Disclaimer: Harry Potter is owned by JK Rowling.
Garrick Ollivander was not happy. A year and a half, now, he'd been in the custody of the Death Eaters, locked in a cage, fed on bread and water, and repeatedly tortured by He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named himself for information on wandlore that even Ollivander didn't know. Eighteen months of abuse had left him lying half-dead in this dungeon. The confinement, he was sure, was slowly driving him out of his mind.
But the worst part was not having a wand. As soon as he was captured, the Death Eaters searched him, and searched him thoroughly. They took his regular wand, his backup wand, his backup backup wand, and the three 'sample wands' that he used to 'demonstrate his wares' whilst travelling. It wasn't technically illegal to carry any number of wands, but it was frowned upon because any extra wands would be inferior to one's first. Of course, that was only a minor inconvenience to a skilled wandmaker, and he used that to his full advantage. Garrick Ollivander was never to be found without a wand—until he was.
And they were thorough! The only time he was allowed near any kind of wandmaking materials was when he needed to replace some Death Eater's wand, and he was kept under constant watch and carefully searched afterwards each and every time. After moving him around for a while, they had simply locked him in this cellar—nothing down here but a clay food bowl, a water jug, and a single nail. The rest was all cold stone: not a scrap of wood to be found anywhere. The Dark Lord's servants were no slouches. They knew how to contain a smart, resourceful wizard, and they weren't about to disappoint their Master.
He guessed it was around Christmas by now from the temperature, his second in captivity, and it didn't look like it would be any different from the first: no friends, no family and no scrap of goodwill from his captors. Best to just put the whole thing out of his mind. But as he sat stewing in his misery, the lone source of light in his confinement was blocked by a pair of bodies, and the grating at the entrance of the dungeon swung open.
"We'll just leave you down here until your father sees fit to cooperate, ickle girlie. I'm sure we can find a way to…convince him," a wicked voice echoed through the room. The Lestrange woman—twelve and three quarter inches, walnut, and dragon heartstring—unyielding. Whatever this was, it must be important to bring her down here. "Don't worry, if you're good, we'll get you back to Daddy in one piece. Look, we've even given you some company." Bellatrix threw a young blonde girl to the floor and cackled wildly as she stormed back up the steps.
Ollivander rushed over to help the girl. In the faint light he caught a glimpse of her face and the pain in those silver eyes. She was cut up and badly bruised, and he could feel a residue of dark magic clinging to her. If she gave half as good as she got, she must have put up quite a fight to bring her in here. He recognised her at once as Luna Lovegood—ten and a quarter inches, olive, and unicorn hair—light and flexible. The poor girl was barely seventeen years old, if he remembered right. He helped her sit up against him, then tore off a piece of his shirt and wet it from the water jug to cleanse her wounds. She barely noticed, muttering something unintelligible about wrackspurts.
"There, there, Miss Lovegood," Ollivander said with a voice hoarse from disuse. "Try to rest, now. I'll help you here however I can." He brushed aside some of her long, stringy hair and gasped in surprise. He was sure the Death Eaters would have searched her and taken her wand, but it seemed that even they could slip up. What he saw hanging around the Lovegood girl's neck could be the greatest opportunity he'd had in months: butterbeer corks.
It was several hours before Luna awoke fully, finding herself lying on cold stone with only a folded waistcoat for a pillow. There were blood-soaked strips of cloth wrapped around her limbs in three places. She could only vaguely remember what had happened—Death Eaters, she thought, or else the nargles were playing a particularly cruel trick on her. She looked around in the dim light and saw the owner of the waistcoat sitting a couple of paces away, watching her. He was dirty, scarred, and emaciated from captivity, and at the moment wore only an undershirt and trousers, but Luna was good at recognising people.
"Oh, hello, Mr. Ollivander," she said with a voice that sounded far too serene for the situation. "I'm glad to see that you're still alive."
Ollivander crawled over to her, bringing the water jug him. "Only just, Miss Lovegood," he rasped, "but thanks all the same. Here, drink."
Luna raised the jug to her lips and took a few sips. "Thank you, sir," she said as she looked around and the stone walls. "Do you happen to know where we are?"
"I'm afraid that we are being held prisoner in Lucius Malfoy's highly-warded cellar. They brought me here…oh, I don't know how many months ago, now. They took me to make wands for them—and to answer some odd questions about legendary wands—then threw me down here with nought but the clothes on my back. I can't imagine why they would want a young lady like you, though."
"Oh, I've fought them before, so they don't like me much." Her eyes turned downcast. "I think they want something from Daddy, though…I hope they don't make him do anything too bad. I know how he worries about me. And they don't like him either because of the paper. They've tried to destroy his printing press already…"
Ollivander pulled her closer to him. "Don't say such things, my dear. I promise you I'll do everything in my power to make sure you get back to your father safe."
Luna smiled, though only a little. "That's very nice of you, Mr. Ollivander."
"Think nothing of it. We must all hang together if we are to survive this war. Tell me, please, what has been happening?"
He helped her sit up with her head on his lap, and she and began to tell him what she knew of the war. He knew of a rough outline of the events from when the Death Eaters would gloat about it. They had told him of Dumbledore's death, and the takeover of the ministry, and he knew that Harry Potter must still be out there somewhere, from the pointed questions the Dark Lord kept asking about the holly and phoenix feather wand. But he had not heard about Severus Snape being put in charge of Hogwarts—twelve and three-quarter inches, cypress and dragon heartstring—strong and resilient. He had never understood that match. It made no sense with what he knew of Snape's life. He was horrified to learn about the muggle-born camps and the new Dark Arts Professor, Amycus Carrow—nine inches, fir, and phoenix feather—inflexible—who used unforgivables as discipline. Then there was the awful Taboo Curse that had swept up so many, and the whispers of a resistance, both inside and outside Hogwarts, still unclear even to Luna's mind. There was no doubt that things had grown worse than the last war. Ollivander made up his mind then that he had to get out.
"Miss Lovegood, I have had far too little reason to live these past few months," he said when she concluded. "Far too little. And while I have endured confinement here, things have grown worse than I ever could have imagined." And here, he lowered his voice to a whisper. "But if you can fight the Dark Lord, then so can I. I won't have it said that Garrick Ollivander is a coward. If you're up for it, my dear, I believe you just may have presented me with an opportunity to get us both out of this terrible place."
Luna didn't even need a moment to consider. "I'm in," she said. "What are you going to do?"
His face cracked into a smile—or rather a predatory grin—for the first time in longer than he could remember as he told Luna his plan: "I'm going to make you a wand."
It took a lot to confuse Luna Lovegood. She could usually handle wrackspurts pretty well, but Luna was confused. She looked around the dungeon again, searching for anything that might be of use for such a task. "Don't you need wood for that, Mr. Ollivander?" she asked.
"Oh yes, and our captors were very thorough about removing every piece of wood from this cellar, but a good wandmaker always has a few extra tricks up his sleeve, and they all seemed to have forgotten something important when they brought you in here."
"Cork is a type of wood."
Luna looked down at her butterbeer cork necklace, and her eyes widened in recognition. "Oh, I see…but if you use the corks to make a wand, how will we keep the nargles away?"
"Oh yes. They like to steal your things and cause mischief, but my necklace is charmed against them."
"Oh…um, of course. I'm afraid we'll just have to take our chances with the "nargles", my dear. After all, those Death Eaters are a much greater worry down here."
"I suppose so." Luna looked disappointed, but she took off her necklace and handed it over.
"Thank you, Miss Lovegood," Ollivander said. He began taking the corks off the string. The string itself might be of some use to tie it all together, but the he just needed the individual corks for now. He was pleased to find that they were soft enough to compress and close the holes that had been drilled through them. That was also essential to hold everything together.
"Um…how much do you know about wandcraft?" he asked, trying to make conversation as he worked.
"I've read Gregorovitch's book about wands."
"Ah…" He tried to suppress the memory of his letting the name slip to the Dark Lord a year ago. "A rather dense work, that one is, and I have to question many of his conclusions," he said nervously. "In any case, for all the art and craftsmanship that goes into a quality wand, it is fundamentally a very simple artifact. It simply takes two pieces of wood with a magical core—a fibre from a magical creature of some kind—embedded between them, bonded together with a special magical adhesive."
"Oh, are there magical creatures down here?" Luna said, looking around again. "I thought I sensed a few wrackspurts, but that could just be the spells they cast on me."
"Um, no, I don't think there are any wrackspurts here. But there are many secrets of wandmaking that the Ministry would prefer people not know about, else it would be too easy for them to improvise for their own ends. Pardon me, Miss Lovegood…" At this, Ollivander reached out and plucked one of Luna's long hairs from her head. "One of those secrets is that witches and wizards count as magical creatures."
She actually smiled at that and pushed herself into a sitting position to give him more space. "That would make sense, wouldn't it?"
"Now, for the adhesive—this will hurt a little, I'm afraid." He gently took hold of her hand and loosened one of the bandages on her arms. A trickle of blood flowed out. He wet his fingers with it and rubbed them along the length of the strand of hair. He took a few more drops and tried to apply it the corks any place they would be stuck together. "This is considered a borderline-dark method, but there's not much else to work with," he explained. "The magic in your blood should be enough to allow the magic to flow properly if I can find a way to bind everything together."
His initial idea was to try to tie the whole thing back together with the string, but after a few minutes of work, he realised it would never stay in one piece, let alone stay straight. At the very least, he would need something more substantial than the string.
"Oh, uh…might I have a couple of pieces of cloth from your dress?" he asked timidly. "I'd happily use what's left of my shirt, of course, but for this to work as well as possible, it should be made entirely from your possessions."
"Oh, that's quite alright," Luna said, far too cheerily, noting that her dress was already ripped. "I probably wouldn't have been able to mend it very well, anyway." She carefully tore off three long, narrow strips of cloth from along the rip.
"Well, thank you, my dear." He tried to tie the makeshift wand together again, but he soon found that the cloth was little better than the string. He kept working with growing frustration, but he couldn't seem to make anything that would stay in one piece.
"No, no, that'll never do!" he exclaimed at last. "If only I had something to hold the shape—a splinter of real wood, or a bit of wire, or…"
He had the answer. No one had ever called Garrick Ollivander fashion-savvy, but he did know a thing or two about women's clothing, both magical and muggle. After being married for sixty years, he had pretty much seen all the variations there were to see. And though he had paid it no attention at the time, he remembered exactly what Luna Lovegood had been wearing when she was thrown in the dungeon with him. His idea was…unconventional, but it just might work—if the young woman was willing to go along with it.
"I'm terribly sorry about this, Miss Lovegood," he said, "but I'm afraid I'm going to need your undergarments."
Luna cocked her head to one side as she processed this. It was a request she'd never been asked before by any man, let alone one Mr. Ollivander's age, and she didn't think it was for the more conventional reasons. Of course, she wasn't a Ravenclaw for nothing. She could already see where he was going with this. "Yes, I think that will work," she confirmed.
Ollivander was surprised that she went along with it so easily, and even more surprised when she managed to hand over her bra without removing her dress, but he kept working diligently. He lined the corks up again with Luna's hair threaded through them, this time held in a rigid shape by the underwire from her bra, and he tied the whole thing together with the strips from her dress and the string from her necklace.
It took another hour before he got everything exactly how he wanted it, and when it was done, it was certainly the most absurd wand he had ever seen, let alone, made: eight inches long, cork, and human hair, bonded with blood, tied together with bits of rubbish—flimsy and crumbly was the only way he could describe it, an abomination against all decent wandcraft. There would be no proper "choosing" of anything for this wand. The only question was whether she could get any magic through it at all.
"That's the best I'm going to be able to do down here, my dear," he told her. "Thank you ever so much for your help. Now, with your hair and your blood, the wand should be well-matched to you, so try and give it a wave—gently—just like when you were eleven."
Luna took the wand and waved it. Almost effortlessly, sparks shot out of the end, making her smile broadly, in spite of the situation.
"Oh, yes, beautiful!" he exclaimed. "But be careful with that wand, now. It'll probably only stand up to one good spell before the magic destroys it. We'll have to use it at just the right moment. We're going to need a plan…Do you remember how they brought you in here, Miss Lovegood? The layout of the manor, perhaps?"
"Oh, no, we Apparated directly into the parlour."
"Apparated? Really? This may be easier than I thought, then. Now, that rat Peter Pettigrew is the one who usually brings the food and water—they made me make a new wand for him—nine and a quarter inches, chestnut, and dragon heartstring—brittle—and we know Bellatrix Lestrange is here. Who else did you see up there?"
"Only the three Malfoys, Mr. Ollivander…but I suppose there could be others. I didn't really see all that much."
The three Malfoys. He remembered the boy coming down a couple of times to sneer at him—ten inches, hawthorn, and unicorn hair—reasonably pliant. And of course Ollivander knew Lucius was using his childhood wand—eleven and a half inches, aspen and unicorn hair—moderately stiff—after he had lost that beautiful millennium-old walking stick. Such a pity—eighteen inches long, elm, and dragon heartstring—made before modern wands had been invented and—No, he couldn't get distracted. Oh, it seemed to get worse every year. That was his curse, the curse of a great wandmaker—he remembered every wand, couldn't stop himself from remembering. But he needed to focus. The Lestrange woman alone would be enough of a deterrent. They couldn't hope to fight their way out, even if they both had decent wands, but if the Lovegood girl was right, they wouldn't have to.
"I see," he finally spoke. "If that's truly all who are in the house, and if they don't keep too close a watch over each other, then we should be able to get out of here quite soon. Ah, have you learnt the Stunning Spell?"
"Yes, sir. Harry Potter taught us in my fourth year."
"Excellent. I think this may just work. Are you ready to try?"
"The nargles haven't come back yet."
"Um, right…Then all we have to do is wait…"
Each day, as evening fell, Peter Pettigrew made his way down the stairs to the dungeon to refill the food and water for the prisoner—now prisoners. It was easy, but boring work—the kind he always seemed to get stuck with. But this time, he noticed something was wrong, as he couldn't see the prisoners in the fading light.
"Eh? Where are you? Show yourselves," the rat said. He opened the door to push forward and look more carefully, but at that moment, he heard a whispered word to his left and a sizzle of disintegrating cork. He turned just in time to see a red light hit him, and then he knew no more.
Ollivander ran over from the other side and grabbed the wavy, brittle stick from the unconscious Pettigrew's sleeve. "Excellent shot, my dear," he whispered, "but now we must hurry. Quickly."
He took Luna's hand, and they fled through the open cellar door and up the stairs. When they reached the top, they felt the twinge of passing through the anti-apparation wards. They were lucky that Draco Malfoy was the only other person in the room, having been given the grunt work of supervising Pettigrew. The blond boy barely had time to shout the alarm and draw his wand before Ollivander pulled Luna close and disapparated both of them out of the manor.
The Dark Lord was enraged when he learnt that the prisoners had escaped, and much more so when none of his servants could explain how it had happened. There was no indication in the cellar of how they managed such a feat—no magical residue, no sign of magical artifacts or any scraps from anything smuggled in. The only trace the pair left behind was a message, not far from the stunned Pettigrew's body, scratched into the stone floor with a rusty nail. The first line read, "No dungeon can hold Garrick Ollivander." The second line simply read, "May you be crumpled by snorkacks."