The Ollivanders At War
I do not own the Harry Potter universe, but rather, J. K. Rowling does.
More author's notes at the end of this chapter.
The Story So Far:
Hiding out in Hollywyck, the Ollivander homestead in Scotland, were Mark Printzen, American Muggle on the run from the law, Linus Ollivander, the Obliviator responsible for helping him escape his first sentence, and Calliope Ollivander, awkwardly joining the Order of the Phoenix, and trying to keep the peace between them. Meanwhile, Turpin Rowle, Linus' boss in the Obliviators, is attempting an experiment to erase Benedicte, Linus and Calliope's older sister, from the collective memory of everyone. He takes advantage of the fact that he is holding Mr. Ollivander prisoner to accomplish this.
He realizes his experiment is incomplete, and sets out to Hollywyck to gather the materials necessary– solid memory and proof of Benedicte's existence – to construct it again. Linus is gone, off to Hogwarts to try and find out more about Benedicte Ollivander, whom he has completely forgotten. So Turpin Rowle only meets Calliope and Mark there. Calliope, to stall for time and save Mark, says that she can remember Benny (which is not a complete lie: she has no personal memories of Benny, but unlike Linus, she can remember being told about Benedicte.) Turpin kidnaps Calliope and takes her back to his house - just in time for Linus to see him.
Linus and Mark, both panicked and blaming each other, leave Hollywyck at once and find Hector. After an argument (where Mark confesses he is in love with Calliope) the three of them try to rescue her from Turpin's house. However, unbeknownst to them, Turpin has left his house empty, taken both of his captives away, and smothered his house in alarm spells. Mark, Linus, and Hector are Stunned, and arrested by the Department of Magical Law Enforcement.
Chapter One – Splendidly False
A knock came at the door of the Rowle house in Brighton-on-Sea. A middle-aged house elf opened the door. The mistress of the house hurried to greet the visitor. "Thank you, Corky, that will be all," she said with barely a glance in the elf's direction.
"Mrs. Blodwen Rowle?" the man at the door asked, dressed in robes of black with gold stripes.
"That's me, how may I help you?" she asked with a ready smile. Blodwen Rowle had short curly hair, still brown, and always wore pearls in her ears. They brought a bit of light to her round, gently lined face.
"Captain Reginald Vimes, ma'am, Magical Law Enforcement. Is your brother-in-law, Turpin Rowle, here right now?"
Her smile disappeared. "Why, yes he is. His bronchitis is acting up again, so he came over here for some warmth and Echinacea wine…"
"We need to speak to him, ma'am.'
"Of – of course. Right this way, sirs. Follow me."
The captain and his attendant followed her to a well-furnished parlor, where a fire was roaring and two men, grey-haired and lanky, in dressing gowns were sitting before it, sipping wine. The one facing the door started up. "Officers! How may I be of assistance?"
"Are you Turpin Rowle, sir?"
"No… that would be me." The one who had his back to the door turned around in his seat to face Captain Vimes in the eye. "Good evening, officer, good evening. Are you in need of my assistance?"
"Allow me, brother…" Thorfinn Rowle waved his wand and gently turned his brother's chair so he was facing the Captain. At the same time, Mrs. Rowle entered the parlor quietly and Corky trotted in bearing wine and a few glasses.
"Has some emergency come up at the O&P Division? As you can see, I'm a touch under the weather at the moment…"
"Sir, in your absence, your house has been broken into."
"What?" Turpin stood up at once. "What do you mean? How recently?"
"Just in the past couple of hours, sir. Thanks to your alarm spells we apprehended the intruders at once. They're in custody now, sir."
"Oh, thank heavens." Turpin sank back into his chair. His brother handed him his wine, and he took a gulp. "Was anything taken?"
"Not that we could find, sir. It appears that shortly after the intruders crossed the threshold, a Confundus Charm took effect on all three of them. They were Stunned shortly thereafter."
"All three?" Turpin asked, his eyebrows raised.
"Well…" he took another drink. "Good thing I always set a Confundus Charm as my basic line of defense… and an alarm to the good M.L.E." He gave a little toast to the Captain and said "Now go on, go on. Who did this? Did they give you their names?"
"They didn't need to. We identified them on the spot."
"Really?" Thorfinn asked.
"Yes. Mr. Rowle, I suggest you prepare yourself for a bit of a shock."
"You're a true gentleman, Captain Vimes, but I assure you I can take it." Turpin gazed at him with a steely eye.
"Linus Ollivander, an Obliviator who I believe serves under you, was one of the number."
Turpin dropped his gaze. "Ollivander. L.O." He shook his head. "I thought I knew him. I thought I had taught him!" He sighed. "And I suppose the other is that Muggle, that Presumptuous one?"
"Yes, sir, Mark Printzen."
"I tried to convince Umbridge of it, you know," Turpin commented to his brother. "I tried to tell her they weren't working together. Look at the thanks I get!"
"Who was the third assailant?" Thorfinn asked the captain.
"According to his Apparition license, his name is Hector Gibbs, a cousin of Mr. Ollivander's."
"I heard he was running the shop with his uncle," Blodwen said suddenly.
"I have a few more questions…" Turpin took another sip with a shaking hand. "They were breaking in. Did they look like they were trying to steal anything?"
"What would they want from your house?" Blodwen asked.
"Anything – legal documents, maybe some of my rarer books on memory modification… what did it seem that they were after?"
"There's no solid proof of anything, sir. They were, after all, Confounded."
Thorfinn cleared his throat and his wife coaxed their house-elf forward, saying, "Please, take some wine. I insist."
"Thank you, ma'am, but duty calls, as always. It's a busy night."
"Captain." Turpin's voice was clear, and he looked up at the Captain's face. "Tell your commanding officer – tell Umbridge herself – that I shall be at the Sycorax tomorrow morning – they are at the Sycorax, right?"
"Until further notice, sir."
"That I shall be at the Sycorax myself tomorrow. Don't say a word," he gestured to silence his brother and sister-in-law. "This is just a seasonal bronchitis. More mead will set me right at once. I will be there tomorrow for their interrogation. Tell Umbridge that I shall deal with Linus Ollivander, and Mr. Gibbs, and the Muggle myself."
"Very good, sir. I hope you recover quickly, sir."
"I hope I shall. Sirs, I commend you highly for this duty."
"I'll send Corky over to your place right away, to pick up your things." Thorfinn put his hand on his brother's shoulder as the officers departed. Blodwen saw them out and came back a minute later saying, "They're gone."
Turpin picked up his glass. His hand was shaking. "Are you sure?"
"Positive. I saw them Disapparate."
Turpin knocked his wineglass back with a vengeance. He smacked his lips and gasped, "More wine!" As he poured his second glass he started chortling, then cackling. "Did you see that, Thorfinn? Did you see that?"
"I saw it, Turpin, every minute of it."
"I mean did you see that? Did – you – see – that?"
"Have some more wine, Turpin," Blodwen said dryly, pouring herself a glass.
"Don't mind if I do! And for you, Thorfinn, I could not have done this without you, God only knows!"
"I must take credit where it's due," Thorfinn said, clinking glasses with a grin.
"I mean, for the love of all wizardry. What did I just do? I just…" he coughed, cleared his throat. "'Scuse me… I just kidnapped the sister of my prime protégé before his face, and then got him and his stupid Muggle friend arrested for breaking into my house and trying to rescue her! And I get rewarded with a gold crown! I'll be there in the morning to interrogate them! While the girl's locked away downstairs with her uncle, Ollivander and the Muggle are stuck in the Sycorax again and tomorrow I get to interrogate them – ha ha!" He cackled and then caught Thorfinn's eye. "I guess the old man ain't as dumb as he looks!"
Thorfinn laughed loudly. "This is a good night, Turpin. This is one for the books."
"You better believe it's one for the books! I am going to tell the Dark Lord this at the first chance I get and you, you my good brother are going to stand there saying 'yep, yessir, everything is true.' And we'll really knock the socks off the Lestranges and that Snape! Oh, god, this is too good. It's too good to be true. A-ha. 'Splendide Mendax' to the end, my brother. Splendidly false."
Calliope awoke to darkness. "Help – " she croaked. She felt a hand on her forehead – cool, and trembling a little. It was wrinkled like old paper, and holding something – the end of a braid of hair. Her hair.
"Hush, little Calliope," came a familiar voice. "I'm here."
"Uncle?" she asked, not daring to believe it. She sat up. Memories abruptly occurred to her: the discovery of Benedicte's erasure. The attack on Hollywyck. Her trading herself for Mark. But Uncle – Uncle Servaas was here.
His hand found hers and they clung to each other. He whispered, "It's me. I'm here, I'm here."
Calliope closed her eyes so that his voice would be more real to her than the darkness. "Where are we?"
"We're together. Beyond that, I am not sure. You were brought to Turpentine's cellar – that's what I call the man who imprisons me, and now you."
"He's Linus' boss. In the Obliviators, he's a leader. An Omniamnist."
"I'm afraid so."
"But while you were asleep, he moved us quickly to his brother's house. I was blindfolded, but I could infer as much. We're together."
"Together," she repeated, laying her hands on his.
"Your hands are cold."
"I know. I've gotten used to that."
"Oh, Uncle…" Calliope didn't want to speak the words that pressed heavily on her mind. It sounded so childish – but she haltingly asked, "What are we going to do now?"
"Wait," was his response. "Wait, and do not worry. We'll only weaken ourselves with fear."
Calliope nodded. "Yes." Already her eyes were adjusting themselves to the darkness. "I know. Uncle – would you like me to tell you about Benedicte?"
His voice was thoughtful. "And who is Benedicte?"
"She was Linus' and my sister. A Death Eater – Turpentine – erased her memory from everyone who knew her. But somehow he missed me. Would you like me to tell you about her?"
"Nothing would please me more, but first – Calliope, how did you come to be here?"
No more issues of 'The Daily Prophet' came to Hollywyck, but Scurry knew that something was wrong. Master had not come back yet, nor had Miss, and more than that, she just knew they were in danger. But she couldn't reach them.
To give herself some peace of mind, she began to clean. As she cleaned out the library, she found a letter, already half-in its envelope, which she recognized as the one that Miss Calliope had been writing. All that was left to be done was the seal and outer address. Scurry unfolded the letter and studied it.
Now, house-elves can read, but they do not write. It simply is not done. They have such excellent memories that they have no need to make lists or reconfigure sums, and what else what they need to write for?
Therefore, Scurry had a crisis on her hands.
She had the letter and knew its purpose, but could not address it. With the resourcefulness typical of her kind, and the resourcefulness of anyone whose family is in trouble, she set upon the latest 'Daily Prophet.'
Finally, she found an address:
"If any knowledge of the whereabouts of Mr. Ollivander or the Muggle is uncovered, please send pertinent information to…"
Taking a pair of kitchen shears, Scurry deftly cut out the little address, pasted it to the front of the envelope, and then went to the rooftop aviary.
She roused Hugin, one of the old family owls, and sent him on his way. Scurry watched the bird with the all-important epistle fly away and diminish until her sharp eyes could see him no more. Her hands stayed clasped together, as if she were praying for her master.
They had found her.
Mark dreamed that it was midnight, and he was standing on the rooftop of Andrew's apartment. Calliope was with him, dressed in black. He kept trying to talk to her, but his words – words of love and valor – only dropped from his mouth as toads and snakes. Calliope scorned his slimy attempts and turned to walk away, out towards the empty air.
But she did not fall off the roof. Invisible Dementors swarmed around her, pitching the Boston night into a midwinter freeze. They had covered her mouth with their hands – without seeing them, Mark knew they were going to Kiss her and destroy her soul – but she reached out imploringly to Mark, her silver eyes full of terror, but she couldn't say a word – and at last he found his voice and he screamed her name with such force that his entire self became that scream and when the scream vanished so did he…
He woke up.
Mark opened his eyes, then closed them again, tightly. "No," he mouthed. Then he heard it: the heartbeat of the Thames. The deep, steady thrum of the great river against walls of stone. The lullaby of the Sycorax.
When Hector woke up, his head ached – had he been Stunned? – and he sat up. He heard Mark say, "Good morning, Hector. Welcome to the Sycorax."
Hector looked around, his eyes wide. Mark's usually animated face was listless, his brown fringe obscuring his eyes. Nearby, Linus lay on a cot of his own, his narrow, pale face pinched with worry, even in sleep. Beginning to panic, Hector patted his pockets but his wand was gone. "I can't believe this!" he cried.
"I can't either, to be honest."
"Where did we go wrong?"
"I don't know."
Hector thought. "I think," he said slowly, "I think there was a Confounding Charm placed on you. On us. All at once. And we were then arrested for breaking and entering."
"Linus doesn't look too good over there," Mark pointed out.
"You think we should wake him up?"
"Nah. Let him sleep. Besides," he added bitterly, "As soon as he comes to he'll probably start blaming me for everything."
"For once I don't blame you," Linus' voice sounded. He turned away from the wall and said, facing the ceiling, "And it looks like none of us could have prevented it. But I thank you for your faith in my character."
Mark glanced to the walls. Now his hazel eyes were a bit brighter, and keen. "It looks like I've somehow caused us to land in the Muggle ward, which at least means we've got a little privacy. Which is why I'm going to ask how we can escape."
"We're not going to discuss this now," Linus said sitting up, "Because someone's coming."
Footsteps approached from down the hall. The Warden, a tall, thickset man with a red beard, came into view from the torchlight. He stood before the cell door and spoke from there. "Morning, gentlemen. Seeing as how you're all awake –"
"How'd you know?" Mark asked, but it came out a whisper and the Warden ignored it.
"- you are all bid a most hearty welcome to the Sycorax – or, in the case of Printzen, a warm homecoming."
Mark thought darkly that he'd never realized that his own name could be a weapon. But he stood up and said sharply, "I'm glad to be back, but listen." He strode to the door the cell, looking the Warden in the face. "Right now, as we speak, there is a woman held prisoner by a Dead Eater."
"Death Eater," Linus corrected.
"Death Eater," Mark continued, not missing a beat.
The warden cut him off, "Just one? My god, they're goin' soft! Hallelujah! I know some folks who'll be real happy to hear that."
"I'm serious! Her name is Calliope Ollivander. The man whose house we broke into, he kidnapped her. Are you listening to me?"
The Warden had been fiddling with his keys. "I'm listening."
"Well, then look at me."
"What's it come to, that I take orders from the likes of you?"
Mark was about to respond, his eyes blazing, but Linus laid a cool hand on his shoulder. "We're telling the truth," he said, fixing the Warden with a practiced Obliviator stare. "Calliope Ollivander, my sister, has been kidnapped by Turpin Rowle."
"Look, you all three were hit with a mighty Confoundus Charm – "
"It's the truth!" Mark exclaimed.
"Test our memories, give us Veritaserum," Linus continued, "it will tell you the same."
"Please, sir," Mark said, in a different voice – softer, yet slightly desperate – "Just put out a Missing Persons Report, or something, on Calliope Ollivander. Please. And I'll be the most obedient and meek prisoner you could dream of."
"We all will," Hector added. "Be. So." He faltered, then ran a hand through his jaw-length blond hair.
"Now I like the sound of that," the Warden said. "I'll put out a report, though I can't answer for how fast it'll be processed. There's a terrible backlog."
"Thank you," Linus and Mark both spoke tightly.
"Now, as long as we're talking about your actual stay… since your capture, Dolores Umbridge has already scheduled a hearing for you at the earliest possible date, one week from now. Fortunately, for your entertainment and enlightenment, you already have a visitor scheduled for today. And that's not counting the letters you've gotten at the front desk."
"We'll pass on the letters, thanks." Linus frowned. "Who's the visitor? Is it Umbridge?"
The Warden let out a laugh. "That woman wouldn't condescend to step one pink shoe in here! No, it en't her," he said, sobered all of a sudden.
"I have a question," Mark said. "Why are we in the Muggle ward? Is it just because I'm here?"
"In short, yes. If we could, we'd have housed you separately, but there just en't room anywhere else. We've got so many prisoners here now – even though most only stay for a night or two – that we thought it lucky that we have an excuse to put you in the empty Muggle ward."
"Ah," Mark said quietly. "Well, I'm always glad to be of service."
"That's the spirit. Now, your visitor should be along soon. So make yourselves up nicely, now."
When the warden had left, the three men sat down again. "Well," Hector said, "guess there's nothing to do but wait."
Linus clambered back onto his bunk. "I'm going to try to sleep again."
Mark nodded. After a minute he turned to Hector. "I know this may seem like an odd time, but I just realized I don't know you that well. And you don't know me, either. So – since we've got nothing to do but wait –" Mark swallowed; " – and wait, and worry, how about we share a bit about our lives?" As Linus turned over in his bunk Mark added, "Quietly, of course."
"Of course. I like that idea. You want to go first?"
"Sure. Um, where to start… I'm an only child. I was born in Pepperell, this small town in Massachusetts. My dad is Fritz Printzen, proudly Dutch, and my mom's Jane Sullivan, though everyone calls her Janet. She's mostly Irish. I was raised Catholic – elementary school, high school, the whole deal. My birthday is…"
As he related these simple facts he could feel his shoulders loosening. It was as though by reciting these facts, he was reclaiming himself. He was not 'The Muggle,' he was Mark Printzen, only son of Fritz and Janet, and he was going to make sure Hector understood it.
And Hector did understand, and listened to Mark attentively.
Not long after Hector had finished regaling Mark with the tale of his class prank in his seventh year, a jailor approached the cell. He said, opening the door, "Your visitor is here. He wants to speak to Mr. Gibbs first."
Hector stood up shakily. "Well, here I am." He nodded mutely to the other two men and followed the jailer quietly.
Mark and Linus watched until he was out of sight. For a long time neither said anything. Finally, Mark ventured, "Who do you think it is?"
"I know who I pray to God it isn't."
"Leave us alone, please. I'm sure I can protect myself." The visitor smiled at the prisoner. He had not minded the wait; in fact he had spent it usefully, altering the various spells in the wall – spells to record voices and movement and raise alarms. And now, he enjoyed the look that the prisoner was giving him.
The Shadow Cloak prevented Hector from recognizing the long face, crooked nose, and unevenly florid complexion. But when he unclasped the top of the Shadow Cloak he wore – the clasp shaped like a star and two moons – Hector realized he didn't know him at all.
"Do you know who I am?" the man asked.
Hector shook his head, his blond hair trembling slightly.
"I am the man whose house you broke into."
Hector's eyes widened and his mouth opened as if to scream. He stepped backwards instinctively.
"Yes, that's right, cringe, Hector Gibbs," the Death Eater went on, looking straight into Hector's eyes. "Isn't that what you always do? Cringe and whimper and cry to others for help. Just like always, Hector Gibbs."
"Where is she?" Mark asked, almost inaudibly. "Calliope."
"I don't know."
The two sat together in the cell. Linus had given up trying to sleep.
"I hope she's with Uncle Servaas."
"What is he going to do when he realizes she has no memories of B–"
"Ssh!" Linus cut him off. "No one must learn that. But…" he frowned, "first they'll have to make sure she has none… and then what he'll do to her… oh God…" he put his head in his hands. "The Death Eater that Amy talked about who warped people's memories… that has to be him –"
"Exactly… how much could he take away from her?" Mark asked. "What are the limits of what magic can do to memory?"
Linus opened his mouth. "I… I honestly don't know. I can answer that if I was staying within the realm of what is morally right to perform –"
"—yes, but, he has no boundaries. I don't know." He gave a bitter, short laugh. "And aren't I living proof of what damage can be done to the mind?"
"Hey," Mark said sharply. "None of that. I don't want to hear it. And don't give me that look. You have magic, don't you? And when we find Calliope again, you're the one who's going to have to help her if that creep has done – anything to her. And she doesn't need a ball of angst for a brother."
"I know," Linus snapped. "I know."
"I thought you were supposed to be an Obliviator."
"I am! And I'm good at what I do! But – Damn." He sighed between his teeth. "How can I tell you who I am, how I became the way I am, if I can't even tell you my own past?"
"But then again," Linus contradicted himself, "People aren't just defined by their pasts…"
"Printzen." It was a statement, not a question. Another jailer was there. "Mr. Gibbs is returning, and the visitor wants to see you next."
Mark stood up, nodded to Linus, and followed the jailer down the long corridor. With every step he could feel and hear the rush of the Thames all around, and, maybe it was just his imagination, but beyond that were the boats and cars of London. Strange – most times a prison was on the outskirts of a city, not the center. But cities unfolded and developed like flowers, and anyway, everything was different with wizards. He started to wonder if they had true names, like in Earthsea, but decided against it.
His mind was still in Earthsea and heading into Middle-Earth when he walked into the cell. Then he heard a familiar deep voice say "Give us the place alone, I assure you I can handle him." That woke him up, every nerve. When the door closed, the man in the long black cloak turned around. "Well, well, well," he said with a smile, "how the tables are turned."
"Ah-ah-ah, not a word." Turpentine's smile widened. "Don't you want to know what has become of darling Calliope?"
Mark lunged, but Turpentine twitched his wand and the Muggle froze in place. "Temper, temper." The Death Eater shook his head. "Wouldn't want to add assault of a Ministry of Magic authority to your list of crimes, would you? Assault of a witch, theft of her wand, breaking and entering, and, of course, Presumption – it's a hefty list already. You could be facing years in Azkaban on all that…" he looked the prisoner in the face, and then said, as though he'd read his mind, "And what will we tell your parents? What indeed?"
He straightened up. "There's quite enough for you to defend yourself without assaulting me, so I'll trust you to respect that when I loosen this spell." He gave his wand another lazy wave and Mark could move again. Once he'd regained his footing, he remained standing, glaring at Turpentine.
"Come, come – sit." That word, too, had power, and as if a giant hand was pressing him down Mark was forced to sit at the table. Mark resisted as well as he could, thinking 'I will not be a coward.'
He tried to think how a hero would act: look this scum dead in the face, fearlessly and without shame? Or keep his face down so that his eyes could not be read? Mark, conceding his foe's power, looked at his hands on the table, but kept his back ramrod-straight.
"That's right," Turpentine sneered, "look down like the groveling Muggle you are."
It was with great effort that Mark kept his eyes downcast. T.R. went on, "Technically I'm supposed to investigate your memories… test once and for all your innocence… to see if maybe all this is really just a terrible misunderstanding… but to be honest I don't want you to be innocent, and I don't care. But I do know that you dare to lust after a witch, and that's plenty of guilt for me, and I'm sure Umbridge will agree."
Mark's mouth moved, but no sound came out.
"What's that? Speak up, Muggle."
"You can't find me guilty of love." 'Jesus, that sounds stupid,' he thought.
"It's not just love," Turpentine spat the word. "It's degrading our daughters and sisters and dirtying our blood. It's the presumption that you are equal to us – and to me."
"I am better than you," Mark said, looking up at last. The next second he gave a strangled cry as his tongue was twisted wretchedly within his mouth.
"Never say that again." Turpentine lowered his wand. "Now, because I am a man of my word, I will tell you what has become of your sweetheart. She is currently in darkness and cold, hidden underground. Not alone, but she will be all alone soon. She is unharmed, but I remind you, for the likes of her – who associates with the likes of you – there is little mercy among my compatriots."
He leaned back, and took a breath, as if all this villainy was exhausting.
Then he looked back at Mark. "I wonder why I shouldn't just Modify your memory right now. No one would check to see if they'd been tampered with."
'Linus would,' Mark thought – or hoped.
"I could remove your memory of Calliope entirely, leave you, a confused Muggle, with no idea of why you're here at all…"
"Have you read anything of Franz Kafka?" Mark blurted.
Turpentine opened his mouth, then thought for a second. "Actually, that name does sound familiar. Years ago. We were assigned it for a class on Muggle psychology. 'The Metamorphosis,' yes? 'The Trial'?"
"Yes, I read them all. Quite good, too. I should reread those." He gave a little start. "Don't distract me. I have a deal to offer you."
"Whatever your deal is, no."
"Don't be so hasty. This proposition concerns you deeply."
"I refuse to –"
"Silencio. Now, unfortunately, there is no spell known that forces its subject to listen, but you shall do that. The deal is simple. As things stand now, I hold Miss Ollivander captive. You are on trial for Presumption. To be honest, your chances of acquittal look incredibly slim. So I say, have someone win by your misfortune."
Mark's hazel eyes stayed on the Death Eater's ruddy face. Turpentine smiled, and leaned closer to him. His voice was low and smooth by Mark's ear. "You will plead guilty to Presumption. Guilty to assault on a witch with a car. Guilty to the theft of her wand. And guilty of breaking and entering my house. You do that, and I will return the favor. Once I'm done with darling Calliope, I will let her go. I will not hold her prisoner. I will not turn her over to my Death Eater compatriots – who, I assure you, are much less merciful than I. I will not even leave her in the path of some hungry Dementor. I will set her free to do as she would wish. In short, your freedom – such as it is – for hers. See, that did get your attention!"
Mark's eyes were wide and he was finding it hard to breathe.
"Remember, after all – she offered herself in your place at the Ollivander homestead. She's already bargained your freedom. It's up to you now. Your trial is in one week. I will be there. I will act precisely on what you do." Now T.R. was behind him. "Do what you will, but I promise this: you will never see her again."
He opened the door. "I'm finished with the Muggle. Send in the Obliviator."
As they led the Muggle away, T.R. smiled after him, then turned away from the door. He didn't turn around again until it was opened and he said "Again, I assure you I can handle him." The door shut once moor.
T.R. turned around, beginning to say, "Well, L.O., we meet again, but in sadly altered – good God, man!" he stared at his student's weary, lined face. "You look like you haven't slept in a week!"
"I haven't," was Ollivander's cold, flat response. "Not really."
"My – " T.R. stepped towards him, stroking his chin. "I wonder if that's caused by the Memory Modification – I should have brought my –"
"What do you want."
"Ah. Yes. Right to the point. We must not get distracted, after all. I won't lead you for a dance like I did the Muggle. I still have a modicum of respect for you." He leaned back and crossed his arms. "You know who I really am, now. And you know exactly what threat I hold over your head."
"Where is Calliope?"
"I'll tell you now, your sister is alive, secure, and hidden. And I intend to keep her that way, unless…"
"We make a deal."
In the basement, Calliope and her uncle sat on the couch. All day long they talked together. It followed a familiar pattern:
"Tell me – some more about Benedicte. Did she look like her mother or her father?"
"She took after Papa. She and Linus and I have the same coloring, though – pale skin, black hair, grey eyes."
"The Ollivander eyes."
"Yeah. She was a Gryffindor – did I say that already?"
"Yes, my dear."
"It's your turn. Tell me about your days at Hogwarts," or, "Tell me another story about the family," or "Tell me about wandlore." At the last one, Servaas had given a little pause and said, "By the way, Calliope. The question I asked you in my last letter – "
"Why did Harry Potter's wand cause a stalemate against the Dark Lord's?"
"Yes. Did you figure out the answer?"
She lowered her head in the darkness. "No, Uncle, I'm so sorry. Everything has been so busy – "
"Don't fret, dear. Can you think of the answer now?"
Calliope paused, then said, "I really don't know – the thing I've been researching are these Deathly Hallows that this girl Luna told me about…" she paused. "She had a phoenix-core wand, like mine." Now, slowly, "did they shared cores? Is that what caused the Priori Incantetum?"
"Yes. Ssh. It's a secret. Both of them also have a phoenix feather core, from the same phoenix. That's why his wand failed."
"That's why he needs a new one. Who knows what was shared between their wands when…" Calliope clenched her uncle's hand in the obscurity. "We'll get out of here, Uncle. Don't you worry."
"I'm not. Only for you."
"Just you wait. Dora, Mark, Linus, they'll be here. If it's hell or high water, they'll come and get us…"
"Don't tire yourself. What more do you remember of your sister?"
Hector and Mark were silent in their cell. Mark was pacing back and forth restlessly. Hector sat on his bed with a gloomy, listless frown. Both looked up when they heard footsteps stop at their door. Linus was let in.
The door closed again with an echoing slam.
Hector started to ask Linus, "What – " but stopped when Linus almost fell over. He regained balance, and tottered sideways to lean against the wall. Then he sank wordlessly onto the floor, burying his face in his hands.
He would not be consoled. Hector looked to Mark, but Mark had no consolation to offer either.
Through darkness and coolness, night fell over London. Through the interminable and unchangeable routine, night fell in the Sycorax.
The three prisoners in the Muggle ward were given grey robes, their scratchy, cheap fabric softened and thinned by years of use. They were directed to the mess hall, and to the community showers.
When the hour was late enough, the Warden called, "Lights out!" and across the hallways, the lamps were quenched, leaving just a few thing candles burning in the walls. The men went to their beds. But only a moment after he lay down, one of the prisoners said, "I have something to tell you guys."
"What is it?" Hector asked, as Linus was still not speaking.
"The Death Eater offered me a deal."
Linus turned over on his bunk. "He offered me one, too."
"I want to talk about it."
"Not until we've had some sleep. It's not something to discuss on a sleepless brain."
"I won't be able to sleep at all until I talk about it."
A pause, then, "Mark Printzen, I hate it when you're right."
"So, the Death Eater made you and I both a proposition," Mark began.
"Not me," Hector said petulantly. "He said I'm not worth blackmailing."
"The deal he offered me was," Mark covered his eyes with his hand as he spoke, "Plead guilty to everything – everything – "
"And he would let Calliope go," Linus finished. "'When I'm done with her,' those were her words."
"God!" Mark clenched his fists, "I wish I could rip out his –"
"Well, we can't do anything to him, but believe me I agree. What do you think?"
There was a long pause.
"I don't know. And I'm not being a coward," Mark added.
"I am worth blackmailing!" Hector said to no one in particular.
"What do you think?" Mark asked Linus.
"I… really don't know either."
Calliope had made it her task to explore their new prison; now she returned to the couch.
"What have your explorations told you?"
"I think we're in an office. There's the couch, a desk in the middle, shelves, a chair, two lamps, and what I think may be a stack of wine bottles. And two doors, one bigger, one smaller. The big one is locked, but the little one isn't. I didn't explore in that room yet, though."
"Very good, very good. Now, would you please lead me to the nearest lamp?"
"Just do as I say, please."
Carefully, she did so. She held one of his hands in both of hers, and when he was standing up, led him to one of the lamps. Why, she did not ask. A silent minute floated by, without a clock to measure it.
The lamp blazed into brilliant light. Calliope covered her eyes at first – then realized that the brilliancy was only about half, maybe two-thirds, of the light that the lamp could have given. But there it was.
Her Uncle was standing there, two hands on the dusty glass globe. The lamp was shining, without a wand in sight. She blinked and took another look around the office. It matched her evaluation. It was also something of a storage room. There were boxes of children's books, and a few toys in a lovingly dilapidated state.
Calliope slowly turned back to her Uncle. "What did you just do, and can I learn how to do it?"
He gave a cool smile, his pale eyes glittering. "I'm very glad you asked," he answered, "because I intend to teach you. Listen to me. We are not going to be together very long. Telling each other stories is good, but we will be torn apart again, and soon."
"Let me finish. I will teach you this skill. It took me a long time to master it. I'm not as strong as you; you will master it more quickly. I will leave you this as my legacy."
Calliope took a deep breath. "If this is going to be your legacy – I'm honored. Thank you, Uncle. I will try my best to learn it from you."
"You won't try. You shall. And this skill will be your salvation."
"How?" Then, quickly, "No. Show me."
Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome back. Thanks for tuning in!
Obviously I don't own this universe, but I have a few other disclaimers to make. I've got to come clear with you about a few things.
First of all, this story will be updating less frequently than The Ollivander Children. I honestly don't even know when I will post chapter two, simply because my next three weekends are packed and then it's finals season. However, my goal is a regular, consistent schedule that is just less frequent. Perhaps once every two weeks, or even less. My reasons are several:
1. I am not fully finished with this story, and I want to have time to make the ending thrilling, daring, heartwarming, and appropriately foreshadowed. And did I mention satisfying?
2. I am a very busy student and I cannot promise that I won't be swamped with work, or with traveling, or with similar occupations on my Saturdays (I have made an exception for this week, because I think one delay is enough.)
3. The Suspense!
Slower updates does NOT mean that this fic is dying. I will not let this fic die. Take it from me, as a writer. This story will be finished.
Also. I have to come clean about why I wrote this story in the first place.
It's because I was very disappointed in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
As for 'why,' this is not the place. But the fact is that there were many elements that I thought were not well-handled. And part of my goal in creating The Ollivander Children (and in finishing it with The Ollivanders At War) was to address and amend this. To answer questions not only like "What happened to Mr. Ollivander?" but "How did the wizarding world become so Third Reich-ish in a matter of months?" To show what the war looks like to people who aren't prophesied to destroy the Dark Lord. To set right where JKR went wrong. I know that that's a really arrogant statement for me to make, but it's the truth.
That's why, if some elements feel slightly reused, that's because I'm putting my own spin on something I found unsatisfying. If something feels like a jab at a Deathly Hallows event… well, that's because it probably is. All in good fun.
Now, I will never (knowingly) contradict anything stated in the book Deathly Hallows. I only read the book once, but I won't go against it for canon. If I make a mistake, it's lack of research on my part, not attempting to subvert the seventh book.
Lastly, thank you so much for reading. It means a lot to me; and if you have the time, I appreciate other gestures, too. Leave me reviews, or just recommend this to others. Write on this work's TV Tropes page (yes, we have a TV Tropes page - thanks, illjwamh, for mentioning it) But honestly, just keep reading and tuning in. I will try to post the next chapter next week – we shall see how that works. Don't lose faith in me. If I may say so myself, this second half is going to be pretty good.
And as a last note, the dedications.
I would like to dedicate this fanfiction (and all others in this series, btw) to those fanfic writers of the Sugar Quill, especially those whose works inspired me to write, and then to constantly improve my writing. They are, Katinka, A.L. de Sauveterre, Violet Azure, MysteriousMuggle, my first beta-reader, and Arabella and Zsenya, for creating the Quill in the first place. And I thank as well my beta-reader Author by Night, even if we have had to part ways somewhat on this adventure.
Thank you, all of you. Long Live 87!