Professor Dumbledore takes Ani to get his wand, nothing can ever be that simple.
Intrigued, Anakin nudged his reluctant companion and asked, “What are those for?”
Looking at the new boy with a disbelieving expression, Tom answered. “That's the station where the Hogwarts Express arrives. You do know what a train is...” At Anakin's dubious expression, Tom snorted dismissively. “What primitive backwater do you come from anyway? Look, it's a Muggle device that the school enchanted and uses to bring students in from London.” When the look he was receiving didn't change, Tom threw up his arms in disgust. “Just read about it when we get back!”
It was as they walked through the village that Anakin recognised something all to familiar, fear. Growing up a slave, then as a jedi, Ani knew the look of cold fear in someone's eyes. Knowledge that pain and death could come at any time. He'd experienced it as a child and been the author of it after his fall. Now he saw the same looks on the people here.
It was nothing overt, nobody was running about screaming in terror but the signs were still there. Many of the villagers greeted them, Professor Dumbledore in particular, but the smiles never reached their eyes. Mothers kept their children within arms reach and there were nervous glances, as if they expected someone to jump at them from the shadows.
When he was positive it wasn't his imagination, Anakin asked, “Master Dumbledore, has something happened here? Everyone seems frightened for some reason.”
with a sad look on his face, Professor Dumbledore replied, “You've noticed the people's disquiet then.”
Nodding and speaking in a quiet tone, Anakin answered, “Where I came from there was a war going on, it was common for people to act like this.”
“A conflict is brewing here as well,” the professor admitted quietly. “It is occurring in both the Muggle and magical worlds. There is a wizard in another country, he's their minister of magic. He, along with their Muggle Chancellor have been preaching blood purity and expansion for several years now. He's incited hatred for squibs and Muggleborns, blaming them for a plethora of ills our world faces. He rallies his forces under the banner of twin lightning bolts while his Muggle counterpart is doing much the same, using a broken cross, called the swastika for his symbol. I regret you've had to experience such atrocities and it's my hope that this is as close as you'll get to it here.” Seizing on a chance to change the subject as they approached a well lit building, Dumbledore added, “The Three Broomsticks, one of the finest Inns in Scotland. It's from here that we'll find our transportation to London.”
Unsure how they'd be doing any travelling from there, Anakin stepped inside behind the professor. He found himself in a quaint little inn that, barring its lack of technology, could have been one of the cosy establishments he and Padme had frequented while together on Naboo. Tables were spread about the large front room with enough space for a sense of privacy yet still have a homey feel. A bar ran along the back wall with a doorway halfway down it. Heavenly smells coming from it set Ani's mouth to watering even though he'd already eaten a short time ago.
“Alboos” a voice cried out heartily from one end of the bar. A swarthy man in well kept home spun clothing strode from one end of the bar and embraced the Defence teacher in a bear hug. “It's good to see you again. You spend far too much time up in that drafty castle. Esmerelda loves to cook and my daughter, Catrina,” he added with a sly grin, “she pines for your company, eh?”
“I wish I could, Gregoiro,” the professor answered with a slight blush. “Unfortunately, my days for the near future have been filled by our newest student,” he said, indicating Anakin with a wave. “The other professors and I will be helping him catch up to his year-mates.”
His attention refocused, Gregorio gave the boy an appraising look that was returned by the young Jedi. The innkeeper was a swarthy dark haired man with skin the colour and texture of tanned hide. Laugh lines were etched deeply in his face and he wore an easy smile that, while it reached his eyes, Ani could sense a hardness there that didn't bode well for anyone who crossed him. Dressed in a white tunic, dark breeches and a colourful sash, he made a dashing figure; as Ani would later learn, the innkeeper's family had been gypsies before settling in Hogsmeade, though he wouldn't hear about that for some time.
With profuse appologies to Gregorio, Professor Dumbledore moved to the fireplace as he explained, “We're late for an appointment in Diagon Alley, I'm afraid. With your permission, I'd like to use your floo.”
“Of course, Alboos. I insist, though, that you dine with me and my family soon.”
“The moment I have free time, I promise. For now I'm afraid we must be off.” Professor Dumbledore then gave Ani a crash course in floo travel, leaving the Jedi more than a bit sceptical.
“So I throw powder in a cooking fire, jump after it and end up where I tell it to go?” he asked in a disbelieving voice.
“In a nutshell, yes,” replied the professor with a twinkle in his eye.
“You expect me to believe that?”
“He's not having you on,” Tom growled in disgust. “Just follow me – unless you're scared.” That said, the Slytherin boy took up a handful floo powder from the nearby pot and threw it into the flames. When they flared green, he called, “Diagon Alley,” and stepped into the hearth, vanishing instantly.
Blushing hotly, Anakin took up his own handful of powder and was reminded by Professor Dumbledore to “Speak your destination clearly.” Nodding, Anakin tossed in the powder, repeated the words Tom used and stepped through.
Somehow, from the way they'd talked, Anakin had expected a nearly instantaneous journey. Instead, he tumbled in a dark void for a good fifteen to twenty seconds before reaching his destination. Along the way he tumbled wildly, seeing flashed of other fireplaces as he went. Finally, one of them rushed toward him and rather than slow down, he seemed to pick up speed.
The patrons of the Leaky Cauldron looked up from their drinks as the fireplace flared and spewed out a body much more forcefully than normal. The boy, it was too small to be a man, was launched almost five feet into the air, twisted, somehow, in mid-flight, and came down lightly on his feet, facing the hearth.
Anakin stood there , knees slightly bent and breathing heavily. His face was filthy, seeming to have been a magnet for all the ash between Hogsmeade and his current location. Far from distressed by his ejection or condition of his clothing, his face shown with excitement that was unmistakeable.
“We've got to do that again,” he crowed as he caught his breath. “That's how we're going back, right?”
A much cleaner Tom stood by the floo, trying not to look surprised. The first time through, most people ended up on their arse and feeling a bit sick. The new boy looked like he was ready to spend the day riding the network. “Hopeless,” Tom muttered as the floo flared again.
Professor Dumbledore emerged, upright and immaculate. Smiling gently as he spotted Anakin, he said, “Thank you my boy, that's the cleanest ride I've ever had through the system, thanks to your leading the way.” Taking out his wand, the professor waved it over Anakin, banishing the soot and leaving him spotless
Leading the boys through the crowded tavern, they entered a tiny courtyard through a door in back. Professor Dumbledore grinned at them before tapping a series of bricks on the wall with his wand. At first, nothing seemed to happen until Anakin felt a surge in the force and then the bricks began to rearrange themselves into an archway.
“Diagon Alley,” The professor proclaimed as Anakin looked at the chaos beyond. “Centre of British Wizarding commerce and jewel of our society.”
Stepping through, Anakin absorbed the sights and sounds around him. Wizarding establishments lined the thoroughfare. Signs that moved, flashed, and even spoke in some cases, marked each establishment while its inhabitants, mostly human, went busily about their day.
Professor Dumbledore lead them through the crowds, half listening as Tom began arguing his case for staying at the castle over the summer break. He didn't want to return to the orphanage, Anakin found out as they went. According to Tom, the other children recognised something different in him and they persecuted him out of their own ignorance. It wasn't the whole story, however, Ani could hear it in the other boy's voice, he was leaving something out.
Intrigued by Tom's story and the insights it gave him about human culture here, Anakin barely noticed when they'd arrived in front of a particular shop until Professor Dumbledore's voice grabbed his attention. “This is Ollivander's. He and his family have been making wands for more than two millenia and have become the official supplier of school wands. Go in tell him That you're a scholarship student here for your first wand. I'll be along shortly, once I make a stop at Gringotts and finish with Tom.”
Unsure what a Gringotts was or how he was supposed to recognise this Ollivander person, Ani just nodded and figured he'd follow the professor's directions the best he could. Entering the tiny shop, he was confronted with a dim, dusty room lined with shelves full of small boxes. Directly across from the door was an empty counter, making the shop seem deserted though Ani knew better. From the shadows in one dark corner he felt a disturbance, A presence he couldn't describe.
It was neither Jedi nor wizard, good or evil, it was simply there. Focusing his gaze on the murky corner, Anakin said pointedly, “You can come out, I know you're there.”
The first thing to become visible was the man's spectacles, glinting in the room's half light. As he moved forward, the figure became visible in the shop's soft lighting. With a hawk-like nose, a bald pate and sinister sneer, he put up a show of eerie malevolence. His force presence, however, merely indicated amusement and anticipation until he realized he'd been spotted.
“I've been sent to get a wand,” Anakin said as a way of introduction. “Master Dumbledore said I should tell you he would be along shortly.”
Frowning at the loss of his fun, the wizened old man, Ollivander, Ani assumed, Nodded slightly. “Let's see if we can't find you one then.” Looking the boy over carefully, he asked, “My family has supplied wands to a large portion of the European wizarding community since before the time of the founders, “ he declared. “I've sold wands to every major family in Britain and can spot any of their members on first sight. You, however I do not know? Are you Muggle-born?”
“I'm not from around here,” Anakin explained as he turned his head to follow the old man's progress with interest.
“Of that, I have no doubt,” Ollivander said as he pulled out a tape-measure. “Which is your wand hand?”
“Ah yes, the hand with which you perform most tasks.”
“I've been trained to use either hand equally.”
Ollivander's eyebrows rose a hair at Anakin's claim but he never the less went about measuring both arms. “Do you have any experience with magic?” the wand maker asked as he took each of Ani's hands in his own, studying them intently.
I studied it for a few years back where I came from; we didn't have wands though, it wasn't exactly spells we cast either.”
“Really... Let's see what we can find for you then.”
Stepping behind the counter, Ollivander sorted through the boxes till he found one that met his approval.
“Ash and Unicorn hair, twelve inches,” the wand maker said reverently as he placed the box on the counter and opened it. “Go on, pick it up and give it a wave.”
Shrugging, Anakin stepped forward and reached for it. He could sense the wand through the force and the slight disturbance it created. He could already tell that it didn't resonate with him but thought it was best to humour the old man. They were both surprised, however, when the wand rolled away from his hand. Intrigured, Anakin reached for it again, this time the wand seemed to jump before rolling off the counter with a clatter.
“Strange,” said Ollivander with an inscrutable look. Picking up the wand and replacing it in the box he went to get another. “Birch and Ground Bullywug bone, nine and one half inches.” Anakin again reached for the new wand, only to have it react same as the first.
They went through countless boxes with the corresponding wands all acting the same. Finally, when they were both becoming frustrated, Ollivander sat down what would be the last box they'd need to open. “Holly and dragon heartstring, thirteen inches, excellent for defensive casting and hexes.”
Anakin could feel a sympathetic resonance with this wand though it seemed skittish as the rest at first. As he reached for it, the wand seemed to tremble, roll a couple inches away, then go completely motionless as Anakin's fingers closed around it. At Ollivander's nod, Ani waved the wand about with no obvious reaction at first save a faint vibration that he barely noticed at first, though became very aware of as it redoubled in intensity with every passing second.
“Strange indeed,” murmured Ollivander as a visible glow began to slowly crawl up the wand. When it reached the tip, the vibrations reached a crescendo and the end of the wand literally blew off. With a familiar snap-hiss, a blade of pure white magical energy nearly a meter long extended from it while the room's two occupants stared at it in awe.
Ollivander wore a gob-smacked expression because he'd never seen such a beautiful sight, Anakin, on the other hand, did so partly because he had. More importantly though, he was in the throws of a force vision.
He saw an image of himself a bit older, using a device that slightly resembled his old light saber in shape but had no obvious controls. Instead, it was a leather wrapped cylinder bound with metal bands and crowned and capped by ornate metal devices. Where the beam emitter should have been, a crystal of some kind was seated. The vision and Anakin's contemplations were shattered, however, when the wand in his hand began to shake violently and grow hot to the touch.
Badly overtaxed, the wand began to smoke and then actually catch fire before Anakin could even try to halt the flow of power he'd been unconsciously sending through it. Dropping the wand, he gazed at it with a wry expression and said, “I guess we found my wand.”
“Indeed,” said the wand maker. “Though I doubt that it or any other wand I have here would suit... I'm afraid we'll have to make a custom wand for you.”
“If it's all the same sir, I'd rather you didn't.”
“Where I came from, wizards didn't use wands for everyday magic, they did use devices called light sabres. It was the responsibility of the individual wizard to create his own weapon. The problem is the technology to make one doesn't exist on this world. I think, though, that I might be able to make a wand that will act as one but I wouldn't even know how to begin.”
“Making a wand is serious business,” the old man said in a grim tone. “To truly understand the mechanics of it and the expertise necessary to make a custom one would take years. You'd never be able to do it on your own.”
“I know it'll be hard but this is something I have to do... please.”
“Hmm...” the wand maker said contemplatively. “There are some books that will help you with the basics but it won't be enough. You have to have a true understanding of every component and how it affects the whole. If you're really serious about this and putting the work behind it that's necessary, I might allow you to apprentice with me during the summers. Normally I wouldn't even consider it but the way magic reacts to you fascinates me. I will need to speak to your parents in order to set the apprenticeship up.”
“I'm an orphan,” Ani admitted, “I've been made a ward of the school.”
The shop's door opened just then, ending their conversation as Professor Dumbledore entered. The professor looked frazzled and perhaps a bit angry, though he didn't let it enter his voice. “Octavius,” he said in a pleasant tone. “It's good to see you as always. Has our young friend located his wand yet?”
With a careless gesture toward the smouldering mess on the floor, Olivander replied with a faint grin. “In a manner of speaking, you could say that. I doubt he will be using it or any other conventional wand at Hogwarts, however.”
“What do you mean?” Professor Dumbledore asked with a slight frown.
“The boy can cast wandlessly, can't he?” Ollivander asked with a gleam in his eye.
“How... Yes, he demonstrated a levitation charm for us but we thought he'd be more effective with a wand.”
“You were wrong,” the wand maker said with a smile. “The lad doesn't need a focus for is magic, he is one. He over loaded the one wand that was compatible with him and he wasn't even trying to cast a spell.”
“Armondo said he expected something much like this to happen but insisted the boy come and try at least.”
“Then he'll have no qualms paying for the ruined wand,” Ollivander commented smugly. Turning to Anakin he handed the boy a book he'd gotten from behind the counter and said, “When you've finished with this, owl it back to me and I'll send you another. Hogwarts library will have a few Tomes I can suggest as well.
“The boy will be working here in the shop during summer break, three days a week,” he told Dumbledore as he escorted them to the door. “I'll work the details out with Armando later. Now, as I have other customers likely waiting, I'll bid you both a good day.”
Thanking Ollivander again, Ani and Professor Dumbledore left Ollivanders to find the alley now crowded to capacity. A throng of witches and wizards were gathered around a podium that had been set up in the square by Gringotts and on it was a thin, hawk faced man speaking in a foreign accent. They were still too far away to hear what was being said, all the same Ani found it somehow familiar. A grunt of frustration from Professor Dumbledore caught his attention and he looked up to see the older wizard scanning the crowd impatiently, presumably searching for any sign of Tom.
“I told him...” growled Dumbledore impatiently. “Stay here, I'll be back in a moment.”
as Professor Dumbledore disappeared into the crowd, Anakin turned his attention back to the speaker. Outwardly, he was a non-descript sort, of average height and build, his face was moderately handsome while his light brown hair and beard were kept short and neatly trimmed. It was the man's eyes, however, that made Ani immediately distrust him.
Anakin had heard speeches by ambassadors, traders and even heads of state. He knew how politicians worked and the way they manipulated their audience with nothing but words. Emperor Palpatine had been a master at turning a crowd to his whim, this man seemed cut from the same cloth.
“Savages,” the speaker declared loudly. “Muggles are a menace to the entire world, not just their own, but ours as well. Look at what happened a mere thirteen years ago. They embroiled a fair portion of Europe in a war that saw many of our kind caught in the cross-fire. Countless pureblood families were eradicated while others lost countless sons and daughters because of the senseless conflict.
“Now, Muggle war again looms on the horizon. In my own country, our minister is working desperately to keep Chancellor Hitler from beginning a massive campaign of conquest. Herr Grindelwald is only one man, however, and our magical population is small. Alone we can do nothing but there is hope.
Minister Grindelwald has suggested the creation of a Wizard state, this would be composed of Europe's major magical populations and directed by a high council similar to your Wizengamot. A new order would be created, devoted to preserving our community keeping it from Muggle contamination.”
“What contamination would that be exactly?” asked a member of the crowd not too far from Ani, a bald man that looked to be in his mid to late forties. “Our world remains hidden as it has been for the last thousand years. For most of us, the only contact we have with them is from Muggle born wizards.”
“My point exactly,” said the man on the podium with a slight smirk. “Muggle born wizards have been infiltrating our society in ever growing numbers. They dare to try marrying into our pureblood families and thinning it with their inferior blood. The proof is obvious to anyone with a bit of intelligence. In the last hundred years since Muggleborns became somewhat accepted in our society, the number of squibs born and living to adulthood have jumped dramatically. If they have their way, our entire population will be gone before the century's turn.”
“You're insane,” the dissenter scoffed over increased murmurs in the crowd. “I know several Muggleborns who are stronger than the average pureblood. Further, none of them, as far as I know, have given birth to a squib. That seems to only happen primarily in pureblood families.”
“You argue strongly for Muggleborns,” purred the speaker, though his eyes were narrowed with suppressed anger. “You wouldn't happen to be one, would you?”
“My name is Hadrian Potter,” answered the man. “My family can be traced back nearly to the time of the founders, though it shouldn't matter. I argue because your assertions have no basis in fact; you're playing on people's fears to sway them.”
“No basis you say,” asked the speaker. “What of the recent attacks on wizarding families by Muggles?”
“It's never been established the attacks were by Muggles Mr...”
“Gruber, Hans Gruber. It's well known that the attacks were carried out with Muggle weaponry.”
“Three families,” Hans snarled “Three pureblood wizarding families murdered in their sleep by Muggle weapons. Not just the men, mind you, but the women and children as well.”
The crowd's demeanour took an angry turn Hans went on to describe the attacks in gory detail, all the while ignoring Potter's protests. Anakin could read their expressions clearly; anger, fear and disgust marked every face. Hans had everyone's rapt attention, including that of a dark haired boy that Anakin recognised immediately.
Tom stood among the older wizards with an intent, almost starry eyed look on his face. Anakin didn't know how long the other boy had been standing there bit it was obvious Tom was soaking up every word. Movement in the crowd informed Ani that Dumbledore had also spotted the young Slytherin and was on his way to intercept, even as the confrontation between Hadrian Potter and Hans Gruber seemed to have run its course.
Disgusted with Hans and the crowd's sheep-like reaction to him, Potter turned, and with a disgusted look, began making his way out of the crowd. On the podium, Hans was going on further about Muggle contamination but his eyes would lock on certain members of the crowd then to Potter's retreating back.
Catching this, Ani had a bad feeling develop in his gut as six men worked their way out of the crowd and began following the retreating figure. Looking between them and Professor Dumbledore, Ani made a decision and turned to follow. Along the way, he waved his hand at a store front and a walking stick from a pile that was leaning against the wall, leapt into his hand, unnoticed as the proprietor was probably in the crowd as well.
Not for the first time since his awakening, Anakin wished for his Sabre. More than just a weapon, it was part of him. Reminding himself that it was a situation he was going to fix soon as possible, he'd make do, for the moment, with a staff. At six feet in length it was a bit long for him at his current height and felt a bit flimsy. Still, it was a weapon of sorts and it looked like he'd need it if there was a fight. It seemed likely though as the number of thugs now following Potter had grown to eight.
Ani watched one of the men cast a spell with his wand, cutting off sound from around them. In the next moment, four of the others grabbed Potter roughly and forced him into a side alley between two buildings. The rest quickly followed, leaving one to guard the entrance. Moving swiftly, Ani made to go after them but was stopped by the guard.
“You can't go in there, boy,” said the rough looking man with the same accent as Hans. “Run along and find your mother.”
“You've had a change of heart,” Anakin said while looking hard into the man's eyes. “You're going to find the nearest peace keeper and report what's going on in there.”
An odd expression coming over his face, the thug blinked a couple times and said, “Excuse me, I have to go find an Auror.”
With the man gone on his new found errand, Ani stepped into the shadows. As he entered the side alley, a tingle passed over his skin and sounds from Diagon Alley disappeared. Ahead, he saw Potter forced to his knees by two of the thugs while a third held what looked to be some kind of pistol on him. The remaining four stood with wands out but not pointed anywhere, obviously ready for action if their prisoner tried to escape.
“Why are you doing this?” growled Potter as he struggled against his captors.
“You and your ilk have been a thorn in or lord's side, protesting unification and protecting the mudbloods. Your influence has kept many from openly supporting our noble cause. With your death from a Muggle weapon however-”
There was an audible click as the thug pulled back the hammer on his weapon. Never ceasing to struggle, Potter kept his furious gaze locked on the main thug, refusing to look away or even close his eyes against his own execution. The others were watching eagerly, as it it was some great sport. It might have been for that reason alone that nobody noticed the shadowy figure that entered their little alley until he attacked.
Holding on to the last third of the staff, Ani leapt high into the air, bringing his make-shift weapon down like a headman's axe on the main thug's gun arm. The combined power of his momentum and force enhanced muscles shattered the thug's wrist, sending the gun skittering away, its round going harmlessly into the dirt. Before even touching the ground, Ani adjusted his grip to hold it properly and rammed the end into the main thug's throat.
Disabling the leader had taken all of two heartbeats, in that time, most people would have barely had time to register that something was amiss. These were soldiers, however and their actions were almost instantaneous. Unfortunately for them, it still wasn't fast enough.
Even as they raised their wands, Anakin was among them, he let go of his staff with one hand and thrust his palm toward two that were standing close together. He'd expected them to be thrown against the wall and they were; what he didn't expect was for them to land with such force that he could hear multiple bones snapping from the force of the push. The other two not occupied holding Potter raised their wands in that moment and fired a pair of curses at Ani. One fired a red beam that he was able to dodge easily, the other was a purple curse that he had to block.
Anakin brought his staff around with blinding speed and blocked the spell, his weapon, strengthened by the force, vibrated it his hands as it deflected the spell but didn't break. Using the momentum he'd built up with the block, Ani followed through, his weapon a blur, it barely slowed as it impacted on the first thug's cheek, sending the unfortunate wizard spinning to the ground unconscious. Still not done, Ani kicked the second on the inside of his knee, dropping the man like a sack of stones. Deeming the writhing man to be of no immediate danger, Ani turned to check on Potter and his assailants.
Hadrian had knocked one of the men to the ground during the skirmish and was now grappling with the second. While a wizard, Potter seemed more than capable of fighting in the Muggle style as he soundly punched his assailant three times, knocking him out. He was turning to face his last attacker, the one who he'd knocked down but had no time to react. The man had pulled his wand and was about to cast a spell when Ani, swinging the staff, again, like a giant sabre, struck him with killing force.
When their last attacker hit the ground bonelessly, Ani stumbled backward to rest his back against a wall, exhausted. He still wasn't recovered from his resurrection nor was he in proper condition yet. Letting go of the staff, he barely noticed when the overstressed wood simply disintegrated as it hit the ground. Potter, seeing him for the first time, hurried over as Ani slid to the ground.
“Are you alright, young man?”
“Yea,” Ani muttered tiredly as his vision started to gray out, “I'm just not as old as I used to be.”