Rose woke up at around noon the next day. The traveling, the stress of meeting with her family, combined with the wine she drunk the night before made for a sound sleep. She was slightly confused at first, not recognizing her surroundings but as she adjusted she got up from the bed and headed for the large mirror on the wall. Her face looked fresh, no trace of fatigue on it and her hair, usually bushy and unruly, seemed to have settled into a cascade of curls on her back. Picking out some clothing from the dresser, she stepped into the bathroom and turned the water on.
As she let the warm water wash over her, her thoughts drifted to the night before. She had felt terrible about the way she treated Scorpius and made him leave. It wasn’t in her nature to be unpleasant, but the day before had brought back so many unpleasant memories and her reason to leave. It was a day just like that one and it had happened in the Burrow. She shook her head, splashing water on the beige tiles as she chased those memories away. That period was something she was sure everybody wanted to forget.
The evening with Scorpius hadn’t been unpleasant at all. They had dropped all the pretense and left the mystery at the door, spending their time talking about their time at Hogwarts. While she and Scorpius had never been friends, he was close to her cousin Albus. They still kept a correspondence, while he was overseas, consulting with the Canadian Ministry of Magic on International Affairs. The memories brought her back to a time when everything was simpler and adult life had yet to begin. She was, in a way, grateful to Scorpius for the chance to feel that way again, even for a few hours.
Finishing her shower she got dressed and went downstairs, wondering if Scorpius had woken up. He was sleeping just a couple of doors down, in the room that had once been Regulus Black’s, but she thought it awkward to knock on his door and she didn’t want to overstep the boundaries. To her surprise, he was in the kitchen, drinking a cup of tea and reading the Daily Prophet.
“Good morning!” she said, making him aware of her presence in the room. He looked up from his paper and smiled at her.
“Good morning, Rose.” he returned her greeting. “Did you sleep well?”
“I slept fine, thank you. I didn’t even realize it wasn’t my own bed.” she replied and set about to pour herself some tea.
“There’s a plate for you in the oven,” he told her. “I charmed it to keep it warm.”
Rose smiled gratefully and took a seat at the table, cutting into her bacon and eggs. She studied him as she ate, noticing how he was far less tense than he had been just a short time ago. Maybe the fact that there hadn’t been another attack gave him a little peace. It dawned on Rose that it felt nice, just sitting with him in silence, like they’d know each other for a long time. After she finished eating and charmed the plate to clean itself, she straightened her jumper and cleared her throat, gaining his attention.
“I think I’m ready to have a look at those wands.” she told him and he nodded, getting up to retrieve the box. He placed it on the table and tapped his wand on the lid, making it glow a soft pink and unlocking with a clicking sound. From inside he produced four transparent bags, each labeled with the name of the owner and the date in which it entered official custody. Clearing the table, he placed them side by side and waved his wand once more, unsealing each of them.
“We have special seals on all our evidence bags. Only an Auror that worked that case or was at the scene when the evidence was collected can unseal the bags. That way we don’t have to worry about other departments meddling with the evidence or people trying to tamper with it.” he explained as she took the first wand and started turning it around on her slender fingers. Scorpius went on with his explanation.
“The wand in your hand belonged to the wizard Dedalus Diggle. It was found next to his body in his house. This is the official report.” he told her, pulling a thick envelope from the bottom of the box and setting it next to the wands on the table.
“Can you tell me what Priori Incantatem revealed?” Rose asked, now looking at the tip of the wand, like she was trying to see its core through an non-existent hole. Scorpius leafed through the file until he found the information.
“It revealed that his last spell was a Stunning Spell. Obviously, it failed to hit its target, as we found nobody else there. Other than that, nothing was out of order with the wand.” he said and looked at her, hoping she had spotted something already. Rose merely nodded, now tapping the wood gently with her finger. Finally, she placed it back in the bag and picked up the next one.
“This is the wand that we thought was Parvati Patil’s. It was found at Diggle’s residence. However, when we brought her in for questioning, she had a wand with her and the analysis revealed that it was the wand Ollivander made for her. Obviously, we couldn’t collect that wand for evidence.” he said and she took a seat, placing the wand in front of her and pulling out her own. Scorpius was watching her with interest, as she traced the length of the duplicate wand with hers and muttered a few strange incantations he had never heard. Nothing happened and he felt his heart sink a little, although Rose’s face seemed alight with interest.
“Under wizarding law, wandmakers are obligated to keep a record of the wands they sold and the wizards that purchased them. It was introduced almost a century ago, because wands kept getting passed on from father to son and some wands were involved in highly illegal activities.” Rose told him and he nodded. He was aware of the legislation but he couldn’t grasp how this tied in with their current situation. “Now, of course, some wizards still keep that tradition, but they are fewer and fewer, because a wand that chose you will work better than one that has recognized another master. The thing about wands is, they are almost alive. Have you never wondered why the core must always be that of a magical creature? Unicorns, phoenixes, dragons, even Veelas. They are all used because even though the parts are removed from their original owners, they keep a a part of the magic they were infused with. Long ago, people believed that the wands were used only as a conductor for one’s own magic and should be used to keep magic exploding all over the place, like in the case of small children. Now we know, that it can enhance that magic. So for example, a dragon heart string wand is both powerful, because the dragon is an extremely magical creature and can be taught spells easily, just as a dragon can be tamed to a certain extent, all the while keeping its powers. On the other hand, Veela wands are extremely temperamental, just like the creatures providing it.”
Rose was stroking the wand gently with one finger as she spoke, a look of admiration on her face. As he listened to her, Scorpius suddenly understood why Harry Potter had sent him to fetch her for this task. She knew plenty about wandlore, not unexpected of Hermione Weasley’s daughter, but she also respected their power and understood the bond that was formed between wizard and wand.
“Lore says the wand chooses the wizard. The reason behind that is easy enough to understand once you‘ve learned the basics of wand making. It looks for certain qualities in the owner. A wand made from unicorn hair, dragon heartstring or phoenix feather can attach itself to a wizard that posses certain qualities. Purity of the heart, bravery, a desire to learn. Other cores are indifferent to the wizard and form no bonds. The trickiest of those is Thestral hair. Because the Thestral can be seen only by those that have seen death, it’s rarely used by wandmakers. Most of them don’t even bother to try. And a wand with that core can only respond to a wizard that has seen, but above all else, understands death.”
She looked up at him when she finished and he nodded, waiting for her to continue with her explanation.
“To build a wand we need a core and of course, we need wood. Most trees can be used to do that, although it’s very tricky to find both the wood and the core to create a successful combination. That is one of the finer points of study in this field. Have you collected a copy of the wand registry at Ollivander’s?” she asked.
“The Magical Artifacts department has a copy on hand that gets automatically updated whenever a new wand is sold.” he said and pulled another thick book from the box. She smiled at this.
“Undetectable Extension Charm?” she inquired with an amused expression.
“I’d have broken my back long ago if not for these.” he mumbled as he searched for the year 1991 in the book. Finally he found it and tapped his wand, muttering an incantation, so that it turned straight to Parvati Patil. Rose leaned in and together they read the information on the wand.
“Well, it all makes sense now.” Rose concluded after a few moments, making Scorpius throw her a strange look.
“I’m so glad.” he said dryly and raised an eyebrow, making her frown at him.
“It says here that the wand sold to Parvati Patil is ebony, 7 inches, unicorn hair.” she explained as she pointed to the corresponding lines in the registry. “Now, these numbers right here,” she continued as she tapped next to some small symbols scrawled above the core indication, “they are the code for the animal. So the animal isn’t used twice. It’s slightly uncomfortable for them, you see, to provide the cores. This particular unicorn is noted to have been 6 years old at the time it gave the hair. Scorpius, whoever did this went to lengthy measures to duplicate these wands.” she told him and for the first time her voice was worried. “No core can be identical and no wand wood can look the same. No two tree branches are the same. If you look at Diggle’s wand and at the second Patil wand, you’ll notice that they are both of Ollivander’s making. But see here,” she said and pulled the first wand out of the bag and held them in front of him, their tips pointed towards them. He noticed that one was slightly larger than the other but he failed to see her point.
“The second wand isn’t sealed off properly.” she said and as he squinted he could now see that a small hole was there. “this second wand was created by using a mold of the first one. Either by stealing it from the owner or from a photograph I can’t be sure, but it’s core was inserted after the carving process and not during it, as you see in all other Ollivander wands. Another thing is that the unicorn hair isn’t the same.”
“Well, then how could the Ministry wizards have missed it?” Scorpius said in disbelief. She shook her head and twisted the ebony wand in her hands again.
“It’s a special spell that not many people apart from wandmakers know. As I see here, they did try every standard spell. This is trickier than that.” Rose replied and placed the wand on the table. “The second unicorn hair is from another, younger animal, that shared the same magical and physical characteristics as the first.”
“Are you saying that somebody actually looked for, and found, the brother of that particular unicorn?” he asked in shock, a somber look now grazing his features.
“Apparently, yes. I have no idea how they could do that, unicorns mate so rarely, and one pair to produce two is odd enough. But I don’t think this is a coincidence. Whether they were tracked down for this purpose or another I can’t be sure, but yes, the duplicate wand has a brother core.” she said, her tone now soft. She bagged Dedalus’ wand and the ebony wand and pulled out Moody’s wand.
“This is a dragon heart string, 12 inches, mahogany wand. Search for Moody in Ollivander’s book.” she asked him and he tapped the large book once again. She quickly read its description and started enchanting the mahogany wand. “This is indeed the wand of Alastor Moody. They never discovered his body, as far as I know.” she said and sighed, looking with sad eyes at the wand in front of her. “Uncle Harry only managed to retrieve that magical eye of his and burry it. They never even thought of the wand.” she whispered. Placing the wand in its bag and getting up, she started placing the papers and wands back into the enchanted bags. “I’m going to do a little research on the ebony and unicorn hair combination in wand making and maybe then I can begin to figure out how that wand was copied.” she informed him. Her eyes looked worried and for the first time since her arrival in England she was frightened. “You have to find and stop this guy. Whoever it is and whatever they want, I don’t think they went through so much trouble just to kill a couple of elderly veterans.”
In the back of his mind, Scorpius couldn’t help but agree with her, though his instincts told him he shouldn’t share his own worries with her. It was best if they cracked the case and fast, before anymore people turned up dead. Getting up himself, he sealed the wooden box. He wanted to tell her something, but no words of encouragement came to him. Instead, his eyes found hers and something unspoken passed between them. She was safe as long as he was there.
Harry Potter felt tired. He knew when he joined the Auror Department that he wouldn’t have an easy or relaxing job, but somehow he couldn’t remember being this tired even in his youth, when he went on his year long hunt for Horcruxes. He felt the task of finding whoever was behind the attacks as if it sat on his shoulders and he carried it everywhere. The last few days hadn’t been easy. Living at the Burrow wasn’t uncomfortable, not in the least. It was his childhood home and the Weasleys were his parents, they had been ever since he was twelve. However, he could see the sadness and worry in his wife’s eyes, about their home being invaded and about her father’s failing health. Harry had always fought for the people he loved. When he was young he had fought for his friends and for those that put their best hopes in him. Now he had a family to protect. And he would stop at nothing to protect them. It was a small comfort to him that none of his children followed him into Law Enforcement.
At lest he didn’t have their safety to worry about in times like these. James, his eldest had followed into his uncle Charlie’s footsteps and was studying dragons with him at the Romanian colony. Albus was a liaison for International Cooperation and his work often required he travel abroad for extensive periods of time. Lily, his only daughter, had decided that since none of her uncle George’s children wanted to help him run the joke shop, she should do it and was currently managing the ever expanding Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes. To this day Harry felt amazed at how far George had managed to go with the thousand galleons he had when opening the shop with his late twin. From a small owl order business, the Weasley's joke shop was now one of the most prosperous in Britain. Just a few years back, George had managed to buy out Zonko’s and his line of stores now stretched as far as the United States or Asia.
Harry finished the last of his reports and got up, draining his cup of coffee in the process. His team was hard at work, trying to find any leads on illegal substances that could be used in fabricating unregistered wands. Just as he was about to join them in the conference room, the door to his office opened and in came Scorpius.
“Hello, Scorpius! I trust you have a report on the preliminary analysis of the wands.” he said and gestured for the man to sit down. He shook his head in a declining gesture and closed the door behind him.
“Rose is on to something. It’s just… it’s big and I’m not sure we can write an official report on it. I think we’ve uncovered a whole network here. And I think more copied wands are going to show up.” he informed his superior. If Harry was surprised or frightened by this revelation, he didn’t let it show on his face.
“What has she uncovered?” he asked and leaned onto his desk. Scorpius proceeded to tell him about the analysis and the differences between the wands, explaining how Rose had come to these conclusions.
“And the wand belonging to Alastor Moody, that was his wand. I understand that it, along with the body, was never found.” he concluded and waited for Harry to share his opinion. Moody’s portrait on the wall let out an annoyed growl.
“Blimey, good thing we brought her in then and we didn’t go to Ollivander’s. Our research has yet to provide any useful leads. I was just about to go meet with the team and see if we’ve made a breakthrough in the case, though I doubt we’ll be finding anything else soon. Unless somebody comes forward and confesses to this, which I don’t think is going to happen soon.” Harry said, throwing the portrait and annoyed look and turning his attention back to the young Auror.
“Rose said she’ll continue researching as well and I’ll be helping her.” Scorpius said and Harry raised his eyebrow ever so slightly at his use of her first name. He decided against mentioning it, seeing as he made it a point to never ask about his team’s private life, even though some of them were related to him.
“Very well then. You’ll be dismissed after the meeting, but if you uncover any new information send word and we’ll see how we can work with it.” Harry said and from his tone Scorpius understood that the meeting was over. His departure however was interrupted by a large, silvery panther entering the office. As it landed gracefully on the floor, it spoke in Neville Longbottom’s voice.
“The White Tomb has be broken into. Come at once.”
A/N: Another chapter finished! I know I ended it in another cliffhanger, but I promise I have very good reason to do so! Don't throw anything at me! So, this story is going to be roughly 15 chapters long, out of which I have up until chapter eleven written, so provided real life doesn't get in the way I should be able to update once a week from now on.
Many thanks to those that reviewed and left me such useful feedback! I appreciate it more than you know.
As usual, I don't own anything, JKR does.
In chapter VIII. of "The Mysterious Case of the Twin Wands": The Auror team goes to Hogwarts to investigate and for Scorpius, this investigation uncovers more than he would've expected.