(1942-01-01) The Wand Chooses the...Muggle?
Details for The Wand Chooses the…Muggle?
Summary: A Muggle has infiltrated Diagon Alley, and attempts to buy a wand from Ollivanders…in the presence of an Obliviator and an Auror.
Date: 1 January, 1942
Location: Ollivanders Wand Shop, Diagon Alley
Related: Refers to Stranger in a Strange Pub • Immediately followed by Questioning Norman

Another cold afternoon has visitors to Diagon Alley seeking the warmth provided by the shops' fireplaces. Norman hadn't counted on so many people in Ollivanders Wand Shop; it is usually so empty, after all. But if these strange "wizards" are consistent about anything, it is their unpredictability. The gaunt fellow idly meanders in the small shop, trying not to draw attention and silently hoping that the crowd will clear out.

One of the stranger wizards walks into the wand shop, his brow furrowed with annoyance. Perhaps he too wasn't expecting so many people inside. Nevertheless, Zack seems here to stay for the moment as he paces alongside one of the walls, his eyes searching the rows and rows of wand boxes.

After several minutes, it becomes evident that for every person that leaves, another will enter. Norman sighs, resigning himself to the situation. He nears the counter where a thin man with somewhat wild hair and eyes much older than a man his age ought to have.

"Hello," greets the wild-haired man. "Welcome to my shop. I don't believe I've made your acquaintence before. May I help you?"

Norman swallows hard, and gives a cautious nod that slowly gains confidence as he speaks. "Ah…yes. Yes, please. I would like to purchase…a magical wand."

Zack's browsing takes him near the counter, where he catches some of the exchange between Ollivander and his customer - well, he assumes it's Ollivander anyway, as he doesn't actually look at the pair, his eyes still flicking from box to box. "All wands are magical," he says uninvited. "There's no such thing as a non-magical wand. Not in this shop, I mean. Another shop might have a non-magical wand. But that would be a waste of money."

Norman glances over to Zack, blinking in momentary confusion. "Oh…well, yes, of course. I just meant…a wand. I want to buy a wand." The scarecrowish man tugs at the collar of his robes, chuckling nervously.

Ollivander nods, giving both men a curious look. But he certainly gets all types, so it mustn't bother him much. "Let's see what we can find for you, Mister…?"

It takes Norman a moment to realise he's being addressed. "Oh…Mulligan. Sir."

"Mr. Mulligan. I'll be right back." Mr. Ollivander steps toward the back of his shop to gather a selection of wand boxes.

Norman's gaze is drawn repeatedly toward Zack. The weight of awkward silence builds, until he blurts out, "So what sort of wand have you got?"

The silence must only be awkward for one of them, because Zack doesn't even seem to realize he's being spoken to until he finally takes his eyes away from the shelves and sees Norman. "What?" he says. "Oh, hornbeam and dragon heartstring, nine and a third inches long and rigid." He recites his wand's stats as though he had them at the tip of his tongue. "What did you have before?"

"Before? Oh, um…" Damn. Norman was not prepared for this. But he is, if nothing else, a quick study. Hornbeam…that's a wood. "It was…walnut." Dragon hearstring? At a loss, he just throws out a guess, "Chimaera…tendon." The rest seems simple enough. "Um…nine inches…and yes, rigid. So very rigid." His sharp blue eyes watch Zack carefully, looking for any sign that he has fumbled.

"I don't understand bendy wands," Zack says. "It must be impossible to do precise magic with them. Maybe that's why there are so many accidents all the time. Bendy wands. Someone should ban them." He frowns all of a sudden and then looks to Norman. "What do you mean chimaera tendon? I've never heard of a wand having chimaera tendon in it. Where did you get it?"

"Yeah…those bendy wands…what?" Oh no. What did he say? Chimaera tendon? That isn't a thing? Damn. Think, Norman. Think! "Greece!" He says it much too loudly. "Yes…it was in Greece. Chimaera, you know."

"Chimaera tendon?" Mr. Ollivander returns, apparently having overheard some of the conversation. "I admit, that is new to me, as well. Though I personally would not recommend any core from a chimaera. Far too unpredictable."

"I don't like unpredictable magic," Zack says, still frowning. "At least it wasn't bendy as well. Do you need a new wand because you blew your old one up? It was probably because of the chimaera tendon. Don't get one with chimaera in it this time." He then seems to notice the return of the shop's owner. "Oh, Mr Ollivander. I wanted to ask you something."

Norman nods vehemently, trying to look terribly serious. Of course he blew his wand up. That seems to make sense. "Bloody chimaera tendon. That must be it."

Mr. Ollivander perks, turning his attention to Zack as he opens one of the boxes he has stacked on the counter. "What is it, Mr. Fudge?"

"I haven't blown a wand up yet," Zack says. "I've blown a lot of other things up, but never a wand." He glances at Mr Ollivander. "What is what? Oh, my question. Yes. I wanted to know if you have ever heard of a wizard having more than one wand. At the same time. Oh, and not to sell them like you. I mean to use. Does anyone own and use multiple wands?"

Norman shuts right up, listening intently to Ollivander now. What a choice moment to learn more about these Strangers!

Mr. Ollivander nods, but his expression is rueful. "A wand can change allegiance, so naturally a wizard can have the allegiance of more than one wand. But to actually use more than one? I would never recommend it. A wand is a means to focus and channel one's magic. You're an intelligence fellow, Mr. Fudge. Tell me what you think might happen when you attempt to channel through too many foci at once."

Zack gives Mr Ollivander a funny look. "Why would anyone try to use two wands at the same time?" he says. "I've never tried it. It probably wouldn't produce much of an effect, if any." He frowns, thinking, then gives his head a quick jerk. "Anyway, that's not what I want to know. I want to know if I'm allowed to own two wands. And use one or the other depending on what I'm doing."

Effie enters the shop, her wand holstered at her side. She still has her Auror's badge on, fastened securely to her warm outer cloak. A warm headscarf covers her ears under her hat. She glances around, then sidles through the crowd to the counter. Up close, she looks a bit peaked and also tired. She moves a little stiffly, and when she sees Norman her head tilts to one side. Then she nods to him and Zack, then gives a deeper nod to Ollivander.

Ollivander pushes the open box toward Norman. "Try this one out, Mr. Mulligan." He looks back to Zack, shaking his head. "It won't matter much, Mr. Fudge. While using two at once would certainly bring serious risk, that isn't what I meant, either. A wizard's magic has a certain…flavour, shall we say? The wand becomes a part of that flavour. Changing wands too often will muddle the flavour of one's magic. No, Mr. Fudge, I would never recommend swapping between wands."

Norman stares down at the wand in the box, suddenly feeling a pang of trepidation. The arrival of Effie earns a glance…then a double take. "Oh, hello," he says in recognition.

"Okay," Zack says, "you don't recommend it. But do you know if anyone's ever done it? How do you know it will muddle the flavor? Have you seen it happen before or is this just theoretical?" His eyes flick to Norman, showing annoyance at being interrupted. "Hello," he says, not realizing he's speaking to Effie until he then notices her. "Oh." His mouth twists as he glances at her Auror's badge, and then he turns his attention back to Mr Ollivander. "Also, can you unmuddle the flavor if you do end up muddling it?"

Effie offers an affable-seeming smile to both Zack and Norman. Then she draws her wand, frowning at it; it is quivering slightly and appears to have been scorched. She runs one finger along it, then looks to Ollivander. Do you have time, once you're done with these two, to have a look at my wand? Took a direct hit, I'm afraid, but she did not fail me."

"I've never been brave enough to try, Mr. Fudge," Ollivander explains. "But those that study wandlore, like myself, learn about such things. If you like, I can recommend some excellent texts on the subject. Now then," he turns his attention back to his customer, Norman. "Let's see what this hornbeam wand can do for you, Mr. Mulligan. Give it a wave while I have a look at Mrs. Grant's poor wand."

Norman swallows hard as he picks the wand out of the box with two fingers. Giving those gathered near a nervous smile, he grips it properly, takes a deep breath, and waves it in the air as…nothing happens. No sparks, no light, no sound…nothing.

Zack considers Mr Ollivander's words, perhaps trying to decide whether or not he is brave enough to try. "Okay," he says. "Yes, I should read up on it first." He then turns to watch Norman give the first wand a wave. "Probably bendy," he says when nothing happens. "You'll want a rigid one again."

"Lightning Bolt Spell. Haven't seen that in a fight in a while. Could have been worse, but still." Effie shakes her head. "Three on one…. had to go help a new recruit. Anyway, the poor thing has been quivering ever since." She holds her wand out to Ollivander; it is, other than the burn, gleaming with wood-oil and painstaking care. "Relax," she advises Norman, though her eyes are still curious.

Mr. Ollivander takes Effie's wand in hand, holding it delicately. "Hmm…twelve inches, rowan, rather bendy, with a unicorn hair core," he recites casually. "Rowan is a resilient wood. As long as the core isn't damaged, I believe this can be repaired with no trouble." He glances up to Norman, frowning slightly. "Well…isn't that curious. I suppose hornbeam just isn't for you. Here, try the pine…unicorn hair core. I have a feeling about this one." He slides over another box and opens it.

Norman nods to Zack and Effie, clearing his throat and tugging at his collar. "Yes…too bendy, I'm sure. Relax…relax," he repeats Effie's advice like a mantra. He picks up the pine wand, and with a rather clumsy swish…BOOM! An thunderous sound and a flash of blue light explodes right in front of Norman, sending him, Mr. Ollivanders, the stack of wands, and everything (and everyone) nearby soaring backward away from it! Norman has the good fortune to have his fall broken by two unsuspecting customers behind him, but all three tumble to the ground in a heap, toppling over a display of wand polish.

"Not everyone can master a hornbeam wand," Zack says. He watches Norman move on to the next one, and the next moment finds himself flat on his back on the other side of the store, having toppled head over heels and slid to rest between the legs of a table that has a rather precarious looking tower of boxes stacked upon it. He blinks and stares up at it. "Not again," he says.

Effie's eyes go wide, as the woman is used to sudden danger, but she hasn't her wand or much of a chance to react. She coes flying backwards into a bookcase, and the books cascade down over her. Perhaps oddly, instead of her head, Efffie bends to protect her stomach, and a number of books smack her bent head, her shoulders, and her neck and back. Is…. eveyone all right?" she calls out, stifling her own groan.

A groan from Ollivander precedes his mumbled assurances that he's alright. Norman winces as he pushes himself to his feet. "I'm so sorry," he gushes over the couple he knocked over, offering his hands to help them up. "I…don't know what happened. I'm sorry…are you alright?" When they seem to be fine, he looks to the others. Chivalry wins out, and it is Effie's side that he rushes to. "I'm so sorry, miss. Please, let me help you up."

Zack pushes himself to his feet, wincing but looking mostly irritated. "I don't like being blown up by other people," he announces to the shop at large. "I'm perfectly capable of blowing myself up. I've done it several times. I don't need any help." He walks over to wherever it is that Mr Ollivander landed up and says, "You gave him a bendy wand, didn't you? I said not to give him a bendy one. This is exactly what I was talking about. They should be banned."

"I'll be all right," answers Effie, though she does look rather battered. She accepts Norman's assistance, rubbing at some of the bruises. "And bendiness isn't the issue. MY want is rather bendy, and doesn't behave this way. At all." She sways a little, then looks to Ollivander. "I can send for help if needed…." Then she turns to Norman. "Did your last wand ever do this?"

Ollivander harumphs at Zack as he climbs out of a pile of fallen wand boxes. "The pine wand was pliable. It was not bendy." He rises and braces his hands on his lower back, stretching it out. "And Mrs. Grant is quite right, it would make no difference. In all my years, I have never seen a pine wand react like that. Highly unusual."

Norman hangs his head, clearly distraught at the chaos he's caused. "It…no. It's never done anything like this. Are you sure you're alright, miss? I'm so terribly sorry."

"That's because you're an Auror," Zack says. "Auror's are generally good at magic. They have to take N.E.W.T.s. And pliable might as well be bendy. Pliable means easily bent. You can't get much bendier than easily bent." He looks at Norman. "How many N.E.W.T.s did you take? I took four and even I wouldn't touch a bendy wand."

"Well, Mister Ollivander says I'm right, and I think you're just prejudiced against bendy wands." Effie sighs softly. "I'll hop on over to Mungo's, maybe. I've taken worse, but it's not just about me." She rubs her stomach thoughtfully. "Thank you for asking." Then she looks to Ollivander. "What do you think could have caused this, Mister Ollivander?"

Norman locates his hat, which was lost in the explosion, and clutches it protectively to his chest. "Newts? Oh…ah…not that many," he responds ambiguously.

Ollivander gives Zack a grouchy frown. "Who is the wandmaker here? I shall keep my own counsel on the distinction between pliable and bendy, thank you," he grumbles, mostly to himself as he takes out his own wand and starts levitating his stock back to its proper shelves. "Eh? What could have caused it? Usually such a violent reaction only happens when a wand is paired to somebody whose qualities are directly in opposition to the wand's. But that wand had a unicorn hair core; not at all likely to lead to an explosion. And pine? Pine favors mysterious people like our Mr. Mulligan here. I cannot imagine him to be so strongly the wand's opposite."

"Yes," Zack tells Effie, "I am." He looks as though he's about to continue arguing with Mr Ollivander, but then he turns back to Norman instead. "Not newts," he says, frowning at him. "N.E.W.T.s. Not as many as four? So how many? Three? Two? One? And in which subjects? Or subject?"

"Did my wand survive the blast, Mister Ollivander? I might be needing it presently." Effie rubs at her nose; it is bleeding slightly. "Oh, bother. Well. Could have been worse." She takes a rather purple cloth out of her pocket and presses it to her nose. "Perhaps you could tell us about your first wand." She sighs softly. "Did you go to Hogwarts?"

"Accio, Mrs. Grant's rowan wand," Ollivander incants, and from the pile of wands, Effie's flies out to his hand. "Let me patch this up for you, Mrs. Grant. No charge…for the trouble." He gives her a wan smile and shuffles over to the far end of the counter to gather up some supplies for the repair job.

Norman glances back and forth between Effie and Zack. "I…um…n-…I think I should go. I've caused enough trouble." Looking rather like a rabbit cornered by foxes, he starts to back away, making his way toward the shop door.

"Okay, goodbye," Zack tells Norman. "Try not to blow anyone else up. It's considered rude by a few people. Maybe even more than a few." He turns to follow Mr Ollivander back to the counter, no doubt intending to pester him about some more about wand theory.

"I think not," answers Effie. "You will stay here until we can get this mess sorted out. My name is Effie Grant. I'm an Auror. Do you understand that?"

Effie's commanding demeanour gives Norman pause, at least for the moment. "I…remember you saying so. That day in the Leaky Cauldron. But…I…I'll pay for any damages. I just…I need to go." He glances back, looking wistfully toward the door.

Zack stops halfway to the counter at Effie's words, his lips pursing. He turns back to the pair. "An Auror is a Dark wizard hunter," he tells Effie as though she doesn't know what her own job is. "Are you saying he's a Dark wizard? That explosion looked like an accident. That means it belongs to my department." He looks at Norman. "Did you mean to attack everyone in this shop, including yourself, or was it an accident?"

"I was asking him," answers Effie to Zack. "Not you. And I have the duty to question anyone. But since you have answered my question for the man…. Please do not do so further. But if you could get me an unbroken chair, that would be appreciated." Then she turns her head from Zack. "Can you please tell us," she says, looking pointedly at Norman, "about your first wand? And what you studied in school. And where you studied." She briefly closes her eyes, then smiles queasily at Ollivander. "Thank you for fixing my wand."

The other occupants of the shop are certainly taking notice now that the odd, gaunt man is being questioned by an Auror. Feeling all eyes on him, Norman's hands begin to tremble. "Where I…studied?" Think, Norman, think! "I was schooled at home. P-private tutors. I c-could go and get you their contact information, I'm sure." He points to the door, but doesn't dare move. He's seen what these "wizards" can do, and has no desire to anger them.

Frowning, Zack draws his wand and conjures up a sturdy, if rather rigid, plain wooden chair for Effie. "This is a matter for the Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes," he says, "not the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. You're not respecting the departments, Ms Grant. Respect the departments."

"Oh, I respect you department, sir," answers Effie, sinking into the chair. "Please respect mine. I was not aware I needed to give an explanation for questioning someone to everyone in attendence at a scene. Very well. This is not the first time I have seen this man under suspicious circumstances. Given the state of things and the ever-present possibility of infiltration by those sympathetic to Grindelwald, I would be failing in my duty were I not to question him. Though, to be frank, if my suspicions are correct, this is a job for Obliviators." She winces slightly, rubbing at her forehead.

Norman's eyes widen to saucers. Grindelwald…he's heard that name before, and he knows it's bad. "No, no, I'm not sympathetic to Grindelwald. I promise. You don't need the Obliviators." Whatever those are, it doesn't sound promising. "Please, I'm nobody. I just want to go." Some of the other patrons have started to leave, but others are all too intrigued, and remain to watch the scene play out.

"That's exactly what I said," Zack says. "I just said that this was a job for the Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes. Obliviators belong to the Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes. Not the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. This was a magical accident and -" He breaks off. "What do you mean this is a job for Obliviators?"

"As in I have my suspicions about who this man is, and until we *know* this was an innocent accident and not something else…." Effie motions vaguely to the crowd. "An attack of terror? An attack on the ministry? Both are possible. But I suspect…." She sways again in the chair. "Obliviators. I think this might be a job for the Obliviators with a reference to the Muggle Affairs office. At any rate, people have been injured."

Mr. Ollivander emerges from behind his counter, Effie's wand in hand. The scorch marks are completely buffed out, and some sort of putty that he applied to the wood seems to have been transfigured to match the wood perfectly. Presenting the want to her, he says quietly, "If what you suspect is true, it seems that he has exposed a vulnerability in the secrecy of Diagon Alley."

Norman stands stock still, never looking more the part of the scarecrow than he does in this moment. Forcing his lips to move, he stammers, "I'm n-not a threat. I didn't mean to hurt anyone. Please. Don't s-send me to oblivion."

"If people have been injured then it's a job for St Mungo's and not for the Ministry at all," Zack says. "This was a magical accident. There are no effects to reverse and there are no Muggle witnesses to Obliviate. Any Muggle inside Diagon Alley has been approved by the Muggle Liason office to be here, so even if a Muggle did see the accident it wouldn't matter." Then he looks at Norman, who he has not been paying the slightest attention to for the past few moments. "You're free to go," he says.

"No, he is not free to go," snaps Effie. "Because a Muggle who is trying to obtain a wand *has*, indeed, committed a crime. And we do not *know* that he is permitted to be here. And even if he *is* allowed to be here, he is *still* not allowed to acquire a wand. And since the Auror division has been merged with general law enforcement, no, I am afraid he is NOT allowed to go. Not until all of this is straightened out." She takes her wand, pointing it at Norman. "Do you know what a Muggle is? And please," she adds to Zack, "Don't answer for the poor man again. I don't want to prolong this. He's terrified as it is."

Norman was so hopeful when Zack said he could leave…only to have his hopes dashed by Effie. He lets out a heavy sigh, nodding. "I know what a Muggle is," he mumbles. "It's…a normal person. A person that doesn't have…magic." He almost leaves it at that, but it's all too obvious that this woman, who is clearly some kind of law enforcement officer, won't be satisfied with something he could have so easily learned. Well, if it's come to this, he might as well make a stand. "A person like me." Shocked gasps go up among the watching patrons. "Yes…I am a Muggle. But I'm not the threat. You are." With the accusation, his tone becomes bolder, angrier. "You…you so-called wizards with your charms and magic. You had the power to protect London from the German Blitz. But did you? No. No, you hid away in your 'Mysticked District'…which is a silly name, I'll have you know. You hid away and less us die. Over thirty thousand. Did you know that? That's how many deaths they've estimated. More than thirty thousand people dead that you could have saved. German bombs falling all around, and you think your enemy is a simple bookseller." He takes a deep, shuddering breath. "So…alright then. Get it over with. Kill me." He shuts his eyes tight, arms held stiffly to his sides, bracing himself for a horrible, magical death.

"Which Muggle has been trying to obtain a wand?" Zack asks. Then, when Effie points her wand at Norman, his eyes widen. "What are you doing? Put your wand down. The only one terrifying him is you. He's not a Muggle. That's impossible. A Muggle is a person who… well, you told me not to say, so I won't… but you know what a Muggle is, and he can't be one. A Muggle could not have done what he just did." And then Norman goes right ahead and admits to being a Muggle and he stares at the man as he listens to him go on about how wizards are to blame for all these deaths. "What are you talking about?" he says afterwards. "You're not a Muggle. You just did magic."

Mr. Ollivander sighs and shakes his head. "No…he didn't do magic," the wandmaker explains. "The wand did. I should have realised. Remember what I said before. A wand channels and focuses magic. Sometimes that means there is residual magic left in a wand. That pine wand has been tested by many wizards. Obviously, there was enough left in it that his waving it about let it loose. I've read that even a Muggle can cause this to happen, but this is the first time I've witnessed it for myself."

"No." Effie shakes her head. "No." Her voice gentles and she rises to her feet. "We will not kill you. Nor…. do I want to erase your memories." She closes her eyes again. "I am Muggle-born. My family is as you. I donate extra food to poor Muggle families, or those who cannot survive on their rations. My father fought in the Great War. That is why…. I became an Auror. To protect people. I do not know if we can stop bombs over a larger area." She winces again. "But I think your voice ought to be heard. What happens after is not for me to say.She sits down again, hard. "Great hearts should not be denied. I remember you trying to be so brave when the lion…"

Zack looks from Norman to Mr Ollivander to Effie and back to Norman again. "This makes even less sense than snow in August," he tells Norman solemnly. "Okay, so you're a Muggle. That seems very unlikely, but it does mean I was right. I told them this belonged to my department. So you'll be coming with me then."

Norman cracks open one eye. "What?" Then the other eye. "I'm…not going to die? But you said…Obliviators. I thought…you know…oblivion. I'm not to be executed?"

"I request vetting for this man," answers Effie, "to be sanctioned. So this Muggle should be taken to the Muggle Liason Office, actually." She shakes her head, offering a soft mutter under her breath. She finally puts the cloth away; the nosebleed has stopped for the now. Howver, she is decidedly pale. "Obliviators wipe memories away. It is usually for both your safety and ours. But…. you're right. So many have died. You came bravely to speak for your people. That deserves more than wiping your memories." She rubs her head once more. "I am willing to vouch for you for the now."

"I'm not a killer," Zack says. "I don't kill things. Or people." He glances at Effie. "Yes, exactly," he says, looking back to Norman. "I'm going to take you to the Ministry of Magic where you'll be questioned about how you got into Diagon Alley and who else you've had contact with. After questioning you will be let go." To Effie, he adds, "You should come too if you want to vouch for him."

"Wipe memories," Norman mumbles, his brow knitting tighter and tighter. "Oh, my God." He looks up in shock at Zack and Effie. "You've done it before. I remember…the wand…Obliviate." He stares at them in open-mouthed awe. "How many times has this happened?" His shoulders slump, suddenly feeling the weight of his situation. But there is that glimmer of hope: Effie's offer of support. He glances up at her, nodding. "Let's go," he says with a tone of defeat. "Get this over with…again."

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