I just wanted to thank JK for her world, and her continued generosity with it! These are her toys! I own any OC's that appear, they're MINE ALL MINE! BWahahahaaah! Sorry little touch of megalomania there. So enjoy my take on the continuing saga of the epilogue to DH.
Chapter Notes: Well here we are. The first chapter of the eagerly anticipated sequel to Year of the Badger. I won't say too much, I know you are eager to get started but there are a couple of things I need to go over.
Schedule: Because of the better quality of writing I am committed to with this project the once every week will most likely not be possible. I have decided that I need to be more succinct and better focused but at the same time give better descriptive paragraphs and that takes more time, I think the project will be better for it.
Character Arcs: There are going to be significant changes in the characters, one in particular. I may lose some readers over it because they are not used to these fictional characters being human. I have made a commitment to these guys that I will write them warts and all, what that means is that when they are not being nice or flattering I will still write the truth. This might mean that someone you care about becomes someone you don't like, and I can't promise they will come all the way back. That is what real humanity is like and that is why I write to reveal that. I hope you as the reader can give me the benefit of a doubt that I am making choices for the good of the story, and ones that will resonate better later on.
With no further conversation, here is the first chapter I hope you deem it worth the wait.
You know I am still needy so R&R and keep the bunny going!
Albus Potter and the Black Badger Society
Chapter1: About a Wand...
Albus had always cherished Tri-W in Diagon Alley. He had visited all of the stores as they opened, including the newest branch in Cardiff, but the original store held a special place in his heart.
Some of his earliest memories were of toddling through these aisles being chased by Sweedy and his mum.
James once appreciated this store too. Of course now that he had an underground trade going at Hogwarts his perusal of the shelves was for new products to offer. Albus didn't even know if his brother even used Tri-W products any more. It was part of the enigma that was James Sirius Potter. As long as James left Albus alone he didn't dwell on it too much.
Albus enjoyed helping out when he could. He knew it was a geeky thing to do, but he loved the atmosphere of the place. Tri-W, Number ninety-three Diagon Alley now covered three storefronts. Uncle George had absorbed Magical Creatures Menagerie, and Hazel's Spectacular Used Cauldron Shop, after the elderly owners retired. George confided in Albus that he had paid nearly twice what the establishments were worth, but the good will created by such a move made up the difference. Now Tri-W in Diagon had a Magical Pets Department, and an Imported Cauldron Shoppe to offer the public. Of course the Magical Pets Department had its own built in advertisement with Albus's cousin Hugo out front protesting it. Uncle George had periodic meetings with the budding young crusader to discuss terms, but he managed to make sure that Hugo felt a need to picket as often as possible. It was a great way to get curb-side attention.
Albus was stacking the latest incarnation of Even More Skiving Snack Boxes with all new Cough-Up-A-Lung Cordials! Suddenly he heard the door chime and a familiar chuckle. He didn't even bother to look around, he knew they would find their way to him soon enough.
"Master James and Master Fred!" Sweedy squeaked, probably accepting hugs from the two rogues in question.
"Alright there, Sweedy?" inquired the voice that Albus had grown to hate over the years.
"Very much indeed, Master James!"
"Where's my little brother?" came the sly request. Albus could imagine his handsome, athletic brother with the messy dark hair smiling his evil little grin as he anticipated torturing his younger sibling.
"I think he's working on aisle twelve at the moment, young master, can I take some orders down for you to take back to Hogwarts?"
"That won't be necessary," purred Fred, oozing the charm that kept his dance card full at Hogwarts. Albus could see the broad shouldered, caramel-skinned Fred, with his freckled nose, winking at Sweedy with that casual insouciance he always projected when he anticipated getting into trouble. Sweedy giggled girlishly, and then Albus heard her talking to another customer further across the shop, which meant Fred and James were en route. He briefly considered the invisibility cloak he had secreted in his robes, but his dad had asked him not to tell James. Suddenly disappearing would be a dead give-away.
He sighed, and started on a stack of Aruba Daydream Charms which had a surprise hurricane in one box out of twelve. You would think that would scare people off, but it had actually helped sales. Yet another of Dinky's brainstorms. Of course the elf spent some time immobilized in St. Mungos' new Dobby the Elf magical creatures ward, developing it. That was fine with the little Elf, he seemed to enjoy being blown through the laboratory wall; Albus was told, as Uncle George made his way through the high winds and swirling rubble, a little hand broke through a pile of plaster and gave a thumbs up before going limp.
"Looky here, dear cousin, there's employee of the month!" James exclaimed loudly.
"Blimey, what a little worker he is! You know, that elf looks like your brother, James," Fred replied.
Albus made a rude gesture over his shoulder and opened a carton to stock Manoeuvrable Morass: New and Improved and Methane Free! The latest version of Portable Swamp.It was something Uncle George developed when he discovered that people wanted a Portable Swamp that had less of a stench.
"That wasn't nice, Albus. I am appalled to think that you and I came out of the same womb!" said James airily.
"That makes two of us, James," Albus shot back. He still had yet to turn around, hoping the two would get bored and wander off. He kept telling himself, three days to Hogwarts, just three more days to Hogwarts. He knew that since Fred had somehow managed a Prefect badge, along with Dominique, that he was probably going to endure some abuse-of-power pranks this year, but he still missed The Cellar and his cosy Hufflepuff bed away from the reach of his brother and cousin.
"Albus? I believe it's time for your break," remarked a voice that belonged to his Aunt Angel.
Albus finally turned around. Fred and James were standing stiffly with a look of sudden terror on their faces. Aunt Angelina was standing just beyond them with her arms crossed, her hair in elaborate plaits done up with white beads. Her warm caramel-brown eyes bored into her son's back with exasperation. She was married to a clown, and was the mother of one of the biggest pranksters, but Aunt Angel was no pushover.
"Fred? I believe you told me you were coming by to help in the shop today, how nice, you brought some help."
Albus saw behind Aunt Angel, the instigator of this little scene. His cousin Roxanne, looking like a miniature of her mum, but with freckles and her hair worn long. She was smiling at her brother and cousin's discomfort. Albus never understood where his cousin Roxy developed her need-to-inform-adults from, but he had heard rumours she got it from her Uncle Percy. Usually it was annoying, but this time it worked in Albus's favour.
Aunt Angel smile brilliantly, it was the one she used in Tri-W advertisements, and one that had graced Quidditch magazine covers before she had retired from the Magpies. "I just realized that we haven't cleaned out the cages in the Magical Creatures Menagerie this month! That's an all-day job for you guys!"
"Muuuuum!" Fred whined, but it was a defeated sound. James seemed to be inching away, but Fred grabbed his arm before he could escape.
Albus smirked as he walked by. Aunt Angel stopped him a moment and handed him a couple galleons, "Flossy Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlour has this wonderful dish called a Chocolate Caramel Cherry Cauldron Surprise, bring me and Roxy back one of those, it's too many calories for one person, get yourself a double dip cone while you're there, see if little Hugo wants to go, I think he's protesting our mistreatment of Kneazle kittens this week." Albus nodded and glanced back as she pointed the direction of the menagerie out to the two boys, and held out her hand for their wands. They handed them over and trudged off shooting evil looks at Roxy.
Albus was nearly to the door when the little red Dinky Alert light came on.
Sweedy was calmly walking around handing out earplugs from her little apron, for anyone in the store. She handed Albus a pair and he got them in his ear before the red light went out.
A muffled explosion rumbled through the sturdily constructed building. They all watched the door to the laboratory until the light went green. Sweedy smiled and accepted the earplugs back with apologies. Albus had to smile and shake his head ruefully.
The laboratory door popped open and accompanied by a cloud of dark smoke that quickly dissipated, was a singed little elf with goggles on his eyes, a thick rubber apron and gloves up to his little bony elbows. Another larger head peeked out checking for damage, belonging to his Uncle George. His short spiked red hair was nearly unrecognizable under the soot, his fake ear hanging loose; his eyes were the only part of his face not blackened as he slipped the goggles back on his head, leaving clean spots around his eyes. He saw Albus by the door and waved with that old up-to-something grin plastered on his face. Dinky gave Albus a salute then turned to go back inside with his boss, who was offering possible reasons why their latest project blew up, while replacing his ear. His voice was cut off by the shutting of the thick, reinforced door.
Tri-W had the most spectacular fireworks in the Isles, and the reason for that was the dusty little elf now closing the laboratory door. If the light didn't go back to green, but blinked red then they would have gone in after him with a first-aid kit. St. Mungos now had two volumes of medical records on Dinky, and working on a third. Dinky was lucky. Most elves with Elven Voluntary Punishment Syndrome didn't live long.
EVPS was a relatively new diagnosis, seeing as nobody really looked after Elvish health and welfare for many years. When people began to pay attention to the elves behaviour they found out that some of them, upon punishing themselves, actually got addicted to it. Dinky had been turned out on the streets as a very young elf with this defect, and Sweedy, his sister, left her employment to look after him. They both found a place at Tri-W and had been there ever since.
It was a little known fact, outside of the family, that not only was Sweedy the top salesperson, and Dinky the chief product developer, but they were both part owners. Uncle George had signed over part of his business to them when elves recently attained legal status. This would have been highly controversial in wizard circles so George kept it quiet, for their welfare and his own.
Dinky and Sweedy didn't really require a lot to live off of, so they lived in the apartments over the store that formerly belonged to Uncle George and his late twin Fred. They where the wealthiest elves in all of England, but things like that didn't matter to them nearly as much as a place to live, to work, and to be respected.
Albus walked out the doors into the sunlit street of Diagon Alley.
It was the same cavalcade of sights and sounds as always but it never failed to enchant Albus.
From the glitzy displays of the latest brooms showing in the window of Quintessential Quidditch Supplies, to the myriad amazingly brilliant covers of the latest best sellers in the display at Flourish & Blotts. It might have seemed just noise to most people, but Albus heard a subtle symphony of life and purpose that he found comforting in the cacophony of sound. There were shops selling robes, shops selling telescopes and strange silver instruments, windows stacked with barrels of troll bladders and spider hair, tottering piles of used spell books, quills, and rolls of parchment, potion bottles, globes of the solar system with actual rotating planets …
"Save the Kneazle kittens! Show these owners there is no profit to be made from the capture and selling of these innocent creatures."
Albus saw his cousin Hugo holding up yet another homemade sign. This one read "Kneazles Need Love Too!" It was accompanied by a pretty amazing picture of a cuddly little kitten with eyes so life like that it was impossible not to smile. Albus could recognize his sister's handiwork anywhere. Lily sometimes helped Hugo out with his "projects" but Albus knew she was shopping with Aunt Hermione and Rose today. They had left Hugo to his crusade knowing he would be looked after by the very relatives he was attempting to thwart. He was in short a "mini" version of Uncle Ron, right down to the man-sized appetite and Weasley-red hair. Inside, though, he exasperated his father with his causes; leading Uncle Ron to tell Aunt Hermione on more than one occasion, "I don't know why he did that, he's your son!"
"Behold these hapless magical animals, doomed to spend their days in cages when they should be free!" Albus saw the people who Hugo had waylaid did indeed look at the adorable balls of fur in question in the window display, just as Uncle George had intended. Most if not all went on into the store, to "rescue" one with their money. Hugo smiled in a self-congratulatory manner, not realizing he was expediting the very thing he was seeking to thwart. Albus had to smile, Uncle George might be fun loving and child-like, but he is no fool.
"Hey Hughie, I'm heading down to Flossy's, want to come along or have me bring you something back?" Albus called.
Hugo looked disgusted, "I will not be bought off by a collaborator." Albus sighed. Hugo definitely got his vocabulary from his mum, and his pig-headed passionate streak from his dad. "Aunt Angelina gave me the money, she told me to ask you." "You expect me to accept ice cream bought with the money of the oppressors?" Hugo asked aghast. Albus smiled. "Consider this taking profit out of their pockets; it's a form of protest." Hugo smiled slyly. "When you put it that way, bring me back a Brazilian Nut Date sugar cone, with extra sprinkles, I got to remain at my post."
Albus rolled his eyes. "Suit yourself," he said as he walked by. Hugo went back to protesting/advertising.
It had been a long summer punctuated at times by visits by his new best friend Scorpius Malfoy. Included in those visits was one memorable adventure to Malfoy Manor. It was nearly as big as Uncle Ron and Aunt Hermione's mansion, Black Briar Manor, but twice as cold and antiseptic. Scorpius's grandparents had agreed to a re-marriage, so that was held a month ago, and the write up in The Prophet was disgustingly glowing. There was a picture of the happy couple sneering at the camera along with Scorpius' dad, Draco and his tipsy wife Astoria, who may have gotten a little too much into the open bar. Draco had his hand on the back of Scorpius's dress robes restraining his son as he attempted to make a break for it. For the Malfoys it was almost a family moment. It made Albus's skin crawl, but it was where his friend came from. The Prophet had been so glowing towards the newly resurrected Malfoys that Scorpius was asked for interviews almost as much as Albus was the last time they walked Diagon. He was supposed to meet up with his pal tomorrow so they could get their Hogwarts supplies and celebrate his birthday. Rose was getting hers today at her insistence; she wanted to get a jump on her biggest rival before the start of class. That rival was also one of her closest friends, and it also happened to be Scorpius. The Tenacious Trio definitely had a strange chemistry!
It wasn't too far of a walk; Flossy's Ice Cream Parlour was just across from the intimidating marble and towering columns of Gringotts Wizarding Bank. He glanced over and saw several goblins congregating around. He had met a goblin this last year, the new defacto caretaker of Hogwarts, and he found he didn't like them too much.
He was being called to by the window display at Flourish & Blotts, the cover photograph was of some lady named Lavender Brown. The book was called My Life with Won-Won. Aunt Hermione had really gotten steamed over it for some reason. She had gone straight over to the store to ask for the author's signing date. Uncle Ron had taken one look at it and turned so pale his freckles looked like pox marks against his skin. Albus thought that they were acting strange, but he was instructed by his mum to not bring up the subject, or read the book. James and Fred had of course secreted a copy, but after they read it they burnt it in Grimmauld's fireplace, and answered Albus' inquiries with the lofty statement, "some things are better left unknown!"
"Mister Potter?" a creepy too-knowing voice came to his ears, from beside of him.
Like a scene from a muggle horror movie he had seen on Uncle Ron's telly, Albus turned to see the owner of that familiar voice sitting on a bench just outside of the wand Shoppe.
He suddenly heard that voice saying something entirely different just the year before...
"Made of Rowan, eleven inches, medium springy. It's one of the wands I acquired from Gregorovitch's widow. I've never found the young wizard to whom it belonged, though."
The man speaking those words was the old man Ollivander, himself. His nieces and nephew ran the shop, but when he heard that Harry Potter's youngest son was in the store, and had gone through every wand in stock, he came hobbling out. His bright silver mooneyes studied Albus with a calculation to make your skin crawl. In his claw-like hand, he carried a well-worn slender box, from which he pulled out a long and tapered, intricately carved dark wood wand. Albus's first thought had been that it was beautiful. His hand warmed as soon as he came into contact with it and his shoulder that was sore from swishing and flicking countless wands suddenly felt fine. He flicked it and so many sparks came out it set a workbench on fire.
Ollivander had his wand already out and performed an Aguamenti spell to put it out. Albus stared, stunned, at the wand in his hand. In the carving he picked out a monster. It had a lion's head, dragon's body, a snake for a tail and it breathed fire.
"That wand, young man," Ollivander wheezed, "is the only Chimera scale wand I have ever laid eyes on, very powerful."
He looked over Albus, to his father and said with an eerie finality, "I think we can expect great things from this son, Mister Potter."
Now that very man was studying him again from the shade of the awning over the front of the shop with that same eerie intensity and it made Albus's stomach roll uncomfortably.
"Come on over Mister Potter, let's visit a while, you and I," he said, smiling in a way that was probably supposed to be comforting, but made Albus want to run away.
Albus could hear his mum say, "Talk to the man, don't be rude now." So Albus crossed over to the wizened codger, and settled in beside him on the bench. "Can I help you sir?" he ventured, carefully.
Ollivander chuckled; it was a dry and raspy sound. "So polite! Your parents have taught you well. I just wanted to inquire after your wand. Eleven inches, medium springy, it really is an amazing specimen. You are very fortunate it chose you."
Albus's hand crept to where his wand was stowed. "What do you mean chose me?"
Ollivander smiled like a predatory animal, "Oh. Dear me. Your father didn't tell you did he? Well, it's not really my place."
Albus knew he was being manipulated into asking what it was his father failed to tell him, but he had to know. "You can tell me sir, I won't mention it."
Ollivander offered one claw like hand. "Let me see your wand please."
Albus nearly left at that moment. He loved his wand, but it took him a long time to develop that affection. His wand was precious to him now, he wasn't sure he trusted this man to give it back. Ollivander nodded encouragingly, which made Albus' trepidation worse. Finally he reached into his robes and pulled it out into the daylight, and handed it over.
"Watch very carefully Mister Potter," Ollivander said. He gave the wand a flick several times, nothing happened.
Albus sniggered; he couldn't help it. "What was I supposed to be watching, sir?"
Ollivander handed it back over to him. "You saw it."
Albus shook his head in confusion. "Saw what exactly?"
Ollivander's intense silver eyes bored into Albus's. "Every wand reacts to a wizard's hand, even if they are not the true master of it. That is why wizards can pass wands on to children, or share wands for generations. A wand is a tool, a marvellous, magnificently useful tool, but a tool nonetheless. They react strongest when they bond with the right wizard, but they still can be used by wizards other than their own."
Albus felt himself go pale, and his stomach gave a lurch. "But mine didn't."
Ollivander smiled that creepy smile as he shook his head. "Your wand never reacted to anyone's hand before yours. I had almost come to believe it was broken. The only explanation is that it is self-aware. It knows you; it works for you and you alone. The reason for this, I know not."
Albus gulped, he turned to stare straight ahead. His wand held in his numb fingers gave him a comforting pulse like it was aware he was upset. Maybe it was.
"Not good," Albus murmured.
Thought of the Day: There were statements in the HP series that indicated that Harry's Phoenix feather wand and his wand hand had a connection that he had with no other wand, is it really far fetched that an artifact of the power of a Chimera scale might develop a rudimentary consciousness, and choose to bond with a wizard? This seems a logical step in evolution to me. It does leave some fascinating questions for the future though.
P.S. For those who don't check my profile I am looking for someone to make BBS a banner. I have items I want to incorporate. If you have interest send me a tell with your email address and I will send you a packet with further instructions. The finalist will be posted with a poll and the winner will be posted on my profile. Thanks for reading!