Oliver Ollivander shifted the pack on his shoulders slightly. A passerby might have thought he was nervous as he stood at the edge of the Forbidden Forest, his eyes shifting back and forth along the tree line. The passerby would have been wrong. Crafting wands is not a task for the faint of heart. Oliver had spent days on end in the forest, searching for just the right piece of wood for a particularly difficult dragon heartstring or a picky phoenix feather.
Oliver's father had traveled the world searching for wand wood. He had brought back Redwood wands from America. The rubber-tree wands from Indonesia had become famous for their durability. The single bamboo wand had chosen a witch who would rival Mad-Eye Moody himself as an Auror; until her death, anyway. But Oliver had found that the best wand wood could be found here, where the background magic was higher than any other forest in the world.
Oliver closed his eyes now and let his body relax. Gently he reached into a belt pouch and took out a small wooden box. He opened it by touch alone, and carefully extracted the phoenix feather inside.
"What wood will suit you, I wonder?" A passerby might have thought he was asking the feather. This time, they would have been right. He felt the slightest of tugs. He opened his eyes and marked the direction. He replaced the feather in its box, and returned it to his pouch. Drawing his own wand he performed the Four-Point Spell, nodded, and set off.
Many eyes watched the old wizard as he walked through the wood. A unicorn he had once plucked three hairs from saw him and galloped off in the opposite direction. It had been through QUITE enough, thank you. Bowtruckles watched him suspiciously from their trees.
"Yew, perhaps, like He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. Or possibly holly, though two wands so similar..." Oliver seldom speculated on the wood, preferring to let the core guide him to the right tree uninfluenced. But this core was unusual. Fawkes, after all, had provided the core for the Dark Lord's wand, and for Harry Potter's. Oliver had been quite excited when Dumbledore told him that Fawkes had given another tail feather.
Oliver stopped in a clearing. He sensed that he had some ways to go before he reached the right tree. Carefully he cleared an area for his fire, laid out his bedroll, and settled down for the night.
The next day, he found the tree. The moment he caught sight of its trunk between the other trees he knew it was the one. There was no way to explain it – the phoenix feather knew what wood it wanted, and it had told him.
It was an oak, but not a very old one. Not a towering, imposing forest giant standing majestically between lesser trees. This was a young tree, one Oliver had never taken wood from before. There were, however, no less than three bowtruckles among its branches.
Oliver approached the tree and set a handful of woodlice down near the base for each bowtruckle, then stood back a pace. The tree-guardians considered for a moment, then climbed down the trunk to eat. Oliver waited respectfully until they had started, then approached the tree with a jeweler's saw. He carefully removed a branch, then cast a quick spell with his own wand to help the bark grow over the spot. Oliver stowed the branch carefully in a wooden case in his pack, bowed respectfully to the tree, and turned to leave the forest.
The making of the wand was anti-climactic. It required craftsmanship to cut and sand the wood to just the right length and thickness. It required skill to insert the core while retaining the wood's inherent strength. But Oliver had done these things a thousand times before. There was no mystery here, just a professional at his trade.
The wand chooses the wizard, Oliver reminded himself. A few minutes ago, a customer had left his shop with the wand. He had wondered who would be chosen by this wand, brother to those of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named and Harry Potter. An Auror? A Death Eater? A powerful young student?
In the end, the wand had chosen quite the last person Oliver would have expected: a quiet boy, one whom few had paid any attention to. His own wand had been destroyed, and he had come to buy a new one.
His wand had been a hand-me-down. It was a good thing it had been destroyed, Oliver thought. This new wand fitted him perfectly. Oliver had seldom seen such a match of wand and wizard.
Sitting alone now in his shop, Oliver spoke very quietly to himself. "I think we must expect great things from you, Mr. Longbottom…"
Author's Note: Much thanks to my Beta, Delylah. This story is in the same ‘universe' as a longer work in progress; "Harry Potter and the Grand Alliance." Please review and offer constructive criticism.