The Ollivander Children
Formerly, Queenie, of the Sugar Quill
Author's Note: Wow. This is it. I have been working on this fanfiction for years, and now it is finally seeing the light of a wide public. Thank you so much for reading. Reviews are always greatly appreciated.
Disclaimer: I don't own the Harry Potter universe, nor any of the canon characters I depict in this story, of whom the most prominent is Mr. Ollivander. I do, however, own the characters that I have created. So respect that, as I respect J. K. Rowling. Thank you.
Chapter One – Two Parties
"Do you believe in magic?"
The woman shrugged. "It's a simple question. I'm curious. Do you believe in magic?"
"Well – kind of unexpected. Um. Okay, first, I do not believe in psychics, people at the back of the newspapers saying they can read your future, Tarot cards, any of that. No, I don't buy it. But stuff like horoscopes, that's a bit of harmless fun. Then again, Sagittarians like me are too sensible to believe in things like that. But I do believe in ghosts – definitely – and that the Lord works in mysterious ways."
"You mean, in coincidences having a deeper meaning?"
"I mean," the man said, "that the Lord works in mysterious ways."
"All right. But is that really magic?"
"I'm getting to that. I don't – hum. Gosh, I wish magic was real, I wish it could really exist, but I have to content myself with, it probably doesn't. If it ever did, it's long since faded from the world, and those who know it gone into the West. You know, like in The Lord of the Rings."
"I remember that. That was a good ending. If they've gone into the West, what does that say about Japan?"
"I'd worry more about California."
"Jesus! Mark! You just ran a red light!"
"I did not, I was already over the intersection crosswalk by the time it turned red. It's legal to continue, in fact if I'd stopped I coulda been arrested."
"Calliope, relax. Do you think I'm driving too fast?"
"Well – yes."
"Then tell me. I don't want to scare you, or be dangerous to other drivers. You can advise people on their driving in America, you know."
"I'm – sorry, just high-strung."
"It's fine. I know I drive like a maniac anyway. Comes from my days as a courier. Competitive field."
"Ah, yes, I imagine so."
"Speaking of imagination – what about you, Miss Ollivander?"
"Do you believe in magic?"
"That's it? Just yes?"
The first speaker, Calliope Ollivander, was a very tall, thin young woman who sat slightly ill at ease in the passenger seat of the car. To take her mind off the road, she gathered all of her long, straight black hair over one shoulder. Every so often, her pale silver eyes – startling the first time you saw them – would glance at the young man driving the car. He caught her eye and grinned. She smiled back, then looked away, not seeing how his cheeks warmed pinker than usual.
"By the way," he tapped the steering wheel in an idle bongo rhythm, "got another job interview."
He beamed. "St. Francis Xavier Elementary."
"By the movie theater?"
"Exactly!" He seemed unable to control his excitement. "It – the interview – isn't for a while yet, but I've got really high hopes. I mean, it's in a good neighborhood – decent, anyway – it's small, got a great reputation, it's Catholic, it's small –"
"You like the fact that it's small?"
"Well, yeah. I love guiding the really interested kids, and y'know, bringing everyone together, but…" his voice got lower, "It's really hard in a big classroom where most of them just don't care. But, that's in the past, and this interview is going to signify a new step for me, a whole new life."
"That's great, Mark. I really hope you get it."
"Why, thank you, Calliope." Mark Printzen had light brown hair, cut across his forehead in a fringe that was slightly outgrown, and hazel eyes that were very good at communicating laughter across a room.
They pulled up in front of an apartment building. When they had collected another passenger – a loud and cheery actress – Mark took off again, declaring, "Next stop, Andrew, and fireworks! So, Bridget," he addressed the blonde young woman in the backseat, "How are the preparations for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival coming along?"
"They're fine, but my brother dropped his ticket, saying he can't attend."
"Oh, that's a shame."
"So that leaves one open space in our group – airfare, hotel, and round-trip. Would either of you like to come along?"
Mark's face brightened; Calliope's darkened.
"Well," Mark started, "I don't know, I'd have to check the days, see if it conflicts with my job interview – "
"St. Francis Xavier's."
"Yeah, I don't remember the date exactly, but it's right around then, mid to late August."
"Okay, well, totally understand if you can't make it."
"I'd love to, though."
"Oh, I know you would." She addressed Calliope, "He's been dreaming of going to England for-ever."
"It's true," Mark nodded, making a turn.
"What about you, Calliope? Go back home for a weekend, show us around – you live in Scotland, don't you?"
"What do you say?"
"I –" Calliope leaned her forehead on her hand, and didn't look at either of the Muggles in the car, "Listen, I've already been thinking hard about whether I want to go home or not – I mean, move back home, to stay. I really do not think I'll be flying across the Atlantic for a weekend."
"Oh. Gee." Bridget retreated into the backseat. "Sorry."
"Is everything okay back home?" Mark looked at Calliope. "Is your family okay?"
"As well as can be expected," she replied, trying to make her voice lighter and less expressive.
The sun was low over the horizon and blazing yet when the small red car pulled up to the River View apartment complex. Once Mark had parked the car, Bridget got out and trotted over to his side of the car, twirling once to show off her star-spangled attire. "New outfit! You like?"
"It's frapjous. You look great," he translated, when Bridget looked confused. She beamed and hurried to the door. He turned. "And you, Miss Ollivander –"
She looked down at her simple striped dress and red shawl. "It's not much, but it's the most red, white, and blue I could come up with."
"You look – "
"And I must remind you these are British colors. My grandfather was still withholding judgment on that Independence notion of yours."
"You look lovely," he said with a smile. "As always."
"Thank you," she replied, in her measured way.
Jazz music, soft but catchy, haunted the three as they walked up to the door of 15G and rang the doorbell. Andrew Dupont opened it wide with a smile. "Bridget! Mark! Calliope! The gang's all here! Come inside! Happy Fourth of July!"
"Same to you!" Mark replied.
"Come inside, we got cornbread from Tabitha, of course, and Eli hooked us up with a big clamboil, so help yourselves, and beers in the cooler of every nationality so we can celebrate a real Melting Pot." Andrew's dark eyes twinkled. He tossed his short dreadlocks out of his face as he guided Bridget to their purse room and listened to her gossip.
Calliope and Mark walked around the entire flat, saying hello to everyone, but Calliope soon left him on the balcony and went into the living room, past the dusty television. There Andrew's sister Tabitha was holding court, among a crowd of people whose clothes were odder, their voices quieter, and their drinks more exuberantly colored, than of those on the balcony.
Calliope reflected that it was a shame, with all the work that Andrew and Tabitha put into their parties, that they inevitably ended up being split into two mini-soirées: wizards in the living room and Muggles on the balcony. They happened to listen to the same music, eat from the same buffet table, and watch the same fireworks. At least the music was always good. Calliope had not yet worked out how the Muggleborn Andrew managed to play Louis Armstrong, the Coffee Club Orchestra, and Sydney Bechet on a magical radio, but it always did sound scratchy.
As Calliope poured herself a root beer, Andrew made his way towards her. He looked around warily, then took a drink for himself. He asked quietly, "Is everything okay back home? Is your family okay?"
Calliope sighed and took a drink like the root beer was a martini. "The situation's not getting any better. I'm lucky enough to come from a pure-blood family, and a small one, but – god, things seem to get worse every day."
"I heard you elected a new Minister of Magic," Andrew offered.
"Yes, we have. My brother even managed to get me a nice absentee ballot. And everyone I know is delighted with the new fellow – Fudge was an absolute disaster. This new one appears far more paranoid."
"And that's a good thing?" A new member of the conversation had sauntered over, a man with slick dark hair and an expression of near-constant ennui.
"Yes, Scalia, it is," Calliope said in a clipped voice. "My brother and uncle remember the last war much better than I do, and my best friend is an Auror, and all of them are appreciative of more paranoia in the Ministry."
Andrew nodded, "Especially after that interview with that kid – little dude with the glasses – help me out here – "
"Harry Potter?" Calliope raised an eyebrow.
"Yes! Him. I've heard that made quite a few waves."
She nodded and sipped her drink, not voicing her query if Andrew had actually read the interview.
"Well, if you ever need to expound your woes to a willing ear, just send me an owl," Scalia nodded.
"Or me," Andrew interjected.
"Yep. No reason you should be bumming around with folks who don't care." Scalia made a jerk with his head towards the balcony.
"Hey," Andrew said sharply. "Watch it."
"It's not for you, Monsieur Scalia, to choose whom I 'bum around' with. But I appreciate your concern." She nodded curtly towards him. "Now, both of– all of you – " she added, seeing that a few ears around them had caught the conversation – "If we could please talk about something other than the war?"
"What war?" asked Juan (a Muggle paralegal, an old friend of Tabitha's) as he went to get a drink.
"In the Mideast," Andrew replied easily.
The sun went slowly down, and the lights in the apartment went slowly up. Jazz music magical and Muggle played nonstop, hitting a plateau when Andrew grooved onto the living room carpet, making it a dance floor. This was one of the more successful minglers of the night, as both parties kicked up their heels. Mark and Andrew took the lead, with each trying to outdo one another's flails and spins to the tune of "Tippermouth Blues," and later, "The Tap-Dancing Crocodile."
When the song ended, Mark, still laughing, went to get some water. He started talking to Tabitha. "Swell shindig you got here." He took a gulp. "Did I sound natural saying that? Swell shindig?"
"A shindig doesn't sound pleasant, I'm afraid," Tabitha replied, good-naturedly. "But don't worry. You looked like you were having a blast on the dance floor."
"Well, yeah. Music's great!" A solitary figure on the balcony – just barely visible through the throng – caught his eye. "Oh, Calliope's sitting out, as usual."
"You're right. And she looks so – pretty tonight. Don't you think so?"
"Mm-hmm," Tabitha nodded, her smile obscured by her cup. "Why don't you go talk to her? Try and coax her onto the floor?"
"You know, I think I will!" Mark gave a nod to Tabitha and wound his way around the dance floor, towards the balcony.
Andrew caught a glance at his sister's face and stopped his little soft-shoe.
"What?" she asked him, all innocence.
"You're brewing something, aren't you?"
"Nothing that hasn't been already cooking, little bro. I just gave it a stir."
Mark approached the tall young lady, who was staring out at the Charles River. "Good evening." He made a sweeping bow. "Care to dance?"
"Thank you, but no thank you."
"Come on, it'll be fun!"
"I don't dance."
"Nonsense! A lady named after one of the Muses should always be light on her feet."
"Calliope was not the Muse of dance. I think she was the Muse of standing still for a long time, describing fight scenes."
"… Okay, I concede that. But all nine of them are always painted as dancing around on their little mountain."
"Well, good for them, but I'm not a Muse, and this isn't a mountain."
"If you insist." A beat. "Care to dance?"
"What? Maybe you'll change your mind."
"Maybe I'll –"
"Hey folks! Andrew's voice cut through the chatter. "It's 6:45, fireworks will start in fifteen minutes, so what do y'all say to a slow but certain migration to the roof?"
Calliope gave Mark a look as if to say "So there." Mark gave a shrug and grinned at her, then went to give Andrew a hand with the drinks cooler. As they wound their way up the stairs, Mark commented, "Man, this is the lightest cooler I've ever hauled."
"I shop wisely," was all Andrew said.
Soon the entire party had reached the roof, with the lights of Boston glowing steadily all around them, and a few stubborn stars twinkling above. All around them a few small – and most likely illegal – fireworks displays were already in progress.
Tabitha found Calliope still on the edge of the roof and walked over.
"Hello," Calliope nodded to her. "Lovely party."
"Thank you, but why're you lurking so much? You're acting like a wallflower."
"I'm not – "
"A total wallflower."
"I've been talking all night. Just because I don't dance doesn't mean I'm a wallflower."
"Mm-hm. And right now you're…"
"Trying to reserve a good vantage point for fireworks viewing."
Tabitha paused. "Good idea." She checked her watch. "Okay, folks, nearly showtime!" She moved to herd the small party towards the side of the roof nearest to the Charles.
Soon, Mark settled in next to Calliope. "I'm not going to ask you to dance this time."
"I didn't think so. You like fireworks too well."
"This… is true. Hey, they're starting the national anthem." At once he straightened up and put his hand on his heart, like most of the company. The strains of 'The Star Spangled Banner' floated loud and clear across the water.
Calliope solemnly began "God save our gracious Queen…" until Mark shushed her.
When the anthem had faded, and the first few fireworks – perennially impressive – went off, the two sat in silence for a long time.
Then Mark commented, "After that conversation we had in the car – about magic and stuff – now I'm all thinking of the fireworks Gandalf set off at Bilbo's party. Now if I had magic, I'd definitely make some crazy cool fireworks."
"If there were a 'Fellowship of the Ring' movie, they'd have to have the fireworks. Good ones, too. Wonder who they'd cast. Aragorn would be tough."
"How about – um – what's his name – Gregory Peck?"
"Peck? He'd be no sort of Aragorn at all. Besides, he's dead."
"Oh. That's a shame. How about mister… Laurence Olivier?"
"Dead, too. But – he'd be good. Got the right face. And that means Vivien Leigh as Arwen – I like your casting calls, Miss Ollivander!"
"As you say."
"Now that was a firework!" he exclaimed as a bright gold explosion lit up the dim smoke, and then split off into smaller crackers. The strains of "God Bless the USA" wafted on the air over the smoke. Calliope listened to the warbled words.
"And I'm proud to be an American,
Where at least I know I'm free,
And I won't forget the men who died
And gave that right to me…"
"Calliope, are you all right?"
"What?" She turned to look at him. "Nothing's wrong."
"I don't believe you."
"I'm not crying or anything."
"No. But you look absolutely miserable." He looked away from the fireworks to be closer to her. "Is there anything I can do? Even if just – you know – you need someone to listen to you. I'm pretty good at that. Even though I talk a lot."
She gave a weak smile. "I'm fine."
"Again. I don't believe you."
"I'm – " she turned away. "I'm homesick."
"I can't blame you for that. Especially on a day like today."
"No, that's – there's a lot more to this than you know." She took a deep breath and let it out. "There's – I don't even know if I want to tell you this. Or how."
"Start slow. Start at the beginning. Start with a Shakespeare quote."
She paused. "What's a good quote for a – a trouble that I thought was long gone, but that's come back?"
"In general terms, yes."
Mark paused, and let another firecracker burst into life and sizzle into death before he said, "'From ancient grudge break to new mutiny, where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.'"
"… That's good. That's very good."
"Thank you. Romeo & Juliet."
"That's pretty much it. It takes a really long time to describe. It's not appropriate party talk, either."
"You never cared about party talk before."
"Well, I do now."
"Wait – you're serious? You mean civil blood is making civil hands unclean?"
A blue firework illuminated her face, and the delayed pop punctuated her silence. Then she nodded.
"Jesus," Mark whispered. "The police – can you ask them?"
"It's very complicated. My – technically my brother is a part of the police force. Even he's overwhelmed."
"This is more than just your family?"
"I – I do not want to go into details. Why am I even going into any details? It's nothing personal against you," she added quickly.
He looked puzzled. "Why should it be?"
"But – it's dangerous. Quite dangerous. And I want to – I don't know what I want. One day I'm glad to be here, safe, away from everything that's going on. The next I'm thinking I'm a horrible coward and I want to be home, with my family and everyone I care about. This is – I feel like I'm being pulled apart, and then like I'm just… going stagnant. I don't know what to do."
More fireworks erupted far away from them. Finally Mark asked, "Do you want me to give you advice?"
"I'd – well, I don't know if advice is the right word. But… I'd like to know what you think."
"Okay. This is entirely your dilemma, and I can't help you a lot because I don't know a lot. But you sound like you're the most torn over your indecision. You – I think I know you well enough to say that, when you make a decision, you follow it with all the force of your will. Now you don't know what choice to make, but when you make it, you'll follow it without looking back. That's what I think of you, at least."
She looked at his earnest face. "Maybe you're right."
"You don't yet know enough, so don't torment yourself. You'll get a sign. You'll know when to make your decision, and how."
A slew of fireworks and answering pops and snaps and booms ensued, making conversation practically impossible. But in the light Mark saw her nod, smile, and mouth "Thank you."
The second Sunday in July, the four members of the Ollivander clan who lived in England all gathered for lunch. They met at the family estate, Hollywyck, in Scotland. These dinners were not as common as they should have been – once a month, perhaps – but Servaas Ollivander, who still owned and ran the wand shop in Diagon Alley, declared them his favorite outings on a Sunday.
He dryly called himself the default patriarch – he had no children, but since his older brother had died he was the oldest member of the family left.
Today it was a company of four that Scurry, the Hollywyck house-elf, greeted with delight: Mr. Servaas Ollivander, his apprentice and great-nephew, Hector Gibbs, Tisiphone Gibbs, also called Tess, and Linus Ollivander, whose little sister was studying in Boston.
Today, Tess brought in wine. Linus set a bouquet of late summer asters and dog roses on the table, fresh from the garden. Hector selected an old record of 'Arietta Perk's Classical Songbook' to play. When Uncle Servaas was seated in state, the small luncheon began.
After a period of pleasant conversation, Linus, who had been silent for some time, said, "Oh, Uncle! I saw that a new book has come out by Wendell Stanton – a book about magic without wands, but with other objects. I wondered if you'd seen it?"
"Yes, I'm aware of it, but I haven't taken the time to read it." Servaas' silver eyes were distant. "The Weatherwax theory of magic, so it's called, is one into which I have put considerable study."
"But why?" Tess pushed her long, thick chestnut hair over one shoulder. "Isn't that kind of counterintuitive to what we do?"
"Not in the least. It's essential to understand the theory if one is to be a master of making wands. Isn't it that theory that young Calliope is studying in Boston?"
"Something like that." Linus asserted. "Enchanted objects, implications of magical theory…"
"Good for her." Hector nodded.
Tess shrugged. "Well, someone's got to do the heavy thinking around here." She smirked at Linus. "Just like someone's gotta take care of Muggles who know too much, yeah?"
"By the way, congratulations on your promotion!" Hector added. Around the table congratulations circled around the proud young Obliviator.
"Thank you, thank you," Linus nodded to all.
After Linus has fully explained his new title and responsibilities, he leaned back and smiled in a self-satisfied way. Uncle Servaas nodded and turned to Tess. He asked quietly, "Tisiphone, Plumeria Blotts says that lately you've been seen in the company of a certain young man. 'Going steady' was her term. Is there any truth to this?" When Tess straightened up indignantly, he added "I ask merely as a peculiarly inquisitive great-uncle. It's something of a duty."
"I have made a friend of the masculine persuasion," she began, with hardly any stammering, "I didn't realize that that was such a huge deal nowadays. I have been seeing him around often, but we are not going steady. I'm not looking for anyone to go steady with. I have a pretty demanding job of my own. Speaking of which," she added, glad that her thick hair hid her very red ears, "Angus MacFusty told me that a Hebridean female is quite likely to die in the next month or so, and when the day is near he'll let me know and I can go harvest a few heartstrings."
"Great!" Hector chimed, but Mr. Ollivander said, "That is good, but perhaps it will not be necessary."
"What're you talking about?" Tess asked. "Of course it's necessary! There are new wands to be made, aren't there?"
"The times are difficult to predict," Uncle Servaas said, taking a bite of his terrine. And he wouldn't say anything more than that.
Just as they were starting dessert, their house-elf, Scurry, entered. She curtsied and said, "There's an owl for master Linus, sir."
Linus had Scurry bring the letter to him, and stood up as soon as he read it. "Office emergency," he said shortly, "I'm needed."
"Well, glad you could make it," Tess shrugged.
"Go on and fight the good fight," Hector smiled at him.
"I'll see you out." Uncle stood up.
"No, that won't be necessary – "
"I insist, Linus. Allow me the pleasure."
Linus adjusted his spectacles, a little surprised. "Of course, then, Uncle. Of course."
"Master," Scurry appeared at Linus' feet, following as he headed for the door, "Your crème brûlée…"
"Just pack it up and drop it off at my flat, please." He smiled on the little creature. "You did a good job today, Scurry."
"Oh! Thank you, sir, thank you!"
Linus put on his Stone Cloak, his new Obliviator's uniform as Uncle Servaas shrugged on a walking cloak. Abruptly, Uncle said, "I'm quite proud of you, Linus."
"Oh?" Linus looked up from his clasp. "Ah… thank you." He looked down a little sheepishly at his cloak, currently the feather in his Obliviator's cap. "I always kind of thought that you'd – well, think me disloyal, for not going into the shop. But…"
"Obviously you've done well in your chosen field." The two men walked step in step out the door and down the garden path.
"It's what I always wanted to do," Linus admitted.
"Except for a brief passion for paleontology," Uncle Servaas muttered.
"Oh, a childhood phase. But it's true. The vocation of wandmaker is not for everyone. And I'd be surprised if any child of your mother did not follow their heart's inclination – whether to the Ministry or across the Atlantic, like Calliope. We Ollivanders…" he paused, and picked a bachelor's button from a particularly colorful bed, and tucked it into his lapel. "We are a rather passionate clan, for all our cool exteriors."
"You may have a point there." Linus smiled.
"Believe me, I've known this family a lot longer than you have."
Before long they reached the holly fence that marked the Apparitionable edge of the property.
"Well, Uncle," Linus said, holding out his hand, "I'll see you soon."
"Maybe." Servaas took his great-nephew's hand and held it for a moment. "Do be careful out there in the world, Linus."
"I will be."
"You're – " Uncle paused, unsure what to say. He squeezed Linus' hand and said quickly, "God bless you."
"Thank you. And you too, Uncle." Linus let go of Servaas' hand and stepped through the hedge with a wave good-bye. A loud crack sounded.
Servaas slowly turned around to see Hollywyck itself, standing tall and proud among its wide, rambling gardens. He just looked at it for a long time, as though memorizing every window that the sunlight hit, every beam and carved doorway. Then he took his time walking back up to the house, lingering among the flowerbeds that his own grandmother had arranged, and the little willow cabin an Elizabethan ancestor had built. When he had passed all the places dear to him, he hung up his cloak at the kitchen door and returned to the tiny family luncheon.