Summary: Mr Ollivander takes on two apprentices, and his doing so has nothing to do with gratitude, really.
"—and he's who must have sent down the pain-relief potions for you. He was always good at Potions, you know. Isn't that reason enough?"
John leaned on his cane and stared at Luna in surprise. She was generous girl, he had to admit. Still. "Child, you can't be serious."
Luna's eyes widened. "Of course I can be. I'm being serious now. I really do believe that we should express our gratitude, you know, because it was very brave of him to help us as he did. That horrible woman would have done awful things to him if ever she'd discovered," the girl paused, searching his face, and then apparently decided not to dwell on the more unpleasant aspects of their "stay" at the manor, continuing, "and wasn't it nice, our Christmas dinner?"
"That horrible woman." Bellatrix Lestrange. John shuddered. The poor girl. He supposed that Luna did have some idea of what had been done to him, though he'd tried to keep the specifics from her. But for her to ask him to take the boy on as an apprentice . . . .
"Will you think about it, sir?"
"Well, perhaps after you've thought about it you'll—"
"No, my dear. Why do you want to help Draco Malfoy at all?"
"Because he helped us, of course, and he's not all bad. If we leave him to them, he might become entirely so, Mr Ollivander, and that wouldn't be grateful of us at all."
John almost smiled at Luna's odd simplicity and her ill-disguised contempt for the elder Malfoys. His memories were rather too fresh to permit it, however, so he merely nodded. Satisfied, the girl turned to leave his shop. He surprised himself when he stopped her with a question he hadn't thought to ask.
"Luna, would you like to become apprenticed to me, as well?"
Draco Malfoy was a spoilt, petulant, irritating brat, yet he did listen. He did, albeit grudgingly, take seriously the lessons John taught him, and he did his best to master the lathe.
Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy had been all too eager to accept the apprenticeship on their son's behalf, which made perfect sense. The wizarding world knew what had occurred at the manor, and for an enemy to extend the hand of friendship . . . .
"Watch Lovegood, boy. She's not impatient. Until you learn patience, you'll never turn a decent wand body," John said mildly, before leaving his apprentices to it and seeking his tea behind a screen at his desk in the workshop.
Taking a sip, he waited. It was always interesting, eavesdropping on the children.
"That's very good, Draco."
The boy grunted.
"Of course, mine's still better."
John snorted. He wasn't certain, not entirely, why Luna enjoyed goading Draco, but the boy's frustration pleased him. Petty, perhaps, but satisfying.
"That's because I'm patient. You could pretend you were brewing. One has to be patient when brewing, as you know, and that might—"
"Quiet, Lovegood. I'm trying to concentrate!"
"You're not doing very well, are you? Don't you think focus should come from within? It is a mental discipline, after all, and—"
Something shattered on the other side of the screen.
John grasped a wand from his desk as a precaution. Any wand he made would serve him. But he didn't need to intervene.
"That was rude. Rudeness won't help you to learn patience."
Draco groaned. Luna giggled. John grimaced.
Getting a little of her own back, among other things. Yes, that's what this is almost about, isn't it?
The boy managed his first respectable wand body five months later, and was, rightly so, inordinately proud to show it to John when he entered the workroom.
Luna had produced one the previous month; for as dream-addled as she seemed, John knew that focusing was in no way a problem for her and was relieved that she was content to hold a great many things in her mind at once: the girl, truly focused, would be rather frightening, he thought.
"That will do," he said curtly to Draco. "Now make nine more by the end of the week, and then I'll think about allowing you to study varnishes with Miss Lovegood."
The boy's eyes became suspiciously bright. Tears? Good.
"My varnish for the holly wand bodies is almost perfect, Mr Ollivander," Luna remarked.
"I'm sure it is, child. Carry on," he told her, removing himself to the far corner of the workshop where his lathe rested.
Whatever Draco was mumbling was too low for John to understand. He permitted himself an ungrateful smirk in response to the boy's disappointment.
Luna's holly varnish wasn't quite right, three weeks later, but Draco's was perfect. When John arrived at the workshop, the boy was helping her with it—without being rude.
John was pleased.
Seven months into the children's apprenticeship, John was less than pleased to discover Draco and Luna absent from the workshop; they'd never been late before. There were, however, two varnished wand bodies—neither Luna nor Draco was yet ready to place cores—sitting on his desk. It was easy to tell his apprentices' workmanship apart, but both wand bodies were perfect.
John's own son had taken almost two years of instruction before being able to do the same, and he was impressed.
Now where can they be? he thought, a slow smile spreading across his face.
"—but you can't leave! You haven't even completed your first wand!" Draco was exclaiming, when John arrived a little over six weeks later.
John remained just behind the door to the workshop to listen, his hand on the doorknob.
"I have to go," Luna said calmly. "Working with shafts"—oddly, she broke off to giggle at these words—"is all I can do now because a witch in my condition isn't permitted to prepare cores. I could interfere with their magical properties."
"I don't understand."
John did, and he entered the workshop, saying, "Rather, it's the child's magic which could interfere."
The expression of shock on Draco's face was worth interfering with Luna's explanation, but she didn't seem to mind his intrusion. Good.
Luna grinned. "I am. Are you happy?"
Looking from Luna to John and back again, Draco opened his mouth to speak. Apparently, however, he could find no words.
"Tea, I think," John said, removing himself to his desk.
The Malfoys were excessively, almost intolerably, grateful, but John accepted their thanks with as much civility as he could muster at Luna and Draco's wedding, which, given how quickly it had been arranged, was a tasteful and lavish affair.
A bit galling, really, how people seem to have forgot what they did, only a year later, John thought. But she looks happy, and he's as attentive as he should be. Odd choice for her to have made.
Luna turned to look at him then, smiled, and approached. "Are you surprised, Mr Ollivander?"
"Yes and no, dear. This," he continued, making a sweeping gesture with his arm, isn't mere gratitude, I think. And you planned it all, while still in the dungeon of this house."
Her smile faltered slightly. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to—"
"I'm not upset. He isn't bad, your Draco, not entirely."
John was pleased to see Luna's smile return.
"He's not bad at all, sir. He'll be a good husband. He'll be an excellent father—and our children won't be like their grandparents."
"Luna," John said sharply, "tell me that you didn't . . . court Draco Malfoy to . . . to . . . ."
"To change the destiny of his family line?"
"All right. I won't."
"It wasn't all about that, you know, or gratitude."
"Then . . . why?" John asked, still rather disturbed, as Luna, her expression serene and peaceful, glanced across the room at her husband.
"Oh, so many things, really. The pain potions, the cushioning charms, our special dinner at Christmas, the way he never let anyone . . . bad come down after me, the books he leant me—even though they were his favorites—and . . . well, he's very tall, isn't he?"
John, who had been taking refuge in his wine glass, almost choked on a laugh.
"Tall and handsome and clever—worth talking to, as well, when he's not being an arse," Luna added, her eyes shining. "I used to talk to him at Hogwarts, sometimes, in the library."
"Oh, yes. Draco believed me about the Nargles, you know. He had an infestation of them when he was three, which isn't such a surprise when you see how much mistletoe his parents have around now. Of course, they do have it prepared safely, since Draco's infestation."
"You've been . . . focused on him for some time, then, my dear?"
"Well, ever since he stopped Crabbe from bullying me and Ronald settled on Hermione, yes. Besides, if people like us don't take people like them in hand," Luna continued, regarding her in-laws, a rather stoic expression crossing her face, "how will things ever truly change? I knew someone decent had to marry Draco, and I liked him, so I decided it had to be me. He'll be fine now, now that we love each other."
She was beaming at the boy again, and John, too gobsmacked to smirk, could only marvel at Luna's odd simplicity—and then he remembered her expression when she'd mentioned Draco's height, and deliberately didn't take a sip of wine lest he choke on it again.
Not so odd, really, that a witch should pursue a wizard because "he's very tall." John snorted. "Go dance with your husband, my dear. I'll see both of you in the workshop in February."
"But what about the magical interference?"
"Luna, you know very well that a witch's aura is proof enough against any such thing."
Mrs Lovegood-Malfoy blushed.
"You never wanted to become a wand-maker, did you?"
"Oh, but it's always fun to learn new things, and I knew that Draco would take to wand-making—if he had a reason to try it. I'd quite like to teach Charms at Hogwarts once Professor Flitwick retires, you know."
"Because then you'd be raising your children there, and not here?" John asked, even though he already knew the answer. "Fine then. I'll expect Draco in February, my dear."
Luna grinned, gave John a quick hug, and then skipped across the room to her husband.
Oh, yes, he thought, frighteningly focused, indeed.