Chapter 3 : Wands
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Their parents had finally taken him and Roxanne shopping in preparation of their first year at Hogwarts. They barely had two weeks left before they got on the Hogwarts Express for the very first time; James did not understand why they’d been putting it off for so long.
But here they were, right in front of Ollivander’s shop. Their schoolbooks and scales and robes were all bought and stowed in the enormous bags their parents were carrying. James exchanged an excited look with Roxanne, reached out, and pulled the door open.
A middle-aged woman looked up from a wand when they came in. “First years?” she asked, smoothing back the locks of deep brown hair that had fallen into her face.
James and Roxanne nodded, and the woman smiled graciously and extended her hand toward the stools. James looked back at his mother and father, who nodded encouragingly. He took his place on one of the stools, and after a similar exchange with her parents, so did Roxanne.
Just as the woman – she introduced herself as Jane Ollivander – was about to pick up several boxes to start, however, they heard a faint vibrating. Ollivander frowned and began to search for the source of the noise. After a moment, she pulled a box out of the stacks that was actually glowing.
“Vine,” she murmured once she opened it. “It sometimes does this, you know.” James was closer, and she held it out to him. His hand closed around it, and he waved it around in the air. Nothing happened. He handed it over to Roxanne, and as soon as she closed her hand around it, bright blue sparks cascaded out of the top.
Roxanne looked absolutely delighted. “That means it’s for me, right?” she asked. “Right?”
“That’s the way it works, yes,” her father called from the back of the story. He sounded amused. “What is it?” he asked Ollivander.
“Vine,” she answered. “Dragon heartstring, 13 inches, quite rigid.”
Roxanne was waving the wand around. “Neat.”
Ollivander smiled at her and turned to James. “Now, what shall we try for you, Mr. Potter?” James shifted nervously in his seat as she reached back into the stack. He now felt that he had something to prove. Roxanne was definitely one of his favourite cousins, but there was no way he was going to let her show him up by finding a better wand.
She handed him a wand, and he waved it around, feeling a little silly. Nothing happened. She took it back and handed him another, and he repeated the process once, then twice, then a third time.
By the tenth time, he was starting to feel a little foolish, and Roxanne, who was standing by the till, was struggling to hide her giggles.
Ollivander scrutinised him. “You’re not a very agreeable person, are you?”
“Er—” James started.
“No,” said several people at once. He looked around, feeling a little annoyed by the strength of the agreement.
“I’m not that bad,” he said defensively.
“It’s all right not to be agreeable, Mr. Potter,” Ollivander told him from across the room, where she was surveying stacks of wands. He looked at her sharply, and she smiled. “I’m not, as a rule.”
He grinned back, and she looked back at the stack she’d stopped in front of. “Hmm.” She pulled out a box, opened it, and handed the wand inside of it over.
James took it. It felt warmer in his hands than the others had, and he gave it a wave. Bright red sparks jumped out of the end, and he let out a loud laugh.
“I thought that might work,” Ollivander said. “It was the most stubborn wand I could think of.” She looked past James to his parents. “Hornbeam and thestral hair. 14 inches.”
James looked back at them. His father looked thoughtful. “I didn’t know you used thestral hair,” he said.
Ollivander shrugged. “I usually don’t. It was an experiment I tried about ten years ago, but it was so difficult to match any of the wands that I stopped doing it.” She looked back at the wand James was holding tightly and added, “I was wondering if I’d ever manage to sell that one.” She led them up to the till, and after she rang them up, she looked down at James and said, “That’s a difficult wand to master, Mr. Potter. I hope you’ll be up to the challenge.”
“I will,” James promised.
O/T: So as you can probably tell, this actually takes place before chapter 1. I hope you enjoyed it, and as always, I would love to hear your thoughts!