“Well the professors were right,” Percy Weasley bounced on the balls of his feet importantly, “you can’t just sneak around this castle in the dead of night and end up breaking an ancient mirror without getting some kind of punishment.” He pushed his horn rimmed glasses up his face.
“Give it a rest Perce,” Bill said as he prodded a pawn to move forward on the chessboard, “I’m sure they feel bad enough already and they don’t need you making him feel worse.”
“I understand they are your friends Bill,” Percy said professorially, “but have you forgotten that Oliver Wood is in the hospital wing right now because of them as well?”
“Because he had a nervous breakdown you little toerag. Poor Oliver takes quidditch so seriously he just overloaded.”
“Percy,” Tom said looking up from the extremely upset owl he had received that morning from his parents, “out of respect for you and your family, I’m going to let your comments pass. Céilidh, on the other hand,” he nodded toward the red head sitting next to him, “is not that close to them.”
“Aye,” Céilidh agreed. She’d been stewing in her own juices ever since McGonagall had passed judgement on them, effectively sealing their fate as far as the Quidditch cup was concerned. Not to mention the trouble she was in with her parents. To say that her mood was a foul one would be an understatement. “Tell me, Percy, juist howfur mony schuil rules wid ah violate if ah tossed ye oot th’ dorm windae?”
“You wouldn’t!” Percy’s eyes widened behind his glasses. He looked first to Tom, then to Bill for some measure of reassurance. “She wouldn’t!”
Bill glanced at Céilidh. “Why yes, Percy. I do believe should would.”
Before any more could be said, Rose appeared at the portrait hole. “Um, Tommy, Céilidh, Professor Dumbledore asked me to fetch you to his office.”
Bill flashed a cheshire grin. “Looks like you’ve had a stay of execution, Perce.”
“Meanwhile,” Tom groaned as he stood, “It looks like ours has been scheduled.”
“It can’t be that horrible,” Bill said looking up from the chess board as one of the pawns turned around and looked at him stamping it’s foot.
“Well,” he sighed as he took Céilidh’s hand and gave it a squeeze, “Dumbledore is the only person we haven’t had yell at us yet so might as well get it out of the way.”
The blonde chewed on the end of a curl as she waited for her friends. “At least you can count on Professor Dumbledore not to overreact. I mean, he’ll be fair with you,” she told them, trying to be encouraging.
Tom and Céilidh followed Rose out of the portrait hole, “Yes well, there’s not any more ways for him to yell at us. McGonagall sure took care of that on her own.”
Rose nodded sagely. “Teachers get that way when things get destroyed.” She flashed a quick nervous smile. “The Headmaster will stay calm.”
“Well it’s not like we meant to.” Tom smirked.
“I know that.” She reached out to touch his arm. “And honestly, this is so crazy… he has to believe you. It’s too much to make up.”
“That depends,” Céilidh countered. “Whit wi’ oor track record fur getting intae situations that end spectacularly ill ‘n’ a’.”
After a moment’s thought, the blonde shook her head. “But that needs to be balanced with your record for being framed and wrongly accused. The destruction tends to be a little less spectacular when it’s something you’ve actually done.”
“Really when you think about it,” Tommy said a little sheepishly, “I don’t see what the big deal is. Couldn’t you they have just cast Reparo fix the mirror no harm done.”
Both girls stared at Tom like he grew a second head.
“What?” Tom cocked his head to one side, “It’s a first-year spell.”
The two most important girls in Tom’s life looked at him for a moment longer and then at each other. They both sighed, “Boys.”
“Never appreciated my genius.” Tommy huffed mockingly, “Seriously though,” Tom continued, “Did you see Liam in the Ravenclaw common room that night at all?”
Rose shook her head again. “I’m sorry, Tommy. But I really don’t remember. I was studying, I wasn’t paying attention to who was in the room.”
Tommy swore under his breath. “I know he was there that night. We saw him…”
“We did,” Céilidh continued, “but we cannae prove it.” She her hand on Tommy’s shoulder.
“But you don’t need to prove that you’re not crazy. Or stupid. Professor Dumbledore knows you.” The blonde nibbled on the already wet end of a curl. “Bill was there with you. He told me you guys were in complete shock when Liam walked into the room. Not ashamed or something because you got caught in a lie. And to stick to your story… you’d have to be crazy to keep trying to lie in the face of… well a not-dead Liam.”
“I know,” Tom hung his head, “I’m just beginning to think we might just be mad.” Tom sighed, “We’ve been chasing our bloody tails for months. Is what we’re doing even worth it?”
“I’m pretty sure I can’t answer that one.” She gave a shrug and an understanding smile. “But there are people who believe you… so that helps a little bit, right?”
“An we all saw it love.” Céilidh kissed Tom. “We’ll get this feegured oot.”
This time Rose’s smile was far more genuine. They had each other and, especially in the face of this strange new adversity, that was usually enough. “I’m not saying you’re suddenly going to be out of trouble, but just don’t give up hope yet.”
Tommy laughed, “What would I do without the two of you?”
“Probably wither away and die,” the blonde told him encouragingly.
“In mair ways than one,” Céilidh winked wickedly at Rose.
“Um, uh…” Tom stuttered, “well uh…”
“He’s sae cute whin he stutters,” Céilidh kissed him again on the cheek.
Rose’s good humor faded quickly as they rounded a corner. Despite her confident words, she wasn’t so sure her friends would get out of this one. “I suppose he is,” she agreed, trying to keep things light for their benefit. “Like a kneezle trying to stand on it’s back legs or something.”
“Aye, somethin’ lik’ that.” Céilidh’s smile faded as they drew closer to the alcove with the gargoyle that stood silent sentry over the entrance to the headmaster’s tower. She cleared her throat, as her mouth had suddenly gone bone dry. “Weel, Ah suppose it’s aboot time tae pay th’ piper.”
Her hand slipped into Tom’s. “Urr ye tae wait ‘ere fur us, ‘Brosia?”
The little blonde nodded. “Yes, Professor Dumbledore did say that this shouldn’t… take… long…” Rose’s voice trailed off as the significance of the possible disciplinary action settled in on all of them.
Tom let out a sigh. “At least we’ll be in good company in our expulsion,” he said. Then added, “That is, if our parent’s don’t kill us.”
“Thir’s little we kin dae aboot it noo. C’moan,” Céilidh tugged Tom toward the spiraling staircase, “let’s git this ower wi’.”
The two Gryffindors stepped reluctantly onto the slowly escalating staircase and began to ascend it toward the headmaster’s office. The staircase ended at the large solid oak door.
Tommy looked over at Céilidh and jogged his head toward the door.
The redhead’s eyes narrowed, and she repeated the same gesture.
Tommy returned the eye narrowing.
Ceílidh’s eyes gave a warning flash of emerald green.
Tom sighed with resignation and knocked.
“Enter,” the headmaster’s voice rang clearly though the door.
Tommy opened the door and the two entered. He hadn’t noticed how cold the staircase was until he had opened the door. The roaring fire in the office’s hearth warmed his cheeks as the two crossed the threshold into the room.
Both of them had been in the headmaster’s office for different reasons, but it never ceased to amaze. The whirring and clicking silver instruments sat on their spindly legged tables making their own music as the two walked toward Dumbledore’s desk.
Out of the corner of his eye, Tommy spied Dumbledore’s pet phoenix Fawkes, contentedly asleep with its beak tucked behind its wing.
“You wanted to see us sir?” Tom said hesitantly.
“Yes, please sit down,” Dumbledore beamed at them.
Well if he is expelling us, he sure is cheerful about it, Tom thought to himself as he sat down.
“I believe the two of you know Mr. Ollivander?” He said gesturing his hand behind the two of them.
Tommy turned his head toward the wizened old man he had not noticed before.
“Good afternoon,” he inclined his head slightly as he stepped forward toward the desk, “when you brought the unicorn hair to me those months ago, I am quite sure that you didn’t know what it meant.” he set two boxes down on the desk.
Tommy and Céilidh shared a look of confusion and then returned their attention to Ollivander.
“Normally I don’t take requests to craft wands,” the wandmaker said, “but when you brought the unicorn hair into my shop…” his voice trailed off and an almost manic smile crossed his face, “Very seldom are wands with twin cores made. Even more rare is it that those wands are both in use at the same time, and rarer still the chance that two such as you would have such wands.”
“So you finished the wands then?” Tommy said excitedly.
“I have Mr. Llewelyn.” Garrick Ollivander said in an almost whisper as he leaned in closer to Tommy. He presented the two boxes to the sixth years.
Tom and Céilidh reached out for the narrow boxes as one. And as one, Dumbledore and Ollivander leaned in almost imperceptibly. The wandmaker’s eyes danced between the outstretched hands and the boxes they might touch, while the headmaster’s peered over his half-moon spectacles to study the faces of the students as they made their choices. Céilidh’s hand hovered over the box nearest her, then passed over Tom’s, and his under hers before going back again.
The air in the room was electric as each teen gently made first contact with the boxes that held their new wands. The anticipation rolled from Ollivander in waves, buffeted only by the perpetual calm of Dumbledore. Tom retrieved his box first and sat back in his seat, followed by Céilidh. After a moment, they looked at one another and exchanged boxes. Dumbledore raised a brow, his whiskers hiding the smile that tugged at the corners of his mouth.
Céilidh slipped the lid from her box, gently peeling back the red and gold ribbon that lay over the wand. She reached down, gingerly removing the intricately carved wood from its satin cushion. As soon as her fingers made contact, a tingle shot up her arm. Her emerald eyes sparkled and a smile split her face.
Tom didn’t even have any perception of Céilidh opening her parcel. His eyes were only on his. Almost lovingly, he too pulled the wand from it’s resting place. The highly polished reddish brown of the mahogany stood out under the lighter beige wood that snaked around the wand like vines.
“Is this two woods?” Tommy looked up at the wandmaker.
“It is indeed,” Ollivander nodded his head vigorously, “as soon as you left my shop, I sent an owl to your headmaster to request an audience.”
“Audience sounds so,” Dumbledore paused, “formal, Garrick. We had tea.”
Ollivander stared at Dumbledore for a few moments as if he had lost his train of thought, “Yes, quite. After tea, Professor Dumbledore led me from the castle and into the forest.”
“The Forbidden Forest,” Dumbledore interjected again looking over his half moon spectacles at the two Gryffindors, a crooked smile crossed his face. Both Tom and Céilidh grinned sheepishly back.
“We found the exact spot where you met the unicorns. That area had a powerful resonance with both the core and the two of you. It is very rare that you find this. So, I took wood from a mahogany stump in the area and ivy from where the unicorns appeared and then disappeared.”
The two teens looked at each other sharing a silent conversation, wondering how Ollivander knew exactly what happened.
“Once I got back to my shop I thought that one wood would present itself to use for each of you. But both woods and cores felt as one. So as I created, they became united. Unicorn hair with Mahogany and ivy woods. These are rare, possibly only one other pair of wands are as rare…” Ollivander’s voice trailed off.
Dumbledore’s eyes flickered momentarily toward the wandmaker and then back to Tom and Céilidh. “Yes indeed it is very rare for two wands to have the same core,” he said drawing Tom and Céilidh’s attention back to him, “and has some very interesting properties.”
“Oh?” Tom said for the first time looking up from the new wand to Dumbledore.
Ollivander cleared his throat. “They do, indeed, Mister Llewelyn, Miss MacAllister… they do indeed. You see, when wands have twin cores, they are in essence siblings.” Ollivander paused. He regarded the teens for a moment, but did not continue.
Céilidh’s eyes narrowed as she looked at the two elder wizards. “Ah git th’ feeling thir’s something ye’r nae telling us.”
“You must understand, Miss MacAllister, that wandlore is a very-”
“Complex area o’ magic.” Céilidh interrupted. “Aye, we ken that.”
“What Garrick is trying to say, Céilidh, is that wands with twin cores are very rare,” Dumbledore explained, “and as such, you and Tom are heading down a path unknown to even the most learned in wandlore, and I daresay wizarding history.”
Tom’s eyes traced the ivy around the mahogany shaft, “I’m always up for unknown paths of magic.”
“Quite.” Professor Dumbledore winked.
“If you would,” Ollivander said straightening up, “please test them. A braided core is rare enough, but a wand made from two woods has not been seen in a century at least.”
Tom rolled the polished wand in between his fingers. It felt warm to the touch, almost as if it were alive. Tom loved his old wand like it was a part of him but this wand, in the few short moments he held it already felt like an extension of his own will. Tommy flicked the wand almost half heartedly and immediately, three white mice exploded into being on the Professor’s desk.
He had never felt it so easy to cast a spell. It was as fluid as a thought. Tommy held the wand up to his eyes and breathed one word, “Wow.”
Not to be outdone, Céilidh flicked her wand at the mice. Tiny top hats and canes appeared. The mice took them up and proceeded to dance a jig across the Headmaster’s desk.
“Show off.” Tom said as he stuck out his tongue at Céilidh.
“Yes I would say those work perfectly,” Ollivander said happily as he clapped.
“So,” Tom said nervously, “what do we owe you for these?”
Ollivander looked at the two teens thoughtfully and at the same time shrewdly. His eyes flitted then to the new wands, and then finally to Dumbledore himself. He scratched his chin slightly before he spoke, “Well, this was a special order and it did take some time…”
Professor Dumbledore coughed slightly.
Ollivander’s eyes landed again on Dumbledore before speaking again, “Yes, as I was saying… seven Galleons a piece.” He smiled nervously as one last time his eyes flitted to Dumbledore. The Headmaster leaned back in his chair, a serene smile on his face as he watched the mice begin to waltz.
Tom and Céilidh shared a look and smiled. “I think we can handle that,” Tommy nodded, “I can have that sent via owl by tonight. Would that work?”
“I don’t see why not my boy.” The wandmaker grinned. He turned to face Dumbledore, “I must dash Albus,” his smile tightened, “mind if I use your floo?”
“Not at all Garrick.” The Professor waved his hand toward the fireplace, which responded by sparking larger and hotter.
The wandmaker walked stiff legged toward the fireplace, pinching a bit of the familiar green powder into the flames they became emerald and grew even larger. He stepped into them and called out clearly “Ollivander’s, Diagon Alley!” His figure spun several times in the flames before disappearing.
Tom watched Ollivander disappear and then realized that he and Céilidh were all alone with the school’s headmaster. His head revolved slowly on his shoulders back to face Dumbledore as the sawmill sounds of the portraits of the former headmasters.
“So,” Dumbledore’s crooked smile shined through the silver white beard, “About last weekend.”
The two Gryffindors looked at each other knowingly. Tommy’s shoulders drooped as he looked into the wizened old face. “Yes sir.” His voice was defeated.
Dumbledore chuckled, “Well I won’t say I wasn’t disappointed in the three of you,” the Professor nodded his head.
“I should say not,” a haughty voice from behind the two students said.
Both of them whirled around to see one of the paintings awake and staring at them. He was a clever looking wizard, with black hair, dark eyes, a pointed beard and thin eyebrows. He was depicted in his portrait as wearing the green and silver colours associated with Slytherin House.
“An’ who the hell are ye?” Céilidh responded.
“That,” Tommy responded grumpily, “Would be my Great-Great Grandfather.”
“Phineas,” The Professor said sternly, “I believe I was speaking with them.”
“I had that mirror installed in my time as headmaster. Foolish children ruining things. You’ll end up like your third cousin, Sirius.”
“That is enough, Phineas!” Professor Dumbledore’s voice raised uncharacteristically. “Please be quiet.” He sighed heavily and rubbed his temples as there was an audible grumble and the former headmaster walked out of the painting.
“I apologize for him Michael,” Dumbledore said tiredly, “Unfortunately, as I can assume you know, the headmaster is not the most jovial of people on a good day.”
“I know sir,” Tom chuckled, “Mum used to have a painting of him above the mantle.” Tom laughed again. “Dad got tired of his constant complaining, so he’s in the attic now.”
Dumbledore’s eyes twinkled, “That does sound like the Giles I know.” He laughed in earnest for a moment, but gave a cough and went back to his point, “I do want to know, what happened with the mirror? Is there anything you wish to tell me?”
Tom and Céilidh shared another silent conversation, filled with eyebrow raises both subtle and not so. Finally the two nodded and looked back at the Headmaster.
Dumbledore’s eyes seemed to x-ray them. After a few more moments, he nodded, “Alright then, but if either of you wish to talk…”
He held their gaze for a few more minutes before nodding again. “Well then, if there is nothing else,” the Professor looked down at a stack of papers on his desk, “I believe you have an owl to send?”
The two stood and nodded and stood up. They both walked to the door and Tommy opened it motioning Céilidh to go first.
“One more thing,” the Professor called after them, “I never really liked that mirror anyway.”
They turned back to see a large grin on the Headmaster’s face.
The gargoyle jumped aside again, and Tom and Céilidh jumped the last few steps into the hallway. Both clenching their new wands in their hands and beaming.
“Well?” Rose had been leaning against the corridor wall, chewing on the ends of her hair as she waited and worried. “Was it bad? Did he yell? Was I right?”
Tom held up his new mahogany and ivy wand, “You were pretty much right.”
The blonde gave a happy bounce then paused to look at the wand in confusion. “He took away your wands? That’s horrible. I thought you said I was right. At least he gave you nice loaners.”
“Nae loaners,” Céilidh giggled. The two Gryffindors then related the story and the building of their new wands.
“So that’s basically it,” Tom said with a shrug, “Apparently Céilidh and I have landed into a piece of magic that even Dumbledore knows very little about.”
Rose managed to suppress a giggle. “Well, that’s what happens when you’re surrounded by so many exceptional students. I’m glad this was about new wands though… not… you know…”
Tom laughed, “Yeah I know,” Tom kissed Rose on the forehead, “and hey since I’m paying for these, I don’t have to buy a Valentine’s Day present.” He grinned broadly.
The little Ravenclaw thumped her fist against his chest. “You’ll have to take that whole Valentine’s Day thing up with your girlfriend. But I still expect a birthday present.”
“An’ A am still expectin’ a Valentine’s present ya numpty,” Céilidh wrapt Tom smartly on top of the head with her new wand and little red sparks shot out.
“Ow,” Tom rubbed his head, “why do I always get abused?”
“Cos ye say things like that.” Céilidh said, laughing as Tom’s hair smoked slightly. She flicked her wand again a small burst of water doused his hair. “But Ah lou ye anyway.”
She took his head in her hands and kissed him long and hard.
Rose chuckled then began to inch away. “Save it for Valentine’s Day, you two.”