Thank you so much anon! That’s so nice of you to say. The truth is, I haven’t made much of any progress since the last time I put up some screenshots. I’ve been signed into Gail’s file for a while. What I really need to do is gather up all of the screenshots I have in my phone (the number is in the hundreds.) and organize them, start uploading them in chronological order, so I can retell Luca’s story with any updates or changes. In the mean time, I feel bad about leaving such a kind anon empty-handed. So in lieu, I shall give you a Year 5 Scene taking place not long after the point I was at!
I’m so dead.
To clarify, it won’t be a Boggart, or an Ice Knight, or an Acromantula that gets me in the end. They won’t have the chance. A far greater threat looms over me, imprisonment that will surely rival that which you’re currently facing. The Cursed Vaults and the power within them, the dangerous and elusive “R,” the daily schemes of Albus Dumbledore...not one of them can compare to the trial I’m now faced with. I don’t even have a wand at my side to protect me, and really, that’s the whole point. If I had my wand, I wouldn’t be in this situation. Because that’s the situation, Jacob. I lost my wand. Mum’s wand. Without it, I stand no chance. My friends can’t help me, you can’t help me. Nobody can. I have to face the music alone.
Jacob, I am so grounded.
Merlin’s Beard, I’m going to be grounded until the end of time when Mum finds out about this. Until I’m at least forty. She’s going to be furious with me, and as much as I’d like to defend myself...I have no defense. I walked into the lion’s den with the intention of taming it’s occupant. But the real world smacked me in the face and instead of taming the lion, I got my arm torn off. Because that’s how it feels, Jacob. I feel like both of my arms have been ripped off. Like I’m helpless, bleeding out on the floor with nothing to stop it anymore. With the lion prowling in the corner, watching me die slowly, rather than finish me off. Because she’s just twisted like that.
If I sound dejected, that’s because I am. I feel hollow on the inside, like I’ve had my identity taken from me, and it wasn’t even mine. I’ve never had my own wand, never had one that was truly mine. That “chose” me, as Rowan describes it. I was simply a temporary caretaker for the Hazel wand, I had always planned on returning it to Mum when her magic came back. Now I’ll never be able to. I failed in my position as caretaker. Rakepick destroyed Mum’s wand on my watch. And it never would have happened if I hadn’t asked for trouble. Maybe that’s why I feel so bad. Or maybe I just developed an emotional attachment. I don’t know, because even though it belonged to Mum, it felt like mine. Like this is my humiliation.
But if you think I’m bummed, you haven’t met Rowan. Actually, that’s just a general point of interest. You haven’t met Rowan, and you need to. They’re someone that just about everyone should get to meet at some point, because they make a person’s life just that much better, even if it’s in passing. But I’m fortunate enough to have them as a mainstay in my life. Someone to get upset on my behalf. Well, “upset” doesn’t do justice to their reaction. I believe “devastated” would be a more appropriate term. You’d think it was their wand that got destroyed. I’m their best mate, sure, but it’s not even really mine. I just borrowed it. Yet Rowan is cradling the pieces like they’re holding a fatally wounded child.
“What. Happened.” They seem unable to raise their voice beyond a chilled whisper, fingers now tracing the glint of unicorn hair sticking out of the longer piece.
“Rakepick happened.” I grit my teeth. “I had the brilliant idea of challenging her. She knows Jacob, she has information about him, and she’s keeping it from me...I figured the only way to make her talk was to pull a Merula.”
“Eh?” Rowan is only half-listening, studying the other fragment of hazel. As much as I love them, I’m starting to think that odd and obsessive behavior is a prerequisite for studying wandlore, because in this moment they’re reminding me a fair bit of Ollivander.
“Oh you know. I tried to assert dominance. And I failed, because I was in way over my head. Doesn’t get more “Merula” than that. But please don’t tell her I said so. I’ll never hear the end of it.” I try my best to inject some humor into the situation, and I think it’s worked; a smile flits over Rowan’s features for the briefest moment before they set the wand pieces down again.
“Still, I can’t believe she broke your wand. To go that far...how are you feeling?” Rowan’s brow furrows and I feel their hand on my arm. I look up from the broken pieces, and I think my curiosity must reflect my features, because they continue. “I mean, that was your wand! Merlin’s Beard, she could have castrated you and it would have been less violating.”
“Tell me about it.” I cringe slightly. “And I’m guessing it’s beyond repair?” I’ve never heard of broken wands being mended, and I feel like Rowan wouldn’t be acting like someone had died if it could be done. “Because my Mum’s going to kill me. That’s the worst part, really. Cause it was her wand, remember? I’ve been holding onto it for her, and I just…” I let my eyes trail the Basement, until they find Mitten, asleep on the nearby armchair. “I feel as though I’ve let her down.”
“No, not at all! Hey, cut that kind of talk. No one wakes up in the morning expecting that they’ll need to safeguard their own wand. That’s what a wand is supposed to be for! Protecting you from danger. Well, among other things.” Rowan is shaking their head, before they move in to give me one of their excellent hugs. “No one chooses to have their wand broken, Luca. This isn’t your fault.”
I open my mouth and shut it again. Yeah, I know. You broke your wand, but I think in this moment, Rowan has forgotten that happened. I know I forgot about it until just now. I guess that’s something else we have in common. Something else we can use to reconnect once I’ve finally tracked you down. It will be nice to talk face-to-face, rather than hearing these strange Legilimency messages you leave in my head. My brain feels like a Questioning Machine. I think that’s what it was called. Y’know, the thing that connects to the Felly Tone. Man, I wish I had taken Muggle Studies...maybe next year.
In any event, I can only reciprocate Rowan’s hug. “Thanks...that means a lot right now. I just feel like...like I’m useless and helpless. I know that I’m not.” I quickly add, seeing Rowan’s indignant expression and foreseeing their contradiction. “I know I’m not really useless. It’s just that it’s difficult not to feel that way right now. Rakepick says she’ll take me to Diagon Alley soon so I can visit Ollivanders, but...that still won’t be for a few days, and even then, I don’t want her to-
“-be there when you get your new one? Yeah, I wouldn’t either.” Rowan makes a face, sticking their tongue out briefly. “That’ll be a personal moment for you! Ollivander is already strange enough to have looming over you. After what she did, no way should she be the one who-oh.” A peculiar look crosses Rowan’s face, and in another moment they’re smiling dreamily. “Never mind Luca. You don’t need to play by her rules. At least, not on this one thing. I need to send a letter.”
All of a sudden Rowan leaps up to their feet. The motion is so fast that their own wand falls from their pocket and clatters to the floor, but I don’t think they immediately notice, as the motion has also knocked over the nearest table, sending parchment everywhere. “Oh, blimey-” is all I can yelp, before I’m up on my feet as well. Carefully stepping over Rowan’s wand and moving to help them lift the table upright. As we crouch lower to gather the unrolled bits of parchment, I give Rowan a glance. “I know that look. You’ve got a plan. So let’s hear it, then.” I can’t help smirking.
Rowan offers a smile that somehow manages to be a cross between devilish and bashful. I don’t know, they’ve just got a very expressive face. You’ll see. “My brother, you know Ashok? He’s going to be school age next year, and he’s already refused point-blank to even attempt wand-making. Mum tells me there have been tantrums about it.” Rowan holds back a chuckle, running a hand through their hair. “He’s quite spoiled, really. Apparently they’re considering sending him abroad, or homeschooling him for a year. And they reckon I’m the lazy one.” Rowan adds, more of an aside to themself than anything. “The point is, he’s going to need to pay a visit to Ollivander soon.”
Rowan bristles, lookin more excited as they get further into the story. I love it when they get that look, Jacob. “And I on the other hand, need to pay a visit to the Owlery. Already made it clear to my parents that I want to be there when Ashok gets his wand. Now there will just be one more person with us.” My eyes widen slightly, and I feel the urge to say something, yet can’t find the words needed. I want to thank Rowan, yet paradoxically I feel the impulse to reject this gesture, out of a sense that I don’t deserve it. You’ll be pleased to know that I’ve been working on that, Jacob. Rowan’s been helping me.
“That...that would be great. Thanks Rowan.” Wow, it’s such a little thing, such a minor accomplishment, but what a weight off my shoulders to succeed in saying those words. “I’d love to see all of them again too, if it won’t be too much trouble. I mean it’s been, what...a year?”
“Just about.” Rowan nods, doing the math by counting on their fingers. “And you should already know it won’t be any trouble! They love you, remember? They wish they could trade me in at Diagon Alley and get you instead.” Rowan’s grin indicates that they’re joking, but right now I almost get the sense that they’re doing the same thing I do, putting themself down, making the whole idea of them being inferior become that much more normal. Well I’m not having it. I push forward and hug them.
“They’re lucky to have you and they know it, Rowan. You are the ultimate bargain.” I lean back, feeling much better about how the day has turned out. I always knew I would get a new wand, and while that doesn’t solve the problem of ultimately facing Mum, I can’t deny that the idea is a little exciting. Just like how it was exciting to get Sorted, though in hindsight I don’t know why I expected anything else. I’m such a damn Hufflepuff. In any case, the thought was mildly exciting...but marred and weighed down by knowing that I’d have to be chaperoned by the person who caused the problem in the first place. This is so much better. I get to see the Khannas again, during the actual school year for once, and be there when Ashok gets his first wand. We can make a whole day of it.
“Well come on then!” Rowan seems to bounce on the balls of their feet. “This way!” They gather up a roll of parchment and one of their favorite quills, turning to wait for me. Yet in their haste, I think they’ve forgotten something. Or maybe they’re not bringing it and I’m just more paranoid about these things after recent events. Either way, after I gingerly tuck the broken pieces of Mum’s wand into my bag, I cross the room to give a sleepy Mitten her dually owed head rub, and then turn around, kneeling over to pick up Rowan’s wand.
“Here, I think you forgot something.” I laugh, reaching out to grip the handle and standing back upright. Yet when I do this...something curious happens. Something I can’t explain. Not a bad thing, mind you. But I just get this feeling. It’s a nice feeling, like a lovely warm breeze. Or a mug of butterbeer. Except it’s traveling along my arm. Like my arm has a stomach. That doesn’t make any sense, but neither does this. I’ve frozen in place, and Rowan has noticed. They’re raising an eyebrow at me.
“Here, this is-” Trying to rouse myself from the stupor, I search my brain and recapture what I was trying to do beforehand. To return Rowan’s wand. It’s so weird but I almost forgot I was holding it, just felt like it was part of my arm and hand, I dunno. Yet when I hold it out again, I break off. Because something happens. Something actually happens. I didn’t cast a spell, and it’s not like I should be able to with Rowan’s wand, right? Yet in defiance of all logic, I can actually feel it. I can feel the magic flowing through my limbs, emanating from my core. It’s so much stronger than it’s ever been before, and when I lean the wand arm forward, Rowan is suddenly wearing a crown of flowers.
“Wha-how did…” I trail off, lowering my arm again. Rowan takes another step forward, wearing a perplexed expression. I don’t think they yet realize what else they’re wearing.
“Luca, are you oka-wait.” They bob their head slightly, and set down what they were carrying to reach up and touch their hair. Gently picking up the crown of flowers - black roses, I can’t help but notice, just like the ones we have at home. “Oh wow. Oh. Oh.” Rowan seems to have grasped what I have not, seen what my mind has not yet seen. “Luca…” They murmur my name, looking between me and their wand. “How are you feeling? What’s it feel like, right now?”
I shake my head slightly, wondering why they haven’t taken their wand. “I don’t know, really. I don’t know how I did that. But there’s this prickling feeling in my chest, and in my arms. It’s nice. I have no idea what spell that was, or how I did it...why it would cause this.” I shrug it off at first, having experienced weirder phenomenon in the past. But now Rowan is practically shaking and wearing a huge grin.
“Oh my god. Luca! Luca, I think...I think my wand just Chose you!”
It doesn’t feel real at first, when they say it. Because it couldn’t possibly be true. It doesn’t make any sense. Right? After all, Rowan’s wand is...Rowan’s. It belongs to them. And yet. It didn’t Choose them. I know this. I remember them telling me all about how they had spent the better part of six months building wand after wand, when they were all of eleven years old. How they made just shy of twenty wands, and after Ollivander checked them, it was determined that they had in fact, managed to produce one that was functional. Just one. But hey, that’s one hell of an achievement for a kid who hadn’t even started at Hogwarts yet. But just because they built the wand, the one coincidentally fashioned of rowan wood, with a unicorn hair at the center...doesn’t mean the wand itself Chose Rowan as it’s wielder. Wands are apparently pickier than that.
And now Rowan is telling me that their wand, the one they’ve carried for five years and loyally used for everything...that it Chose me. And I can’t believe it at first, I can’t accept it, because I already know I don’t deserve this. Though even as I write those words to you Jacob, I remember what I talked about earlier. How degrading myself like that isn’t healthy, and if Rowan shouldn’t be doing it, then neither should I. But this is just such a serious thing.
“Rowan, I...you can’t be serious. You don’t really think-”
“Only you can tell for sure.” Rowan nodded toward the wand. “But you have to be honest with yourself. Don’t think about me right now, think about how you’re feeling. Does it feel like the wand has Chosen you? That’s all that matters, Luca.
Aw, damn it.
I take a deep breath, delaying the inevitable, holding up Rowan’s wand once again. I close my eyes and take a deep breath. There’s one way to be sure, beyond sure. I let my thoughts drift back to the Celestial Ball, easily one of the happiest nights of my entire life. “Expecto Patronum.” I all but whisper, giving the wand a flick. Sure enough, a small, silver shape resembling my beloved cat, bursts out of the end, and begins to wander and explore the Basement. It has never, and I mean never, been quite that easy.
“Okay.” Rowan has that knowing smile on their face. “I think that answers that question.”
I bite my lip, shyly looking down. What can I even say right now? Rowan clearly doesn’t mind, and somehow that doesn’t surprise me, but how am I supposed to not feel like I’ve stolen their thunder? It’s just a little bit awkward now, and it’s not like it changes anything. I’m going to get my own wand when we all visit Diagon Alley. It’s not like I’m taking Rowan’s wand or anything. They’re going to keep using it.
No, seriously Jacob, I can’t believe this is happening, but Rowan is approaching me and starting to babble, talking about the best type of polish to use, and how that wand holster I bought so many years ago may not fit the “Rowan” wand. My god, they actually expect me to take it! I can’t do that! They’re trying to give it to me. Yet when I begin to stammer protests, Rowan looks confused.
“Luca, the wand has Chosen you. That’s all there is to it. You aren’t taking it away from me. I’ll just be the one to get a new wand after Ashok instead of you, that’s all.” I sniffle and try to say something in response, but Rowan presses on. “Don’t you see? It was never mine. I’m lucky enough to have built and carried it, but I’m even luckier to see it Choose it’s wielder. Luckiest of all to see that it Chose you. Why are you acting like you did something wrong? Hey, c’mere.”
They gather me in another hug, and I can feel that familiar burning in the edges of my face. I am about to cry, Jacob. Because I never outgrew that habit, and honestly, how can I not cry in this moment? I have the greatest friend anyone could ask for, and now we have one more thing, something exceptional, that connects us. I feel as though Rowan has allowed me to adopt their child. Probably irrational and silly to feel this emotional about it, but I just can’t stop sobbing and thanking Rowan for - well, everything. Just, everything that they do, and who they are.
Seriously, I cannot wait for you to meet them. It needs to happen sooner rather than later.