Characters: Mr Ollivander, Luna Lovegood, OFC
Word Count: 1840
Summary: Oliver's problem isn't a lack of runespoor eggs but one of sons, or so he thinks until Luna presents him with an unexpected solution.
Disclaimer: This piece is based on characters and situations created by J. K. Rowling, and owned by J. K. Rowling and various publishers, including but not limited to: Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books, Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made from and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended by the posting of this fic.
Author's Note: mollyssister prompted me with Ollivander: runespoor and cornucopia. Collecting the rarest of wand cores.
When he'd been a young man, Oliver had collected them himself: his father had taught him how to employ Confundus upon two runespoor heads while at the same time casting the musical magic that would coax the serpent's third head into surrendering its egg. It had always been dangerous work, but isolated yolk of runespoor made a powerful wand core. Now an old man, Oliver could no longer make the journey to Burkina Faso, and while he could afford to pay for black market eggs, he much preferred to deal directly with those Burkinabe wizards who bred runespoors for a living. Unfortunately, Antoine, his supplier, had recently passed on, and his only surviving son, a Squib, had no interest in continuing the family business; Alphonse was shortly to be ordained and meant to minister to the sick and dying in his province.
Edgar Fletcher assures me that there's a cornucopia of eggs to be had on the black market, Oliver thought, of Mundungus' disreputable grandson, but that will never do.
Oliver wouldn't involve Luna in any dealings with Edgar, and he'd flatly refused to train his apprentice to collect the core material.
The girl's been through too much already.
Of course, he probably shouldn't, he reflected, have told Luna that. He hadn't seen her in days. Oliver sighed and put the kettle on. It wasn't unusual for Luna to disappear for days at a time, but she usually told him before she went gallivanting off with the Scamander chap. True, she often returned from her trips with items that he'd never considered for cores, but it was an unusual way to go about an apprenticeship.
That's what comes of never having had any sons.
The front bell over his door tinkled then, but Oliver hadn't the sense that a customer had arrived. Pouring his water into the teapot to steep the white tea that Luna had brought him after her jaunt to see Chinese Fireballs with Rolf, he went out to greet his visitor.
"[Are you Mr Ollivander?]" a young-looking African woman asked him in French.
Oliver snapped his fingers against his throat and coughed as the linguistic charm settled. "[I am. What may I do for you, Miss . . . ?]"
"[Miss Kargougou, Miss Antoinette Kargougou. With respect, sir, it is I who may be of service to you]."
Oliver looked at the two small, cloth-covered crates at Miss Kargougou's feet and then back up into her face. It was familiar. "[Are you Antoine Quare's daughter? You look very much like his son, Alphonse]."
It turned out that she was, and that unlike her brother, she had embraced her family's longtime love of the runespoor; she'd brought several with her, and explained that she could breed them. All she wanted in return, she explained, was a safe place to raise her children and a job.
Somewhat surprised, Oliver closed the shop, conjured a small table for Miss Kargougou, and went to collect a proper tea. When he achieved the kitchen, however, he found Luna there, busying herself with the making of small sandwiches for the tray.
"I'm sure that Antoinette's hungry after her trip here, so I thought—"
"[Luna!]" Oliver exclaimed, in a rare show of emotion, "[what are you about, promising—]"
"I don't speak French," she interrupted him, "and I don't know the charm. Perhaps you'd consider shouting at me in English, Master Ollivander?"
Oliver coughed and removed the charm. "You promised that young woman a position here!"
"I didn't, but she insisted on coming with me when she learnt my connection to you. It's very sad, really. Antoinette's brother is becoming a priest. Her other brothers and sisters are dead. She hasn't any family, and the black marketeers don't want to do business with a woman."
"And since the death of her husband, she's very frightened that she won't be able to support her children."
"Where are they?" Oliver asked, curious in spite of his great agitation.
"In her womb, of course. I told you, it's very sad. She had only just found out that she was pregnant when her husband was killed—and so soon after losing her father, too."
"I didn't know that Antoine had a daughter."
"Well, now you do, and it's a good thing. She already knows about runespoors and how to collect their eggs, and I think she'd be a good replacement for me. She needs a family, and—"
"Are you suggesting that—"
Oliver stopped speaking because it wasn't so much a suggestion as a plan, was it, Luna's having brought Miss Kargougou to England? He didn't believe that the young widow had come up with the idea on her own, and he didn't like Luna's attempt to manage his affairs. The only reason he'd taken Luna on as an apprentice, in spite of the fact that she was a witch, was that he knew her to be more capable than most.
"You're going to be stupid about this, aren't you, sir?" Luna asked, arranging the sandwiches she'd made on the platter and sending the tea tray through to the front of the shop with a flick of her wand.
Oliver scowled at her and crossed his arms. He owed Luna a great deal, but the cheek of the girl was too much to be borne.
Luna sighed. "Mr Ollivander, you knew when you began my training that I was never going to stay. I told you that I wanted to travel."
"Daydreams, daydreams to pass the time in hell," Oliver asserted. "No respectable young woman would—"
Luna laughed, and Oliver almost smiled to hear it. There had been times in the Malfoy dungeons when Luna's laughter had been the only thing that had soothed him.
"Oh, Mr Ollivander, I've never said that respectability meant anything to me, and as I was saying, you need a proper apprentice and someone to help look after you—not to mention a reliable source of runespoor eggs."
"I do need a source of runespoor eggs, but I am perfectly capable of looking after myself, and I don't know anything about this woman! How do I know she's capable? And why should her problems become mine?"
Luna held up a hand and began ticking off on her fingers as she spoke. "We agree that you need the eggs." She bent one finger. "We both know that you're becoming forgetful."
Oliver cursed himself for the admissions he'd once made to Luna as she bent another finger.
"You'll get to know Antoinette in time, just as you did me." Another bent finger. "I know that she's capable, and you trust me." Yet another bent finger. "And you're the one who's always lamenting the sad state of affairs in Burkina Faso and saying you'd do anything within your power to help its people, isn't that so?" Luna asked, closing her fist before opening it just as quickly and waving her hand through the air. "Here's Antoinette, a runespoor breeding Burkinabe witch who had enough wit to smuggle the snakes right into your shop. And she needs your help. And instead of accepting it, you're behaving like a chauvinistic idiot who can't pull his head out of his arse long enough to see his good fortune."
Luna narrowed her eyes at him as she spoke; it was the closest thing to a glare that Oliver had ever seen from her.
"Besides, would it be that difficult for you to take on two apprentices at once, and you, a wizard?"
"Don't you mock me, girl."
Luna rolled her eyes. "I'm going to join Antoinette. You should consider things carefully because if you truly do hate women as much as you've always claimed, I don't think I want to complete my apprenticeship with you. Attitudes are catching."
"And you have one, do you realise that, girl?" Oliver asked angrily, shaking his fist.
But Luna had already gone.
They'd spoken about his distrust of women at length; it was ridiculous of Luna, who knew the particulars, to have so mischaracterised his feelings as a hatred of women. His daughters—all of them!—had taken what they wanted of his knowledge and left him alone to rot. They didn't care about him. They'd never cared about him.
And now I'm alone.
And, he realised, rather frightened about that, indeed.
He was lonely without Luna; having her agree to become his apprentice, so soon after his youngest had run off with that idiot to open her own wand-making business in the States, had been a balm to him. Luna remembered things that he forgot. Luna got the tea. Luna kept the store in order so that he could work—and record his knowledge for her.
It was Luna to whom he had intended to leave his business. Oh, he knew that at least one of his ungrateful children would return upon his death and seek to claim Ollivander's, but that was never going to happen, now. The truly sad thing was that, before they'd so disgraced themselves in his eyes, Oliver would have been happy to leave any of his girls the business.
He scowled. It wouldn't do. He wouldn't be told what to do. Not by anyone.
Especially a slip of a girl.
Thus resolved, he went forth to give Luna and Miss Kargougou his decision—only to discover them collecting runespoor eggs from the each of the mouths of seven serpents at once.
"[Mr Ollivander, sir]," Miss Kargougou greeted him. "[This was unexpected, of course, but now that we have them, I know the yolks must be isolated at once. With your permission, I will help you. Father showed me how]." She looked at him expectantly.
Luna did, as well.
"Well, don't just stand there! Bring those back to the workroom!"
It was all very inconvenient. He hadn't planned on doing any component work that day, but it wouldn't do to allow fifty Galleons' worth of yolks to spoil.
Ollivander's had become Ollivanders' by the time Luna returned to the shop with Lorcan and Lysander, her twins who weren't much younger than Oliver's grandchildren, Oliver and Olivia. It had made good sense, adopting Antoinette after how much promise she'd shown.
"—an excellent point, Mr Lorcan," his daughter was saying, as Oliver made his way to the front of the shop to greet Luna and her family. "The wand does choose the wizard."
"Just as witches choose the wizards," he said, laughing fondly as his girls smiled at him.
There were worse things, Oliver supposed, than allowing the ladies to have their way, especially when their way was to care for an old, ill-tempered man who, or so he'd been told, occasionally had difficulty retrieving his head from his posterior.
"Father, would you collect that eleven-inch Hawthorne wand with the Veela hair core?" asked Antoinette.
"Oh, indeed! That would be an excellent wand for Lorcan to try. And the eleven-inch beech wood with the unicorn hair core for Lysander?"
Antoinette nodded, and Oliver felt a wealth of gratitude for Luna for having gifted him with such a capable daughter.