisters were getting off easy and were quite happy about the fact. He didn't mind, though. It gave him plenty of time to spend with his mother and it cut down on the overall amount of whining in the house now that they weren't being forced to cook against their will. The amount of burnt food making it to the kitchen table had also decreased markedly since he'd replaced them as Lily's primary kitchen helper. Whether they actually lacked domestic skills and his parents were too stubborn to let them stop or it was a passive-aggressive attack for being forced to do something they disliked, Harry wasn't sure. But whatever the reason, burnt food was still burnt and he was glad he didn't have to eat it anymore.
When they were done, they moved the food to the kitchen table and Harry went for the door, intending to go wake up his dad and siblings. "Harry." He stopped, looking back at his mother, who shook her head. "We're going to eat without them and leave early. Sooner we're there, sooner we'll be done and back here."
Made sense. Harry murmured his assent and sat down at the table, quickly assembling a plate of food and getting to work on it. The more time he spent with her, the more he was sure that Hermione had somehow managed to possess a redheaded body and come back in time. Lily reminded him of Hermione before the final battle… or maybe it should be the other way around. Both were smart, strict when they needed to be, kind when they didn't, and overbearing in a protective, motherly way. Granted his mother was a bit more outgoing and creative than Hermione, but they were still very similar. Maybe that's why he was so drawn to Lily in this time and place? Or maybe it was why he'd befriended Hermione in his native reality? Chicken or the egg? Egg or the chicken?
After they finished eating breakfast, Lily cast Stasis Charms over the remainder of the food to keep it hot and fresh for the others before leading Harry towards the fireplace. "Like I said, I figured it didn't make sense for us to wait for them. Sooner we're there, sooner we're done and back. And no offense? But as much as I want to do this with you, I don't trust the girls to behave themselves all day long. So I figure we'll do your shopping, hit… the Leaky Cauldron!" Throwing floo powder into the fire, Lily disappeared in a flash of green flames and Harry followed suit, stumbling out upon arrival in London but managing to stay mostly upright. "…the Leaky Cauldron for lunch, and then you can sort everything out while I clean up whatever messes the girls have made and chew out Dora for not keeping them in line since she's home for a study day."
Nobody reacted apart from a simple nod of Tom's head, which was a novel experience for Harry. Ever since his first visit to the wizarding world with Hagrid, he'd been mobbed most anywhere he went. Well, except for fifth year, but that didn't count because the Ministry had turned the population against him. But now… nobody knew who he was. Nobody cared. It was bloody awesome, to borrow one of Ron's favorites.
Their first stop after entering Diagon Alley was Gringotts, much to Harry's displeasure. Unfortunately, he couldn't articulate why he was so ill at ease around the goblins without sharing his entire story with his mother and that just wasn't happening, at least not any time soon. But after watching the goblins side with Voldemort in an attempt to gain more rights than the Ministry was willing to give them, Harry could barely resist the urge to start throwing hexes as his mother led him to the teller's counter, then down to their vault in one of the carts.
Humanity had ultimately gotten the last laugh, though. The Order of the Phoenix, led by Dumbledore and Harry himself, had decided to drop by and show the goblins the error of their ways. While their wards had held out for two days, as the goblins waited desperately for reinforcements from their Dark Lord, Luna had ultimately been the downfall of Gringotts. She'd flooed to remind Harry that he was missing their six month anniversary, images of what he should have been doing instead of laying siege to goblins had popped into his head, and one almighty burst of power from his war hammer had brought the wards crashing down, killing a number of goblins who had tied their very life forces to said wards.
The goblins had promptly surrendered to the Ministry.
It was decidedly odd to see people actually in Gringotts again. After the betrayal, siege, and reclamation of the sole wizarding bank, most people had withdrawn their money. While the economy hadn't collapsed entirely, since people still had to go to work and pay for items and services rendered, it had taken a major hit as credit, loans, and other complex forms of finance ceased to exist. As they exited into the bright sunlight, Harry put it out of his mind. That had never happened here and, unless he seriously screwed something up, never would.
Although sometimes walking past stores would conjure up memories of the past, like the currently empty storefront that would someday house Fred and George's dream, Harry mostly managed to keep his mind on the present, thanks largely in part to his mother. Who would have thought that shopping could actually be somewhat fun? His first time around had been, but second year was marred by the Malfoys and the Lockhart incident, third year by having to look over his shoulder for Sirius Black, and after that, the specter of Voldemort's second rise had hung over public areas like a dark cloud the few times he had been able to escape Grimmauld Place.
Their first stop was Madam Malkin's Robes for All Occasions for his school robes and some other new clothes to fit his taller but slimmer figure that he could wear on nights and weekends. Shopping for new clothes was something he hadn't found too enjoyable the few times he'd gotten to do it, but being fitted and picking out clothes was a lot more fun with his mother there to tease him and make suggestions. It was definitely a far different experience than his last shopping trip with a companion, where the Weasleys had been forced to sit there and watch him be fitted for new clothes, Ron sulking all the while, before heading to the second-hand store themselves.
Actually, that had been his second to last trip with company. The last had been a good deal more fun, at least until Madam Malkin had thrown him and Luna out of her store after catching them snogging in one of her changing rooms.
It was while he was in Madam Malkin's that Harry saw one of the first connections to his old world, or rather his first connection with the Hogwarts of his old world. After picking out a few outfits he wanted in addition to the school uniform he'd need to wear to class, Harry was led back to a corner of the store with platforms for measuring the patrons and making the necessary adjustments to their purchases. All three spots were occupied, though, with three very familiar faces. Well, two very familiar faces and one fairly familiar one. He'd never seen Parvati sneer quite like that in his original world, much less at her own sister. "Can't believe our parents still can't tell us apart even after ten years. Oh well. Sucks to be you, I suppose. Hope you enjoy being grounded for a week, bookworm."
Rolling her eyes, Padma kept her arms out from her sides as one of Malkin's assistants adjusted her black Hogwarts robe. "Whatever you say, sister. But that's my favorite sweater. Make sure it's back in my dresser by tomorrow or I might decide to crack open one of Father's books and try my hand at human transfiguration a few years early. On you. After all, if you want his attention, what better way to get it than to let him fuss over you while he tries to put you back together?" Parvati paled as Padma shook her head in dismay. "One of these days, maybe you'll figure out that negative attention isn't better than no attention at all."
"Attention seeking brat."
Huh. That was interesting. While Harry was very well aware that Padma and Parvati were different people, he'd never seen them being openly antagonistic to each other. A bemused disinterest at most; Padma preferring the less 'wooly' subjects like Ancient Runes and Arithmancy instead of her sister's predilection for Divination, while Parvati wasn't too impressed with her sister's overly studious behavior. Still, they at least got along most of the time. These two weren't quite at him and Draco levels of enmity, but they definitely didn't seem friendly to him either.
The third and closest of the fitting platforms was occupied by someone who had become very familiar over his final three months in the old world. Su Li stood there stoically as the Patil twins sniped at each other next to her and the seamstress adjusted the hemline of one of her black uniform skirts. Well, Su Li to those who weren't closet enough to her to have received 'the name speech'. And… wait. Black? That was new, Harry mused, before looking down at the slacks that were draped over his arm. He hadn't even noticed at the time, but here it seemed the uniforms were white and black instead of white and dark gray. Both genders wore a white button front shirt, black vest, and a tie that was being sold black but Harry guessed would shift to match the student's house colors after they were sorted. The boys' section had offered both black slacks and short trousers, while the only option available to girls were black knee-length skirts. Harry also remembered seeing a display at the front of the store that featured stockings, tights, and knee socks - all in black - and was willing to bet good money that the girls were not only required to wear one of the three but that they would take on the girl's house colors as well. Which was nice. The grey uniforms were just so… drab.
Eyes wandering back to Su, Harry stared at her as he debated whether or not to approach her. While she hadn't occupied a position in his inner circle of friends, at least until after everything had fallen apart and she'd become his only friend, she'd been in the intermediate ring: members of the DA he was closer to than the average student. And while he hadn't made her acquaintance until sixth year originally, there was nothing saying he couldn't change that this time around.
Harry was all too aware that he had an incredible advantage over his peers when it came to making friends at Hogwarts: he knew roughly how people were going to turn out as they got older and so he didn't have to worry about attaching himself to someone who seemed interesting in the here and now but would turn out to hurt him in the end. Or at least theoretically he did. Eyeing the Patil twins, Harry had to admit that his knowledge might not be entirely accurate in this new world.
In Su's case, assuming that she turned out to be anything like her original world counterpart, Harry 'knew' that Su would grow into an extremely bright witch even for a member of the house that prized intelligence, with deficiencies in Hogwarts's three wanded subjects that would prove easily correctible using Harry's 'stop thinking and make it happen' tutoring program. She was also a treasure trove of information from her homeland, ranging from Mandarin - which he really did want to continue learning if for no other reason than to provide him and Su with a 'secret' language to communicate in - to the foreign magic she'd unleashed upon the Death Eaters in the several battles she'd participated in to the tai chi she'd coaxed Harry into trying. Granted he'd proven to have absolutely no aptitude for it, but others in his eventual circle of friends might. And - unless things turned out completely differently here - she'd grown into a bloody gorgeous young woman to boot. She was like Cho without the waterworks, and with a quicker mind, more potent wand, and plumper rear. There was much she could teach him and he could offer her tutoring in any or all Hogwarts subjects as compensation. It presented a win-win situation for both of them. He learned, she learned… and she'd provide some pretty damn good scenery for him to enjoy once they reached a certain age. Win-win-win?
Mind made up, Harry took a step forward and waited for her to look over at him before smiling. He had to fight to keep from reacting, though, as their gazes locked and Harry found himself staring into brilliant violet eyes instead of the brown, verging on black orbs he'd been expecting. After a second, he shrugged it off. Parvati was brattier than usual here, Dora was an orphan who lived in his house, his godfather had a wife and a daughter, and he had two sisters. Su having purple eyes really wasn't that big of a difference, all things considered. "Hi. I'm Harry Potter. You going into your first year at Hogwarts too?"
Su nodded, looking over at the Patil twins before jerking her head towards the empty space on the other side of her. Harry sidled up beside her and she lowered her voice. "Thank Merlin, someone in my year with at least a tiny bit of courtesy. My mother would tan my hide if I was behaving like that in public. Family problems are supposed to stay in the family, not get spread around for everyone to hear. I'm Li Su. Call me Su, because…"
"In China, the family name comes before the given name." Su's eyes widened and Harry grinned. "How about you don't assume all British wizards are the same and I won't ask you if you like eating sushi or what the weather's like near the Korean Academy?"
Leaning her head back, Su let out the first real laugh Harry had heard from her in either world. "Oh, I think I'm going to like you, Harry Potter. Deal. Now, what house do you think you're going to be in? I've spent most of my life traveling with my parents and now that I'm back in Britain for school, it seems like it's all kids can talk about…"
Harry bit his lip uncertainly as his mind raced; he knew that Su was supposed to end up in Ravenclaw and his words could influence her, sending her to another house the way Hagrid and Ron had influenced him by instilling a distaste for Slytherin that Malfoy only reinforced. But… well, he could have a little fun with it. "Let's just say I'm glad M comes before P in the alphabet. There's a certain someone I don't want to deal with and anywhere he's not is fine with me."
"Ah. You're doubly lucky." Harry raised an eyebrow and Su jerked her head towards the twins. "L comes before P, but P-o comes after P-a."
That made Harry wince. Not that being after them would be worth much; assuming the sorting went similarly, he was probably cursed to share a house with the bitchier of the twins again. Although Su might be luckier than she thought, he realized. "Just out of curiosity… was your letter addressed to Li Su or Su Li?"
"Li Su." Su didn't seem to get why he'd asked at first, and then understanding dawned. "Yours wasn't to Potter Harry, was it?"
Grinning, Harry shook his head before looking in the direction of the Patil twins. "Nope. And last time I checked, S comes after P. What the school doesn't know until after you tell your new Head of House won't hurt them, will it?"
Su let loose with another laugh and Harry decided he'd have to try and make her laugh as often as possible; it was a lovely sound. "So, new subject… where are you from? I'm from Harwich, up in Essex."
"Perranarworthal. Down in Cornwall. It's like Harwich, up in Essex, except warmer and dryer."
"Where the what now?" Su tried mouthing the name a few times before giving up and shaking her head. "I'm hoping that's not one of the coastal towns in Cornwall my parents have been talking about expanding into. Do you know how many hànzì it'd take to write that out?"
That made him chuckle and then the two lapsed into silence for a moment before something vitally important occurred to Harry. He was assuming Su could continue his lessons but, as the twins had shown him, not everyone was the same in this universe. So why was he assuming that she'd be the same as 'his' Su? On the other hand, how could he ask her what languages she knew or if she practiced tai chi or whether or not she knew any traditional Chinese magic without seeming… well, weird? Then the problem solved itself for him as Su sent another narrow-eyed look over at the Patil twins. "Xīwàng tāmen zài tóngyī suǒ fángzi. Wǒ nìngyuàn bǐ zhǐyǒu liǎng sān gè xuǎnzé." <Hopefully they're in the same house. I'd rather have three choices than only two.>
Harry frowned as he did his best to sort out her comments. She… wanted the twins in one house so she'd have more choices? He thought? As he mentally double-checked his translation, he replied without thinking. "Twins tend to go into the same house at Hogwarts, so you'll probably get lucky there."
"Nǐ zhīdào guānhuà?" <You know Mandarin?>
Harry nodded before realizing that he'd screwed up not once but twice in thirty seconds and abruptly paling. "Oh bugger." Looking around, he spotted his mother across the store and leaned in so he could talk to Su without being overheard. "Listen, I need you to forget what I just said." She looked at him oddly and he winced. "I'm an eleven-year-old half-blood from Cornwall. Yes, I do speak Mandarin - well, some that is - but I'm not supposed to be able to. It'll raise questions. Awkward questions."
Staring at him with those odd violet eyes, Su eventually nodded. "Right now, I'm wearing something that I stole from my mother. And it's worth about as much as you're going to be spending on school supplies this year. Maybe more." Harry raised an eyebrow and Su discreetly pointed out a middle aged Chinese woman in exotic red and gold robes browsing near his own mother. "I know something you don't want people to know. You know something I don't want people to know. We hold and protect the other's secret and maybe someday you'll tell me what you're hiding and I'll tell you what I'm hiding."
Behind Harry someone cleared their throat and he grimaced before stepping away again so the seamstress could finish her work on Su's skirt. "You know, you're definitely smarter than the average first year. Or at least the other first years I've met so far."
"You don't say?" Su shot a pointed look at where an Indian woman was dragging both Patil twins from the store as she barked at them harshly in Hindi. "Guess this means we're headed for Ravenclaw, then. Although I have to wonder… if at least a quarter of our classmates aren't as smart as us, are we going to get the best of a bad lot or will there be more Gryffindors, Hufflepuffs, and Slytherins than Ravenclaws this year?"
Probably the former, Harry thought, but he could hardly relate his own experiences at Hogwarts with his perfectly allocated class of twenty boys and twenty girls that were broken into five a piece over four houses. "Don't know. But as long as we're in the same house, zhìshǎo wǒ de yǒurén zài wǒ de kǒuyīn yǔ."
Su winced. "Oh sweet Merlin, you're right. That accent does need work." She shook her head in dismay. "I never thought the language of my homeland could sound so ugly until I met my first Englishman."
"On behalf of my countrymen… ouch?"
Half an hour later Su was done and gone, having extracted a promise from him to send the family's owl Silver Star her way with a letter so they could continue their conversation, and Harry had then gone on to endure his mother's teasing about his 'new girlfriend' through the entire measuring session. From there, they'd filled out all the forms so the right garments would be tailored and owled to the house, and then - when his mother wasn't looking - Harry had added five black satchels with very specific requirements to the order with the option to purchase more in the future.
As he held the door open for Lily as she exited Madam Malkin's, mentally debating where they should go next, Harry ran into another familiar face. It was Neville with two vaguely familiar figures who he could only assume were the healthy versions of Frank and Alice Longbottom. Instead of the meek boy he had seen in his first year at Hogwarts, though, this one seemed stuck up and spoiled. Almost… Draco Malfoy, he realized. This Neville reminded him of Draco.
Neville passed in front of them, whining about how first years weren't allowed to bring brooms to Hogwarts, and Harry watched as his mother exchanged looks with Neville's parents. Unfriendly looks. Interesting. As soon as they were out of earshot, Harry tugged on the sleeve of his mother's robes. "So, that was the Boy-Who-Lived. Huh. Chubby little ponce." Lily let out a snort of laughter and Harry discreetly gestured to the departing trio. "So, what did they do to us?"
"I heard you muttering about wanting to kill them, for one." Harry grinned before mimicking the glare his mother had just shot at Alice Longbottom. "There was also that."
His mother sighed and gave him a wry grin. "You know, I'm almost starting to miss the days back when you weren't so smart and perceptive. Almost. Alright, well, I used to like them. Alice and I were actually really good friends before that fateful Halloween, and your father and Frank got on well enough. Then their son became the Boy-Who-Lived and suddenly they're acting like the world should bow down and kiss their feet. Frank almost got your father demoted at work because he wanted to be an auror captain too, but luckily Alastor Moody was retiring and a position opened up. And Alice decided I wasn't good enough to spend time with anymore, since she could spend her days having tea parties and gossiping with society's elite. Quit her job as an auror and everything so she could. They used to be such nice people, but now… they're practically the Malfoys."
"But you like the Malfoys."
"No, I like two Malfoys. Lucius and Draco can go rot for all I care."
Even as he was filing away the confirmation of his earlier assumption that Tara was indeed a Malfoy - his mother had said two, after all - Harry found himself revising his plans for the future. So much for his idea of helping Neville beat Voldemort. Even if Neville was the savior of the wizarding world - or the one supposed to be - Harry didn't think he'd be able to work with someone so similar to his former school nemesis. Maybe he could destroy the horcruxes on his own and then find a way to remove Voldemort without Neville's help? There was plenty of time to think about that, though. He couldn't make a move until Voldemort was back in a physical body he could destroy… and couldn't exactly go horcrux hunting as an eleven-year-old with parents who were watching over him.
Harry grabbed his mother's hand, leading her over to Magical Menagerie. As much as he loved Hedwig, he wasn't sure he'd be able to handle having an owl that was his and yet not all over again. So he figured a trip to look at the other pets was in order, to see if something caught his eye. Alas, though, he realized a flaw in his plan as he went from tank to cage to basket, looking over the different animals. He definitely wasn't a toad person. Rats reminded him of Pettigrew. And cats were cute and all, but not for him either. Hmm. So an owl it was, evidently. Then he realized something. "Mum? Can we go back to the Leaky Cauldron and have Jasmine or Rose floo over? Maybe both?"
"I'm not sure they're awake and dressed yet, sweetie." Lily furrowed her brow, most likely trying to figure out the reasoning behind his request. "Why?"
Gesturing to the pets around him, Harry sighed. "None of the first year pets really seem to fit me. I thought we could ask my sisters if one of them wanted an owl. They pick out the owl, I take it to Hogwarts this year, and next year they can have the owl back and I can get a better pet." Lily opened her mouth but Harry cut her off. "In Hogwarts, A History
, it says second years and above can have any pet that isn't a threat to the safety of their fellow students."
Lily just beamed at him. "You're so smart. I didn't find that one out until fourth year and that was only because a prefect told me. Alright, let's go see if either your sisters have decided to crawl out of bed yet."
In the end, irony turned out to be a cruel, cruel mistress. Jasmine returned through the floo with their mother and joined them for a trip to Eeylops Owl Emporium. She and Lily went inside, only to emerge a few minutes later… with the owl that would have been Hedwig. The owl eyed him balefully, as if to say 'Why aren't you buying me, stupid boy?'. Thankfully, though, Jasmine was in a hurry to show off her new pet and disappeared back through the floo to Perranarworthal, leaving Harry and Lily to return to their shopping expedition. After a quick visit to Slug & Jiggers Apothecary to pick up a cauldron, scales, and all the ingredients he'd need for that year's potions, Harry was down to needing only his schoolbooks and a wand. "Mum? Can I use your schoolbooks? They're all the same, right?"
"I… think so, yes." Lily gave him an odd look for the question before taking the supply list from him to make sure. "Well, two of the books are different but just newer editions and I have them in the library at home. Why? It's not like we need to save money."
Harry didn't want to go with the truth, which was that he was hoping for a repeat of the Half-Blood Prince incident and was only starting now so his mother wouldn't get suspicious, which she probably would if he waited until fifth or sixth year to demand her books in hopes of finding tips and new spells. So instead, he decided to try something a bit sappier. "Well this is going to be the first time I'm leaving the house for more than a few days. It'll help me feel close to you while I'm at school. And… well, I bet Dad probably drew all over his or something."
Throwing her arms around him, his mother sniffled and hugged him tight. "That's so sweet, Harry. Of course you can use my books. I still have all seven years in my trunk in the attic, so you should be mostly set. And anything they've changed that we don't have in the library… well, it's probably not a book worth reading and I can give you something better. We should still visit Flourish and Blotts before we go home, though, to see if there's anything you find interesting. But for now, let's see if we can find you a wand, okay?"
As much as he wasn't looking forward to this, Harry nodded and the two trooped down the alley to Ollivander's. Just as they arrived, the Longbottoms exited looking grim, Neville staring down at a very familiar wand with an odd look on his face. Harry sighed. So much for him getting his old holly and phoenix feather wand back. That ought to make the shopping experience interesting, to say the least.
Their entrance was marked by a tinkling bell that rang somewhere in the depths of the shop and as Harry wandered towards the front counter, Lily waved her wand over the single, spindly chair against the wall, transfiguring it into something sturdier and more comfortable. A strangle tingle of magic - almost like occlumency or Anastasiya's veela allure - prickled against the back of his neck and Harry whirled around. "Mister Ollivander."
"Good morning. I thought I'd be seeing you soon, Harry Potter." It wasn't a question, but then Harry wasn't really expecting it to be. He'd already been through this once with the strange old man. Granted what wand he walked away with would be different this time, but the basic encounter would likely be quite similar. As he slipped past Harry, Ollivander glanced over at Lily. "You have your mother's eyes. It seems only yesterday she was in here herself, buying her own wand. Ten and a quarter inches long, made of willow. A very nice wand for those adept at charms, although describing her as merely 'adept' would be quite the insult. Your father, on the other hand, favors a mahogany wand. Eleven inches. Pliable. A little more power and excellent for transfiguration. Well, I say your father favored it - it's really the wand that chooses the wizard, of course."
Harry nodded; he'd seen it more than a few times during the war, when witches and wizards on both sides had died due to miscast shields, having picked up the wrong wand after being disarmed. Not to mention the Elder Wand… "What about Nymphadora Black?" Ollivander looked at him oddly and Harry shrugged. "Just a bit curious. I've seen what my cousin can do with her wand and it's bloody wicked."
Tilting his head to one side, Ollivander stared off into space for a moment before responding to Harry's question. "Ten inches long, made of Thuja occidentalis
and rather unyielding. Unusual but unyielding… a bit like Miss Black herself, dare I say. But shall we save further wandering down memory lane for after we've found the right wand for you, Mister Potter? Which is your wand arm?" He'd been trained to use either hand by his dueling instructors, but volunteered his right hand just to avoid any awkward questions. "Hold out your arm. That's it." He measured Harry from shoulder to finger, then wrist to elbow, shoulder to floor, knee to armpit and round his head. As he worked, he launched into what Harry assumed was a standard speech. "Every Ollivander wand has a core of a powerful magical substance, Mister Potter. We use unicorn hairs, phoenix tail feathers, and the heartstrings of dragons. No two Ollivander wands are the same, just as no two unicorns, dragons, or phoenixes are quite the same. And of course, you will never get such good results with another wizard's wand." By now, Ollivander was wandering around behind the counter, flitting among the shelves as he gathered wand boxes, the tape measure still working away without its owner. "That will do." The tape measure crumpled into a heap on the floor and Ollivander gestured for Harry to approach the counter. "Right then, Mister Potter. Try this one. Beechwood and dragon heartstring. Nine inches. Nice and flexible. Just take it and give it a wave."
Taking the proffered wand from Ollivander, Harry gave it a short wave. Before he could do anything else, Ollivander snatched it out of his hand and it was only his memories of his last time wand shopping that kept Harry from lashing out against the quick, grabby hands. Before he could say anything, a new wand was shoved into his hand. "Maple and phoenix feather. Seven inches. Quite whippy. Try…" Harry went to wave the wand but he had hardly raised it when it too was snatched back by Ollivander. "No, no… here, ebony and unicorn hair, eight and a half inches, springy. Go on, go on, try it out."
Harry tried. And tried. If he hadn't lived through this once already, he was pretty sure he would have been getting more and more nervous as the pile of tried wands grew taller and taller on the counter. Actually, he was starting to get nervous. Neville already had 'his' wand. If it was gone, what was left in the store that would match well with him? What if his magic was only compatible with Voldemort's wand's brother and the one Dumbledore had given him? He neither steal Neville's wand without repercussions nor approach the headmaster about trying out a wand that he wasn't supposed to know existed. Just like the first time around, though, the more wands Ollivander pulled from the shelves to try, the happier he seemed to become. "Tricky customer, eh? Not to worry, I haven't turned a customer away in all the years I've run this store and you won't be the first. The perfect match is here somewhere." Suddenly, he paused and gave Harry a long, considering look. "I wonder…"
As Ollivander disappeared into the back, Harry shot his bored looking mother a helpless shrug before peering down the aisle, wondering what was going on. Had Fawkes donated a third feather? Maybe this world's Voldemort was ambidextrous as well and had forced Ollivander to create another wand for him, the brother of which he was about to receive? Finally, the wandmaker returned holding a wooden box that, while unknown to Harry, had something about it that was familiar in the extreme: tendrils of the same odd metal that had adorned his second wand before its disappearance. "This… this is not one of my wands. It was made its way to my family over a millennia ago and has been waiting for its master to come ever since. Perhaps… perhaps that person is you, young Potter."
The wand inside the box made Harry gasp, not in awe like Ollivander and his mother would probably assume, but in recognition. It was… wait. His eyes narrowed. It was similar to his secondary wand, but was in fact a different wand. The tendrils of metal were slimmer and almost feminine, the wood a hair lighter as well. "What is it?"
"I am sure you are aware that the 'gods' the Greek muggles worshipped were, in fact, just very powerful wizards, correct?" Harry nodded his assent and Ollivander continued the story. "The same was true of the Norse 'gods'. One of the strongest members of that group - and the best known today - was a man named Thor Odinson, the self-styled 'God of Thunder'. Outside the town of Fritzlar, Germany, once stood a tree known as 'Thor's Oak', one of the most sacred sites of both wizards and pagan muggles at the time. It was there that Thor and eventually his children would meet regularly with their worshippers."
"But Thor and his ilk were 'gods' to a large number of people and had to travel far and wide to ensure all of them received adequate attention. While Thor was gone from the region during a period in 723 AD, a Christian muggle came to the town to convert the townspeople. He made a deal with the locals: they would allow him to strike Thor's Oak with an axe one time and if Thor did not strike him down for his blasphemy, they would convert to Christianity and allow him to fell the tree to build a church." Ollivander shook his head slowly, a wry smile on his lips. "Alas, Thor was in what is modern day Oslo at the time."
"When he returned to the area, he was furious as being abandoned by the muggles. After removing a piece of the church to keep for his own uses, Thor destroyed it utterly before taking the wood and, or so the legends go, shaping it into several wands. One was the wand he used for the rest of his life, which may still exist because its destruction was never confirmed. The others were given to his three children and step-son: sons Magni and Módi, daughter Thrúd, and step-son Ullr. The capture and destruction of three of those wands is written in the annals of history. Thrúd's wand, however, survived long enough to be passed on to her son, who in turn gave it to an ancestor of mine for safekeeping." Harry's eyes widened in surprised, and Ollivander nodded at the wand in the box. "Yes, Harry Potter. This is Rensaren, the wand of Thrúd Thordotter. Daughter of the 'God of Thunder'. Try it."
Holding his hand over the wand, Harry could already feel the tendrils of magic between it and him before his fingers even touched it. Then, the wand jumped the last few inches and leapt into his hand, his fingers curling instinctively around it as tendrils of lightning crawled up his arm. Images raced before Harry's eyes, of Viking warriors being led into battle by a gorgeous redhead swinging an axe with a blazing blue head. An axe. With barely a thought, the wand in his hand warped and reformed, the wood lengthening noticeably before the metal oozed up to form the head. Tipping his head back, he thrust the axe upward. "Jeg har kommet tilbake!"
The lightning playing over Harry's body rocketed upward, blowing a hole in the roof of the shop as it escaped up into the sky. It was answered by a return bolt of lightning that struck the head of the axe, making Harry gasp as a fiery feeling tore through his body. It was only the experience of numerous bouts of Cruciatus Curse at the hands of Voldemort that kept him from dropping to his knees, and even then he was sorely tempted.
Finally the pain stopped and Harry gasped in relief, sparing a thought to return his new wand to its natural state. He found Ollivander and his mother staring at him in wide-eyed disbelief and he shot them a sheepish grin before looking up at the hole in the ceiling. "Well, at least we finally found a wand that likes me." Stepping forward, he peered up through the hole in the ceiling of Ollivander's. "Although I don't think we took enough gold out of the vault to pay for that…" It was then that he noticed that his voice was off for the second time in two months and his hand shot up to touch his throat. "What the bloody hell?" Rather than reply, his mother merely conjured a mirror and handed it to him. Harry looked down just in time to see the face of a preteen girl - a curious mix of his sisters' features and and those of the redhead from his vision - staring back up at him before his features shifted back into the reflection he was used to. "…oh, that can't be good."
As the door shut behind his now-satisfied customers, Ollivander stared up at the hole in his ceiling incredulously. He'd seen a lot of destruction in his many years of fitting wands to customers who had practically no magical control, but this… this 'took the cake', as he'd heard one muggleborn's parent exclaim a few days before. Although why one would want to take a cake when they could buy it or bake one so easily with magic was still a mystery he'd yet to solve. Sighing, he conjured a temporary magical seal over the hole in case it started raining; it would have to do until he could contact Gringotts at the end of the day to have the goblins come repair and reinforce the building.
And what an oh-so-interesting day it had been so far. Not only had he sold the brother wand to young Tom Riddle's now infamous yew wand, but he'd found the partner of Thrúd's legendary wand as well. Heading to the rear of his shop, he sat down at his desk and contemplated a piece of parchment. Dumbledore would need to know about the Longbottom boy having that particular wand… but what of young Potter?
After a long minute, he shook his head. No, Dumbledore didn't need to know about Harry Potter and his wand until he found out about it himself. While Ollivander had no doubt the young man was headed for great things, he wanted them to be the great things the boy himself wanted… not the great things that Dumbledore guided him into thinking he should do.
And if Dumbledore eventually found out about young Mister Potter and couldn't resist the urge to meddle in his life… Ollivander fervently hoped that he actually succeeded this time. The last thing the wizarding world needed was another Tom Riddle.