|beholder_mod (beholder_mod) wrote in hp_beholder,|
@ 2008-04-22 16:33:00
|Entry tags:||fic, ollivander, severus snape, slash|
FIC: 'A Lesson in Wandlore' for fluffyllama
Title: A Lesson In Wandlore
Word Count: 6500 words
Warnings: None. Snape is over 18.
Summary: Ollivander teaches Snape a few things about wands.
Author's Notes: I am very fortunate in my betas, both as editors and as friends. They're very talented writers and used their skills to substantially improve my story. I'm grateful for both their generosity and their kind encouragement.
"Never cast an Unforgiveable before, Snape? You need to mean it, or it's no good."
Severus looked up to see Bellatrix standing in the doorway. Her beautifully-tailored red silk robes made her look out of place in his shabby bedsitter, but made her sneer all the more convincing. He pressed his lips together in annoyance and looked down again at the mouse, still running happily on its wheel. He didn't seem to be able to produce a consistent Cruciatus on command.
"It's the wand," he said shortly. "I need a new one for Dark Arts work." He thought about adding And weren't you ever taught to knock?, but thought better of it. He'd need to do research to create stronger wards, however; she shouldn't have been able to just stroll into his flat with no warning.
"It's you," she retorted, narrowing her eyes. "Perhaps you just don't enjoy hurting furry little white mice, hmmmm? Or perhaps you haven't the power."
Severus was tired of Bellatrix's constant taunts. He'd never measure up as far as she was concerned. But it was the wand, he was certain. God knows he could cast other Dark spells, and there was no reason he shouldn't be able to produce a decent Cruciatus. But his wand was a hand-me-down from his mother's oldest sister, not that he would reveal that to Bellatrix. No doubt the Black daughters had each been sent to school with two new wands---one as a backup--- carefully fitted to them by Ollivander himself.
The wand had worked decently for him, although occasionally a bit sluggishly, back at school. Certainly it hadn't been a problem in Potions, which required little wand work, and he'd managed well enough with it in his other courses. But he'd sometimes noticed that it felt a bit . . . off when he tried advanced work in Dark Arts.
Then Black and Potter had thrown him against a wall on his way down to the train, his last day at Hogwarts. Can't wait to go and join that pack of murderers, Snivellus? Black had sneered, as Potter closed in for the kill. Only Lily's sudden appearance at the end of the corridor had distracted them, and made them hold back. Black had settled for a hard punch to his gut, and the two of them strode off while Severus doubled over, gasping.
When they attacked him he'd sensed how his wand, secreted in one pocket, had been slammed against the hard stone wall as well. There were no visible cracks on the exterior, when he checked. But after that, the wand had been more noticeably sluggish.
"Are you here for a reason, Bellatrix?"
She glanced around the sparely-furnished room, resting her eyes briefly on the unmade bed. "It's not a social call, Severus. Our Lord sent me to ask whether you'd finished work on the Befuddlement Draught"
Severus flushed. He hadn't, as it happened. Old Gudgeon had asked him to work late last night, again. I have an order for a double batch of Beautification Potion. You don't have any plans for this evening do you, Snape?
"It's brewing," he lied. "I'll have it ready by Friday morning." He stood up and walked past her to stand by the open front door to his bedsitter. "Can you come by to get it before 8 a.m.? I've got to be at work."
"I never get up that early. Come by my house during your lunch hour, in that case."
Severus glared at her but nodded, and Bellatrix swept past him and down the stairs. He shut the door gently behind her and glanced at the clock on the mantelpiece. He'd be up late tonight, that was certain.
By the following weekend, he'd caught up on his work (both the paid labor and the other sort), and decided that a small reward was in order: window shopping and browsing the shops in Knockturn. It cost nothing to look.
His steps slowed as he passed Ollivander's: "Makers of Fine Wands since 382 B.C" .
There wasn't much to see in the window, as always. But he glanced through the open door. The sight of thousands of wands in their boxes always sent a shiver down his back, and made him feel greedy and envious. All that power, stacked neatly in rows of thin boxes.
He thrust his right hand down into his trouser pocket and fingered his aunt's old wand. Like worrying at a sore tooth, in the back of his mouth. How high up were those boxes stacked? He tilted his head back a bit, trying to make out where the top of the columns of boxes disappeared into the shadows inside the shop.
"Looking for something?" The tone of voice was dry, and Severus startled, looking down at the elderly man who'd suddenly appeared in the doorway. "I don't think I've ever fitted you with a wand before."
Severus suddenly wondered how it would feel to hold a wand that had been fitted to him. Would the magic feel any different, flowing through him as he cast?
"No, you haven't."
The old man tilted his head, and looked at Severus. "You've got a family wand, then?"
He nodded, feeling defensive and angry at the man for asking. What business of his was it, if Severus had a hand-me-down wand?
"Come inside then, and I'll see what I've got for you."
Severus snorted, but followed Ollivander inside. He'd be wasting the old man's time, since he hadn't nearly enough money for a wand. Served him right, for prying.
The first two wands Ollivander gave him to try were lifeless. Like dead sticks. It crossed his mind that the old man might be playing with him, to mock his obvious lack of funds. Giving him wands that lacked cores, perhaps.
After the third wand thrummed slightly in his palm but failed to cast any spell, Ollivander narrowed his eyes, and looked thoughtful. Severus felt a whisper brush against his mind, a gentle touch, and closed his eyes quickly.
"Don't!" he snarled. It was bad enough that he had to tolerate Voldemort's probing on occasion.
Ollivander looked apologetic. "I'm sorry if that bothered you. Sometimes Legilimency can help to find a wand for someone who's difficult to suit. A wand is far more choosy than the Sorting Hat, and people don't fall into just four categories when it comes to wands, you know."
"I'm hard to fit?" Severus was intrigued.
"Yes. Still, in your case, I'm surprised. Usually, it's easier to find a wand to choose someone who already carries the Mark. There are some types of wand that like that sort of witch or wizard."
Severus kept himself from glancing down at his (robed) left arm and glared at Ollivander. "How did you---" He broke off before he could say something incriminating. Ollivander couldn't prove anything.
Ollivander looked at him steadily. His lips twitched, but he said nothing.
Severus took a quick breath and then nodded curtly. "Well, I'm sorry to have taken up your time." He began to turn away from the counter.
"No, wait. I'm sure I can find a wand that will choose you." Ollivander's tone seemed faintly apologetic. He disappeared into a back room, and Severus could hear him rummaging around behind the curtain that separated the two rooms. He paused, undecided about whether to leave or not, but Ollivander reappeared after just a moment, carrying a dusty box.
"Try this one." Ollivander sounded faintly curious.
Severus opened the box and found a rather ordinary-looking wand.
"Oak, 12 inches long. It's got a Thestral hair core. Springy. A good wand for Potions work, too. But I expect it would only choose you if you can see a Thestral. Can you?" Ollivander's tone was speculative and curious.
Severus remembered his mother's death, finding her body lying at the base of the stairs after . . . but quickly pushed the image to the back of his mind and nodded as he picked up the wand. Before he'd even got it all the way out of its bedding in the box, a pulse of magic ran down through his arm and hand and into the wand. His aunt's wand had never felt so right. Like it was an extension of his own arm. He gave the wand a tentative swish, thought Legilimens, and looked into Ollivander's eyes. Turnabout was always fair play.
Ollivander only smiled, and Severus felt foolish. The old man's mind was completely shuttered.
"It's chosen you, then."
Severus felt ducked his head to hide his pleasure, but then remembered. He couldn't afford that wand, that wonderful, perfect wand. Shame rose inside him, but he pushed it down again. He wanted this wand. Now that he knew how the right one would feel, he couldn't go back to his aunt's old wand again. The new wand felt like . . . . like he'd been deaf his entire life and could now suddenly hear music.
Ollivander looked him over appraisingly, and responded tentatively. "Well, you could earn it. It would be useful to have someone help me to complete a proper inventory; I've been meaning to do one for years. And you could run errands for me. Get some of the materials I'd need. It's hard for me to do that on summer weekends, when parents are shopping for new wands for children."
He'd have to stay up very late brewing for his Lord if he worked all day on the weekends for Ollivander, but it would be worth it. "How long would it take me to work off the debt, then?" He didn't want to sound too eager. But at the same time, Severus wondered whether he could cast a good Crucio on a rat with this wand.
"I expect you could, with that one." Ollivander sounded amused by the unspoken question. "If you'd work all day on Saturdays and a half day on Sundays from now through the Christmas holiday, we could call it even."
Severus met his eyes and nodded. This would give him a chance to practice Occlumency, as well. He'd never dared to try that with the Dark Lord before, for fear of being detected in the failure before he'd become proficient at it. But he was damned if he'd let Ollivander have access to his thoughts in addition to his time.