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Harry Potter and the Mystical Key

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Summary: -Update Interlude - A chance meeting and dark alliances lead Buffy, Dawn and the Scoobies into the world of Wizards, Witches, and assisting in the Second War against Voldemort.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Harry Potter > Dawn-Centered > Pairing: Harry PotterCBrownFR15851,56954419,65419 Apr 055 Sep 08No

Of Keys, Books and Wands

Chapter Six: Of Keys, Books and Wands

Despite his feeling of fatigue, Harry couldn't fall asleep - his mind continuing to replay all the events of the day, ending with the incredible revelation that he and Dawn would actually be attending the same school in September.

The noise of the house grew much quieter as time passed, though he could still here some people moving about downstairs. Not all of the Order had left it seemed. He heard what sounded like Lupin's voice, muffled by the closed bedroom door, moving down the hall and back down the stairs.

The thought of Lupin reminded Harry what his former professor had told him about Kreacher. In all the excitement of everything that had happened after the meeting, Harry had forgotten to order the house elf off to Hogwarts.

Ron was already asleep, lightly snoring in the other twin bed. There was no point disturbing him. Harry quietly got up from his own bed and made his was out of the room, gently shutting the door behind him.

The upstairs hall was dark and quiet now. Harry moved towards the stairs and looked down. The doors to the other rooms were all closed, including the kitchen. Harry knew that - most likely - the remaining members of the Order were in there, discussing whatever they needed too, but hadn't felt they could discuss - for whatever reason - earlier that evening.

Harry moved back down the upstairs hall in the opposite direction, towards Sirius' mother's old bedroom. Entering, he could see that it was one room in the house that hadn't been cleaned much, if at all. It was dark and stuffy.

"Kreacher? Where are you?" Harry called in a low voice.

There was no reply, but he did hear a scampering noise on the other side of the large four poster bed. Moving around to the other side of the bed as quickly and quietly as he could, Harry came upon the old house elf, sitting on the floor, almost folding himself over, as rubbed his hands together and shook his head back in forth as he muttered to himself.

"Wont listen, won't listen, won't listen . . ." the elf kept repeating to himself.

"Kreacher," Harry said sternly.

"Want Miss Bellatrix, not horrid boy, not horrid boy -," Kreacher wailed and muttered, still avoiding Harry's eye.

"Kreacher, look at me," Harry said in an even harder, more firm voice, raising his tone a little.

It was an order - and being a house elf, Kreacher could not disobey a direct order from the person who owned him.

He looked up at Harry, though it was quite obvious from the expression on his face that he was loathed doing so.

"Look, I don't want you any more than you want me as your master," Harry said without preamble. "But I am your master and you'll do as I say, do you understand me?"

Kreacher began to knock his head back against the bed frame. Again, he looked desperately as if he wanted to disobey but couldn't.

"Want Miss Bellatrix, want Miss Bellatrix -" he wailed again.

Harry's face screwed up in disgust at the thought that this creature Sirius' had owned - and that he now owned - wanted to go to Sirius' murderer. Kreacher's wailing for Bellatrix would almost be pitiable under any other circumstances.

"Well you're mine, not her's," Harry said is distain. "And I want you to leave here. I want you to go to the kitchens at Hogwarts and work. There's a house elf there named Dobby - find him, and have him put you to work. Understand me?"

Kreacher stopped his rocking and gave Harry a confused glance - as if he were trying to find some way to disobey this order - before disappearing with what seemed like an angry pop!

Harry sighed as he headed back out of the room again - he really wished he could get rid of the crazy elf, but letting him go free just wasn't an option.

"I missed her?" someone - in a familiar voice - was saying rather loudly downstairs . . .

Another person loudly shushed the person who had just spoken.

Harry moved quietly back down the hall, past the room he and Ron shared and over to the top of the stairs and, keeping slightly hidden, peered down.

The person who had spoken was Dedalus Diggle. Harry noted that he had not seen the man earlier, when Buffy had been here. He was wearing his normal top hat, which now fell to the ground as the man stamped his foot and shook his head in frustration. "And there's more than one now? I can't believe -"

Mr. Weasley was the one who had shushed him before, and shushed him again now. "You can meet The Slayer another time Dedalus, don't fret about it. There's a more important matter at hand right now, so come on," Mr. Weasley said, heading quickly into the kitchen. He didn't close the kitchen door behind him, however - leaving it open for the man behind him - and Harry could hear parts of the conversation that was going on.

"- can't believe it. It's really -

Fumbling, Dedalus bent over and picked up his top hat and hurried into the kitchen behind Mr. Weasley - his mind still obviously on the slayer whom he had missed meeting - and he didn't notice that the door didn't close all the way and latch after he entered the room. Harry could still slightly hear the discussion that was going on.

He knew he shouldn't eavesdrop, but his curiosity got the better of him, and he moved quietly down the stairs, in order to hear clearer. It was now Emmeline Vance's voice he heard, sounding rather fretful.

" - you sure? Are you sure it's really -"

"Yes, I'm quite sure." It was Professor Dumbledore's voice.

"I think he would know for certain that it was - being as he's one of the only people in our world to have actually seen it before," Snape's voice now, commenting snidely.

Seen what before? Harry wondered, moving now towards the bottom of the stairs, trying to listen more closely. However, no one specifically mentioned what the thing they were talking about was as Lupin spoke up next, asking another question.

"I don't understand. What happen to its guardians? I mean, despite everything You-Know-Who tried last time, they were still able to hide it from him."

"From what I understand, they were all killed," Dumbledore explained. "Slaughtered by a Hellgod, apparently. The Knights of Byzantium - the ones dedicated to its destruction - were all killed by the same creature as well."

There was a long pause following this revelation, and Harry started to wonder if maybe they were done talking about . . . whatever it was they were talking about, when Mr. Weasley spoke up, the tone of his voice holding an edge of worry.

"And . . . and you think bringing The Key back into our world is the right thing to do? I mean, from all the stories I've heard, it was taken away for a reason . . . and if it got all of its previous guardians killed . . ."

The key? A key got a bunch of people killed? Harry thought confused, picturing the type of keys Hagrid always carried with him in his job as Hogwarts groundskeeper.

"The Key belongs back in our world," Snape was now arguing coolly. "It should never have been taken from our people in the first place."

"Now Severus," Dumbledore said, sounding slightly amused. "That all happened three or four millennia ago. There's no need for grudges. And from most of the legendary accounts of that incident, the key was given to the decedents of the Mages because of the fear that someone like Voldemort would come along sooner or later; someone who would want to use it for their own gain."

"So where is it now?" Tonks asked. "Is it safe?"

"It's best if I don't say right now where it is, but yes it is safe for the moment," Dumbledore said. "But we must stay vigilant - for I fear that Voldemort will not stop until he possesses it this time. He may have already begun looking for it again - I don't know. We were fortunate last time in that -"

Harry hadn't realized he had been inching closer and closer to the kitchen door - until it swung open completely and Remus Lupin walked out, right in front of him.

Startled, Harry began to apologies for listening in - but Remus held a finger up to his lips to quiet him, and shut the door behind him.

"I'm sorry," Harry whispered once the kitchen door was closed. "I really didn't mean to eavesdrop or anything - I just-"

But Lupin waved away Harry's worry. "That's alright Harry," he whispered back. He motioned for Harry to follow him over to the stairs, away from the kitchen door. "Dumbledore signaled to me that he knew someone was listening at the door," Lupin explained. "I thought it was Kreacher, but he must have known it was you, or he wouldn't have kept speaking as he had. What are you still doing up?"

"I just sent Kreacher off to Hogwarts," Harry told him. "I forgot to do it before I went to sleep, and then I heard Mr. Weasley and Mr. Diggle talking in the hall afterward. They accidentally left the door open a little when they went back in." Harry paused for a moment, and then asked, "Um, the key you were all talking about . . . everyone sounded rather worried about it. What is it? Is it dangerous?"

Lupin gave him a solemn look as he leaned against the banister. "The Key is a very old - ancient in point of fact - artifact. I've never seen it myself, (only one or two people in our world I believe ever have), and there's not much known about it. Or about everything it can do." He gave a small sigh. "The only thing really known about it is that the power of it is - for all accounts - absolute."

A mystical artifact that contained an absolute power? "But- a power to do what? I mean, it's a key, right?" Harry asked. "So it must be able to unlock something?"

"Well, from the few legends I've read about it - it opens a gateway, any gateway, in the universe."

Harry blinked in surprise. A key that could open any gate - in the whole universe? "And that can be dangerous?"

"Very," Lupin said darkly. "I know you've read in school how this world didn't always belong to men, but to the most vicious of demons - and then that they were driven away from this world, correct?"

Harry nodded.

"Well, some say that The Key was what was used to help drive them from this world, and send them to another. And - in the wrong hands -The Key could be used in the same way again . . . but not to banish demons this time."

Harry stared at him, and gave a slight shudder as he followed what Lupin was implying. "But people, right?"

Lupin nodded grimly.

"And that's why Voldemort wants it?" Harry asked.

"He tried to acquire it more than once last time, but failed. Harry," Lupin continued quietly. "You have to be very discreet about what you overheard and what I've just told you, all right? Dumbledore told us that Voldemort isn't accessing your mind the way he was last year so far - and Albus is planning to give you Occlumency lessons himself this coming term, to make sure he wont be able to. But even so, it wouldn't do to mention this information to too many people."

Harry nodded. "I understand." He could tell that Lupin knew that Harry would probably tell Ron and Hermione what he'd heard - he was just warning him to be careful about it. And after overhearing what had happen to all of the previous guardians of The Key, Harry didn't need to be told how dangerous the knowledge he now possessed was - especially if Voldemort found out about it.

Lupin nodded. "Good. You should get back up to bed now. I'll see you in the morning."

* * *

Diagon Alley looked as if it had had much of its damage cleaned up when Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Lupin and Mr. Weasley all entered it the next day. Many of the shops looked as if they only suffered minor damage, and had not been as almost thoroughly destroyed as the Leaky Cauldron had that night. Even the Cauldron, however, looked to be almost completely repaired when Harry and the others passed through on their way to Gringotts to meet Buffy, Dawn and the others.

Except for one or two Aurors, however, the pub was almost completely empty, except for Tom the Barman and a few wizards and witches who were seeing to the final repairs. And even though it was a Saturday, Diagon Alley, too, was mostly deserted, save for Ministry Security and Auror members patrolled the streets. As they walked along, Lupin and Tonks explained that that most of the shops that had been robbed and raided by the Death Eater had been over on Knockturn Alley - which was known for having shops that carried a lot of dark magic items - though many shops in Diagon Alley had received some damage in the ensuing escape by the demons and Death Eaters.

Knockturn Alley was now completely closed off to everyone except for high-level Aurors.

Buffy, Dawn and Mr. Giles were waiting for them at Gringotts. Unlike the rest of Diagon Alley, the bank was crowded with people; all of them queued up trying to make transactions, or waiting to access their vaults.

Ron's older brother Bill - who worked for the bank - was there with Buffy, Dawn and Giles when Harry and the others arrived, and he explained that because of the heightened security at the bank, the usual wait to even access one's vault could take over five hours now. Setting up two new accounts for them (one for the Watcher's Council, and a personal one for Buffy and Dawn using Council money) could possibly take even longer.

"I'm sure I can speed things along more than that, but it's still going to take awhile," Bill warned them all, before he headed off to the back offices.

"Well, I guess while he's doing that, Giles and I can head over to that Knockturn place," Buffy said, glancing at her watcher.

"You're going to Knockturn Alley?" Hermione asked. "Why?"

"Buffy and I made arrangements to have a look around Knockturn Alley and check out a few of the shops that were raided. Mr. Shaklebolt said he would meet up there so we could get access, since it's been closed off to everyone for now it seems" Giles explained.

"Can we come?" Dawn asked.

"Sorry Dawnie, but a big crowed of us - it would attract too much attention," Buffy noted. She pulled out a small coin bag out of her back pocket, and gave it to her sister. "Here - take the money Bill was able to exchange for us already. Hopefully there should be enough there to buy all those books you need to get. We'll fill you in on everything when we get back, alright?"

Dawn nodded. "Okay. Where should we meet you?" Harry could see that she and Buffy had an understanding of some sort. Dawn obviously didn't mind being left behind, as long as she was at least told something about what was going on.

"Flourish & Blotts is the bookstore we get all out schoolbooks from," Harry told them. "It's not far from here."

Buffy nodded. "Okay, we'll meet you there, when we're done."

Buffy and Giles headed off, Remus Lupin going along with them, having offered to accompany them and show them the way - as they were still Muggles, and would attract more attention alone than if a Wizard was with them.

"How many books do you need to get?" Harry asked Dawn as the rest of them headed in the direction of Flourish & Blotts.

"Too many," Dawn said with a wince. "I think that Snape guy must hate me or something for ruining the rest of his summer vacation, what with the book lists he sent."

"Lists?" Harry asked.

"Yeah, he sent two book lists and both were much on the very long side of long," Dawn said handing the envelope over to Harry for him to see.

"Snape pretty much hates everyone - except the people in his own house," Ron said with a disgusted look. "And he's always hated Harry."

"Yeah, so being friends with me probably already put you on his to-hate list anyway," Harry said wryly as he opened the thick envelope. Sure enough - along with much shorter book lists from Professors McGonagall, Flitwick and Spout (heads of Gryffindor, Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff houses respectively) - there were two very long lists of books Dawn was being required to bring with her from the head of Slytherin House. Both lists took up almost two rolls of parchment - each.

The first list contained the titles of various Potions books, but Harry snorted in disbelief when he saw the subject of the second list. "Snape's going to be teaching and evaluating you in Potions and Defense Against the Dark Arts?"

Ron shook his head at Dawn in sympathy. "No one should have to put up with double Snape - and during the summer too!"

Flourish & Blotts, unlike Gringotts, was quiet and empty when they entered. With everyone's help, Dawn found all the books she needed, the potions and defense books taking the most time to find, over an hour and a half.

"Snape's completely mad if he thinks you can get through all of these books in one month!" Ron said looking at all the potions and defense books - most of them being "on the very thick side of thick" as Dawn said - that they were helping Dawn to carry over to place on the counter to purchase. They were more books than all the other required books Dawn needed for her other summer lessons put together.

"Well, I have to admit, I'm not so excited about the studying magic thing right now," Dawn said, looking painfully at the pile of books on the counter. She turned to Harry. "If you don't hear from me at all during the next month, just know I've drowned in a sea of five year's worth of schoolwork, okay?"

"It is a shame we can't go with you," Hermione told her sympathetically, placing the books she was carrying on the counter beside the others. "I'm sure we could all help you catch up much faster." Hermione wasn't looking at the pile in the painful way Dawn was, but as if it would be an exciting challenge to everything in them, (that she probably already knew), in only one month.

"You could help her catch up," Ron corrected with a shudder. "I don't think I could deal with trying to help with this much schoolwork - especially during the summer. It's not natural!"

"Doesn't matter - I'm probably going to end up in nothing but first year classes anyway," Dawn noted with a grimace, looking over her piles of books again. "I'm probably too far behind."

Buffy, Giles and Lupin arrived in the bookstore, just as Dawn was finishing up her purchase, Giles carrying some groups of parchment that he looked to be rather engrossed in reading. They all left a few minutes later, Buffy carrying all three large bags full of books.

"You're the one with the super strength," Dawn had said with a grin when Buffy had wondered why she always ended up carrying all of the packages whenever she and Dawn went shopping together.

"So what's next?" Buffy asked

"Wand next!" Dawn said with a grin.

"Ollivander's is the best place for that," Mr. Weasley told her. "He makes the best ones, but the shop's at the other end of Diagon Alley, past Gringotts."

"Well, we can go back to the Bank and see if Bill's done setting up your accounts first," Lupin suggested. "And then head down to Ollivanders."

"Sounds good," Buffy agreed.

"So did you find out anything interesting in that other alley place?" Dawn asked as they headed back towards Gringotts.

"Not much," Buffy told her. "Most of the shops look pretty much like a tornado hit them though. Kingsley gave Giles a list off all the known missing items from all the shops that they've been told about. To see if we recognized anything."

"Anything important missing Mr. Giles?" Hermione asked Giles, catching his attention.

Giles finally looked up from the parchments, looking a little befuddled as his concentration was broken, causing Harry and Ron to exchange an amused glance. Right now it was a little hard for Harry to reconcile the fact that the befuddled-looking man was also the same man who had taken out a huge demon with a large crossbow just a few weeks ago.

"Hm? Oh, uh, I don't know if you'd call them important. There are a few interesting items," he said, looking down at the list again and adjusting his spectacles. "Some I don't recognize, but there are a few I . . . oh good lord," Giles broke off. He was now staring at one of the parchment pages with a raised eyebrow.

"Uh oh. I know that look and that exclamation," Buffy said, giving her Watcher a look. "And both together means serious badness. What is it?"

"Uh, well - that shop - Borgin & Burks was it called? Well, apparently it held a very rare copy of the Saitama Codex." Giles said in a worried tone.

"What's the - Santa Codex?" Buffy asked confused.

"The Saitama Codex," Giles corrected her. "One of the first known written texts in this world. It's uh, considered quite a dangerous book really; containing not only the earliest known demon lore, but some of the darkest magic spells still known in this world - and some early prophecy lore as well."

Harry's head jerked up sharply at the words "prophecy lore."

"And now The Dark Lord has this book," Lupin stated grimly.

"Yes, I'm afraid so. Of course, he's got to be able to translate it first in order to use it, but . . ."

"Something tells me that it's not going to take as long for him to do that as it would anyone else," Buffy said as they arrived back at Gringotts.

Bill came out from the back offices a few minutes later, giving Buffy and Dawn a small velvet bag of Galleons each, along with two keys for their new vault.

"Vault number 822," he told them. "And the Watcher's Council has a special high security vault - number 831," he said, handing a parchment envelope to Giles.

Thanking him as they left, they now headed down to the other end of Diagon Alley, to Ollivanders.

As they reached the shop, Harry noticed that the wand that usually sat on a purple cushion in the front window was gone - along with the cushion it sat on.

Entering, they all stopped dead in their tracks.

The whole place was a mess.

Harry hadn't been back at Ollivanders shop since he had bought his own wand six years ago, and he remembers that the store had been rather cluttered and shabby then. But the way it looked now, it seemed as if someone had deliberately come in and upended everything in the place. The shelves only half-full, with stacks upon stacks of wand boxes - open and closed - all about the floor.

"Hello," a soft voice said from behind the counter - and large stack of wand boxes. "I was told you would be coming today - I've been expecting you."

Harry saw Dawn and her sister exchange a glance just as Mr. Ollivander came out from behind the counter. His large, silver eyes were fixed on Harry, however, and he looked rather tired and slightly addled. "Mr. Potter. I hope you are looking after your wand. From all I've heard, it has been quite advantageous for you. Holly and phoenix feather, eleven inches - very magical."

"Yes - yes it has," Harry said, not forgetting that he and Voldemort's wands both shared the same phoenix cores, a fact which had saved his life during the night of Voldemort's resurrection.

He gave a nod and then turned his gaze on Buffy - staring at her intently. "And you would be The Slayer," he breathed. "To think - I've actually lived long enough to meet one."

"Uh, nice to meet you," Buffy said wryly, giving him a little nod.

"It's a pity you are not capable of using our form of magic," Ollivander noted, his eyes still fixed on her. "I'd love to be able to make a wand for you - it would be quite a challenge I should think. Quite a large group of people with you and Mr. Potter - all of whom do not need wands I take it?" he asked, his gaze finally traveling over everyone else in the shop.

"Uh, no," Buffy explained. "Only my sister does," she said noting Dawn, who stepped forward rather hesitantly.

Ollivander nodded, his large silver eyes now fixed curiously on Dawn. "Ah yes, your sister. Would you come over here please?" he asked, motioning her forward as he headed back to the counter. "Now, which is your wand hand my dear?" Ollivander asked her when she was opposite him, pulling out his tape measure.

"Uh, well, I'm right handed," Dawn said.

"Hold out your right arm then please."

Dawn did as she was instructed, and Mr. Ollivander measured the length and width of her right arm and hand himself, before moving away from her and back around the counter - the tape measure continuing to take other measurements on its own, which caused Dawn to let out a little squeal of surprise.

"Don't worry, the measurement process is quite harmless, I assure you," he told her, as the tape measure whirled and began to measure the length of the inside of her right leg. "Now, every Ollivander wand has a powerful magical substance for its core. We use phoenix tail feathers, unicorn hairs and the heartstrings of dragons, each one freely given. No two Ollivander wands are the same, just as no two phoenixes, unicorns or dragons are the same. And you will never get such good results with another person's wand of course."

The tape measure was now measuring the distance between Dawn's eyes, causing her to become cross-eyed as she tried to look at it.

"That will be all thank you," Mr. Ollivander said calmly, and the tape measure gave one final whirl before falling to the ground at Dawn's feet. He placed one of the boxes he'd taken off the floor in front of Dawn and opened it. "Try this one Miss Summers. Cedar and unicorn hair. Nine inches. Swishy."

Dawn reached in the box and took up the wand, looking at it with a slightly critical expression on her face.

"Well, just give it a wave then," he told her.

Dawn waved the wand around rather awkwardly. Nothing happened, and Mr. Ollivander snatched it out of her hand not a moment later and handed her another one.

"Ash and phoenix feather, ten and a half inches. Quite bendy. Just -"

Dawn waved the new wand around - and still nothing happened. Mr. Ollivander, again, snatched it away almost at once.

"No, no here - rowan and dragon heartstring, eight inches. Try -"

Dawn had barley given the wand a wave when Mr. Ollivander snatched it out of her hand and gave her yet another one to try. She tried again and again and again, but except for one wand - "Oak and dragon heartstring, fourteen inches, very strong" - that exploded one of the mirrors in the shop when she gave it a wave, nothing happened. Mr. Ollivander kept giving her wand after wand to try, and then snatching them away again only a moment later. Soon, a very large pile of the tried and rejected wands were sitting on the spindly chair that Harry remembered quite well from when he had been in the shop over six years ago and buying his wand, all of his rejected ones having also been placed on it.

Dawn's pile of rejected wand was already getting higher than his had been after only twenty minutes.

"Tricky, tricky," Mr. Ollivander was muttering happily. Dawn was starting to look frustrated, but Mr. Ollivander looked to be very much enjoying himself. "We'll find it yet, not to worry!"

However, over an hour and a half - and what was likely more than over 200 wands later, not one of the wands Dawn tried had done much of anything. One of apple wood and unicorn hair had flown right out of her hand - as if trying to escape - when she'd given it a wave, but that was all.

By this time Giles and Mr. Weasley had already left the shop to meet Willow and Xander at Grimmauld Place for lunch, along with Tonks and Ginny. (Harry had been happy to hear that the extra security measures at the Burrow would be finished by that evening, and that they could all return and stay at the Burrow tonight). The only people who were still in the shop along with Dawn were Buffy, Lupin, Ron, Hermione and Harry. Ron was sitting on the floor of the shop looking half-bored, while stealing little glances now and again at Buffy. (Harry figuring she was the reason he'd stayed and not gone with the rest of his family back to Grimmauld Place, even though he would whisper to Harry now and again how hungry he was). Hermione was ignoring Ron decidedly, while watching Dawn's attempt to find a wand with a concentrative interest.

"This. Isn't. Working," Dawn said in tired frustration, placing the latest wand she had just tried in the rejection pile herself as Mr. Ollivander had, for some reason, paused and not taken it out of her hand himself. He was just staring at her with what looked to be a mix of ecstatic surprise and delight - with also a touch of worry as well.

"Well, maybe you're just being too picky or something," Buffy said. "I mean, you know how picky you can get when you're shopping for shoes. Maybe-"

Mr. Ollivander was shaking his head. "It's the wand that chooses the witch, not the other way around. And none of my wands have chosen your sister. I think the oak one might have been trying to when it exploded the mirror, but -"

"Great," Dawn said sarcastically. "I just spent over an hour getting rejected by pointy wood." Then her face screwed up, and she closed her eyes in tired embarrassment. "And you should all just ignore how kind-of dirty that sounded."

"Well, you'll just have to keep trying then," Harry said - taking her advice on ignoring her bad turn of phrase, and trying to cheer her up. "There's got to be one here somewhere that -"

"That was the last one," Mr. Ollivander noted with a nod at the pile of rejected wands, and the last wand Dawn had placed on top of the now overflowing pile. "She has just finished trying every wand I have in this shop - and none of them chose her. I don't have anymore for her to try." He didn't say it with regret - in fact, he looked completely delighted by the fact.

Everyone else, however, looked at the shopkeeper in surprise. "That was it? Not one of them worked?" Hermione said, not quite believing it.

"Yes. Not one of these wands is a correct match for Miss Summers."

Dawn looked annoyed and heartbroken all at once as she looked over at Harry. "I guess Dumbledore was wrong - I'm not really a witch after all," she said, completely dejected.

"Oh no Miss Summers," Mr. Ollivander said with a shake of his head, correcting her. "There is power in you. Again, the oak wand was proof enough of that. The problem is that none of these wands seem to be able to channel or control it properly . . . or they just refused to try and do so. This just means - I shall have to make you a wand myself."

"But - you made all of these, and none of them worked," Dawn said skeptically.

"No. This wand I shall have to make specifically for you," Mr. Ollivander said with obvious delight. "I've never had to do that before. I've always anticipated every type of wand, every possible combination. Rare . . . yes, very rare indeed," he muttered. "When do you leave for Hogwarts? The same day as the other students?"

"Uh, no, I'm leaving early. On August first. I have to go in early for special lessons."

Mr. Ollivander nodded, his silver eyes darting back and forth, as if calculating something in his mind. "Two days - two days. Yes, yes, plenty of time - plenty of time . . . yes, you shall have it by then," he murmured as he began collecting the discarded wands, quickly bowing them from the shop. "Good day, good day."

The others all looked at each other as they turned and left, Dawn still looking slightly dejected. Everyone could tell that she had really been looking forward to getting a wand.

"I don't think I've ever read of an Ollivander wand never matching anyone before," Hermione noted as they headed back towards the Leaky Cauldron.

"It's probably because I'm not a witch," Dawn repeated moodily.

"No, you are," Hermione said firmly. "Mr. Ollivander was right - the fact that one of those wands did work - however slightly - proves that. If you weren’t, it wouldn't have done anything at all. Still, it's odd you weren’t discovered before now," she continued thoughtfully, and Harry noticed Buffy giving Hermione a rather critical sidelong glance.

"Well, you'll get your wand in a few days," Harry said, trying to cheer Dawn up. "Don't worry about it. And, you know, you can still get the Owl you said you wanted to get - the Owl shop is right down this way, right near the Leaky Cauldron."

Dawn did cheer up a little at that, and when they reached Eeylops Owl Emporium, (which, like every shop in Diagon Alley was completely quiet and empty when they entered), she picked out a pretty gray Tawny Owl, which she named Nibblet - to be called Nib for short.

"Nibblet?" Harry asked as they left the shop.

"It was a nickname Spike gave me," Dawn said with a small smile. They all knew that Spike had been the Vampire that had help fight in the last battle in the Sunnydale Hellmouth, and had been the one to officially close it, using a magical amulet.

"Maybe I should speak to Giles about getting a few Owls for the new Council and Slayer school," Buffy said. "I have to say, the fact that no one in this world uses a phone is really inconvenient for us non-magic using folks."

"Buffy's was a little ticked when Dumbledore told her cell phones don't work at Hogwarts - which means she can't call and check up on me twenty-four/seven," Dawn whispered to Harry with a chuckle. Louder, she said, "I'm sure Xander could build in an Owl room of some sort, if you ask him."

Xander and Giles both thought an Owl Room was a good idea when Buffy brought it up, after they all arrived back at Grimmauld Place later. "And, you know, having to clean up the place would make an excellent detention punishment for someone," Xander had noted, rubbing his hands together, looking mock-gleeful at the prospect.

* * *

Dawn decided to spend the day of July 30th shopping for clothes and packing her trunk so she could spend the next day - which was Harry's birthday - with all of them before she left for Hogwarts. So Harry didn't see her at all the next day when he was at the Burrow, but occupied himself by practicing and playing two-sided Quidditch with Ron, Hermione and Ginny. Hermione, as usual, wasn't very good, so Harry had her on his team, since Ginny was very good, but Ron had only improved a little since last year. They all said that Harry was sure to make Captain this year, and he had smiled with pride at the prospect.

Towards the end of breakfast the next day, (Mrs. Weasley having made quite a feast for Harry's sixteenth birthday), Dawn's new owl flew in one of the open windows and landed on the table right beside Harry, one of Dawn's stationary envelops attached to his leg.

"What's going on?" Ron asked, as Harry read the note Dawn had sent him.

"Dawn says Mr. Ollivander just sent her a message saying her wand was ready. Willow headed off for South America last night, Xander's busy at the council's construction site, and Buffy and Giles got word of a new slayer located up in Wales this morning, and went to go see her. They won't be back till this evening. So she wondered if I'd like to come with her to get it," Harry said, looking at Mr. and Mrs. Weasley. "Can I?"

Mr. and Mrs. Weasley exchanged a glance. "Well, I guess," Mrs. Weasley said slowly. "But someone should go with you," she said firmly.

"I have to leave for work soon," Mr. Weasley said. "But maybe Remus or Alastor could go with you all."

Using the floo network, Mr. Weasley contacted Lupin, who was still staying at Order headquarters, and he agreed to go with Harry and the others to Diagon Alley, and that Moody agreed to come along as well. However - before sending Nib back to Dawn telling her what time to meet him at the entrance to Diagon Alley, he cornered Ron and Hermione upstairs, and asked then if they wouldn't mind staying behind at the Burrow along with Ginny, so he could meet Dawn alone.

"You don't want us to come with you?" Hermione asked.

Harry shuffled on his feet a little. "If you don't mind. I mean, Dawn's leaving tomorrow, and I've barley had a chance to spend any time with her - you know, like before, after we first met - and she's coming back here later anyway. But I thought I could take her for some ice cream first maybe, or -"

Ron broke Harry off with a laugh. "Sure mate. Go spend some time with your girlfriend - we'll see you later, right Hermione?"

Harry didn't correct Ron's referring to Dawn as his girlfriend, even though she wasn't.

At least, not in any official way.

"Yeah, okay," Hermione agreed, though she looked slightly disappointed. Harry knew it was because she would have to wait now to find out the type of wand Mr. Ollivander had made for Dawn.

Hermione went off to inform Ginny of the change in plans, and if Mrs. Weasley or Lupin, (who arrived at the Burrow with Moody half an hour later), were surprised at all when Harry told them that only he and Dawn were going, they didn't say anything.

"So where's the girl?" Moody asked gruffly.

"Uh, she said she'd meet us there - at the Leaky Cauldron. She's probably already there," Harry told him.

"What, all by herself?" Moody asked, looking as if that were the silliest thing he'd ever heard.

"Yes. She grew up on a Dark Node - I'm sure she knows to be careful," Harry said, feeling the need to defend Dawn a little.

Moody just grunted. "Well come on then - better hope nothing's happened to her."

The Leaky Cauldron had finally been thoroughly repaired now, but was completely empty when Harry, Lupin and Moody arrived. The only two people in the place were Tom and Dawn, who was sitting at one of the tables near the entrance to Diagon Alley waiting for them, a small clothing store shopping bag next to her.

"Bloody foolish," Moody grumbled behind Harry was they walked up. "Sister of The Slayer and she's sittin' here all by herself!"

"Happy Birthday Harry!" Dawn said to him brightly when they reached her. She gave a hello to Lupin and Moody, and then turned back to Harry. "I've got a present for you," she told him, picking up the bag that was by her seat and holding it out to him. "It's actually from me and Buffy - but don't open it until the party later, okay?"

"Thanks!" Harry said, taking a look inside the bag. Inside the bag there was a box that was gift wrapped.

"Where are Ron and Hermione?" Dawn asked.

"Oh, uh - they decided to stay at the Burrow and help Ron's mother," Harry said, ignoring the raised eyebrow look Lupin was giving him. "I mean, it's not going to be a huge party or anything, but she still needed a little help with everything. We'll see them there later."

"Oh, okay," Dawn said.

Lupin cleared his throat. "I think we should head over to Ollivander's now, so Dawn can get her wand," he said, heading for the wall entrance. "Even with the Aurors about, we shouldn't stay in Diagon Alley any longer than necessary, especially if you still want stop and take Dawn for some ice cream Harry."

Dawn looked at him curiously at what his former professor had just said. "Ice cream?"

"Uh - yeah, I mean, if you want to," Harry said, giving her an innocent smile.

Dawn smiled back. "Sure. Sounds like fun."

Harry heard Moody give another audible grunt behind them.

Arriving at Ollivanders, Harry had expected the shop to look just as messy as it had been when they'd been there just two days ago - but was in for another shock when he walked inside:

The whole shop was completely clean - and almost completely empty.

All the boxes that had covered and littered the floor just two days ago were now all gone. All the shelves in the place were still bare, however. Even the spindle chair was gone.

The only two thing in the shop were Mr. Ollivander himself, waiting behind the counter - and a long wand box sitting on the counter before him.

He did not turn his head as they entered the shop, the bell above the door announcing their presence. His gaze fixed out the window, apparently lost in thought.

The four of them glanced at each other a moment, and then Dawn cleared her throat. "Um, excuse me, Mr. Ollivander?"

A moment passed before the old man turned away from the window and finally fixed his strange slivery eyes on them. He still did not speak however.

Dawn moved forward slightly, up to the counter. "Um, you sent me a note - saying my wand was ready?"

Mr. Ollivander blinked - almost, it seemed to Harry, as if he were clearing his thoughts - before giving a nod. "Yes, yes Miss Summers, its right here," he said, laying his hands on the wand box on the counter. He opened the box slowly, watching Dawn now - for some reason - with unhidden fascination. "Twelve and three quarter inches exactly. Ivy wood," he said solemnly. "Ivy is a rare wood to use for a wand . . . very mysterious. And the plant itself can be stronger than even an oak."

Dawn's eyes seemed to be fixed on the wand Mr. Ollivander presented before her. Slowly, she reached inside the wand box and lifted it out. It was a deep, rich brown in color, and elegantly carved. Dawn ran her free hand over its length, and then looked over at Harry, a huge smile on her face.

"It feels warm," she said softly, her voice filled with awe.

Harry grinned back - he knew what that meant. "Wave it. See what happens."

Dawn gave the wand an elegant swish, and beautiful green and white sparkles arched through the air from it, and gently floated to the floor.

"Well, I think she's finally found a match," Lupin said with a smile at Mr. Ollivander.

"I am a witch!" Dawn said to Harry, smiling even wider, delighted.

Mr. Ollivander, however, was not smiling. He was just staring at Dawn with a concerned and utterly confounded expression. "Aren't you curious about the core I used to make that wand?" he asked quietly.

Dawn looked at Harry and Lupin, and then shrugged. "Was it another dragon's heartstring?" she guessed. The one wand that had worked for her before had had that type of core, and Harry too guessed that that was the core used for Dawn's wand as well.

Mr. Ollivander, however, shook his head. "No. When I wrote to Professor Dumbledore about having to fashion a wand for you Miss Summers, I did suggest a dragon's heartstring for its core. However, in his reply, he suggested that I use something else instead. Something he knew I had come upon a few years ago. As you know," Mr. Ollivander explained to them all. "All the wands in Ollivander's use for its magical cores either the heartstring from a dragon, a phoenix feather, or the tail hair of a unicorn - all freely given, of course."

Harry, Dawn and Lupin all nodded, already knowing this. Moody said nothing, just continued to watch everyone intensely.

"Well, sometimes other magical items that can be used for a core will come across my path," he continued. "Leprechaun hair. A talon from a hippogriff. The ash from an ashwinder, such things as that. All also freely given, as I will take and keep no core that isn't. I do not use such items to make the wands I sell here however," Ollivander noted. "Usually, I will just store these items away safely, until another wand maker might need such a core. Then I will either sell it to that person, or make an exchange for one of the cores I do use."

"Okay," Dawn said slowly. "But what does that have to do with my wand?"

Mr. Ollivander eyed her with his wide, silvery eyes. "Over two - almost three now - years ago, while on my way back from a trip to Greece I had taken to collect some fine Palm and Olive wood for carving, I came upon something most - extraordinary."

"What?" Harry asked.

"A chimaera."

Harry stared at him. Lupin looked as if he almost didn't believe what Mr. Ollivander had just said. Even Moody slightly raised an eyebrow with interest. Only Dawn was confused.

"A chimwhatsit?" she asked

"A chimaera," Lupin corrected her, still looking as if he didn't believe what he'd just heard. "A creature that is part-lion, part-goat and part-serpent, which can breathe fire. Vicious creature too, utterly bloodthirsty. The Ministry has them classified as dangerous, and no one is allowed to bring one into the country. Even their eggs are classified as non-tradable goods." Lupin shook his head in amazement. "No one I know has ever seen one."

"The last person who did, died," Harry said completely thunderstruck, remembering what he'd read about the chimaera in his book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them during his first year at Hogwarts, and the story of Dai Lleweleyn in his copy of Quidditch Through the Ages; the famous - and ultimately unlucky - Quidditch player who had met his end when he was eaten by one. "What did it do to you?"

Mr. Ollivander shook his head. "That was the first strange thing - absolutely nothing."

"Nothing?" Lupin asked surprised.

"Not a thing. I still think it was because it was already eating something at the time - looked to be a stag, I'm not sure. But it did notice me. And, when it did, it began to do something even more wondrous."

"What?" Harry asked, only now realizing he was holding his breath in anticipation.

"It began to scratch itself."

Lupin, Harry and Dawn all just looked at him for a moment, and Mr. Ollivander just looked back at them, completely serious.

Then, Dawn blinked. "It scratched itself? Uh, okay dogs can do that. People do that!" she gave a small laugh, though there was a nervous tone to it.

Mr. Ollivander shook his head, eyeing her again. "You misunderstand. By scratching itself, it began to peel off one of its scales."

"One of its scales?" Harry asked.

"Yes, it was the hind part - the serpent part - that it was scratching from."

"Wait a minute - are you saying that the chimaera gave you one of its scales? Freely gave you one of its scales?" Lupin asked disbelievingly, having quickly seen where this was going.

"Yes, I am. It looked at me again right after the scale had fallen to the ground."

"And then what?"

"Then it picked up the rest of its meal in one of its jaws, and went on its way. I never saw it again. After I returned home, I stored the scale in my cellar, along with the other magical core items I trade. Only I never did trade that one you see. I never wanted to for some reason."

"I would think a chimaera scale would be non-tradable anyway," Lupin remarked.

"Given that actually obtaining a scale from one is so rare, they're not classified at all," Mr. Ollivander said knowingly. "Anyhow," he added, "the only person I ever told that I had such an item was Professor Dumbledore, since the experience - and the way the scale was obtained - was most extraordinary, to say the least."

Dawn glanced down at the wand in her hand. "So . . . so you're saying the core of my wand -"

"Is that scale, yes."

"And . . . and is that bad?" she asked sheepishly.

Mr. Ollivander looked at her solemnly. "It is said that a chimaera scale was one of the four preferred wand cores of the ancient witches and wizards, back when they first appeared in this world," he told them. "And as I've said, a wand with such a core is more than rare these days, but one that has been freely given is - well, unheard of. At least, as far back as I know of."

"What's the special quality of a wand like this one?" Lupin asked after a pause, his eyes now fixed on the wand in Dawn's hand.

In answer, Mr. Ollivander again said something Harry had never heard of Mr. Ollivander ever saying before about one of his wands:

"I don't know."

He didn't say it bitterly, or dismissively, or with any touch of irony. He just said it.

"What? What do you mean you don't know?" Harry asked, not quite believing he'd heard correctly.

"I'm saying I have no idea what that wand's qualities are Mr. Potter," Mr. Ollivander said evenly. "Having a chimaera scale as a magical core can make a very powerful wand, to be sure . . . almost too powerful - even for some of the most powerful witches or wizards of today - to completely control in fact. However, such wands are usually made from scales that are taken from a chimaera - and usually from one that was already dead. So some of the magical property of it is already lost from them by the time they are used. I, however, have no idea how powerful such a wand with such a core that was freely given would be. And together with ivy wood . . ." He shook his head. "Any record of such wands as that have been lost for centuries - even before Ollivander's itself was first established."

He looked at Dawn. "And as of this moment, that wand will reveal its unique and special qualities to Miss Summers and Miss Summers alone - since it was her it chose as its user. And even then, it may not reveal all of its qualities to her for quite some time."

"So you're saying - Dawn's wand is secretive?" Harry asked after a pause, with a frown. He'd never heard of such a thing before with a wand.

Mr. Ollivander nodded. "Exactly so Mr. Potter."

Dawn, obviously not as enthralled as she had first been by the wand, placed it back in the box still open on the counter. "Not so excited about the studying magic thing again," she said with a shake of her head, then sighed. "How much is it?" she asked.

Mr. Ollivander named the price, which was a little more expensive than most of his other wands. He explained that was because the wand had to be specifically made for Dawn - not because of its rare core.

As they left the shop and headed over to the ice cream parlor, Dawn's new wand in the box now tucked under her arm, she looked at Harry and Lupin with a worried glance. "Um, can we, maybe, keep what the core of my wand is between the four of us?"

Lupin gave her a sidelong glance. "Why?"

"Well, something tells me Buffy would totally freak if she found out the core of my wand came from some rare, bloodthirsty beast thingy. Since, you know - kind of her sacred duty and all to kill bloodthirsty beast thingies."

Harry shrugged. "I won't say anything."

Dawn smiled at him, and then looked at Lupin, hopeful.

He gave a shake of his head, but agreed. "Okay, I won't say anything either - unless you're sister asks me directly, of course."

Dawn nodded. "Fair enough." She looked over at Moody who'd not spoken once the whole time they'd been in the shop, a half-pleading look on her face.

"Hm!" Moody just grunted.

Dawn sighed. "I'll just take that as a 'yes.'"

* * * * *
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