Harry starts to integrate back into life.
Harry gradually woke.
He opened his eyes to see rafters. A wave of disorientation flew through his head. The last thing he remembered was trying to push Mr. Ollivander's delivery into the Alley. Pain radiated throughout is body, starting in his bicep. A quick glance to his arm showed a large cut with aglowing web covering it.
Mr. Ollivander was puttering at his workbench, whistling under his breath. As Harry stirred, he set down his work and came over.
"Ah. Mr. Black. I see you're awake now. It seems you had alittle run in with one of those muggle bike couriers. You lost quite a bit of blood in getting here with my package. I took the liberty of healing your arm and giving you some blood replenishing potion. I trust you are feeling all right now?"
Harry sat up and held his head in his hands for moment. He couldn't quite remember what had happened, but he knew that in some cases of concussion, short term memory was shaky at best.
"Yes, Sir. I think I'll be fine. I've never seen this kind of healing spell. What is it?"
"Actually, it's merely energized acromantula silk. The silk acts like a bandage and as it dries, tightens the wound. The energizing spell is one of my wand making spells. Quite simply, it is used in preparing the wood of a wand for the core to be added. As a whole, it should have your arm healed in about an hour. Not as fast as a potion or some of the more difficult healer spells, but just as effective. Now, if you are ready, I do have some small tasks for you to do still today."
"Of course. What would you like me to do?"
"As your arm is till healing, I would like you to sort this case of dowels. They are wand blanks. I've found it increasingly easier to begin with muggle harvested wood in most cases, and work from there. A nearby lumber yard saves the end pieces they would be unable to sell normally, and Ipick them up every 3 months. They need to be sorted by wood type, grain, and length."
"I'll begin at once." Harry tucked his injured arm into his waistband and started to work. The job, while easy, was very time consuming. Before long, he noticed his arm was no longer sore, and all that was left was afading light red mark.
As Harry pulled each new type of wood from the crate, Ollivander would list off the characteristics.
"Ah! Yes. Willow. Quite swishy, and very good for most charms work. I once knew a girl who was amazing at charms. She married a young man just out of Hogwarts. Potter was their name."
Harry froze. He could feel a lump in his chest that sat hollowly. He looked at the piece of wood in his hand and a single tear fell from his cheek.
"Mr. Black? James? Are you okay there lad? Is your arm hurting you still?"
"No, Sir. You just reminded me of something." Harry swiped the tears from his cheeks and put the lid back on the crate. "I'm finished this crate. What's next?"
Ollivander's eyebrows rose and he strode over to the sorted wood. His eyes roved across the stacks. His eyes were shining as he turned back to Harry.
"Very well done, Mr. Black! You have a keen eye to do this so quickly. Come with me. I would like you to try something."
The old shopkeeper moved to an older workbench. With a wave of his hand, he cleared the mess from the top and the tools organized themselves. There were various chisels and other tools lying neatly in rows on the bench. The razor edges gleamed in the lamplight.
"One of the more difficult parts of making wands is splitting the wood. We can not use magic on a wand until it has been joined with its core. Any magic, for lack of a better term, spoils the wood. Thus, we must split and carve them by hand, using muggle tools."
Ollivander selected a medium sized piece of oak. Handing it to Harry, he continued, "We first must find the flow of the grain. You cannot split a piece of wood unless you know how the grain runs through it. Close your eyes, and hold the wood in your hands. Block out the sounds from the alley, and listen only to the rhythm of life within your body. Once you have focused your attention, allow it to encompass the wood. Let yourself see the path the tree took as it grew."
Harry's eyes were shut, his breathing slow and steady. His hands started to glow slightly in the lamplight of the back room. Ollivander's eyes sparkled in the light. They stood like statues for several moments. Then, with an explosive breath, Harry opened his eyes.
"Now, young sir. You know how the grain runs. You saw the wood's path. How it grew each year, and how some years were better than others. When you clamp it in the vise, remember the story of the wood. Not too tight, just enough to hold it steady."
Harry tightened the velvet covered vide jaws over the wood. He made slight adjustments to how it sat in the grip, and gave the handle afinal twist to set it.
"Pick a chisel, place it on the path it will take. Take your time in choosing, for the wood will be unforgiving if you do not choose correctly. Gently, but with increasing pressure, seat the chisel. When you are ready, strike the chisel with this mallet. Too hard and the wood will shatter, too soft and it will splinter."
Harry lightly passed his hands over the tools on the bench. His hand stopped on one, hovered for a moment and picked it up. With infinite care, almost as if he was in a trance, Harry positioned the chisel, moving it one grain at a time, almost as if he was counting. Harry could feel the ridges of the grain as he worked. There. This one felt right. A bit of a push and the wood released some of the sap still in it. The bitter smell of sap sang in his head. With a slight pressure, the edge of the tool bit into the wood.
A sharp rap with the mallet made the dowel ring like a bell when struck. The wood popped apart in two equal halves.
"Excellent! You have some talent Mr. Black! Do you feel tired?"
Harry wiped his brow with his handkerchief. He felt like he had played an entire game of quiditch. With a small smile he said, "A bit."
A fluttering of wings interrupted the next thing he was going to say. The nearby window swung open and a snowy white owl flew in and landed on the nearby perch. She settled her feathers, and looked at the two men standing slack jawed.
Ollivander was the first to recover. "Well! What do we have here? It seems someone has sent me a post." He reached over to a shelf and pulled out some owl treats he kept for the various post owls that came to visit him. Within moments, he had laid out several treats and a small dish of water.
Harry sat glued to his seat. The mallet had fallen, forgotten, to the floor. He looked into the amber eyes of his closest friend. Instantly, he knew she had never given up on him. The separation was survived and now she was here to make sure he was taken care of.
Ollivander removed the small mail capsule tied to her leg, and waved his wand over it to expand it back to its original size. Glancing at the script on the side, he paused, and handed it to Harry. "I believe it is addressed to you, young sir. It is getting late, and I need to close the store. Why don't you take this wonderful owl and go read your mail while you enjoy supper. I will see you tomorrow morning. Rest well tonight. We have some deliveries to make."
Harry stood up and slowly walked to Hedwig. Her head turned to follow him. As he stepped over to her perch, she flapped her wings once and hopped to his shoulder. His hand came up to caress her side, and she nipped his ear.
"Yes, Sir. I will be back in the morning."
Voldemort sat on his throne in a beam of sunlight. His eyes were half lidded, nictitating membrane partially covering his eyes. His posture made him look much like a snake sunning itself on a rock, relaxed, yet ready to strike out at any moment.
Wormtail glanced in the throne room as he moved towards the library. The Dark Lord had given orders to procure a necromancer so he could locate Potter. Even on the cusp of controlling the entire magical world in Britain, Voldemort was worried about the prophesy. He needed to find Potter!
It was Voldemort's plan to use the spirits of fallen death eaters to search for Potter. The boy had hidden from him for many years, and he had tried many other times to locate him.
Pettigrew had been looking for a necromancer that would be easily abducted. Britain hadn't had any wizards with the skill born for generations. But now he had found one that was accessible in mainland Europe. Seems the fellow was employed by the Magical European Union to help the ghosts and spirits still left from World War II pass on. He spent a lot of time in old battlefields, and didn't have many bodyguards.
"It seems I will be enjoying a bit of a holiday in France," Wormtail thought.
"Excuse me, Olivia?"
"Oh! You startled me! I was just finishing the sweeping in the hallway. It's a constant battle with dirt you know!"
Harry chuckled and shook his head. With Olivia on the job, dirt didn't have a chance.
"I was wondering if the roof is accessible? I was thinking about putting some small garden boxes up there in the spring, and was going to start working on it before the snow came."
Olivia smiled and patted Harry's arm. "Lad, there is an old greenhouse up there. Some of the glass needs to be replaced, and the pipes are rusted out. If you want to tidy the place up and fix it up, you're welcome to it. At the next building meeting, if you're interested, I'll put it to a vote to see if we can give you a bit of break on your rent for the costs of repair. It won't be much, but it would be nice to have some fresh vegetables in the winter!"
Harry flashed a smile at her. He knew that a bit of dragon dung tilled into the soil would grow the most amazing and tasty vegetables. He nodded his head. "Thank you. I hope to have it fixed and running shortly. If I'm lucky, I could have some fresh herbs for the building to use in a month!"
Olivia handed Harry a key to the roof door. "This will get you onto the roof. No one access to it otherwise. Please keep the door locked when you aren't using it?"
"Certainly. Oh.. I just wanted to let you know, I have a pet bird I would like to have in my apartment. She is very clean, and makes absolutely no noise. Would that be ok?"
"Only because it is you asking, my boy." Olivia's eyes crinkled at the corner as she smiled at Harry as he closed the door to his apartment behind him.
Hedwig was patiently waiting on the window ledge to his apartment. She hopped in and surveyed the small living room. With a flick of her wings, she was perched on the curtain that acted as a divider between the main living area and Harry's bedroom. Harry planned on stopping at Eeylops tomorrow to get her a couple proper perches.
Harry made a modest supper of bacon and eggs. He shared apiece of bacon and a bit or toast with Hedwig. He had finished washing up and was starting to get ready for bed, when Hedwig flew over to his coat, plucked out the scroll container and dropped in on his head.
"Ouch! Okay! I was going to read it as soon as I was done brushing my teeth!" Harry smiled up at his owl as he rubbed the sore spot on his head.
The case had some script on the side. Most of it was smudged and scratched. It seems that this particular message had been tied to Hedwig's leg for some time. All Harry could read on the outside was 'y James .....r'.
With a twist, he popped the end of the case off. A rolled up piece of parchment slid into his hand. Placing the top edge under a weight on the desk, he unrolled the letter.
I don't know where you are right now or if you will ever see this letter. It was like you dropped off the face of the Earth. Dumbledore was tightlipped, and wouldn't tell us anything. I've tried writing you in the past, but Hedwig came back so hurt and tired that I was afraid to send her out again.
Things in England have continued to get worse since you disappeared. Voldemort is the power behind the Ministry. Fudge keeps telling people that the Aurors will have him in custody within the year. And yet wizards and witches continue to die. How many must die for him to realize what's happening?
Malfoy, father and son, have been gradually taking away the freedoms we used to enjoy. Centaurs and other non-humans are freely hunted. The only reason the goblins are still safe is because they have threatened to go to war.
Almost all of the muggle born have gone into hiding. Many went back to the muggle world, and have stopped using their magic. The only reason I am still in the magical world is because Dumbledore provided me with asafe haven as the librarian in Hogwarts.
I've left this message with Hedwig in hopes that she may get it to you sometime in the future. Please, please, send me back something so that I know you are ok. I miss you terribly.
Harry looked up at Hedwig. Her eyes were set on him. He shook his head and rolled the letter up.
"What do you think, girl? I know I'm not ready for totally coming back to the wizarding world. I need more time to get my head together before I take that step. I am glad you are here, but nothing will erase what was done to me. Besides, while Hermione may want me, and perhaps the Weasley's, the rest of the magical world has turned its back on me. I refuse to place myself in their incapable hands..... yet again."
Hedwig flew over to the desk and nuzzled Harry's neck. He knew whatever he decided, she would support his decision.
"I've been gone for a long time. What do I say? 'Hi Hermione, how's life treating you? Mine sucks.'"
A quick nip at his fingers showed him what she thought of that idea. Harry arranged his paper on the desk and began writing.
First, thank you for taking care of Hedwig for me. I can never tell you how much it meant to me. She was one of my first real friends, and I would not want to lose her.
Secondly, the same goes for my other friends. I know you have probably been and still are worrying about me, but I need you to do me one more favor. Please, do not contact me. Not only would it draw much unwanted attention to me, I have some issues I must address before I can come back, if Iever do.
I must stress that you keep the fact that you have had contact with me totally secret. The past years have been hard ones. I am very much a changed person. Actually, I'm afraid I may be too changed. Sometimes Ihave a detached feeling, like I am watching the world through a piece of glass and none of this is real.
I'm so glad you are safe. If your situation ever becomes too tenuous, please owl me. I will try to help, but do not depend on me to come immediately.
Harry placed the letter into and envelope and addressed it. He would stop at the owl post in Diagon Alley in the morning.
The bell rang in the front. Ollivander glanced at Harry and said, "I will attend the front of the shop. Please sweep and clean up the work benches while I am away."
Harry nodded and started to rack the tools. As he was putting them away, he found an old book, partially buried under some old polishing rags. On the cover was the title, "Wood, Wisdom, Wands and You."
Intrigued, Harry pulled up a stool. His brow furrowed as he looked at the bindings. They were obviously hand made, and very old. On the inside cover was an inscription.
"May you find peace and know the grain of your life."
Harry sat back and looked up in thought. A smile played across his lips for a moment as he thought how Hermione would be three chapters deep into the book already. A short cough from behind him startled him out of his reverie.
"That book was given to my grandfather by his grandfather. It's been in our family for generations. Each time an Ollivander passes his knowledge on to his heir, the book goes with it. Soon, it will be my turn to pass it to my grandson. He will be entering Hogwarts next year."
Ollivander picked up the book, and brushed off some wood dust. His eyes glowed with remembered memories. Shortly, his eyes turned to Harry.
"If you are interested, Mr. Black, you may borrow this book to read. It is filled with much knowledge regarding wands, but may also help you in other ways."
"I couldn't begin to impose on you, Sir. Besides, I would hate to lose something so precious to you family!"
"Nonsense. The book is charmed with an indestructibility charm, and has magics on it to always ensure its return to the store if it is lost or stolen. In fact, the spells that imbue it can be found in the appendix. They are meant for wands, but with a few changes, can be used for other small items."
"Thank you. I will take very good care of it while I have it."
Harry glanced at the clock on the wall. "It looks like it's almost lunch time. Would you like me to pick up some box lunches from the deli?I have a letter to post, so I will be in the area."
"Thank you, James. That would be lovely. Please, if will not take too much of your lunch up, would you also post a few wands for me?"
"Sure, it won't be any trouble at all."
Harry walked down the alley to the owl post office. As he entered the building, he saw some aurors putting up a few posters. He hung back while they finished their task, and then walked over with the other curious people to see what had been tacked up on the board.
A new wanted poster for Voldemort was put up. The reward was up to 100,000 galleons. Harry shook his head and went to the desk to take care of his packages. A few minutes later his letter to Hermione was on its way, along with all of Ollivander's packages.
He made a short trip to the deli to get the lunch he had promised, and returned to the store. The rest of the day was spent doing various inventory tasks and chatting with the old shopkeeper.
As Harry closed the door to his apartment, he sighed. His day had been full, and somewhat normal, at least as normal as he could expect.