delphi: Mod icon for the HP Beholder exchange. (HP Beholder)
[personal profile] delphi posting in [community profile] hp_beholder
Recipient: [personal profile] katmarajade
Author/Artist: ???
Title: A Properly Improper Love Affair
Rating: PG-13
Pairings: Garrick Ollivander, Pomona Sprout, Neville Longbottom/Viktor Krum (implied).
Word Count: 10,900
Warnings/Content Information (Highlight to View): *Non-linear storytelling, with the time line moving back and forth between past to present*.
Summary: True love never dies, but it may take a decade or two for things to work out.
Author's/Artist's Notes: Many thanks to my pre-readers and to the mod for her patience. I hope you enjoy the story, [personal profile] katmarajade.



***

A Properly Improper Love Affair

***


Garrick is waiting for her in the sunroom at the back of the house, and when she sees him, Pomona smiles. Making her way slowly towards him, she can tell the moment he notices her. His eyes light up the way they used to in the old days, and he extends a hand towards her. “Pomona, look. The birds are feeding.”

“Are they?” Settling into a chair beside him, she takes his hand, cradling it in hers own. “They make a lovely show, don’t they?”

“That they do.”

“Have you been waiting long?” Pomona asks.

“Not at all.” His fingers tighten on hers. “When you’ve lived as long as we have, what’s a few more minutes?” His eyes search hers. “Is everything finally settled, then?”

“Oh yes.” Leaning her head on his shoulder, she sighs as the sun warms her. Outside the swallows cavort in the birdbath. They make her smile. “Everything’s all settled. Minerva was sorry to see me go, but I’m now officially retired.”

“Good.” Garrick hums. “And she agreed to our request?”

“Oh yes.” Pomona kisses his cheek before resting her head on his shoulder once more and closing her eyes. “She’s flattered we asked her to officiate.”

“I’m flattered you agreed to marry me at all.”

Pomona chuckles. “Well, you’ve been very persuasive.”

Garrick hums. “It only took me forty years to work out the right way to ask.”

“But who’s counting?” she asks.

Garrick laughs. “I am.”

Pomona has been, too, but she says nothing. After all, everything has worked out perfectly.

***


Garrick stacked the last of his new wands on the shelf before standing back to admire them. “So, what do you think, Father?” he asked. “This is only the first set. I’m working on several more.”

Gervaise Ollivander hummed. “It looks fine enough I suppose. I’m not sure your scheme will work, though, son. People like to pick their own wand cores, create their own wands.”

“And they still can,” said Garrick. “But for those who have no idea what they would like to use, they can try one of these and see if it suits.”

“It’s not how we used to do things.” Gervaise sniffed.

Garrick sighed, biting back what he really wanted to say. Arguing would be pointless, after all. “I know, but it’s the way of the future, Father.”

“Then I suppose I have nothing to say since you now manage the business.” Gervaise closed his eyes. “I think I’ll take a nap.”

As soft snores came from the portrait, Garrick sighed. He’d toyed with the idea of moving his father’s portrait out of the main shop and into the back, but the old man so loved interacting with customers that he didn’t have the heart to take that from him. But he also had very set ideas about wandlore. There were days his disapproval was hard to tolerate.

The door opened and, squaring his shoulders, Garrick pasted a smile on his face before spinning around to greet his customer. “Hello. Welcome to Ollivanders, where we help the discriminating witch or wizard choose the correct wand.”

A woman entered. Clad in shades of green and brown, she was petite, voluptuous, with a cloud of brown, wavy hair. She had the sort of face that smiled often, and as she offered a bright one to Garrick, he felt his professional smile morphing into a genuine one. “Good day,” she said, her voice soft. “I require a new wand.”

Garrick nodded. “Then you’ve come to the right place, Madam. Do you have a core you wish to use, or perhaps I can interest you in one of our pre-made wands?”

She blinked. “Pre-made?”

As she moved closer, Garrick realised she was younger than he’d first thought. Mid-twenties, perhaps. Pretty. He inclined his head, glancing at her left hand to see it unadorned with a ring. Very pretty. “A new invention of mine,” he said. “It saves time, since, because you don’t have to return to collect your wand, you can just take it home with you immediately. Very convenient.”

“Ah yes, I see.” She scanned the shelf behind him. “But how does anyone know what to choose?”

Garrick hummed. “Well, that’s where I come in, Miss--?”

“It’s Mrs, actually. Mrs Sprout. Pomona Sprout nee Popperton.” She extended her hand and Garrick took it. It was warm, her handshake firm. “And, as I inherited my wand from my mother, this is all quite new to me.”

Garrick nodded, swallowing his disappointment that she was married. He recognised her maiden name. The older pureblood families tended to follow the old ways; he wasn’t surprised she was only now purchasing a new wand for herself, although he was surprised that her husband hadn’t accompanied her. “It’s rather new to many people, but I think it will work for most. Although perhaps you should confer with Mr Sprout--”

“Mr--?” She frowned, shaking her head. “I’m afraid that’s not possible. He’s gone, you see. I’m on my own.”

A widow? “My condolences.” Garrick ducked his head, feeling guilty that his first reaction had been relief. What was wrong with him? “Well hopefully we can find your wand quickly, Widow Sprout--”

“Widow? Oh no!” She raised an eyebrow. “He’s not dead, he’s gone. He decided marriage didn’t suit and he left.” She shrugged. “It was probably for the best, although I kept the name. I think it fits.”

“Ah.” Not knowing what to say, Garrick cleared his throat. “Then it seems you’re the one I need to please.”

Slowly, she smiled. “It does seem that way, doesn’t it?”

Garrick ducked his head, trying to hide his blush. He’d never been this attracted to a customer before. “Erm, so, do you have a wand core you wish to use?”

Pomona began to search her purse, then paused. “I did, but I rather think I’ll try one of your already made wands. It would be most convenient if I could get my wand today and without a lot of fuss.” She flushed, and the colour made her face even more attractive. “I’m to be a professor at Hogwarts, you see, so I shall require one that’s more suited to my new position.” Pulling a wand from her sleeve, she held it up, and Garrick eyed it. “This one doesn’t like to get dirty, and as I’m to teach Herbology--”

“Ah, yes, I see what you mean,” said Garrick. “And congratulations on your new position, Madam.”

Pomona beamed. “Thank you. I’m rather looking forward to it. I honestly never thought Professor Beery would retire in time for me to take the position.”

Garrick nodded. “He’s got to be what, ninety-five at least?”

She giggled. “I suspect it’s closer to one-hundred and five.”

Garrick laughed. “Dear me, I imagine you’re right about that.” He sighed. “When I was at school, all the professors seemed ancient. I think you’re going to be quite a shock to your students. I doubt they’re accustomed to having pretty, young professors, after all.”

Pomona blushed brighter. “Why, Mr Ollivander! How very forward.”

Garrick coughed, wondering what had come over him. He wasn’t usually this bold, especially not with customers. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable, Mrs Sprout--”

“Oh no!” Pomona’s eyes twinkled. “Call me Pomona. And I wasn’t complaining. Rather the opposite, in fact. It’s...quite flattering to be thought of as young and attractive. How could I possibly mind?” She inclined her head. “Even if you were rather forward.”

Relieved, Garrick smiled into her eyes and it took his father’s portrait clearing his throat behind him to bring him back to the business at hand. “Erm, yes, so-- May I examine your current wand?” he asked, slightly flustered as he tried to recover his professional mien.

Pomona nodded, handing it over.

“Interesting.” Garrick turned it over in his hands, inspecting it carefully. “Elm, seven inches, and is that a unicorn hair core?”

Pomona nodded. “It is.” She inclined her head. “You’re very good.”

Garrick smiled. “Well, it is my job.” Spinning, he scanned the shelves, his gaze coming to rest on a box. “Let’s start with this one,” he said, reaching for it.

It wasn’t a good match. Pomona had barely touched it when it sparked, making her drop it back into its box. “Oh! I don’t think so,” she murmured, rubbing at the palm of her hand.

“Agreed.” Garrick picked another. “Perhaps this will suit?”

That one, too, was unsuccessful, not responding at all to Pomona’s touch.

“Right.” Garrick bit his lip and studied the shelves some more. His father’s portrait hadn’t resumed snoring, so he knew he was being watched, and that made it all the worse. Determined to prove that his ideas were right, he looked up and down the shelves until he spotted a slender box at the very top. Drawing his own wand, he concentrated, Summoning the box and catching it as it drifted into his hand.

The wand inside was willow, its core dragon heartstring. It had been one of Garrick’s favourite wands to create. Extending the open box towards her, Garrick held his breath as she picked up the wand nestled inside.

When she picked it up, the very air around her seemed to glow and her hair, already tousled, blew about her head before settling softly. She smiled. “Oh,” she breathed. “It feels perfect! Thank you.” She hummed. “Although it almost felt as if it chose me.”

Garrick smiled. “In a way, I think that is exactly what happened.”

“How very odd.” Pomona turned the wand over in her hands. “The wand choosing the witch. What a concept.”

Garrick hummed, pleased at her insight. “Actually, I believe that’s how it should work, although not everyone agrees with me. It’s a bit of a controversial belief in wandlore circles.”

“Oh?” Pomona, looking genuinely interested, was gazing up at him with a rapt expression.

“Yes.” In face of her clear interest, Garrick leaned against the counter, warming to his favourite topic. “You see, for centuries wandmakers have believed that a wizard should pick an item with which they feel an affinity to be their wand core, but I, and a few others, believe that just makes wands more temperamental. People change as they age, making what you would pick as your core at age eleven very different from what you may choose at, say, age thirty. And we’re a long-lived species. I believe that allowing a wand to choose a wizard also allows that wand to adapt and change with the wizard as well.”

“How very fascinating,” Pomona pursed her lips. “And it’s a lot like being Sorted at eleven. I’ve often wondered if it made sense doing it at so young an age.”

Garrick nodded. “Yes, it’s exactly like that. What House were you in?”

“Hufflepuff.” She tilted her head. “And you, I would surmise, were in Ravenclaw.”

He blushed. “Is it that obvious?”

“You’re very intellectual, so it is, yes.” The clock on the wall chimed and they both looked at it. Pomona’s eyes widened. “Oh my! Is that the time? I’m afraid, Mr Ollivander--”

“Garrick,” he interrupted. “Call me Garrick. Please.”

She smiled. “Garrick, then. While your theories are fascinating, Garrick, and I would love to hear more, I regretfully must finish the rest of my shopping.”

Garrick swallowed hard. Even with the risk that his father was listening, he couldn’t just let her walk out of his shop without saying something. “Would you like to hear more about my wandlore theories over dinner?” he blurted.

Pomona’s smile went wider. “I would love to.” Reaching for her purse, she pulled out a slip of parchment and a quill. Scribbling something, she handed it to him. “My Floo coordinates.” She blushed. “So we can make arrangements later. Now, how much does my new wand cost?”

After taking three Galleons from her, Garrick watched her leave, his heart pounding.

“I hope you know what you’re doing,” said Gervaise’s portrait.

Garrick sighed, slipping the parchment into his pocket. “As do I, Father. As do I.”

***


“Ah, Pomona. Do come in. You asked to see me?”

Minerva looks tired, old. Pomona smiles, imagining she looks the same. They have all been through a war, after all. A war not all of them thought they could win. “I did.”

“Come. Sit down.”

The view from the Headmistress’s office has always been stellar. Pomona glances out at the lake, its calm beauty steadying her, before turning her attention towards Minerva. Reaching into her robes, she pulls out a parchment, placing it on the desk. “I’ve come to offer my resignation. It’s time.”

Minerva sighs. “I wish I could say that it’s a surprise, but it’s not.” She leans back in her chair. “It’s Garrick then, is it?”

Despite her age, Pomona blushes. “It is. He’s waiting for me now.”

“I can’t say I blame you, although I shall miss you.” Minerva hums. “But as you have given us a wonderful replacement in the form of Neville Longbottom, I can hardly complain.”

“Neville should do very well, yes.” Pomona smiles. “I’m so proud of him.”

“As well you should be.” Minerva raises an eyebrow. “And I’ll accept your resignation with one caveat.”

“Oh?”

“That I get an invitation to the wedding.”

Pomona giggles, delighted. “Oh, my dear, of course you will. As a matter of fact, we’d hoped to have you officiate, actually.”

And, for the first time that Pomona can remember, Minerva is speechless. When she gets up and hugs Pomona, however, that says all that’s needed.

***


The first time they met privately it was during the day at a cafe in Diagon Alley. The woman who ran the cafe, Madam Middleton, sniffed disapprovingly, and continued to scowl at them their first date and every time they returned afterwards. “I don’t think she approves of me,” said Pomona their third time there. Giggling, she leaned close. “I believe she thinks I’m a fast woman and that you could do better.”

Garrick smiled. He was quickly coming to the conclusion that he couldn’t do better than Pomona. “Do you really care?” he asked.

Pomona’s laugh was carefree. “Not especially.”

Garrick hadn’t thought so. “Although perhaps our next meeting should be elsewhere,” he suggested. “Just to be proper.”

“Proper?” Pomona’s eyes danced. “Well, then, if you insist, I know just the place,” she said. “It’s called the Leaky Cauldron.”

Garrick blinked. He’d heard of it. It was a new pub, its proprietor a young man with a rakish air about him named Tom, and although Garrick would rather have taken Pomona to an older, more respectable establishment for their first dinner date, since it was her suggestion, he didn’t argue.

They met there the following evening, Garrick feeling odd about not escorting her from her home, although he could understand her reluctance to have a suitor show up at Hogwarts to collect her.

“I understand that the Irish stew here is excellent,” he said once they’d both arrived and had been seated in a booth. The lighting was subdued, very conducive to a romantic dinner, and he relaxed.

Pomona smiled. “I’ve heard the same. I’ve a friend who has eaten here and she enjoyed it a great deal.”

“Well I’m certainly enjoying my evening, especially since I’m spending it in such beautiful company,” said Garrick, smiling into Pomona’s eyes.

Pomona blushed. “You always say the loveliest things.”

“I can’t be the only one to have noticed something so fundamental.” Garrick hummed. “I imagine you have suitors lining up to spend time with you.”

Pomona sighed. “You’re sweet, but I’m afraid teaching Herbology isn’t the most feminine of professions.” She held out her hands. “It’s the dirt, you see. I’m always covered in it. It makes it difficult to be the proper lady most gentlemen prefer.”

Garrick could see that she had dark stains on her hands. He nodded. “Well the dirt makes sense,” he said, taking her hands in his. “And it makes you no less lovely to me.”

Her smile was blinding. “Garrick Ollivander, you’re such a charmer,” she said, tightening her fingers on his.

After they placed their food and drink orders, Garrick began asking her about her students, being familiar with many of them from having sold them their wands. “There was one I sold a wand to several years ago,” he said. “Interesting sort. He ended up in Slytherin I believe. He returned to teach Defence a few years later but was refused the position after which he disappeared.” He sighed. “Riddle was the name. I always thought he’d do powerful things. His wand was quite special.”

Pomona tilted her head. “Perhaps he still shall, although I’m not sure I know who he was.” She sipped her wine. “I will say, however, that I am a bit alarmed at one trend I’m seeing. The Houses are becoming more divided, which is a shame. There’s so much the students can learn from each other. Everyone has their strengths and their weaknesses, after all.”

“Very true,” agreed Garrick. “And it’s the same with wands. Each wand has inherent strengths and weaknesses, and you can surmise much about someone else if you know the wand they carry. It’s especially useful in a duelling situation.”

Pomona nodded. “Oh yes, I imagine it would be to a duellist’s advantage to know what sort of wand his opponent is using,” she said. “I watched a championship duel once...You recall Professor Flitwick? Well he was participating. His opponent was a large man, but Flitwick won handily, he was just so clever with his spells--”

“Ah yes.” Duelling was another of Garrick’s favourite topics and, leaning forward, he began to talk, food forgotten. “Physical size is certainly no predictor of who will win a duel. Strong magic can come in tiny packages, and of course Flitwick is very clever, being of my House. Having a good imagination and having wand versatility are very strong indicators of a good duellist.”

“By wand versatility you mean someone who can use many different wands?”

“Exactly.” Garrick gesticulated with his fork. “I believe wands not only sense something of their owner’s souls, but also of their opposing wand’s owner’s souls as well. When two duellists are matched in power, what determines the winner may come down to their wands, which is why, I believe, Priori Incantatem often occurs in such circumstances.”

“Fascinating.” Pomona, who had finished her meal, leaned back in her chair. “You’ve spent much of your life studying this, haven’t you?”

“Yes.” Garrick sighed. “I fear it’s been a bit of an obsession.” He looked down at his plate. “To the detriment of my personal relationships, I’m afraid. My...deceased wife and daughter are a testament to that.”

“Oh, you poor man,” Pomona whispered. “The last thing I wish to do is pry, but I have been curious--”

“No, it’s fine. You deserve to know. We are...involved, after all. At least I hope we are.” Garrick looked up at her. “It was many years ago. I was in my laboratory, I’d been working on wands, and was working late that night, too. My wife had gone to bed early and best we can tell, the baby did some spontaneous magic, setting fire to the curtains.”

Pomona gasped. “Oh no.”

He nodded. “When I got home it was to find the house on fire. I...I should have been there. If I had--” He looked away. “The only saving grace was that our son was with his grandparents that night. If only the baby had gone, too--”

Pomona laid a gentle hand on his. “You cannot blame yourself. It was a tragic accident. Surely your wife wouldn’t want you to blame yourself.”

“No.” Garrick exhaled. Many others had told him the same thing, but for some reason hearing it from Pomona helped. “In fact, she would probably scold me and tell me to go on with my life.” He smiled sadly.

“There, you see?” Pomona hummed, linking their fingers. “She sounds like she was a wonderful woman whose advice you should follow.”

Garrick regarded her. His wife would have been scandalised by Pomona, she had been very traditional after all, yet something told him they could very well have become friends had she lived. “Perhaps so,” he said, tightening his fingers on hers.

The walk to the Apparation point was quiet, and Garrick found himself wondering if he had ruined his chances with Pomona. Would this be their last date? He sighed, regretting that he’d never even had a chance to kiss her.

Once they landed at Hogwarts’ gates, however, Pomona, far from being distant, leaned up and, startling him, kissed him full on the lips. As he stared down at her, startled, she smiled. “Well, someone had to make the first move,” she teased softly. “And it didn’t seem as if you were going to.”

Garrick had never been particularly worldly, but even he wasn’t foolish enough to miss a hint like that. Gathering her close, he kissed her soundly. “So does this mean I get a fifth date with you, Mrs Sprout?” he whispered against her mouth once they’d broken apart for air.

Pomona smiled up at him, her eyes shining. “I’d say your chances appear excellent.”

***


“Very good.” As Pomona inspects Neville’s work she, as always, finds it impeccable. “You know, I think your rows are neater than mine, and you have a deft hand with Mandrakes. They can be quite difficult.”

Neville hums, inspecting the greenhouse with a critical eye. “You’re too kind, Professor.”

Pomona pats his arm and sighs. “No, I’m really not. You’ve been ready for a while, I’ve just been reluctant to admit it, but it’s finally time.”

Neville frowns. “Time?”

“For me to retire.” Pomona smiles. “Surely you knew what I’ve been preparing you for?”

“But...but you love working here.” Neville looks surprised.

“I do,” Pomona agrees. “But I also want to retire, spend the remainder of my days travelling. And you want to be able to court our new, handsome Quidditch coach, so it works out, don’t you think?” Her smile widens as he gapes at her.

“How did you--?”

Pomona chuckles. “I was young once. I recognise the signs.” She hums. “Believe it or not, I even had a bit of a wild streak when I was younger. And your young Mr Krum is quite comely. I don’t blame you at all. And he seems quite fond of you.”

Neville blushes and stammers endearingly. “I...I just don’t want you to rush your retirement on our account--”

Pomona laughs aloud. “Oh, my dear,” she says fondly once she recovers. “No one’s ever been able to persuade me to do anything not on my own time. Now, may I tell Minerva that you’ll accept the position? She’s sure to be thrilled.”

Neville beams. “That would be brilliant.”

***


“This is an interesting place for a date,” said Garrick, looking around the greenhouse. He’d hoped the invitation to visit Pomona at Hogwarts meant he’d finally get to see her quarters, but apparently that wasn’t meant to be. Biting back his disappointment, he smiled. “I can see why you suggested a picnic, however. It’s beautifully maintained in here.”

Pomona laughed softly. “Thank you. I’ve been working on it for several months. And I thought it would suit better than our more recent venues.” She hummed. “Unless you enjoy having people like Madam Middleton give us suspicious looks.”

“Not especially, no.” Garrick, picnic hamper tucked in the crook of his arm, gestured. “Well this looks like an excellent picnic spot.” He glanced around. “And a secluded one.”

Pomona giggled. “Why Mister Ollivander,” she murmured. “Do you have nefarious intentions this evening?”

Garrick blushed. Pomona brought out a side of him he practically didn’t recognise. “I do have some intentions,” he admitted. “I can only hope they’re not too unwelcome.”

“Oh trust me,” Pomona murmured, sliding her hand into the crook of his unoccupied arm. “Your attentions are more than welcome.”

She drew him to an even more hidden section of the greenhouse, where they settled far out of sight of any school children who could wander by. The spot was well shaded from casual view by large, thick bushes. “Here, now isn’t this better?”

“Much,” Garrick agreed, his initial disappointment fading. The trees provided the perfect romantic backdrop, really. After spreading a blanket, he set down the basket and sat down, beginning to fiddle with it. “So, when you indicated that you wanted to go on a picnic, I packed what I hope is appropriate food--”

“Oh, we’ll get to that,” said Pomona. Licking her lips, she leaned forward, placing a hand on his. “Food can wait,” she said. Kneeling in front of him, she started to undo her blouse. “I thought we should get the important bit of our date done first.”

Mouth dry, Garrick watched as she slowly stripped, revealing a lacy green bra and matching, frilly knickers.

She paused as he simply stared at her and for the first time since she’d greeted him at the gates earlier that day, Pomona looked uncertain. “Don’t you want to?” she whispered. “I thought...with the way you kissed me the last time we were together...But if you’re having second thoughts--”

Garrick leaned forward, pressing his lips to hers, showing her he definitely wasn’t having second thoughts. When she met his kiss eagerly, he moaned, sliding his arms around her to draw her close.

Pomona hummed, pressing her breasts against his chest as they kissed, her hands fumbling with his robes. Sliding his robes off over his shoulders, she pushed him down onto his back, straddling him.

Garrick stared up at her, struck by how very beautiful she was. His trembling hands slid down her sides, stopping at her hips as he pondered just how far she would let him go.

She smiled. “So,” she murmured. “I hope this doesn’t shock you, but I may have had ulterior motives for inviting you here.”

“Why Mrs Sprout,” murmured Garrick, daring to slide a thumb under the waistband of her knickers. “How very improper of you.”

“Oh I should hope so,” she replied, reaching behind herself to unfasten her bra. When her breasts spilled out and Garrick moaned, she smiled. “I’m of the opinion that under the right circumstances, improper behaviour,” she leaned down to kiss him, “can be quite enjoyable.”

Her nipples brushed his bare chest, and he felt tight all over. The skin under her knickers was soft, warm, and he continued exploring her with fingers and tongue until she was undulating above him, gasping her delight as the trees seemed to whisper in sympathy.

“Oh, Garrick,” she moaned when he finally joined his body with hers, and Garrick was amazed that she could find words, because he couldn’t.

Afterward, as they lay trembling, entwined, Pomona’s leg over Garrick’s thigh, she whispered, “See? That was hardly proper, yet it was a lot of fun.”

And looking up at the ceiling of the twilight-lit greenhouse, Garrick could only agree.

***


They’ve been dating and taking things slowly for months, three to be exact, although Pomona is trying hard not to count. What do such things matter when one is seventy? But when Garrick invites her out for a ‘special event’, however, she can’t help but wonder what he’s planning.

He appears in front of her quarters in Ravenclaw-blue robes that bring out the blue of his eyes. He looks lovely. “Where are we going?” Pomona asks as he offers her his arm.

Garrick smiles. “Not far,” he says.

When he leads her into her own greenhouse, Pomona goes quiet, and when he draws her towards the selfsame corner where they made love that first time, she bites her lip. He has decorated the enclosed space with lanterns and fairy lights, and there’s a blanket and picnic basket all set up. “Garrick,” she whispers.

He appears nervous, she imagines he’s wondering if perhaps it’s too soon, but then she’s hugging him, crying and kissing him. “It’s all right?” he whispers. I’d hoped we could do that night over--”

Instead of replying, she pulls him down onto the blanket. “It’s perfect,” she whispers.

They’re no longer young, so they move more slowly than they did before, but Garrick, while old, has clearly learned a few things, and he is tender, his feelings for her coming through in every lingering touch and every press of his lips. Pomona is even more entranced than she was the first time they made love. She feels cherished.

Afterward, they curl together, Garrick stroking Pomona’s skin. “I’m giving Gerard the shop,” he says into the curve of her shoulder.

Pomona freezes. “Oh?”

“Yes. He has some very ingenious ideas about wands. I think it’s time.” Raising his head, he kisses Pomona’s cheek. “And I’ve been thinking about what you said about retiring.”

She smiles. “Have you now?”

“Yes.” Garrick links their fingers. “Do you think you could stand to have some company?”

Pomona sighs, contented. “Oh, I think I could tolerate that.”

“I’d really like to do it properly this time.” Garrick’s voice is soft, tremulous with nerves. “I love you very much you know.”

Pomona’s heart swells. “And I, you.”

“So--” Garrick is hesitant. “So you’ll marry me?”

Pomona smiles, hearing the underlying insecurity in his tone. Had she somehow missed that the first time he’d asked? She nuzzles his cheek. “Oh, my dear, of course I will.”

Garrick exhales, clearly relieved. “You mean I’m not going to have to persuade you? Thank goodness.”

“Although,” says Pomona pressing close. “Just because I said yes doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try your persuasive techniques on me anyway.”

Garrick hums. “What sort of techniques do you mean?”

Pomona grins. “You’re a very smart man. I’m sure you’ll manage to come up with something.”

***


It’s been six months, Garrick thought as he carefully prepared for his date with Pomona. “Surely it’s been long enough,” he muttered before leaving his shop.

His arguments were prepared, and he had even practiced his speech several times in the mirror. She had let him take many liberties over the preceding months, what he was about to do was only proper.

Hoping Pomona would react well to what he had to say, Garrick nervously approached her greenhouse. He stood outside Hogwarts’ gates for a long time as he worked up the courage to enter. Pomona didn’t tend to think like other women of his acquaintance. She was quite...modern. Still, surely she would see what had to be done?

Pomona smiled and waved when she saw him. “Garrick! You’re early,” she said when he got closer. Wiping her hands absently on her apron, she stood from her kneeling position. Her expression went serious. “Is something wrong?”

“No, no.” Garrick smiled reassuringly. “Everything is fine. I was just anxious to see you I suppose.”

“Oh. Well how flattering that you’re so eager to see me.” Pomona gestured at her outfit. “As you can see, I wasn’t expecting company quite yet.”

“Well I’m hardly formal company.” Garrick cleared his throat. “Are you able to step away from your teaching duties a bit early? I have a question I’m anxious to ask you.”

“Ooh, how intriguing.” Pomona’s easy smile lit her face. “Yes, I can step away. Give me two ticks to change.”

As it was a pleasant spring Sunday, they strolled to Hogsmeade, far away from any prying eyes, and when they arrived, Garrick directed her to the corner table at Madam Puddifoot’s, where he’d made a reservation.

By the time they were seated, Pomona was clearly suspicious. “All right,” she said, eyebrow raised. “Spill. Why have you brought me to this pink monstrosity when we could be in a secluded corner of my greenhouse?”

Garrick coughed. “It seemed only appropriate that we be in a more formal setting for what I wanted to ask,” he said.

“Hm.” Pomona pursed her lips. “You’re making me nervous, Garrick. Just ask, will you?”

Garrick licked his lips. “As you know, our relationship recently took a very...intimate turn.”

Pomona hummed. “I’m aware.” She smiled, leaning in. “If you recall, I was there.”

“Yes.” Garrick’s hands were shaking, so he placed them beneath the table and out of sight. Focussing on the top of the table and its hideous pink cloth, he continued. “And, as I’m sure you also realise, now that we are, well, involved in such a relationship, there are certain societal expectations.”

Pomona shifted in her chair. “Expectations. I see.”

Her tone was flat, but Garrick, absorbed in his own anxiety, ignored that and continued. “Exactly. In addition to which, people have seen us socialising in public, so I imagine they know that we are--” He paused, searching for a delicate way to put it.

“Fucking?” supplied Pomona.

Garrick practically choked. “Pomona! I...” He looked around, making sure no one had heard. “Erm, well, yes. Except I would term it as becoming intimate.”

“Right.” Pomona wasn’t smiling at all.

Garrick hurried on, hoping that his next words would bring a smile to her face. “And I know teaching is hard on you--”

“Do you, now?” Pomona’s tone was distinctly cool.

Garrick blinked. “Well...yes. You talk about the stressors and about how you despair the youth of today’s attitudes, so I assumed that meant you were only doing it because your other options were limited.”

“So you think I teach because I’m desperate?” Pomona’s tone was dry.

Garrick paused. “Well, not--” He cleared his throat. “I just think you should realise that now that we’re....how we are, you have other options available to you. In addition, times are getting...interesting. There is a power rising in the world, I can feel it. I believe that the time will come when being aligned with a wandmaker will be very advantageous.”

Pomona’s eyes were narrowed. “A power? What sort of power?”

“You recall the boy I mentioned who came through my shop a few years ago? Who ended up in Slytherin? Riddle?” Garrick lowered his voice. “Well I’ve heard he’s in Europe, and that been he’s espousing some interesting ideas, ideas many influential people are starting to agree with. He has forces rallying around him.”

Pomona frowned. “What sort of ideas?”

“You know, pureblood supremacy, that sort of thing. Not that I necessarily agree, but he bonded with a powerful wand. I look to him to do some very interesting things.”

“Pureblood supremacy?” Pomona was staring at him as if she’d never seen him before.

Garrick coughed, wondering how they’d got off topic. “Well, but that’s not the point. The point is, dangerous times are coming, and you’ll need a protector.”

“Do I indeed?”

Garrick nodded. “Well yes. And, as it happens, I have a son who would love you. While I’m not wealthy, my shop is doing well, I can provide a good life for you and Gerard. We could be a perfect little family--” He paused, finally noticing the expression on her face. “What’s wrong?”

Pomona tilted her head. “What exactly are you asking me, Garrick?”

Garrick exhaled. “Pomona Sprout, would you consent to be my wife?”

Far from the joyous reaction he’d expected, however, Pomona’s eyes narrowed. “Why?”

Garrick frowned. “Why? What do you mean why?”

“I mean why do you wish to marry me?”

Garrick coughed. The conversation definitely wasn’t going the way he’d hoped. “Well, I just told you. We’re...intimate now, and once a relationship gets to that level it’s expected--”

“Oh hang other people’s expectations!” Pomona slammed her hands flat on the table. “And if you think I’m leaving my position at Hogwarts, or that I need you to protect me, you’re mad. Now, give me one good reason that I should marry you?”

“I...” Garrick was flummoxed. “Well because it’s the thing to do. You are aware that I’ve been courting you, yes?”

Pomona’s eyes didn’t soften a hair. “Because you thought I was in dire straits and decided to save me from my job and from making my own decisions, apparently.”

“Well...no, I just--” Garrick tried to clasp her hand but Pomona moved out of reach. “Why are you so angry?”

“Why am I--?” Pomona laughed bitterly. Standing, she picked up her handbag. “I suppose those are all very logical reasons for a marriage, but I’m afraid I’m not interested in any of them.”

“But...but I care for you!” Garrick cried.

Pomona paused, searching his face. “You know, I think you actually believe that.” She sighed. “The next time you propose to someone, Garrick, I suggest you lead with that argument. Not all of us want or need to be saved. In addition, I deserve a love that will risk everything for me, not someone who thinks he has to be with me out of obligation.” And with a swish of skirts, she was gone.

And as Garrick was left staring at her retreating back, he couldn’t for the life of him work out what he’d done wrong.

***


Pomona wakes up with a start, chest heaving. It takes her a moment to realise that she’s not under attack, that, for good or ill, the battle is over and she has survived. A mediwitch enters and Pomona is immediately on guard.

The woman smiles. “Good morning! We’re finally awake I see.”

Cautiously, Pomona nods. “What happened?”

“You were brought in from Hogwarts with spell damage.” The mediwitch drew her wand and Pomona tenses, relaxing slightly as the woman cast several diagnostic spells on her. “The majority of the damage has been repaired, however.”

“And what happened in the battle?” asks Pomona.

“Oh, of course! You were brought in before it was finished.” The mediwitch beams. “He Who Must Not Be Named was defeated! Harry Potter saved us all again.”

Pomona sags in the bed. “Thank goodness.”

“Oh yes.” The woman reaches into her apron, pulling out several potion phials. “Now, here are your morning potions. Finish them all, please.”

After downing all three phials, Pomona draws back her covers and starts to stand up. “Thank you. Now I really need to get back to Hogwarts--”

“Oh no you don’t.” The mediwitch’s tone is firm. “Healer’s orders are for you to stay at least three days to recover. You took some nasty spell damage, and we need to keep you for observation.”

“Three days?!”

“And not a moment less.”

Pomona tries to argue but is told in no uncertain terms by the mediwitch, and then by the Healer, who comes in mid-argument, that she’s to stay. And when she tries to stand and walk a few hours later, she understands why.

“I told you to stay in bed,” scolds the mediwitch when she finds Pomona crumpled on the ground beside her bed.

“Maybe I’ll just stay tonight,” Pomona says once she’s back in bed.

The mediwitch snorts.

She has a steady stream of visitors, including Harry Potter himself. He looks a lot less harried than he had the last time she saw him. When she tells him that, he laughs. “I guess steady meals and some sleep do wonders,” he says.

Minerva also visits, as does Poppy, who agrees with everything the Healer recommends, and when even Severus shows up, looking none the worse for wear, she scolds him in between hugging him.

“Has Garrick been by yet?” Minerva asks when they are alone.

Pomona blinks. “Garrick? You mean he actually was there? I didn’t simply imagine him?”

“Imagine--” Minerva shakes her head. “Oh, my dear. He was like a lion protecting his cub. He hovered over you, taking hex after hex until Poppy insisted you both be brought to hospital.”

“He did that for me?” Pomona breathes.

Minerva smiles. “I’d say whatever you had with him is not dead. At least not on his part. Now, don’t you think you should thank him?”

But she’s not allowed to stand yet, and has to spend another frustrating day in bed. It’s not until she’s allowed to hobble into the day room the following morning that she sees Garrick. It takes her a moment to steady herself. He’s older, much older than she recalls. Although aren’t we all? she reminds herself as she moves closer. “Garrick?” she whispers.

He blinks up at her, his eyes still that brilliant blue that she remembers. He smiles in recognition. “There you are, Pomona Popperton-Sprout,” he says, voice soft. “Willow, seven inches, dragon heartstring core. You’re all right.”

Pomona chuckles, sitting down in the chair next to him. “Thanks to you, I hear. It’s my understanding that you...defended me.”

Garrick regards her for a moment. “I did my best,” he finally says. “The least I can do given my mistakes in the past.”

“You were very brave,” she said. “Especially given what happened to you.”

Garrick’s eyes narrow. “What have you heard?”

Pomona sighs. “Luna told me what happened to all of you at his...Voldemort’s hands,” she says, and when Garrick winces, Pomona places a hand on his arm. “It’s all right. He’s gone.”

“I know. I watched Potter duel him.” Garrick smiles sadly. “I’m glad I saw him die. When I was a captive, I used to think he’d left, and then he’d emerge from the shadows to--” He starts to shake and, filled with pity, Pomona leans in, hugging him. “I always knew Potter would do great things,” he finally murmured into her hair.

They sit there for several minutes, sunlight streaming over them, until Pomona feels Garrick relax. She draws back.

Garrick sighs. “I’m sorry, Pomona. I was wrong about Voldemort, so wrong,” he says. “I used to admire his power, his mastery over his wand, but he did such terrible things. I wish--”

“Yes? What do you wish?” Pomona asks, voice gentle.

“I wish I had seen things more clearly when we were together.” Garrick places his hand on hers, and to Pomona’s surprise, she feels the old familiar spark she used to when he touched her.

She clears her throat. “Perhaps we could both have used a bit more perspective back then,” she says.

Garrick smiles. “It’s not too late for us to start over, is it?” he asks.

Pomona hums. “All this war business is a bit too much for an old woman like me. They say that retirement is a time of starting over, so no, I don’t think it’s too late at all.”

“Good.” Holding onto her hand, Garrick stands up, smiling down at her. “Although I don’t think you’re old at all.”

She hums. “Still the gallant gentleman.”

“It’s my nature I’m afraid.” He gestures. “May I escort you on a walk?” He winks. “Their medicinal gardens are lovely right now. When I first saw them, they made me think of you, actually.” He leans in. “Although I imagine they would be even better were you in charge of them.”

Flattered, Pomona allows herself to be pulled along.

They spend the following three days together, and the morning she’s to leave, Garrick walks into her room while she’s packing and boldly leans down and kisses her.

His mouth is slightly dry, but soft as it moves over hers. Closing her eyes, Pomona gives herself up to the sensations.

When they separate, she blinks up at him. “I thought I was going to have to make the first move again,” she whispers.

Garrick smiles sadly. “If my sojourn in Malfoy Manor taught me anything it’s to not let an opportunity pass. Perhaps if I had spoken up sooner, given him what he wanted to know, he wouldn’t have taken his anger out on Miss Burbage by killing her--”

“Shh, no.” Pomona hugs him. “I don’t think anyone could have saved Charity.”

“We shall never know.” Garrick kisses the top of her head. “You’re leaving today. Shall I see you again?”

“Of course.” Pomona draws back, looking into his face. “You are being released tomorrow, are you not?”

“Yes.”

“I shall be back to collect you.” She links their fingers. “Your shop was destroyed, where shall you stay?”

“I...” Garrick blinks. “My son and his wife have offered--”

“You’ll stay at Hogwarts where I can keep an eye on you.” Pomona is firm. “No one will say a word.”

Garrick smiles. “I know better than to argue propriety with you.”

Pomona laughs. “I see you’re learning.”

“It takes me a while,” says Garrick, fingers tightening on hers. “But I am teachable.”

Pomona hums. That’s what she’s counting on.

***


Garrick stared down at the small boy standing in front of him. He’d known Harry Potter would be coming to him for his wand one day, but he hadn’t expected it would be quite so soon. “Oh, Mr Potter. You’re here.” His eyes flicked to Potter’s scar. “And you have my apologies. You see, I sold the wand that gave you that scar.”

Potter smiled. “It’s all right, sir. I don’t even remember getting it. And it wasn’t as if you gave it to me.”

“No, I suppose not.” Garrick sighed. He wasn’t about to say it, but Potter reminded him a bit of Riddle, with his air of neglect.

The years had passed in a blur since he’d sold that wand. After Pomona’s rejection, Garrick had buried himself in his work, searching out and finding the rarest and most precious wand cores and woods to produce better and better wands. He’d had his share of dangerous adventures along the way, of course, but had managed to survive.

“Sir?” Potter said, shaking Garrick out of his stupor. “About the wand?”

“Yes, yes of course.” Garrick pondered the possible choices before pulling a few boxes. His first, a wand made from an exotic wood he salvaged from a petrified tree in Africa, proved unsuccessful when Potter blew a hole in a wall with it.

After extracting the wand from Potter’s shaking fingers, Garrick coughed. “Right. Not that one.”

Potter, covered in soot, nodded.

The next few were similarly unsuitable. Garrick inhaled. “I don’t usually have such trouble matching a wizard--” He paused as something occurred to him.

“Sir?”

Garrick started mumbling to himself. “I wonder. Could it be? What are the chances--?”

“Could what be, sir?”

After staring at Potter for a long moment, Garrick Summoned a dusty box from the very top of the stacks and handed it to Potter, who gingerly lifted it out. A cool breeze circulated, standing Potter’s hair on end, and a soft glow surrounded him for a moment. Potter’s eyes went wide as he stared at the wand in his hand. “Wow. My fingers went warm and they tingled.”

Garrick nodded. “I believe you’ve found your wand, Mr Potter.” He hummed. “How very curious.”

“What is, sir?” Potter was still fondling his wand. From what Garrick could tell, it was a good bond.

“Well, it’s just so happens that the phoenix from which I obtained the feather to put in your new wand’s core gave one other feather. And that feather was placed in the core of the wand that gave you that scar.” Garrick nodded to Potter’s forehead.

Potter’s mouth dropped open.

Garrick smiled. “It seems you must also be destined to do great things, Mr Potter.”

“Great?” Potter eyed his wand as if expecting it to attack him.

“Well yes.” Garrick hummed. “After all, He Who Must Not Be Named did great things. Terrible, yes, but great.”

When Potter left, guided out by Rubeus Hagrid, Garrick moved to the back of the shop. Over the years he had sent Albus Dumbledore letters when a wand of note had been sold to a particular student. Albus had made him promise to do that after Riddle’s first rise to power, and Garrick had agreed.

As he penned the letter, however, Garrick found himself pondering writing another. Pomona still taught at Hogwarts, after all. And he knew she’d never remarried. He’d watched her over the years, always unseen, and not once had he seen another man with her. Perhaps she was as lonely as he? Perhaps now she would welcome his company?

Shaking his head, Garrick sealed the letter and, after going to find his owl, sent her off on her way, the letter securely attached to her leg.

It was a long time before he stopped thinking about Pomona that day, however.

***


Pomona has never had a problem sleeping until this year. Ever since Severus became headmaster, she lies awake worrying about her future. Hers and the children’s. So when she hears a commotion in the hallway it’s only the work of moments to dress quickly and hurry out of her quarters. As she steps into the hallway, she almost runs directly into Minerva, however. “What’s going on?” she wheezes.

“He Who--” Minerva visibly shakes herself. “Voldemort is coming. We need to secure the school.”

“Coming here?” Pomona pulls her wand from her sleeve. “Why?”

“To capture Potter.”

“Potter?” Pomona blinks. “He’s returned? But why would he do that? It’s so dangerous--”

“I had to come back, Professor,” says Potter, seeming to appear from nowhere. He folds a bit of gauzy fabric under his arm as he speaks. “I’m...looking for something.”

“What?” Pomona asks.

Potter hesitates. “I’m not sure. I think it’s something to do with Ravenclaw.”

Pomona raises an eyebrow. “That’s a bit vague.”

“I know, I’m sorry, I--” A strange look crosses Potter’s face. “I have to go.”

As Pomona and Minerva watch him run off, Minerva shakes her head. “It seems Albus gave him a task. He hasn’t said what that is exactly, but I’ve promised him we will do our best to distract Voldemort until he fulfils his goal.” There’s a distant boom and the walls shake. Minerva sighs. “We need to set up a perimeter. And I need to get the children out--”

“Of course.” Pomona squares her shoulders. “What do you need me to do?” she asks.

“Can you help to prevent the Death Eaters from getting in? Are there plants that can help keep them out, perhaps?”

Slowly, Pomona smiles. “I know just the thing,” she says.

“Excellent.” Minerva strides away. “And Pomona?” she calls over her shoulder. “Do be careful.”

Pomona has just started scattering Devil’s Snare and Fanged Geranium seeds around the perimeter of the school when Neville Longbottom, Luna Lovegood in tow, approaches. She smiles in welcome. They are just who she’d hoped to see. “Neville, Luna. Excellent, you can assist me.”

“What are you doing, Professor?” Neville asks, and when she tells him, he smiles. “Brilliant. How can I help?”

“Well, if you’ll spread more seeds, Luna and I can activate them.”

Luna follows Pomona obediently, listening carefully as they go, and by the time they are done, Luna has activated more than half of the seeds herself. They grow to form a moving, defensive wall around the castle.

Standing back, Pomona smiles. “Good work.”

“Thank you, Professor.” Luna tilts her head. “You know, I think the castle likes the plants.”

Pomona raises an eyebrow. Many of the other professors don’t take Lovegood seriously, but she does. The girl may be otherworldly, but she is a Ravenclaw. And Pomona knows first hand how serious they are about knowledge. “Do you?”

Luna nods. “I can sense it. Just as I could sense how unhappy Malfoy Manor was.”

“Malfoy Manor?” Pomona exhales. “Is there where you’ve been all these weeks?”

“Yes.” Luna’s shoulders hunch. “We were all held there until Harry rescued us.”

“How many of you were there?” asks Pomona as they started towards the courtyard.

“There were four of us who made it out, including me.” Luna sighs. “And thank goodness for Mr Ollivander. But for him I’m not sure I would have made it.”

Pomona’s feet falter. “Garrick Ollivander?” she whispers.

“Oh, I don’t know his first name,” says Luna blithely. “I never asked. He sold me my wand when I was eleven, though.”

Pomona bites her lip. “Was he...all right?”

“They hurt him.” Luna shivers. “They hurt us all.”

“Oh, my dear--” Pomona clasps her hand, pulls her into a hug. Luna rests her head on Pomona’s shoulder for a long moment. “I am so sorry.”

That’s how Neville finds them, embracing behind the castle. “Professor,” he says awkwardly. “Shouldn’t we be fighting?”

Pomona smiles, releasing Luna. “Yes we should. Why don’t you go inside and I’ll join the rest of the professors.”

After she sees them walk inside, she moves on to the courtyard, adding her spellwork to the shield that the other professors and parents are building around the school.

The work is exhausting, however, and soon Pomona’s world narrows to keeping the shield up and keeping Voldemort out.

In her heart, she senses it’s only a matter of time, so when the shield falls and the giants and other creatures start coming towards them, she points her wand and does her best to defend her home and her friends.

She is eventually joined by others. Aberforth, looking fierce, stands to one side, while on the other, Remus Lupin battles Dolohov. Tonks, Kingsley Shacklebolt, even Molly and Arthur Weasley have come to defend the school. But when, in the distance, she sees Garrick, she wonders if she’s hallucinating.

As she sees him duel, however, she knows it’s him. His movements are sparse, focussed, no fancy flourishes for him, and he seems to know what his opponent will do before they do it. Of course, she thinks. He knows everyone’s wand, and it gives him an advantage.

She tries to fight her way towards him, but there are Death Eaters everywhere. Pomona, distracted by Garrick, doesn’t see the curse coming towards her until the last moment. She tries to duck, but is too late. It hits her in the chest and she goes down, pain exploding throughout her body.

And the last thing she sees is Garrick’s concerned face before the world goes black.

***


The day his life changed started like any other. Garrick, who hadn’t been expecting to be kidnapped, was in his shop, contemplating closing early since no one seemed to want to shop for wands much anymore. One minute there was screaming, and the next, Death Eaters burst into his shop, shoved a hood over his head, and manhandled him outside onto the street.

When Garrick arrived at his destination and his hood was removed, he immediately knew he was in trouble. The boy whose power he had so admired had become a creature, barely human, and as he questioned Garrick about the Deathstick, Garrick finally, finally realised that obsession with power had a bad side.

“I have heard about a special wand, Mr Ollivander,” Voldemort said, his voice high and cold. “And, as you are an expert, I’ve decided you shall help me find it.”

Then followed a thorough interrogation session, a session held at wandpoint. And when Garrick faltered, Voldemort casually tortured him, subjecting him to the Cruciatus Curse until Garrick’s entire world was nothing but pain.

Finally Voldemort grew tired of talking to him. “Take him away,” he said dismissively as Garrick trembled at his feet. “We’ll chat more later.”

Thrown into a corner in a filthy dungeon, Garrick cowered and whimpered, wondering how he could ever have considered Riddle a great wizard. When soft hands touched him tentatively and a soft voice whispered to him, Garrick thought it was the one woman in all the world he wished he could see in that moment. “Pomona?” he cried.

It wasn’t Pomona, of course. She hadn’t spoken to him in decades. Not that he’d tried to talk to her either--

“My name is Luna, sir. Luna Lovegood.”

The girl’s voice helped Garrick ground himself. “Yes, yes,” he whispered, glad to think of something, anything, different. Staring up into her large eyes, he said in recognition, “Laurel, ten inches, unicorn hair core.”

“Yes, sir.” Luna ran a hand along Garrick’s arm. “That’s me. Now, do you think you can sit up? You should drink some water.”

He was thirsty, so he nodded, struggling to sit up. When she held a bowl of brackish water to his lips, he swallowed as best he could. “I’m sorry. They...they--” His hands shook as he tried to drink.

“I know, sir.” Luna placed her hands outside his to steady them. “I know what they did to you. They did it to all of us. We’ll get through this together, though.”

And in that moment, Garrick believed her. And, as others arrived, Dean Thomas (hazel, twelve inches, dragon heartstring), Charity Burbage (maple, eleven inches, unicorn hair) and a goblin named Griphook, they formed a family of sorts.

Luna was clearly a Ravenclaw. She had immediately picked up on Garrick’s attachment to Pomona, and after his interrogation days, and the days he was forced to make wands for their murderous captors, she would sit with him, telling him all she knew of Pomona’s life in quiet, hushed tones.

Because she was so easy to talk to, Garrick found himself confiding in Luna. “I should have told her I loved her. Perhaps then she would have married me and we would have been together,” he whispered one night after a particularly vicious session with Voldemort. “Did I tell you that I used to sometimes Disillusion myself and go to watch her? Now I may never see her again.”

And at those times Luna would pat his hand. “Yes, sir, you’ve told me. And there’s always a chance. You should never give up.”

Dean and Charity, both Gryffindors, were constantly coming up with escape plans, and Griphook took ages to warm to them, but eventually even he began contributing to their conversations.

The day Charity was murdered was the blackest in Garrick’s life. They all heard her beg for her life, heard her screams suddenly cut off, and heard the wet sounds of her being eaten. Even Luna’s normally sunny attitude couldn’t bounce back from that. She simply sat in the corner, staring at the wall. Eventually, Dean and Garrick crawled over to her and they all hugged and cried wordlessly while Griphook watched with beady eyes.

Garrick had lost count of how long he’d been held captive when Harry Potter arrived. And when the house-elf appeared practically at Potter’s bidding, Garrick thought he was hallucinating.

“Come on, sir,” urged Luna, pulling him to his feet. “Our rescue is at hand. And as Malfoy Manor disappeared, only to be replaced by a cottage by the sea, Garrick couldn’t believe it.

He didn’t want to leave Shell Cottage, but he wasn’t asked his opinion. “You vill do better zere, sir,” said Fleur Weasley the day he left. “Zey can ’elp you better zan I can.”

Muriel Prewett lived in a large cottage in Ottery St Catchpole. Garrick was finally able to relax and breathe there. It took several weeks, but eventually he stopped having nightmares. And he started contemplating what he needed to do.

One evening, after dinner, he was sitting in the living room when he overheard Fred Weasley talking. “...finally happening! Harry’s back at Hogwarts and the school is under attack. The professors are defending the school. Things will be sorted tonight. We need to go.”

Garrick rose, walking into the kitchen on time to see Molly exchange a look with Arthur. “I think we should all go, don’t you?” she said. “Ginny’s there, after all.”

And Pomona. “Agreed,” Garrick said, smiling as they all turned to look at him. “Surely you didn’t think I would stay behind?” Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out two wands. “It may have been a while since I’ve duelled, but I believe I can recall how it’d done.”

“But you’re too weak,” Molly protested. “You may get hurt.”

Garrick sighed, fingering his wands. “Isn’t defeating him worth that risk? If I sit here and he wins, what will my life be worth then? Not to mention, there are people I...care about at that school.” He squared his shoulders. “It’s time I showed them how much.”

Slowly, Arthur smiled back. “Let’s go.”

***


When Severus becomes Headmaster, Pomona stops having breakfast in the Great Hall. It used to be a joyous place, but she finds it difficult to eat under the suspicious eyes of the Carrows, and seeing the students so cowed upsets her, so she takes her meals in her quarters whenever possible.

Minerva joins her a few times a week and they commiserate over tea, reading the newspaper and wondering what is becoming of the world.

The morning she finds out about Garrick, she is alone, reading the paper, and she has to read the headlines twice for it to make sense. “Dear Merlin,” she whispers as she reads the details of his kidnapping. She closes her eyes, and, for the first time in years, she prays. “Please let him be all right.”

“Are you all right?” Minerva whispers to her at supper.

Pomona looks up from her plate. “Why do you ask?”

Minerva hums. “You thought I forgot about you and Garrick?” she murmurs.

“But it was years ago!”

Minerva snorts. “Since when does that matter in love?”

Pomona blushes. “I haven’t spoken with him in ages.” She sighs. “More’s the pity.”

Minerva pats her arm. “Perhaps he’ll be all right,” she says, but Pomona can see the fear reflected in her eyes. A fear she knows is echoed in her own.

***


When Garrick and the Weasleys finally arrived, Hogwarts was a war zone. They got in through a filthy stone passageway they accessed from a portrait in Hogsmeade. Garrick recalled Aberforth only because he was there when his father presented him with his wand.

Aberforth shook his head when he saw Garrick. “I thought you’d have sense enough to stay out of this,” he growled. “This lot are brash Gryffindors, I expect it of them, but not you.”

Garrick shrugged. “I think too many people have stayed out long enough, don’t you?”

Aberforth had no answer to that, although Garrick was pleased to see him when he joined them minutes later in battle. “I thought you were staying out?” he shouted, ducking a hex.

“Wot? And let you get all the glory?” Aberforth shouted back, blasting a Death Eater off a parapet.

Garrick smiled, wielding both his hands in tandem. Aberforth had always been competitive. As he battled, he scanned, looking for Pomona, finally spotting her by the courtyard.

He knew the moment she saw him. Her eyes softened the way they hadn’t when he’d proposed all those years ago and she smiled in acknowledgement. She started making her way towards him, and then the unimaginable happened.

Garrick saw the Death Eater aim at her and his breathing practically stopped. Time seemed to slow as the red light flew toward her, and the moment she went down, Garrick started towards her, managing to reach her just before she hit the ground. “Pomona,” he whispered as the light in her eyes seemed to go dim. “Stay with us. Please. Stay with me.””

But Pomona was unconscious. Garrick cradled her in his arms, ignoring the battle raging around them. He was even hit a couple of times before it occurred to him to put up a shield.

“What happened?” shouted someone, and Garrick looked up to see a Minerva McGonagall bending over them. “Is she all right?”

“I don’t know,” he said. “She’s not waking up.”

Minerva went rigid, then, after feeling Pomona’s neck, she sagged in relief. “She’s alive. Thank Merlin.” Exhaling, she continued, “All right,” she said, tone crisp. “We need to get you both inside. Come along.”

Garrick swallowed. “But I should fight--”

“You’re hurt, Garrick.”

Garrick frowned. “What?”

“You’re bleeding.” Minerva pointed to his face, and when Garrick reached up to rub his forehead, his hand came away with blood. “Come inside,” she said, tone soft. “It’s not safe out here. And we need to have Poppy take a look at her.”

He nodded, lifting Pomona gently. Once inside, Poppy Pomfrey, the school mediwitch, hurried over. “Put her over here,” she said. “And you sit next to her. I need to examine you both.”

And that was where Garrick stayed while the rest of the battle played out.

He heard Voldemort’s ultimatum to Potter, saw Neville Longbottom pull the sword of Gryffindor from the Sorting Hat and kill Nagini, and he stood and watched at the window as Harry Potter battled and finally defeated Voldemort, and throughout he felt nothing, even when he saw Voldemort’s body crumple.

Potter has the Elder Wand, he thought as he saw the boy turn away and be congratulated by his friends. He looked at the wand in his hand. It had been an obsession of his for years, and yet he had no desire to examine it. All his cares and hopes were tied up in the woman lying behind him. As others all joined the celebration, he sat beside her and clasped her hand and was still doing so when the medical personnel arrived to take them to hospital.

“We won!” said one of the Healers as they helped him stand.

Garrick eyed Pomona, who was on a stretcher. Her colour looked better and she was breathing more easily. He smiled. “We certainly did.”

***

Fin




Please return to the IJ post to leave feedback!
From:
Anonymous
OpenID
Identity URL: 
User
Account name:
Password:
If you don't have an account you can create one now.
Subject:
HTML doesn't work in the subject.

Message:

 
Notice: This account is set to log the IP addresses of everyone who comments.
Links will be displayed as unclickable URLs to help prevent spam.

May 2014

S M T W T F S
    12 3
45 678 9 10
1112 1314 151617
18 192021222324
25262728293031

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Aug. 23rd, 2017 06:06 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios