Chapter 21 - Armistice

"A wand is a semi-sentient magical construct. While any wand can be used by anyone, a wand that has bonded to a person will function best. The core and wood combine to make a magical matrix that has an additive energy when combined with magic that has been filtered through a witch or wizard's core. Thus the ability to master high order spells. As the wand and owner interact, the bonded wand's magical construct will alter to better align with the core of the witch or wizard it is bonded to. A new wand can take as long as 2 years to fully adjust to a new user's core, therefore it is important to attempt to repair rather than replace when at all possible with a long term bonded wand.

It is also possible to commune with a wand on some level. Only a select few witches and wizards have the power to do it with any wand. As it is only semi-sentient, a wand can only exchange simple impressions. It is thought that this is the same channel used to communicate a wizard or witch's thought when performing transfiguration or conjuration spells for the final form of the object cast upon. A common example is the form that a corporal Patronus takes, which is pulled from the casting witch or wizard's subconscious. Some materials have an affinity for some types of spells as well. More flexible woods have an affinity for transfiguration, while the stiffer ones are better focused on defensive magic or charms…."

Excerpt from Wood, Wands, Wisdom and You

Harry gathered his tools and the items he was going to need from his desk and placed them in a small travel chest that Ollivander had in the shop. He closed the front clasp and pulled it to the center of the back work room. Ollivander was watching him with interest.

"Mr. Black, I have something for your first day. Please, take these and distribute them to the recruits." He handed Harry a stack of pamphlets that had various auror grade items that could be purchased at the shop. The pictures showed items like summon proof wrist holsters, leg holsters, specialized cleaning and protective kits.

Harry nodded to the shopkeeper from his perch on the chest and gave a jaunty salute as he activated the portkey badge. A sharp tug behind his navel pulled him from the shop.

After a few moments of spinning he felt himself touchdown. He was in the middle of an apparition and portkey arrival point. Moving quickly, he pulled his travel chest out and made room for the next witch or wizard to use it. Moody was standing off to the side where he had been waiting for Harry to arrive.

"Nice to see you're punctual, Mr. Black. Ollivander has at least got that trained into you. Now, what do you have planned for my recruits? Not that I'm judging your lesson plan… I just want to have a peek before the fireworks."

Harry handed him a muggle notebook with his handwritten notes in it. He had planned out three months in advance, and recorded all the spells, wand movements, incantations, and theory behind each of the spells. Also included were footnotes and small essay suggestions.

Moody's magical eye spun around and then stopped on the book in his hands. He flipped through the content and blew a silent whistle.

Harry made a nervous cough. "I had Hermione help me some with the planning. She was the one that basically did the research when it was the DA. I provided her with the original material; she just filled out the… uhm… technical parts."

Moody nodded and tucked the book into his pocket. "I'll have the reference info made into proper copies for the recruits. I should have the package back to you by the time we're ready to start. If you'll follow me?" With a wave of his wand, Moody levitated Harry's trunk and led him to the same gymnasium like area he had been in last time. The same table was set up off to the side for him to work from.

Mad Eye set the trunk down beside the table and started to clump away. "You've got about an hour to prepare before they finish their current classroom lesson. I'll be back with them then."

Harry opened the trunk and pulled out his classroom props. He set five different wands on the table, three different models of wand holster, and all the pamphlets that Ollivander had sent. Pulling up a chair, he opened the Wood, Wands, Wisdom and You book and re-read the passage Ollivander had mentioned a few days ago.

Harry set the book down and pondered the passage. He closed his eyes and relaxed in the chair as he went through the various permutations of wand materials and how they would benefit each school of magic.

Ezekial hovered in the background as Harry was lost in thought. Ezekial could feel minds enter the room with them. He sent out a small, innocent pulse of magic and mapped where they all were. Harry brought himself to the present when he realized that Ezekial was getting nervous.

"The recruits are in the room. Their surface thoughts show they think you are sleeping. One is preparing to cast a low powered curse at you… "

Harry waited until he could feel the power gather and release from the trainee. With a sudden movement, he had dove over the table and tucked into a roll in front. With a spring at the end of the roll, he launched himself at the trainee who had cast the jinx. Subtly adjusting his landing point to prevent any lasting damage, his foot came down on the trainee's instep. A sickening crunch could be heard. Harry followed up with a spin and open-handed slap to the chest that rocked the man off his feet.

Harry looked at the rest of the trainees. They were all standing with their mouths open and in shock. The one who had attempted to attack him was lying on the floor holding his obviously broken foot and howling in pain.

For several moments no one moved. Harry reached down and picked up the wand that Trainee Aubrey had dropped when he had landed on his foot. "I believe this is yours? I suggest you go and get your foot looked at by the medi-witch. Come back and get your wand when it is healed."

Aubrey limped toward the waiting medi-witch. Harry surveyed the rest of the trainees.

"All right. Now tell me, what went wrong there? You, Trainee?"

The young man he was pointing at snapped to attention and spoke. "Leach, Sir! We assumed you were asleep and did not believe you as a credible threat."

Harry nodded. "Correct. As I'm sure Moody has told you, Constant Vigilance. Never assume a person is not a threat until you have them naked, and under magic suppression lock and key. What else? How about you, Branstone, I believe?"

Eleanor Branstone snapped to attention. "He assumed you would retaliate magically, and not physically, Sir!"

"Another good point. There is a famous muggle saying that works well in this situation. 'KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid' Tell me, Trainee Pilliwickle, how does this apply?"

A tall recruit near the back of the crowd snapped to attention and answered. "Judge the situation. Why cast a spell when a simple shove would work to break an incantation? Magic is not the only answer to every solution."

Harry tilted his head to the side as he listened. "Close, but I'll accept it. It comes down to this: Control your emotions, control your magic, control your surroundings, and you will not fail. Now, these are all great points, but you all missed the biggest mistake so far. Anyone?"

Harry waited a full thirty seconds before turning to Moody. "Would you care to answer, Master Auror?"

Moody stomped into the group of students and growled his answer. "None of you did anything at all. You stood and watched as an unknown force took out one of your team mates. You waited for someone to tell you to do something. Not one of you reacted to pacify the attack. Your jobs are to protect the public. None of you even had your wands out, let alone cast a spell!" Moody's face was red by the end of his tirade.

Harry nodded. "Thank you, Master Auror. Now, I would like to give you all a chance to earn back his good mood. Everyone line up along the wall. Wands on the bench behind you. "

The trainees all ran to the wall. Harry walked to the table and gathered up the five wands. He walked the first trainee and offered a random wand to him. "I'm going to give you each a chance to try this. I'm not sure you have all tried to cast with someone else's wand in the past and want to give you a taste of what it can be like. You first five ready? Cast a simple stunner at the targets on the wall over there."

Each of the trainees cast the spell. A washed out red was the best they could do. Harry progressed down the row until they had all had a chance. He had several re-cast the spell after some coaching when he saw a poorly executed wand movement.

"Trying to cast with a wand that is not yours is difficult, and tiring. Even hand me down wands tend to be a poor fit. I've seen it before where a young man was using his father's wand. He was able to barely perform. Once he got a properly bonded wand, he was very, very powerful."

"Now pick up your wands. Hold them in your hand however is most comfortable. I want you to relax and close your eyes. I promise no surprise attacks during this exercise!" Some chuckles could be heard through the ranks. "Carefully and calmly cast the Lumis spell. Keep it lit and pay special attention to how it feels. Trace the feel of magic flowing through your wand and out."

Harry watched as the group cast the spell. Some were brighter than others, and some fluctuated, but all had a decent light. Suddenly one flared to actinic brightness. Harry pointed to the trainee and spoke. "You! What did you feel?"

The trainee was looking at her wand in awe as she responded in a quiet voice. "It felt like… a warm feeling, like when I play with my pet dog. It was a friendship… a partnership?"

Harry smiled. "Excellent! Now, try to get that feeling again and cast a stunner at the wall over there again."

The trainee relaxed, and snapped off a stupefy. This time the spell came out like a giant static shock. The crack! of it travelling almost instantly to the target rattled the ceiling and had some dust falling.

"Each of you has heard this a thousand times. A wizard or witch's wand chooses them. It's just like you said: A partnership. You can connect to your wand and when you have a good working partnership, you can both read what the other needs or wants without even thinking about it. Now, Trainee… Harkess? Yes? Put down your wand and try the same thing with this borrowed wand."

Harry handed her one of the wands he had brought with him. Trainee Harkess held the wand for a few moments, a small frown of concentration on her face. She cast a stupefy a few moments later. The spell was significantly stronger than the first try, but still no match to her own wand's effect.

"Sir, it was like negotiating. It felt like I had to ask it to work with me, and it did, but felt… odd? Like trying to write with the wrong hand."

"Well said. I'll take that wand. Now I want you to all pair off with someone. It is important to have trust of both your partner and their wand. Your exercise for the next ten minutes will be to get to know the other person's wand, and them by extension. When you feel comfortable, go and try school grade jinx dueling. Please, nothing stronger than a jelly legs or tickling charm until I say so."

Harry wandered back to where Moody was sitting. He sat on the bench beside the auror and spoke as he observed the trainees at work. "So, Moody… care to make a bet?"

Mad Eye's magical eye swiveled to point at Harry. He looked at the man beside him for a moment before answering, "What bet?"

"I bet I can have one of your trainees casting a fully corporal Patronus with an un-bonded wand before the end of today's lesson."

Moody's real eye widened in disbelief. "What stakes?"

"Let's keep it simple. A bottle of Ogden's Finest Reserve."

Mad Eye nodded. "But, I pick the trainee!"

Harry shrugged. "Of course. Pick out your choice."

Moody pointed out Trainee Leach. "He's a good lad, but still needs to get confidence."

Harry stood up and motioned to Leach. The trainee collected his wand and jogged over to stand in front of Harry. "Trainee Leach, reporting!"

Harry picked up a wand that had not been used in the previous exercises. With a nod of his head, he motioned towards an unused corner of the room.

"Please give us some quiet, Trainee." At Harry's request Leach waved his wand and erected a privacy ward around the corner.

Harry motioned at the bench seat and had the trainee sit down. The young auror recruit sat with a look of interest and concern on his face. He studied the man that Moody called Mr. Black. At first glance, he would have guessed he was in his late forties, but now that he had a chance to do more than glance, he lowered his assessment by at least twenty years. The lined and scarred face along with the greying hair was what skewed his first guess. What really drew his attention were the eyes. They were like he was looking not only at you, but at your thoughts, desires, intentions and soul.

Harry cleared his through and settled down on the bench beside the recruit. "What's your name, Recruit?"

"Girard Leach, Sir." Harry nodded and glanced at the wand in the recruits grasp. Girard held the wand up between his fingers. "It's ten inches of Holly with a thestral hair."

Harry held out his hand and took the wand from the recruit. He set it on the table beside them. He then handed the recruit an un-bonded wand he had brought for the exercise. "This wand was made by an Ollivander over three hundred years ago. It's a strange combination of twelve inches of hemlock with a heartstring from a chimera. Ever since it's construction, it has failed to bond with anyone. Honestly, I think it's a bit of a peeve to Ollivander to not be able to match it to someone." Harry smiled as he handed it to Leach.

Girard Leach gingerly picked up the wand and gave it a swish. The wand did not emit a great stream of red and gold like his did. Barely a single washed out grey sparkle fell from the tip. Harry nodded and pointed at the result.

"That's the best anyone has gotten from it, including myself. How far have you gotten in your occlumency?"

Leach shrugged his shoulders as he responded, "Not bad, I guess. I can build the walls, and keep out an attack for a minute. Not nearly as good as I need to be."

"Ok, Girard. Here's what I want you to do. Pretend that wand is someone you are going to try to scan with your legilimency. Relax your shields, and gradually reach out, like you were going to try to insinuate yourself past some shields. Don't hide, just gradually move towards it. When you do touch it, wait a moment until you feel it respond to your presence. Tell me when you're there. Take your time."

Girard swallowed nervously and nodded his head. He settled back on the bench, getting into a comfortable position. He lightly held the wand in his hands, almost cradling it as if it was fragile. His breathing became steady as he dropped into the relaxation exercise used to teach occlumency. One by one the muscles groups relaxed and he gradually faded to almost sleep. After several minutes, he spoke.

"It's…. angry? No.. not angry, just not happy."

Harry smiled. "That sounds right. Have you ever dealt with a hippogriff? Proud beasts that need to have respect before you can approach? Try the same thing here, but mentally. And I'll warn you, Trainee. Don't try to obscure your thoughts. If you try, the wand will sense it."

Girard's eyebrows beetled on his brow as he concentrated on his task.

Girard Leach had been in this mindscape many times. He was one of the recruits that had been getting extra tuition for his occlumency since he was falling behind. He had always envisioned his mindscape as a vast desert, the winds of his magic blowing across the dunes of his mind. His thoughts protected by a huge rock citadel that jutted up from the middle.

Right now he was standing in front of his stronghold, looking at a pillar of whirling sand. The giant swirl was almost a hundred meters tall, and was so massive that the air currents seemed to lumber around the center. Small fingers of lightning rippled across the surface. After taking a calming breath, he stepped forward. As the wand's full attention came to bear on him, he felt like a huge weight was settling on him. He was truly awed by its mental presence. First he bowed his head, but didn't lower his eyes. Then, he gradually performed a full bow and scrape. His gaze never left the sight in front of him. Somehow he knew that if he showed subservience like that the wand would completely reject him. It was a proud and powerful artifact and would accept nothing but the same as a partner.

The djin-like cloud didn't change for several moments. Then, the pressure let off, and he could feel an almost grudging welcome. He waited for another few seconds before regaining his footing. The whirling sand compressed down to a dust devil. It still was crackling with static, but was not as threatening.

It suddenly moved forward and engulfed Girard. The static lightning played across his mental sand didn't scour him, but felt more like a cat's tongue on his face. A gruff, formal feeling of limited partnership firmed in his mind.

Harry carefully watched the trainee in front of him with his mage sight. He could see the pulses of magic going between him and the wand held in his hands. Suddenly, the erratic pulses slowed and a rope-like conduit settled into place.

Leach's eyes slowly opened. His gaze rested on the wand in his hands for a few moments. When he looked at Mr. Black he had a huge grin on his face.

"That's bloody brilliant! I think I know what the occlumency tutor was trying to show me earlier now too!"

Harry patted him on the shoulder and stood up. "Good! Let's try a spell, shall we! Let's move over there where there's some room."

Trainee Leach broke the privacy ward as he walked through it and strode towards the center of the work area. Moody blew a whistle and the rest of the recruits entered formation. He smirked at Harry and gestured to continue. Harry winked back at him and moved to stand next to Girard.

"Here's what you're going to do. I want you to think of something that really makes you happy. Something that really fills your heart with joy. Ever been in love?"

Leach blushed and nodded his head. "My girl and I just got engaged. We'll get married when I graduate… If I ever do."

Harry slapped him on the back. "Congratulations. Now think about that moment when you first kissed. Mash it together when she said yes, and image how you will feel as you say the words at your wedding. Take the feelings and put it all together. Got it?"

One glance at the man's eyes was all harry needed to know. The recruits blue eyes were almost glowing with gathered power, and a filling with tears of happiness.

"Take the bliss… compress it and send it to through your wand as you cast the patronus spell. Now do it!" Harry kept his eyes open only long enough to see the young man take a breath and shout out the spell's incantation. He threw up his arm to shield his face at the moment of release.

"Expecto Patronum!"

The sudden yelling and shouts of surprise were all he needed to know he had won his bet. Opening his eyes, he could see the recruits all fumbling around with their hands on their eyes. Moody's magical eye was spinning like crazy trying to make up for his natural one being dazzled.

The corporal patronus strutted around in front of Harry and Girard. Its proud stance was unmistakable. Harry let out a low whistle and turned to Girard.

"I don't think I've actually ever seen a witch or wizard with a patronus of a Dire Wolf. I reckon that's almost two meters at the shoulder, you think?"

Girard nodded and reached out to run his hand through the spell's energy. He felt the emotions he had put into the spell. "Normally, it's just barely a wolf. I've never gotten it to be fully realized."

The rest of the class had recovered from the spell flash. They all looked contemplative as the patronus walked up to each one and sniffed them. It finally turned to its caster and threw its head up in a silent howl as it faded away.

Moody allowed everyone to take a moment to allow it to sink in.

"I want everyone to study the material you were given at the start of the session. I expect you ALL to be able to cast a patronus with someone else's wand and have the written portion complete by the time Mr. Black comes back in two days. Dismissed! Leach, stay for a moment."

Harry went to the table and started to pack up the materials. Each of the recruits had come by and picked up a pamphlet as they filed out.

Moody spoke quietly to the Auror recruit for a few minutes. The recruit handed the borrowed wand to him and retrieved his own plus a pamphlet as he left. Moody stomped over to Harry and handed the wand to him.

"It seems I owe you a bottle of whiskey. When you pulled out Ollivander's white whale I thought I had already won. He stopped trying to find someone that 'Ahab' will bond to?"

Harry shook his head. "Not yet. Every person that comes in the shop looking for a wand is given a go. It seems this wand is waiting for someone special to come along, but it will work with the occasional witch or wizard if properly handled. This was sort of a win – win situation. He was either going to be able to talk to it, or I show the dangers of using strange wands to the recruits. The whiskey was just a bonus."

Moody's mouth gaped open for a moment before he started braying in laughter.

"You cheeky bugger! Let's go to the Leaky Cauldron and get some supper! I'll pay up on the bet there."

A/N: One of the dangers of posting a story late at night: Making a terrible spelling mistake in the chapter title. Wow.. I feel like a tool.