Chapter 1 : The sun sings lullabies.
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Dawn is coming, and the night sings farewell in velvet tones.
The orchard stands sentinel in the liquid tranquility and the leaves rustle in the grey glow, jittery with the expectation of new light. He lights his wand to navigate through the roots of the trees, but the yielding glow of dusk renders it unnecessary and the glare sends the bowtruckles scurrying. He leaves the fairy eggs nestled in the roots and waits patiently. His whole body aches with the pain of movement. His breathing comes with difficulty.
Shifting and swerving just outside of his grasp, Ollivander feels it, palpable, tangible, and ever-changing. He can taste the magic in the air, ferric with just a hint of sweetness, and his ears strain for the sound of it, a barely audible whirring. He is just able to see it too, a shimmering haze on the edge of his vision, just discernible in the leaves of the tree. If he reaches out to touch it, it would flitter away as easily as a gust of wind; and so he remains stock-still and praying the flapping of his cloak would not disturb it. The magic is tangible, sentient. Ollivander could harness it, steal it from the air and shoot sparks with it, but instead he marvels at it. Obscure and unfathomable, even he does not dare boast of knowing all its secrets; however, he can control it, exploit it, force it into a discernible shape, some usable force, through skill and scholarship.
He promised to do this for her though she does not know it. In the dark of night, with only her breathing to listen to, Ollivander had made a vow. “You were an inexpressible comfort,” he had told her, and he had meant it. He chose to repay her in the only way he knows how. A test of his knowledge, his friendship. The wand chooses the wizard, he has always said, and it must want to choose her. The unicorn hair had been difficult to acquire - Muriel’s protesting that he should stay in bed had meant he could not find it for days - but it would produce the most consistent magic. It had taken him just one hour in her company, locked in that terrible place, to determine what wood would fit her best: apple wood. Powerful and unwavering, it would suit her strong ideals, he had reasoned. Great personal charm, a great friend, long-lived, well-loved by himself and by many others: Luna.
The bowtruckles busy themselves with the fairy eggs, and Ollivander moves silently around to the other side of the tree. His brings his wand down in a slashing movement and a thin branch falls to the ground. Eleven and three quarter inches, springy, and perfectly sound. Waiting another moment for any sign of the tree dwellers, he stoops to pick it up when none comes. His back smarts and he winces, his mind recalling the grievous nights spent in that terrible place.
Ollivander raises his wand, lips murmuring with silent enchantments, and the wand wood rises into the air. The unicorn hair ripples around it, almost orange in the brightening sky, silky and silver and strong. He pictures her face: bright and alive, shining in the space around him, her voice echoing in his ears. The whirring of the magic rises in a crescendo and the shimmering intensifies, threatening to block her face from his minds eye. A metallic taste stings his tongue as he continues to recite his enchantments.
For one second, she is there, standing next to him. Her long blonde hair tickles his bare arms and her blue eyes shine out of the gloom. He holds his breath as she slips her hand into his, leading him away from the top of the hill where they are standing. They do not follow the path; instead, treading boldly over the tree roots, twigs and fern leaves. Tears pinch at his eyes and she smiles, sweeping them away with a soft touch of her fingers. His heart aches with affection for how much she looks like his daughter. She reaches for him again, to support him as they walk, but she is just out of arm’s length and suddenly Ollivander is blind for a moment before the world around him reappears, and the scene before him refocuses.
The new wand, encircled by a glowing, golden orb, rotates. Strands of all colours entwine and criss-cross, tying together in an intricate knot and lacing themselves into the wood, strengthening it, empowering it. His grip tightens on his wand as it shakes violently in his hand. Pain shudders through his arm, his bones rattling in his old, greying skin.
The sun swells and roars over the top of the hill. The grey light dissipates with a burst of golden sparks and a thundering whooshing sound racks his body. He stumbles backwards, tripping over the roots of the apple trees and falling onto the fallen fruit. The golden light ripples over the damp grass. Ollivander pauses for one second, flat on his back, staring up at the new day. Luna is still beside him, and she smiles serenely at the glowing air.
“Thank you,” she murmurs, but her words are lost on the wind.
The new wand falls to the earth: fresh, clean and new. He rises to collect it and flicks it experimentally. Sunflowers erupt from the ground around him, splendid and sprightly, waking in the dawn of the morning. The bowtruckles scuttle back, brown eyes scrupulous, but Ollivander beams. The pain in his leg and back vanishes. He looks back and he remembers: one may not reach the dawn without the dark path of the night. He is waking from a weary sleep, from a terrible place, into light and brightness and comfort, into the arms of a friend.
The sun whispers lullabies to the night, and a new day dawns.
So here it is: written very quickly and very haphazardly, but I hope you enjoy. Thanks to Mary for looking this over for me. Go Ravenclaw! (Do I get extra points if the friendship is between two characters of my own house? I think it should be considered).
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