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...and the Forest Guard, Chapter Two: Too Many Wands, pt. 1 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
...and the Forest Guard, Chapter Two: Too Many Wands, pt. 1
Woo-hoo. Chapter two.

One more week, I think, before I put the whole title up, with its spoiler character name.

And, ta-da, Table of Contents and Summary So Far. Full title at the top of the page. With the name.

In chapter one, Teddy attended a celebration, and got into a bit of a tiff with his grandmother because he wants to carry one of his parents' wands, and she doesn't think it's a good idea. He also acquired a kitten named Checkmate (the grand-kitten of Tonks's cat), and had a dream of seeing his mother wake up beside his crib when he was a baby, then realize that coming back is the dream, and her reality is... elsewhere. In the dream, she touches baby!Teddy's hand, then disappears.

Checkmate didn't seem to want to go into London, much to Teddy's disappointment, so they left her with a large bowl of water and more fish, and headed out in the old Volkswagen again. Granny seemed less tense driving today, even though it would be her first foray into the city proper, and she even managed to occasionally contribute a "Yes," "No," or "Where do you come up with these things?" to Teddy's conversation. They found a car park near the Leaky Cauldron, and walked the rest of the way.

Tom the bartender took a quick step back when Granny walked in, then smiled sheepishly and said, "Madam Tonks."

"I generally use 'Mrs,'" Granny said shortly, then shook her head. "I'm sorry, Tom. Good morning."

"Good morning, Ma--er, Mrs. Tonks."

Teddy waved and followed her to the back of the pub. Granny had once confided in him that she had grown up in the wrong family to ever learn the normal ways to greet people. In thirty years, she said, she hadn't quite got the hang of it. Teddy thought of it as just the way she was--a little prickly on the outside. It didn't mean anything.

They went out into the alley and Granny tapped the bricks in the back wall to open the archway. Teddy remembered being frightened of the sound of scraping bricks when he was little, but now it seemed like a very wonderful sort of sound. He grinned at his grandmother, then went into Diagon Alley a few steps ahead of her.

Some of the shop fronts were empty again; shops had come and gone very quickly since the war, and Teddy found it hard to imagine the world Granny talked about, where most of them had been owned for generations. A tea shop had opened in what had been a curry place last year, and a curio shop the year before. Teddy had bought Uncle Harry's Christmas present in that one, a little ceramic pot to keep his quills in at the office, with a "never dry, never spill" inkwell on the side. Beside it was a shop that had sold used robes and exotic plants, and now had its windows boarded halfway up. Above the boards, there was a picture of a witch and wizard winking at one another, holding a sign that said, "Play." The tip of the wizard's wand peeked up between them. Granny blushed and steered them past it.

Beyond the "play" store, a pair of giant knitting needles held the banner for a yarn shop (it unraveled at the end, looping back around to be knitted again), and then Quality Quidditch Supplies, which had a big sign saying that it was under new management--Oliver Wood waved cheerfully from the banner--but at least actually old. Next door, Flourish and Blotts stood where it always had, but Granny had already bought Teddy's books by owl order--she thought that neither of them would keep to the schedule if they started rummaging among the books--and they were already sitting in his trunk at home. Across from it, a news stand had opened, and a new rack of Quibblers was being put out. A photo of an animal Teddy had never seen before was on it, with the headline, "With the Wendigo!" Luna's picture was in beside it. Beyond it was the Fortescue Monument, a huge statue of a man with a dish of ice cream and pile of books, which nodded pleasantly at everyone who came by. Several trees had been planted in a park around it, and people were lolling happily in their shade. Granny took him into the Magical Menagerie and they equipped Checkmate extravagantly--the kitten now had more toys than Teddy did, when you counted the ones she'd inherited--then went back out into the sunlit morning.

Granny took a deep breath. "All right," she said, "we're going to go to Ollivander's now. Are you going to really try to find the right wand?"

Teddy nodded.

"All right," Granny said. "I trust you."

She led them across the street, to the oldest shop Teddy could see. A single wand sat in the window. They went inside, and he looked up at the stacks of wand boxes, and suddenly he did want one of them, wanted to be chosen, to find something that was destined to be his.

"Miss Ollivander?" Mum called.

"Just a-- oh!"

With a crash, a young woman--who seemed to look even younger in comparison with the store she was in--tripped down from an upper level, losing hold of an armful of wands, which scattered across the floor and washed over Teddy's feet in a wooden wave. Behind her, a door clicked open, and Teddy could see an old man, looking on with exasperation. He continued watching, but remained silent as she greeted them, Summoning the fallen wands so they landed haphazardly on the counter.

"Hello," she said. "Mrs. Tonks. And you must be... er... Eddie?"

"Teddy," Teddy said.

"Right. Teddy, of course." She straightened the wands. "I knew your Mum in Hufflepuff. She was older than I was. Got me through Potions."

"Willow," the old man said from the top of the stairs. "Ten inches, with a core of phoenix feather. A good Auror's wand--powerful for defensive spells. Your father's was ash, with a unicorn tail hair. Eleven inches. It was a good healing wand, though of course he couldn't have become a Healer. I didn't think we'd find a wand to choose him, given his... problem. I was wrong. That wand chose him within five minutes." He said all of this coolly, then sat down in a small gilt chair and gestured to the young woman. "My granddaughter will help you discover your wand. Berit?"

Berit Ollivander's mouth twitched in a nervous smile, and she drew out several measuring tapes that began to crawl across Teddy while a quill floated beside them, recording measurements. She glanced at them and started Summoning boxes from the shelves, seemingly at random.

"Here," she said, handing him a pile. "You were born in April--try willow and alder wands first..."

Teddy started opening the wand boxes while old Ollivander looked on with an unreadable expression above (Berit kept looking up nervously). For an hour, he tried wand after wand. Alder and dragon heartstring, willow and unicorn tail hair, seven inches, twelve inches, whippy, solid, swishy, good for charms, excellent for transfiguration...

The pile of wands grew, and Berit began stashing the tried ones on the counter to leave herself room on the floor, looking more and more nervous with each failure. Teddy noticed that Granny was looking at him suspiciously, and he gave her a helpless shrug as he picked up, "Juniper, dragon heartstring, flexible, nine inches," and was rewarded with a feeble sort of twitch. Berit gave it a thoughtful look and put it on a separate shelf.

"Has he done any accidental magic?" Ollivander asked Granny. "Anything to show that he's not a Squib?"

"I beg your pardon! He's had his Hogwarts letter!"

"None of them seem to match, my dear."

"I made all of Granny's plants blow up once," Teddy offered as quickly as he could. "When I was pretending to be in a jungle."

"It's probably just me," Berit said nervously. "I'm hopeless. Try this one." She handed him another box. "Dwarf birch with"--she mumbled something.

"What did you say?" Ollivander called.

Berit bit her lip, then stood up and said, "Acromantula fang! I tried acromantula fang, Grandfather, and I'm not sorry, and I'm going to try other things."

"That's not a core we use."

"I wanted to see if it would work." She handed it to Teddy with a hopeful smile.

He took it. Nothing happened.

"All right, all right," she said, and went back to phoenix feathers, dragon heartstrings, and unicorn hairs. After an hour and a half, they'd found a dozen wands that responded--sluggishly--to Teddy. He thought about asking her if she'd tried werewolf hair for one of her experiments, but thought her grandfather might just explode if she said yes. None of the experimental cores she did try on him (Graphorn horn shard, wood-nymph hair, occamy feather, shrake spines) seemed to have the slightest effect, which Teddy felt vaguely guilty about, as he would have liked to make her look good in front of the grumpy old man.

Granny had wandered over to the shelves of wands and was looking them over absently, and Berit leaned in. "Tell me the truth--have you already been using a wand?"

Teddy shook his head, growing increasingly panicked that, while his werewolf father had found a wand in five minutes, no wand would ever choose him.

"Because if you already have one that's chosen you..."

"I haven't. I'm really sorry!"

"No, it's all right. Some people are hard to match."

Ten minutes later, a dark-haired girl with cold blue eyes came in with her parents, and Teddy became very self-conscious about the unruly pile of wands around him. To his great relief, Berit finally stumbled on a willow wand with a unicorn core, ten inches, that at least managed to send a feeble shower of sparks when he touched it. He didn't feel any connection to it in particular, but at least it would work. Maybe he'd be able to try again when no one was waiting. "Finally!" he said, coming up with a smile.

Berit let out a sigh of relief. "Mother's wood, father's core. Always worth a try in the end."

Teddy was sure he'd tried at least six other willow-unicorn wands, but didn't point this out. Berit had enough to do getting ready for her next customers.

"Sorry I was such trouble," he said to her as he helped her pick up discarded boxes.

"I ended up getting an O on my Potions O.W.L.," Berit said quietly. "I can spare a couple of hours."

"There," Granny said, leading him out around the new family (the young-ish father had nearly jumped out of his skin at the sight of her for some reason). "All done. Shall we take care of your robes next, or see to lunch?"

Teddy opted for lunch.
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shiiki From: shiiki Date: July 28th, 2007 04:23 am (UTC) (Link)
Interesting ... it seems that Teddy may be suited for his parent's wand after all.

I liked Berit Ollivander, and that tiny connection she had to Dora.

"I ended up getting an O on my Potions O.W.L.," Berit said quietly. "I can spare a couple of hours."


The way you worked in Andromeda's resemblance to Bellatrix and Teddy's ignorance of that was beautiful. He's in for some shocks when he leaves home for Hogwarts, methinks!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 28th, 2007 05:06 am (UTC) (Link)
I've been wanting to make use of Berit for a while now--she had a little walk-on at the birthing party in Shifts--but this was the first good chance for it.
ncp From: ncp Date: July 28th, 2007 04:33 am (UTC) (Link)
Poor Teddy, having to be the anti-Neville :-( But I like Berit a lot! Can we see her again?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 28th, 2007 05:04 am (UTC) (Link)
We may. She did come out pretty well--I can't imagine Ollivander would be an easy guy to apprentice to!
ladylothwen From: ladylothwen Date: July 28th, 2007 04:41 am (UTC) (Link)
Ah, the wonderful details.
Happy to see Oliver taking over the Quiddich Store, fanatic indeed.
Andromeda's prickelishness and her resemeblence to Bella is touched on.
Teddy's in for a shock when he discovers the Black's.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 28th, 2007 05:04 am (UTC) (Link)
I think Teddy has a vague notion of the Blacks, at least, just not in a visceral sense.
kizmet_42 From: kizmet_42 Date: July 28th, 2007 04:44 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm slightly peeved that JKR announced that Luna is a naturalist and not a wandmaker. I always thought there was some connection between her and Ollivander (the eye descriptions, mostly.)

But Berit is charming.

Poor Andromeda. I prefered your Andi to Rowling's 'Dromeda, but you're writing her very well. I'm already sympathetic.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 28th, 2007 05:03 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, my "Andi" could be pricklish, too, as Remus discovered when she was first interrogating him about whether or not he and Dora were really acting at Smeltings.
tdu000 From: tdu000 Date: July 28th, 2007 04:44 am (UTC) (Link)
Poor Andromeda - even after eleven years people are still scared by her resemblance to Bellatrix. I'm pleased that you are still writing HP stories. I'd have missed your writing if you hadn't found inspiration. Now, of course, I waiting to see what the significance of the problems with the wands are.

Four an hour, he tried wand after wand. I'm guessing that's a typo or he'd really have taken a long, long time with the number of wands he tried.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 28th, 2007 05:00 am (UTC) (Link)
Heh, you know, it even took me a minute to spot that in your pointing it out!
marikenobi From: marikenobi Date: July 28th, 2007 05:54 am (UTC) (Link)
I love Berit.

Teddy is turning out great. Can't wait to read more.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 28th, 2007 12:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm enjoying Teddy a lot, actually. As consolation prizes go, this one is a lot of fun.
trinity_clare From: trinity_clare Date: July 28th, 2007 07:07 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, since no one else has mentioned the adult store in Diagon Alley, I'll throw an immature giggle your way and say that I'm loving this story.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 28th, 2007 12:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! I'm sure there's some effort going on to get it shunted off to Knockturn Alley, so it's not right on the path for the school traffic, but I thought it would be funny.
igrayne From: igrayne Date: July 28th, 2007 01:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
I loved Berit, experimenting with wand cores and Olivander wanting to use the normal ones. LOL. That made me giggle, oh, as did the sex shop.

Was it Tonks who was in Hufflepuff, or Berit? I don't know, I always imagined Tonks being a Gryffindor. Or maybe that's because everyone of importance in HP seems to have been in Gryffindor...

Update soon :D
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 28th, 2007 01:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
They were both in Hufflepuff. I always wrote Puff!Tonks, and was therefore doing little jumping jacks when JKR confirmed on her site that yes, Tonks was a 'Puff. :D

I could see Ollivander kvetching about any change whatsoever to his methods and choices, which would make life very difficult for an apprentice.
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thornyrose42 From: thornyrose42 Date: July 28th, 2007 01:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
The more I see of your Dromeda the more I like her, especially that despite all the years since she left her family she is still very much a Black. With the unthinking arogence that that implies, the exchange with Tom was just perfect, Madam Tonks indeed.

Somehow I can imagine her getting on quite well with Neville's grandmother. :)

Oh and just out of curiosity, will we be seeing anything of Narcissa in this story? I've been participating in the Black Sister's discussion over at SQ and I was wondering if you would be incorperating a recconciliation between the two sisters after the war into this story.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 28th, 2007 01:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't know. I do kind of like the idea that at some point, Draco went out of his way to "babysit the cub," just because, well, it's like smacking Voldemort around his head, which would have to involve at least some reconciliation between the sisters. But at the same time, I'm not sure I could actually see it happening even if there were a rapprochement, as I could see Andromeda's thought process being, "Who's Draco really trying to impress?" and deciding that she's not risking her precious grandchild by leaving him in the hands of a former Death Eater, no matter how apparently reformed.

I've always had Cissy as part of Andromeda's life, if distant, and certainly not anything Cissy would share with Bella, so I think that, once the shock wears off and Andromeda stops the fresh rage about Cissy still having her husband and child, they could well at least be cordial. I'd hate to think of sisters never coming to terms with each other. (Yes, even Bella. I think Andromeda needs to come to terms, somehow, even with the murderous lunatic in the deck.)
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ashavah From: ashavah Date: July 28th, 2007 01:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, lovely! I really liked Berit! I could feel her nervousness! I can only imagine how frightening Ollivander would be as a mentor!

The whole description of Diagon Alley was lovely, with the shops not quite as stable as they had been after all the upheaval in the years of the war, and whatever effect the first war might have had on it from when Andromeda was young. I loved the subtle way you worked in Luna's occupation. That was great.

And I must give you major props for everyone's immediate fright on seeing Andromeda. It must have been so hard for her to live with the shadow of that sort of a sister hanging over her.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 28th, 2007 01:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
In DH, it looks like a lot of shops are boarded and several have gone in for Dark Arts, so there's a lot of destabilization that's gone on in business. I'd guess the Dark Arts shops are forced out of business (or at least into Knockturn Alley). Then, if it's anything like any other business street in the world, the old shops suddenly end up with revolving door merchants. Which is kind of sad.
willowbough From: willowbough Date: July 28th, 2007 02:18 pm (UTC) (Link)

So glad you're going with this, and I'm looking forward to seeing how it develops. Teddy really is a godsend as an entry point into this post-(second)war world. Is it possible that one of his parents' wands would be a far better match with him than the one he just bought? And if so, how long will it take Andromeda to unbend enough to let him try?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 28th, 2007 03:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
And if so, how long will it take Andromeda to unbend enough to let him try?

Well, given my outline, I'd estimate... ;p

marycontraria From: marycontraria Date: July 28th, 2007 03:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm still really loving this - especially now that you're getting into a bit of plot (not that I didn't enjoy meeting a lot of characters at once, but you know ;)). Berit's wonderful - has she tried werewolf hair cores??

One thing - Luna's "Meet the Manitou" - although I know it is used for other things (a quick google search points to small towns, spa resorts, summer camps, and cycling suspension forks, to name a few), my immediate and strongest association with the word Manitou is the major deity in a lot of Native legends, so I wondered what you were going for there...
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 28th, 2007 03:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think she probably would have tried him on werewolf hair if she'd done one, but if she hasn't already, she probably will. British wandmaking needs a shake-up, I say!

Most of the reading I've done has a manitou as a kind of dark creature, with icicles for fingers, that possesses lost travelers. Or I may have it mixed up with some other creature, three syllables starting with "M"; I didn't have any non-Rowling cryptozoology books handy. ;p

Er, or not starting with "M." I just found the creature I was thinking of, which is a Wendigo.
From: (Anonymous) Date: July 28th, 2007 03:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, sniff, sniff. This is sad and sweet all around.

I realize it's not the same to Rowling, but I seem to have picked up feelings about families being extinct in the male line. It really bugs me. A Chinese thing, I suppose (thinking about explaining my kind of complex Chinese connection, but I think I'll skip it). I keep hoping a Black will show up alive, a descendent from the disowned branches or maybe Regulus didn't die and had children after all (I've thought of a bunch of easy ways he should have been able to escape from the horcrux cave so I don't see why he didn't).

Looking forward to more.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 28th, 2007 03:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
The only thing mitigating against Regulus being alive and having a male heir is that Harry was able to inherit the house and Kreacher.

Sigh. Maybe Teddy will have three sons, and one can take the Tonks name and another the Black name. Sniff. Long live the House of Black!
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aebhel From: aebhel Date: July 28th, 2007 04:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, this is beautiful. I love the bit with the wands; will Teddy end up using one of his parents' after all? It's kind of amazing how you manage to build dramatic tension in a world without Voldemort, Death Eaters, or any kind of apparent external threat whatsoever. I bow down to your genius.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 28th, 2007 04:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
The after-war generation has a whole different sort of challenge, like figuring out what the heck they're going to do now and dealing with living in some pretty big shadows. (Suddenly, I'm imagining Teddy Lupin as Teddy Duchamp from Stand By Me... "My father stormed the beach at Normandy!!! He stormed the beach, you bastard!!!")
jedi_chick From: jedi_chick Date: July 28th, 2007 05:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love the little details sprinkled throughout this part--the books being ordered ahead because they would spend too much time in the bookstore (sounds like me!), the guilt Teddy feels when Berit can't find him a wand, the abandoned shop fronts, the way everyone reacts to Andromeda. The way you worked in the wand lore from DH was great as well--I am curious as to which wand really does suit Teddy.
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