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The Secret of Ville-Sauvage, Chapter One: The Most Interesting Girl In the World, pt. 2 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
The Secret of Ville-Sauvage, Chapter One: The Most Interesting Girl In the World, pt. 2
James Potter is supposed to be writing, but is, instead, spending quite a lot of time daydreaming about the re-instatement of the Triwizard Tournament, even though his father is in favor of continuing the rule change from the last one, requiring every competitor to be of age. He's fascinated with the fame of Dani Villanueva, who won the Quintamage Competition across the Atlantic--it's not exactly a crush (though he does have a bathing suit poster of her upon his door); it's more of an idolization.

However, his family, today, is more interested in Lily, who is about to get her first wand...

Table of Contents and Summary So Far

Dad didn't like Flooing into public places--one very large picture on the cover of Witch Weekly showing him falling into a table, carrying baby Al, at the Leaky Cauldron had convinced him of that--so the family Flooed to Uncle George's flat above the shop. The flat had enough physical and magical extensions that it might as well be called a house, with three floors and several guest bedrooms, but Uncle George and Aunt Angelina enjoyed calling it their little flat, so a flat it was.

Uncle George and Freddy made lunch for everyone while Aunt Angelina minded the shop downstairs. Freddy wanted to come to Ollivander's with the Potters, but Uncle George cut in before Mum and Dad could begin to say yes or no. "You," he said, "are on inventory until further notice."

"Oh, but--"

"But nothing. You know better than going into my workroom when I'm not there."

Mum managed to stifle a laugh, and waited until Freddy had gone downstairs to count Puking Pastilles before saying, "I'm going to invent a time machine just to make your teenage self faint."

Uncle George shrugged. "I'd leave it alone, but Angelina's dead furious. Remember when her broom started going crazy at Oliver's pitch last week?"

Dad raised his eyebrows. "That was Freddy?"

"The one and only." Uncle George laughed. "I have to love it, myself. He wanted to make Angelina's broom look like Dani Villanueva's--you know, the one she was showing off in Sorcerers' Sports?"

Mum rolled her eyes. "Harry's been thinking of cheating on his new Firebolt with that thing."

"I've seen it up close," Uncle George said. "It's a worthy object of infatuation." He shook his head. "Anyway, Freddy picked the wrong charms altogether, then mixed them wrong. It took us four days to get the broom clean."

"Cost Gryffindor the match, too," Mum said. "I think we should take points."

James and Al jumped in to protest--Gryffindor couldn't very well start off the year with a loss just because a lot of adults had decided to re-form their old teams for once-a-month matches against balding Ravenclaws at Oliver Wood's practice pitch (magically expanded to full size for these events). Alicia Creevey and Aunt Angelina had taken their places as Chasers, and Mum played in place of Katie Bell, who'd moved to Japan after the war. Uncle Ron took Uncle Fred's place as Beater, though no one talked about that. Dad was the Seeker. Roger Davies had got together Cho Morse and most of his old team as well. They set anti-press Charms that would make anyone with a camera look very foolish, and played very improperly, and broke safety rules with abandon (Cho particularly liked treating her broom like a surfboard), and the spouses and children laughed a lot in the stands. It was emphatically not anything for which points ought to be taken.

After lunch, Lily kept looking ostentatiously at the clock--which didn't tell the time, but informed them that Aunt Angelina and baby Roxanne were "In the Shop," Uncle George was "Home," and Freddy was "In Trouble"--and Mum and Dad took the hint. They gathered their things up, and went out into Diagon Alley.

Here, one might be forgiven for thinking that Ministry of Magic had been peacefully deposed in favor of Daniela Villanueva, who seemed to be smiling from every shop window. Uncle George was offering a board game about the Quintamage Competition, which had a picture of Dani on the box cover. It required players to make their way around the Bahamian Island where the competition had taken place, and fight each of the five challenges. Flourish and Blotts had a whole window devoted to books about the competition, about Dani, and about each of the five schools that had competed (San Cipriano de los Magos in Mexico, Dani's school, had its own display cube; Academia de Ramon Llull in Argentina, Escola Endovélico in Brazil, Snowleaf in Canada, and the Salem Institute in the States all shared space in another one). Twilfit & Tattings was selling replicas of the champions' uniforms, which stood next to a giant poster of Dani. Slug and Jiggers was delighted that there'd been a Potions-based challenge, and had a book of concoctions that each of the contestants had made (Dani hadn't won that challenge--that had been Evan Li from Snowleaf--but she was on the cover nonetheless). Lee Jordan's little studio had a life-sized cut-out of her outside, as he was going to interview her in two days. Even the Magical Menagerie was in on things, as they'd finally got a shipment of tadfoals, which would grow into hippocampi just like the one Dani'd had her picture taken with.

Ollivander's, of course, didn't go in for such fleeting things. Berit Ollivander had re-decorated since her grandfather's death. Many older wizards were scandalized that she'd replaced the big front window (and the ancient pillow), put in a skylight, and made a little boutique area for people to sit while consulting or looking for a new wand, but even she wouldn't have thought of turning Ollivander's, "Makers of Fine Wands since 382 B.C," into a shrine to a foreign sports star.

The family went in together, and the little bell above the door rang cheerfully.

Berit came in from the stacks, smiling. "Hello, Potters!" she said. "I thought I'd be having a visit from you this year."

"Hello, Berit," Mum said, and pecked her cheek. "I love the new curtains!"

Berit preened and glanced over her shoulder at the bright yellow velvet curtains that now made a boundary between the consulting area and the dusty shelves. "Thank you." She turned to Lily. "Are you ready for your first wand?"

Lily nodded, and grinned broadly. She nearly flew over to the low stool, where Berit's tape measure started crawling over her.

"What is the measuring for?" James asked Berit.

"Er..." She smiled sheepishly, and spoke quietly, just to him. "I think it's mostly for show. I've never seen it really make a difference in which wands it narrows down."

"Oh." He frowned. "How do you decide which ones to try first?"

"Family, interests, intuition..." She smiled. "If you're interested in wands, I put out a display of curious ones, by the window. You could look at them whilst I get your sister together."

At first, James didn't go, feeling that Lily would take it as an insult if he didn't pay attention to every part of her wand shopping. But after fifteen minutes, Al disappeared into one of his crossword puzzles--he and his friend Jane had been competing on times for the Prophet's--and Mum started flipping through a magazine. Lily didn't seem to notice, so James went over to the display.

It wasn't very large. There was one that was proclaimed "the longest wand ever made at Ollivander's," which looked more like a thin, six-foot staff made of rigid cured maple. Its core was Acromantuala web. The plaque said that it had never worked particularly well for anyone. The tiniest wand was the size of a sewing needle, and had a fairy hair core ("surprisingly powerful for Jeremiah Maddock, who owned it in 1643"), and the heaviest wand was made of actual iron with ashwinder eggs at its core ("used by overseers in goblin forges in the 1300s"). There was also a many-branched wand made from a raw tree limb ("naturally infused with dittany, good for healing"), an ancient full-sized wizard's staff, and several other curiosities. James perused these while somewhere in the background, he heard Lily try and reject wands from holly and phoenix feather, ash and dragon heartstring, oak and dragon heartstring, and many others. He wondered idly how the cores were infused. Berit had a display about that as well, but it only said that the spells were a secret, closely kept among wandmakers; the diagrams went from showing the crafting of the wood with the core next to it to the magically fused-together finished product.

"Rowan!" Lily said loudly, breaking his chain of thought. "But James's wand is rowan."

James turned to see her looking quite disgusted at wand that was shooting silver sparks from its tip.

"Rowan!" James cheered. "Rowan! Rowan!"

"Shut up," Lily said.

"Well, he is your brother, dear," Berit said. "It's not unusual."

"Can I try the ebony one again?"

Dad laughed. "Lily, it didn't work for you. You can't go for looks with a wand."

Lily looked at the wand. "Al doesn't have the same wand as James. He got hazel."

"Same core though," Al put in, looking up briefly from his puzzle. "Dragon heartstring."

"Well, there you have it," Berit said to Lily. "You have a phoenix feather."

"Phoenix, phoenix!" Dad cheered.


Dad laughed.

Mum shook her head. "Lily, does the wand work for you?"


"Have any of the others worked better?"


"Then, unless Berit thinks otherwise, I think you have your wand."

"I think so, too," Berit said. "Sorry it's not to your liking..."

Lily waved the wand again, got a very bright shower of gold and silver sparks, and smiled brightly. "No. I like it."

"Well, then," Dad said when Berit had wrapped the wand and handed it to Lily. "How would you feel about going out for the rest of your shopping with me, and then we'll have supper, just the pair of us?"

This met with an even brighter smile. Lily had been watching with envy for three years as Dad did his before-school days with James and Al. She hugged her wand, apparently forgetting its unsavory connection to James, then took Dad's hand. The two of the said goodbye and headed out.

Mum thanked Berit, then led the boys outside. "What shall we do?" she asked as they walked down the street. "Head home? Muggle film? Library?"

This might have turned into something of an argument, as Al and James tended to pick different diversions, but just then, a stringy boy with lanky black hair dropped down from the balcony of "Fit for a Prince," a second-hand robe-shop two doors down from Ollivander's. It was Michael Prince, one of James's dormitory mates and best friends.

"Potters!" he greeted them, straightening up. "Plus Mrs. Potter, hi," He bent dramatically and kissed Mum's hand. "Did you hear the news?"

"What news?" Mum asked.

"She's here."

"Who's here?"

"The future Mrs. Prince," Michael said. "Or maybe I'll become Señor Villanueva, we haven't decided yet, really."

James blinked. "Dani? Dani's here?"

Michael swept his arm magisterially at the building across the street, which had once been a hat shop but had now been transformed into a luxury wizarding hotel. In an upper window flanked by small Mexican flags, James saw a flash of movement as someone dark-haired and small dropped a curtain and hurried back into her room.
35 comments or Leave a comment
From: severely_lupine Date: August 15th, 2011 06:07 am (UTC) (Link)
Okay, that bit about Harry falling out of the floo and getting his photo in the paper is very funny. I can totally see that happening.

Aw, look at George being all parental. And Freddy's really a chip off the old block, isn't he?

I like the idea of that reunion game. A lot of high schools do that with alumni, so why not Hogwarts? (Though the thing about Cho using her broom like a surfboard made me think of another James Potter fanfic where the Americans have a game that is pretty much that: Quidditch, only they stand on their brooms. It seemed ridiculously dangerous if not impossible to me.)

Oh, it's neat to see the names of the other schools. What do the names translate to?

I like Michael, but it always makes me a bit sad when he shows up, because I can't help but think how amusing it would be to see Snape teaching and generally dealing with a relative of his, much less one who's both a Gryffindor and a friend of the Potter kids.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 15th, 2011 06:28 am (UTC) (Link)
And a perennially cheerful little git, too. ;p

San Cipriano de los Magos=St. Cyprian of the Wizards (St. Cyprian is the patron saint of occultists... yes, there is one, though he probably isn't real or canonical, there are testimonies!)
Academia de Ramon Llull=Ramon Llull Academy (Llull was a Spanish mystic and astrologer)
Escola Endovélico=Endovelicus School (Endovelicus was an ancient Lusitanian god of healing)

(And yeah, I'd imagine broom surfing would be pretty dangerous. The PS/SS movie had Harry sort of doing it, but I'd think in canon-world, that sort of hotdogging would be frowned upon by officials.)

Edited at 2011-08-15 06:33 am (UTC)
mrs_norris_mous From: mrs_norris_mous Date: August 15th, 2011 09:08 am (UTC) (Link)
Lovely as always."but shew as on the cover nonetheless" should probably be "but she was on the cover nonetheless".

And for a britpic we don't use draperies very often, I think you mean curtains :)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 15th, 2011 06:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ack-darn those spellcheck immune archaisms! ;p

Okay, curtains it is.
daksian From: daksian Date: August 15th, 2011 10:05 am (UTC) (Link)
I laughed out loud when Harry said "Phoenix, phoenix!" I really do believe that Harry as a father would want to play and tease his children, sort of having a childhood vicariously through them (though not to an unhealthy extent).

Again I like the infodump without it looking like one. Establishing James' interest in wandmaking, more details about Dani Villanueva and the Quintamage Competition (and I enjoyed that a Canadian won one of the challenges instead of Dani).

And the little details are nice, like that bit about the reunion Quidditch match or that Berit Ollivander was scandalous in replacing some of the old furnishings at Ollivander's or that George and Angelina's flat is really magically extended into becoming a three-floor house. These things really add to the character of the story without cluttering it up.

Small error alert: James internal dialogue refers to Ginny as "Aunt Ginny" instead of "Mum": "Cost Gryffindor the match, too," Aunt Ginny said. "I think we should take points."
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 15th, 2011 05:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
With five challenges and five schools, a person who just won two could be ahead of all the others.

Actually, if they did it by point total, a person could lose all the challenges but still pull ahead of everyone else by doing consistantly well where the others had particular strengths but did poorly outside them.

Of course, if every one of the champions got one win, then you might have to have an extra, sixth challenge.

So, Fern, how DID the system work? And how did Dani do?

sgt_majorette From: sgt_majorette Date: August 15th, 2011 01:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
Daddy!Harry falling out of the floo: priceless!

("It was empathically not anything for which points ought to be taken.") Huh?? Should that be emphatically? Smack your spellchecker upside its metaphorical head...
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 15th, 2011 06:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
Another facepalm. Yes, emphatically!
oliversgal07 From: oliversgal07 Date: August 15th, 2011 01:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
A really good transition from the writing desk and a nice moment between the siblings. It's nice to see that they fight but don't hate each other. A nice balance of teasing and kidding. I really must re-read clue in the caldron because I have forgotten the OCs and need a refresher.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 15th, 2011 06:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, James and Lily are actually really close and adore each other, but Lily's whole schtick is pretending that James is just SO ANNOYING!
willowbough From: willowbough Date: August 15th, 2011 01:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
Glad to see this story resume. I liked the earlier incarnation too, but this feels more Potter-centric, somehow. And the pace is coming along nicely too.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 15th, 2011 06:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
That was definitely the problem in the first opening. I was trying to hook it to the Teddy stories, when it really needed to be hooked, crazily enough, to Harry!
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 15th, 2011 01:53 pm (UTC) (Link)

wait- who?

I think i'm going to make a list of all your OC's as I always forget half of them.

Who was Michael Prince?

no relation at all with the "Eileen Prince" I assume?

~Alex wells
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 15th, 2011 06:15 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: wait- who?

Michael is one of James's dormitory mates, and he's very much related to Eileen... some degree of nephew. Basically, he looks like a smiling, cheerful version of Snape.
starnightmuse From: starnightmuse Date: August 15th, 2011 02:22 pm (UTC) (Link)

love how you keep fleshing out the details into something new...

Really you tell details so well...

love the little tidbits about George and Angelina's new life with little Freddy. (who sounds adorable but poor him for being grounded- although with good reason)

ginny the always quidditch maniac... I think being in the harpies has gone to her head...

love the detail of the "classmates monthly reunion to play quiddditch" (although- why no Hufflepuffs?)

as for the "surfing" stun... I don't see it as unrealistic or frown upon... I mean if during the quidditch cup they used the Wronski Feint which seemed quite wild- so i'm sure there are other outlandish maneuvers out there as well....

LOL "Villanueva Fever" it seems that British, wizard or not, Really go ALL out when something BIG happens in their country

sad to see the changes to Ollivanders.... even if they weren't Villanueva related.

(what do you mean she "replace the big front window" out? did she left the space there open-aired or what?)

as for the type measuring--- I always thought that influenced the wand length to equivalence it with the witch or wizard's height.

lastly Michael Prince... always the charmer....

surprise he has such superb vision that he can make out Dany Villanueva from a partially viewable window....
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 15th, 2011 06:19 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: love how you keep fleshing out the details into something new...

although- why no Hufflepuffs?

Oh, that's simple enough--Oliver happens to have become friends with Roger Davies from Ravenclaw, and this is just something the two of them have tossed together for the amusement value!

when something BIG happens in their country
Or even in a former colony, like the Bahamas!

Berit just put in a new window that wasn't cloudy from age, maybe a big single-pane show-window. Did a lot of things to make the store brighter.

Michael's been following the gossip, and his parents' robe shop is right across from the hotel (the Mexican flags are most likely also a clue!). If James were paying more attention, he'd have noticed George saying that he saw Dani's broom up close--she's been in Diagon Alley for a day or so.
malinbe From: malinbe Date: August 15th, 2011 03:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ramón Llull! He's cool! He features heavily in the Chivalry book I had to read last year. I like your choice! You must have had fun coming up with wizarding school names.

Oh, and the chapter was lovely. The bit about the wands was really interesting, too. That fairy hair wand must have been really handy if you wanted to do magic and not be obvious about it...
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 15th, 2011 06:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, yeah, I spent forever naming the schools! The champions just got a sort of "popular names in the country" treatment (Argentina got Carlos Alvarez, from a first name list and a surname list; Brazil got Vitoria Pereira. America, I just messed with a couple of friends' names and came up with Jenna Hewes. I was going to make the Canadian name Scots-Irish, but I decided to check a list, and lo and behold "Li" is the most common name in Canada!)

I noticed a lot of Argentinian schools were named for historical figures, so I went looking for one who might do. Glad it worked!
From: severely_lupine Date: August 15th, 2011 07:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
Holy cow. I got access to Pottermore today, and there is so much information about Olivander's and wandmaking. I could message it to you if you'd like (I'm copy/pasting into a file for reference). Of particular interest was this:

Prior to Mr Ollivander's proprietorship of the family business, wizards used a wide variety of wand cores. A customer would often present the wandmaker with a magical substance to which they were attached, or had inherited, or by which their family swore (hinted at by the core of Fleur Delacour's wand). Mr Ollivander, however, was a purist who insisted that the best wands would never be produced merely by encasing the whiskers of a favourite Kneazle (or the stalk of a Dittany plant that once saved a wizard's father from poisoning, or the mane of a kelpie a witch had once met on holiday in Scotland) in the customer's favourite wood. The best wands, he believed, had cores of immensely powerful magical substances, which were expertly enclosed in specially selected and complementary wandwoods, the result to be matched to an owner with whom the wand itself felt the most affinity. While there was initially substantial resistance to this revolutionary way of crafting wands, it swiftly became clear that Ollivander wands were infinitely superior to anything that had come before. His methods of locating wand woods and core substances marrying them together and matching them to ideal owners are all jealously guarded secrets that were coveted by rival wandmakers.

So, apparently Ollivander's restrictions on cores was the big, revolutionary thing. I was with you on assuming that it had been that way for some time and that branching out would be natural in future wandmakers.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 15th, 2011 07:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hmmm. I'd have pegged it at a couple of generations at least, but that works, too.

Of course, James is more interested in the old way. ;p

It sounds also like Ollivander put more power in the wands being matched to wizards than in wizards choosing the wand.

(And yes, please message.)

Edited at 2011-08-15 07:21 pm (UTC)
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