FIC: "Brittle" for magnetic_pole Recipient:magnetic_pole Author/Artist: ??? Title: Brittle Rating: R Pairings: Peter Pettigrew/Garrick Ollivander Word Count:2519 Medium: Fic Warnings/Content Information: None Summary: Shortly after his kidnapping, Ollivander is forced to make a wand for Peter Pettigrew. Author's Notes: Many thanks to my wonderful beta P! All additional errors are my own.
The wind was brutally cold as they flew through the air. Peter's eyes were closed tightly as they hurtled through the night. They had left for Romania just before dawn; Ollivander had said they would not come to their destination until nightfall.
"I don't know why The Dark Lord's letting you do this," Peter called out, clutching his hands tight around Ollivander's waist as the broom made a sharp swerve to the left. The old man was a good flyer; Peter wondered if maybe he had been a Quidditch player when he was younger.
"I don't just keep dragon heartstrings sitting around my shop," Ollivander shouted back. "They have to be used immediately when making a wand. Hang on, we're going down."
"Are we there?"
"No, we need to eat."
When Peter had been told he would be getting his own wand, he didn't know to what lengths the Dark Lord would go to get it.
He swirled the dregs of his beer, feeling strangely comfortable in Ollivander's company. It felt odd to Peter because "comfortable" wasn't a feeling that came easy to him. He supposed it was because of who Ollivander was: an installation in Diagon Alley that never changed, like Gringotts or Zonko's. Ollivander didn't belittle him like the others did. Even when Peter had come to him in the manor's basement, Ollivander had greeted him kindly.
"What happened to your first wand?" Ollivander said, breaking into Peter's thoughts. "You didn't break it, did you?"
"No --" Peter faltered. "My mum has it."
"She's dead though, isn't she?"
Peter nodded, staring into the mug. "She was buried with it. I went back to my parents' house... there was an outline of it in the dust of the mantel, but it wasn't there."
"It happens sometimes," Ollivander said. "It's a bit of an old-fashioned tradition, a parent buried with the wand of a dead child, but some still hold by it. I'm surprised the Dark Lord didn't made you go fetch it yourself."
Peter looked up, horrified at the thought of having to break into his mother's grave.
"I -- I thought he might too, but for the longest time... he said I didn't deserve a wand."
"And now you do," Ollivander said.
"Maybe?" Peter said. He felt small, but even the idea made him perk up a little. A child in the wand shop.
"I remember your first wand."
"How do you do that?" Peter interrupted. "Hundreds, thousands of witches and wizards, how could you possibly know?"
"It's a blessing and a curse," Ollivander said with a grim smile. "Imagine you look at someone and the first thing you do is see them as eleven years old, barely tall enough to look over the top of my counter. In the moment I see them, I see the wand they will receive and... a semblance of the person they will become."
"You blokes going to have anything else?"
Peter looked up, startled. It was the waitress. Third time she'd come by, maybe? Peter shook his head. It was time to move on.
Peter pressed his hands against his lower back, groaning at the ache there. He hated having to fly for so long, but the Dark Lord had demanded they travel this way instead of Apparating. Ollivander had landed in a large clearing in the forest, he was staring up at the treetops as if transfixed. Peter watched him as he touched one of the trees with the palm of his hand and let it rest there.
"You do know the way, don't you?" Peter was unnerved by the silence.
"Of course I do," Ollivander said sharply. Peter cringed at his tone and Ollivander shook his head, chuckling sadly.
"I should be scared of you and yet you're scared of me," he said. "Little Peter Pettigrew. The Dark Lord's right hand."
Peter took hold of his silver hand impulsively, stung. He straightened up, trying to look imposing and pointed directly at Ollivander.
"That's right, you -- don't try anything funny now. We're here for the dragon heartstring, then it's back to Malfoy Manor."
Ollivander shook his head and suddenly started to laugh, croaking broken laughter that seemed to verge on hysteria.
"Stop it!" Peter shouted, feeling like a petulant child. "Why are you laughing?"
Ollivander clapped his hand on Peter's shoulder. They stood at about the same height, though Ollivander was much more frail and thin, as if a strong wind could blow him away. The touch upon his shoulder felt odd. Peter wasn't used to having anyone touch him. Not as gentle as that.
"I'm just -- I'm in awe of him." Ollivander said, letting his hand drop back down to his side. "The power he wields. He sends us here, fully aware that we would never run away, never disobey. We have no shackles. He surrounds himself with cowards."
"We don't have any choice," Peter said.
"No, we don't." Ollivander glanced up at the treetops again, as if looking for a sign. "Don't you find that amazing? The power. He is the most powerful wizard in the entire world."
"Where are we going next?" Peter said abruptly, growing more and more nervous at Ollivander's words. Was this a trick of the Dark Lord? Had he told Ollivander to make Peter admit his true feelings?
"We're not going anywhere," Ollivander said. "He is coming to us."
"What -- "
There was a roar in the distance. Peter scrambled backwards in panic. The treetops above them began to rustle as if a slight breeze stirred them, then started to wave back and forth erratically as if a storm was brewing. Ollivander stood utterly still, glancing up at the sky. Peter opened his mouth to shout out at him, to tell him to run, but above them there was a loud cracking sound as leaves and small branches begin to rain down all around them as an enormous dragon flew down into the clearing.
Peter ran behind a tree, but Ollivander had his arms stretched upward toward the sky, the smile on his face making him look like a child greeting a puppy after returning from school. Peter could not believe his eyes. A dragon.
Peter had seen dragons, when the Dark Lord had sent to spy on the Triwizard Tournament. But even then he had kept his distance. As the dragon descended, Peter braced himself for its impact on the ground, but when it landed it settled as gracefully as a dove, staring directly at Ollivander and Peter with its yellow eyes.
Ollivander approached the dragon slowly. "He's from the reserve not far from here."
"You -- you don't think they'll notice this huge beast has gone missing?!"
"It's a reserve, not a jail. The dragons are free to come and go as they like. The trainers know they will return to where it is safe. Come now, you must approach him or he'll think you're afraid."
"He knows you?" Peter was at once both incredulous and jealous. He couldn't believe how calm Ollivander was in the dragon's presence, but little by little, that calm made Peter less fearful and more curious. The calm was a tingling warmth that went right down to his toes and he curled them in his sodden boots.
"Of course he does," Ollivander said, reaching out a hand to the dragon. Peter watched with awe as the dragon nudged gently against his outstretched hand, smoke curling in tendrils from its nostrils. "He has given me at least four heartstrings in the past."
"But I thought -- don't wandmakers harvest those from dead dragons?"
"The oldest wandmakers did," Ollivander said, frowning. "They revered dragons, but the wands with the core of heartstrings from deceased dragons are never as powerful as living dragons. Killing dragons would be unthinkable, so I went about developing a different method."
Peter watched as the dragon raised itself up proudly, its wings folded behind itself as it sat back on its haunches. Ollivander took out his wand, taking in a deep shuddering breath. Peter came a little closer, hypnotised by the dragon's gaze.
"Don't look directly in his eyes." Ollivander said in an undertone.
Peter nodded and managed to look down at his feet, but his attention was caught by the glow at the end of Ollivander's wand. He followed the glow as Ollivander raised it up to the dragon and the dragon seemed inhale and exhale in time with Ollivander's measured breaths. When Ollivander touched his wand to the dragon's chest, he drew it away and with it came a golden strand as thin as a hair. Ollivander drew it away extremely slowly, beads of sweat appearing on his brow as he seemed to strain with the effort. Suddenly, the strand broke away from the dragon's chest, hovering at the end of Ollivander's wand.
Ollivander gazed up at the golden strand and the heartstring seemed to glow brightly.
"Yes, that does make sense." Ollivander said softly. "Chestnut."
With a sudden pop, the heartstring disappeared and something fell into Ollivander's open hand. It was a wand.
"Peter Pettigrew." Ollivander said as he handed it to him. "Nine and a quarter inches, chestnut wood, dragon heartstring core. It is yours, but I'm afraid its time with you will be brief." Peter opened his mouth to protest, but Ollivander held up a hand to stop him. "I will explain later, after he is gone."
The dragon raised his head to the treetops, gave one more glance toward Ollivander and Peter, then stepped back. The dragon stretched out its wings and they both backed up as it shot up into the sky, the only evidence of its appearance being the tree debris in the clearing
"Do you know his name?" Peter whispered, still looking up.
"No." Ollivander said. Peter saw him follow Peter's gaze toward the sky. "I know what others call him, but not what he calls himself."
Peter stared down at the wand in his outstretched hand. He was afraid to take it by the handle.
"Go on," Ollivander said. "It is yours, after all."
"Did it hurt?"
"Did what hurt?"
"What you -- took from the dragon."
"Not at all." Ollivander gave a glance toward the sky again. "I think once the dragons realized what I was trying to do, to honor their hearts instead of harvesting from them, they gave it willingly. It is only an echo of their heartstrings, but a very powerful echo. It's not something stolen; it's a gift."
Peter still couldn't bring himself to hold the wand as he should, properly. He sank down to the ground, cradling the wand in his open hands.
"Do I really deserve this wand?" Peter said, looking up at Ollivander, his heart pounding.
"I was forced to make that wand." Ollivander said, his tone suddenly harsh. "That is the result of a wand created under duress."
"Then why go to the trouble of getting a dragon heartstring? And you said its time with me would be brief. Why?"
"Take up your wand, Peter Pettigrew."
"Not until you --"
Peter looked up sharply at the command. He suddenly gripped the handle of the wand and felt the power, the raw power of the magic he could command with it. He stumbled to his feet and pointed it directly at Ollivander.
"Tell me what you know!"
Ollivander shook his head and looked sadly.
"I don't know the story, my boy. Only glimpses. I never how the story will end, only its origin."
Peter lowered his wand slowly.
"I'm sorry," Peter said. "I wouldn't hurt you, not --"
"-- not unless the Dark Lord tells you."
"You'd do the same, though."
Ollivander pointed at Peter's silver hand. "Yet you reap the rewards."
"I can -- I can try -- to have him treat you better, maybe get your own room instead of being in the basement with the other prisoners."
Ollivander smiled wryly. "You'd do that for me?"
"You know what it is to fear him. But also to -- to admire him. For his power."
Ollivander nodded. "The sun is rising. Surely the Dark Lord would allow us sleep before returning?"
Peter closed the shutters of the inn window against the bright sun, feeling completely and utterly exhausted. Ollivander was already in the bed; he had not bothered to undress.
"I'll -- I'll just sit over here," Peter mumbled, pointing to a large overstuffed chair in the corner of the room.
"There's enough room." Ollivander patted the mattress. "We both need sleep."
Peter pried off his shoes. At this point, he would have shared a bed with the Dark Lord himself if it meant sleep. Before he got into the bed, he put his new wand on the nightstand. Ollivander had already closed his eyes as Peter pulled the covers up to his chin. His toes tingled again, the blush rise to his cheeks. Ollivander's cheeks were heavily whiskered and Peter wondered what it would feel like to kiss him there. He swallowed hard as his body reacted quite swiftly to that thought. Peter tried to breathe more evenly, pretending he was falling asleep, hoping Ollivander hadn't noticed. But then he saw his wand upon the nightstand.
Peter reached out for his wand and rolled it between his fingertips. Now that he could examining it more closely, it seemed to the wood felt as if it might snap at a moment's notice.
I was forced to make that wand. That is the result of a wand created under duress.
"The core of every wand is a reflection of the one who wields it."
Peter startled at Ollivander's voice. Out of the corner of his eye, Peter could see him looking up at the ceiling.
"You have wielded several wands in your life," Ollivander said. "You must be quite powerful yourself to have done such magic with another wand."
"I didn't have a choice," Peter said, his voice quavering. With another wand, it was so much easier to pretend the death, the torture, was all as just an extension of someone else.
"You must be very important to the Dark Lord if he kidnapped me just to make you a wand."
Peter hesitated. "I'm not sure."
He felt Ollivander reach for his hand and Peter felt the man's fingers trembling. Peter closed his hand around his.
"I'm not, by any means, a brave man." Ollivander said. "But neither are you, and in this, we are similar."
"I'll protect you the best I can." Peter said. He held his wand with his silver hand, gripping it tightly as he clutched it to his chest.
"I know you are powerless to his will." Ollivander said. "However, the sentiment will be a comfort to me in the days to come."
Peter glanced over to him and he saw Ollivander was smiling. Peter smiled slightly as he turned his gaze back toward the ceiling. For a moment, with Ollivander's hand grasped in his own, he felt a quiet comfort. He closed his eyes and dreamed of dragons.