Beta(s): Whitehound and Lady Memory
(Highlight to View) Warning(s): None.
(Highlight to View) Prompt: EWE/AU/Missing canon - Ollivander recalls his experiences during the war, and he tells the tale of an SS/HG romance.
Note: I borrowed from Pottermore all the information about Ollivander that wasn't in the books. The wand cores and everything else are just the result of my matchmaking whims.
Summary: Yes, why not do his job, if possible, in order to encourage the union of those two souls? After all, matching magical cores was an area of expertise in which he had no rivals.
He was dying.
He was dying in the filthiest of places, and the last sounds that he was hearing, like heralds of a Hell that was probably waiting for him, were the desperate screams of a woman.
To be a woman, even a beautiful young lady, had never carried any privileges in front of the Dark Lord, not since the time in which Lily Evans had been mercilessly executed in place of her son.
But then, as if that memory could trigger again the power generated on that night, here he was, the Boy Who Lived, suddenly in front of him, frantically searching for an escape.
Painfully opening his eyes, the agonized man realized that perhaps he wasn't actually dying, after all.
The next thing he knew was the feeling of exhaustion that he found descending upon him, along with the gentle sound made by the waves of the sea.
A beautiful woman, whom he recalled meeting a few years earlier when he had tested her wand before the Triwizard Tournament, was attending his injuries. Her slender hands were carefully arranging his sheets: her light movements were soon interrupted though, much to his annoyance, by someone coming to the door.
And there they were, his rescuers, the so-called Golden Trio, the ones in whose young hands lay the fate of Wizarding Britain and the only possible chance to defeat the evil reigning everywhere. More than in the words of the Boy, who had always looked at him with an unexplainable wariness, it was in the still haunted eyes of the girl that he saw a fellowship, the empathy of a person who had shared his same experience of horror, and who could understand fear and failure.
Garrick Ollivander recalled then the first time in which he had met that girl, whose enthusiasm for being a witch informed even the smallest of her gestures; and, with a deep sadness, the old wand-maker sighed.
He met her again once the war ended and, after a first moment in which he assessed her presence, there was no surprise about the place in which they had met. Hermione Granger greeted the old wizard with a rueful smile, there in the waiting room at St.Mungo's.
Coincidently, at the same hour for the first time, both were there for their therapy, and each of them looked at the other in understanding.
Neither of them was a beginner, however. Almost immediately after the end of the war, in fact, both had started a regular course of treatment, one that was aimed at preventing whatever after-effects the Cruciatus curse might have on their health.
Ollivander felt as if they were passengers on a ship that endlessly sailed the ocean and never seemed to reach its destination… so he ruefully reciprocated the witch's smile without stopping and went on, ready to meet the healer who was waiting for him. Then, before entering the room, he hesitated and turned, looking at the corridor where she had been heading, as if hoping to catch a further glimpse of her.
But she was gone.
A few weeks later their respective schedules seemed to coincide once more as they met in the reception area. This time she was radiant and, just when the old man was considering the helpful part that youth was surely playing in her seemingly quick recovery, she addressed him with joyful words.
"He's awake! He's been awake for a while and has even spoken, Mr. Ollivander! Have you heard the news?"
Then, once again driven by the youthful impulsiveness of her age and of her House, she continued without waiting for his reply. "Professor Snape, you know; he's out of danger, he's woken from his coma at last!"
Knowing, like everybody else in their world, about the tragic life and the rescue in extremis experienced by the former spy and latest Headmaster of Hogwarts, the old wizard smiled in assent, glad for the poor man.
Then, gently, he answered the young witch, "I didn't know, but I'm glad to hear that he is going to be all right, Miss Granger."
She seemed to ponder the opportunity to tell him more, then she suddenly changed her mind and instead just nodded quietly and left. This time, however, she didn't head for the exit, but for the first floor of the Hospital, the Dai Llewellyn Ward.
Watching her going away, Ollivander smiled again, and walking absent-mindedly towards the healer's office, he began to recall the last time in which he had seen the dark, looming figure of Severus Snape.
When Ollivander was imprisoned in Malfoy manor and Voldemort wanted to interrogate him, the Dark Lord didn't always soil the hem of his robes by going to the man's cell, down in the dungeons.
Like a prey shown to an audience, the wand-maker was often brought in front of his torturer and, kneeling on the marble of the sumptuous room which held Voldemort's headquarters, sometimes – the slightly less painful of those times - he succeeded in taking a glimpse of his surroundings.
Though masters of their home, the Malfoys looked constantly subdued, as if grateful to still be allowed to be there.
Another inevitable presence was, obviously, Bellatrix Lestrange, who never failed to cackle madly when the occasion arose, and even when it didn't.
Then there was always a succession of other Death Eaters, different ones each time it seemed, who appeared before their master, sometimes reporting news, sometimes simply bowing in deference… Only once had Ollivander seen Severus Snape there, and later, back in his prison, he had remembered having heard that the gloomy wizard had been appointed Headmaster at Hogwarts, where he was spending most of his time.
That day, the Dark Lord had been quite cheerful, if such an adjective could ever be associated with him, and pleased to make a public announcement of a new plan intended to defeat the much hated Harry Potter. He could safely do the job for himself, he had added mysteriously, and he had given an overexcited speech that, in spite of its intrinsic evilness and of the miserable situation of the listener, had reached Ollivander's ears like the performance of an actor who was playing ancient dramas.
Everyone was excited at the prospect of finally cornering Harry Potter at Godric's Hollow, and several Death Eaters seemed remarkably at ease with the prospect of Nagini's absence in order to set the trap… through hooded eyes, though, Ollivander noticed that, unobserved by anybody else and luckily not even slightly detected by Voldemort, who was still entranced by his histrionic oratory, a flash of panic, followed by a sudden spark of determination, had for an instant changed Snape's expression.
The wand-maker, who had always known how to read behind people's surface appearance, had closed his eyes, then, and his old, shattered body had been suddenly warmed by a new, heartening feeling: he was not the only one in that place who worried for the Boy's destiny.
Later, in the solitude of his imprisonment, he had remembered the day in which he had met the wizard who now and unexpectedly seemed to him the only, if tiny, chance of success for their side against the plans of an incarnate evil. Ollivander had always been able to recall each and every one of his customers and the wands that he had sold to them, but the memory of the moment in which a very young Severus Snape had crossed the threshold of his shop was one of those that were even more deeply impressed in his prodigious mind, if that were possible.
The dark-haired boy had entered warily, showing a touching mixture of shyness and pride, ready to buy the most important item among his purchases for school. A shadow of shame, and maybe also some sort of misery, had been dimming his whole appearance. The insightful old wizard hadn't failed to notice the second-rate robes that the student was wearing nor the way in which the boy seemed to hide more than just his eyes behind the curtain of his long hair.
Oddly moved by the boy's appearance, Ollivander had suddenly recalled that he possessed a special old wand, one of those that he had treasured as an heirloom when he had started the renovation of his family workshop. It wasn't one of the innovative sticks that he had perfected to the point of receiving the title of best wandmaker in the world; this wand had a peculiar core, an Occamy's feather, as he had announced to the young wizard.
"Spanish reed, 14?", Occamy feather: the wood's conducive to flexibility," he had explained. "The core carries the unbreakable strength and defensive power of the creature that, gently, gave it to the wizard who had just saved its nestling".
The young boy, who had seemed in dire need of improving his ability to cope with the world with which he had to interact, as well as of gaining all the strength and the power that he could, didn't know that by that point the wands sold by Ollivander's were usually made only with dragon heartstrings, unicorn hair or phoenix feathers. Therefore, he didn't realise the uniqueness of such an offer and of such a long speech: the young wizard, in fact, was keeping hold of the stick in such a way that the wand-maker could almost feel in himself the wonderful warmth diffusing through Snape's whole body when the boy's incredibly black eyes had finally looked at him, shining with joy.
Back now in the present, in the hospital room, Garrick Ollivander ended his reverie.
He thought that, probably, his impulse that day hadn't just been driven by a moment of empathy: it had been quite an uncanny foresight of the events that would follow in the years to come, when a misjudged, lonely wizard would fight with all his strength in order to keep his promise to a dead woman until the day of his very end, which he had just barely avoided. The treatment that Ollivander was receiving was ending by then, and when he left the room he had an impulsive wish to see the man and to take his hat off, so to speak, in the face of his survival.
The door was ajar and, hesitating, the old man glanced inside from a short distance.
Snape's bed was almost completely visible from there, as well as its occupant, who was apparently sleeping.
Maybe taking advantage of such a calm situation - or maybe not, if such intimacy was an indication that previous similar visits had already occurred - Hermione Granger was sitting nearby, holding Snape's hand with such unmistakable care and devotion that the old man suddenly felt like an intruder.
Almost tiptoeing he turned away, smiling.
There and then, he decided that he would keep track of the outcome of the scene he had just witnessed: if the chance of happiness that he had just envisioned were still only just budding, as it surely was given the past history and the present state of the man, then he would do his part to support its blooming, if he could.
Yes, why not do his job, if possible, in order to encourage the union of those two souls? After all, matching magical cores was an area of expertise in which he had no rivals.
He was dead.
He was dead, and peace was with him, at last.
His hand was being held and slowly caressed by the soft fingers of a woman, and he wondered if she was leading him, as a mother does with her child, toward an unknown destination.
A single, burning tear trickled down on his cheek, and he thought that it was very strange to shed tears in Heaven. Ever so slowly, he opened his eyes, just for a moment, only for an instant, for fear that the whitest light that shone in Heaven should blind him.
Then, seeing the hands of the woman sitting at his side, still holding his own, he looked at her face, recognised it and blinked, realizing that perhaps he wasn't dead after all.
When he woke up again a while later, she hadn't gone yet.
Still disconcerted by his previous feelings, Severus Snape wasn't able to send the Granger girl away the way he surely would have, had he been fully himself. "Do give me back my hand, Miss Granger!" he growled, but, much to his discomfort, the harshness perceptible in his voice seemed to be simply due to the fact that it hadn't been used for a while. So he didn't see her scared figure leaving in a hurry as he had expected. He was surely losing his touch, along with the right tone, if her only reaction was a broad grin; one that was making her eyes shine.
In the end he couldn't even pretend to continue to show her his indignation, because there didn't seem to be even the slightest hint of defiance in such a smile, just joyful happiness.
He tried to send the girl away with more convincing words on every day on which she visited him, but she didn't seem to be affected by his dismissals; neither on the day on which his recovered voice allowed him a bellowed "Go away" – an order that any other time would have done the trick - nor the times when he addressed her in his best sarcastic manner, asking rhetorical questions like "What kind of delusion made you imagine that you've been hired as a nurse here?" or "Why must I endure your incessant talking and obnoxious presence, for which I didn't ask?"
Worse: the more angry, powerful and articulate he was in his angst, the more her smile widened, until one day, seriously, she expressed her reasons for such stubborn behaviour.
"I went away from you once, Sir. I won't repeat that error now, not even if you should hex me horribly. And, yes, I'm glad to see how well you are recovering."
The cheeky chit! If it wasn't for the fact that he was becoming used to her presence and to her help - to the point that on the one day on which she had arrived later than usual, he had begun to fuss like an old maid - he would have taught her a lesson or two about hexes! Speaking of which…
"Miss Granger," he hissed and, for once, his tone had a shade of danger that made her expression alert. "Cease being such a complacent ninny and answer carefully: what happened to my wand?"
For the first time since their weirdly renewed acquaintance, he saw her face turning pale and sorry.
Early on in his slow recovery, an account of the events preceding victory had been given to him, albeit briefly. Then, somehow, the matter had been let lie, either because he had been too weak to endure long explanations or because at some point, even if his health was improving, Hermione had acted like a barrier against the few visitors that had presented themselves at his door. Evidently, she hadn't wanted him to repeat the upsetting experience of the day in which Harry had finally succeeded in delivering his grateful speech to him.
"Voldemort didn't take it, if that's what you're asking. He didn't need to take the actual stick in order to master the Elder Wand that he had stolen from Dumbledore's grave - the wand which he didn't in fact master, by the way, because it had been Draco, not you, who had wrested the mastery from Dumbledore when he disarmed him," she started, her explanation quickly turning into a babbling speech.
His own painful memories prevented him from making a remark about her so annoying attitude (at which he never failed to sneer when the occasion arose), and he waited for her to continue.
She looked at him, blushing, and went on.
"The people who came back to the Shrieking Shack looking for you, didn't check for it. When they saw that you weren't dead, they were just anxious to get you to hospital… nobody thought of your wand for several days and then, when my friends and I went to look for it, we saw that it was broken. In its fury, the snake had smashed everything…" she ended, an unmistakable horror making her voice waver.
Snape closed his eyes, remembering the terrifying moment in which Nagini had attacked him. He had never had a chance to properly fight the giant snake, he recalled, neither when he had been forced to witness Charity's death, nor when he had learned how Voldemort planned to use his pet at Godric's Hollow: whatever action Snape could have tried would have given away his true loyalties, and he couldn't risk that, yet. But, still hoping to have a chance to help Lily's son all the same, he had taken advantage of the time in which Voldemort and Nagini were separated; he had developed an antidote that, in the end, had played a considerable part in his own survival.
His recovery hadn't been easy and, for a long time, it had also seemed a useless effort to him. For the past few days though, he was really feeling better, so he would have liked to use his wand to try some simple spells, if he had had it.
He remembered some of the things that he had done with that stick, but the visions that it conjured in his mind weren't pleasant: there were too many things that he would forever regret, and which he would have preferred to forget. He realised that indeed he didn't miss his old wand all that much, just as he didn't miss the memories given to Potter, or his previous life. Perhaps it wouldn't be too difficult, then, to try and give voice to that awareness and to reassure the young woman before him in so doing.
"Don't blame yourself, Miss Granger, all of that was hardly your fault. It seems that I'll have to pay a visit to Ollivander's, once I've been discharged, but that will be just one of the many things that will go to make a fresh start out of the coming days."
Hermione looked serene once more, and after a few moments she spoke again with renewed confidence.
"I'll have to go there myself, Sir. I don't know if I've ever told you about my wand… It was seized by the Snatchers when we were captured, but then I took Bellatrix's", she said, "and I've been using it for some time. It works but, as you can easily guess, I'm not very comfortable with it…"
His interest piqued, he listened and, as she went on speaking, he forgot, for the umpteenth time since the first days of their strange mutual friendship, to tell her that it was about time to drop the "Sir" and the "Miss" with which they were still addressing each other.
Those were words that maintained a distance between them that, honestly, sounded more and more preposterous as the days passed.
She had thought that she would die.
She had thought that she would die so many times by then, but that time, she had been sure that her last hour had really arrived.
And yet it hadn't, as a little elf had died saving her, and he hadn't been the last one who would sacrifice himself for the sake of them all.
Maybe because of that sorrow and of the feeling of waste that had stayed with her, she couldn't even consider the option of not helping if it was possible to spare another life. During the early days of her visits to Snape in the hospital she had learnt to treasure his every slight sign of life: later, when he had finally been awake and recovering, she had been hurt by his rejection, of course, but she hadn't shown it, therefore making all his attempts to send her away pointless. The hospital staff on the contrary had been glad to have a helping hand with the difficult patient, and she hadn't missed a day since then.
She couldn't say when her feelings for him had deepened; she just kept on going, happy with the opportunity for those daily meetings, trying not to think too much about what would happen on the day in which he wouldn't need her helpful company anymore.
That morning, entering the room, she saw him standing dressed in his black old robes. He was looking out of the window and, for a moment, she indulged in the illusion that she could watch him, one last time, without him knowing that she was doing so, as it had happened in the earliest days of her visits.
He turned and gave her one of his odd thoughtful looks.
Instantly, she was certain that, though he hadn't shown it, he had noticed her arrival. And perhaps there was a reason for his reaction: perhaps he too was feeling that something was going amiss, now that she wouldn't be at his side any longer. Neither of them seemed able to speak for a few instants, but she knew that her eyes were shining with the same light that she was seeing in his.
"You're leaving", she said after a brief glance at the small suitcase, ready at the foot of the bed.
"And you aren't losing the opportunity to state the obvious, it seems", he answered, his sardonic tone in such contrast with the moment and with the emotion they had just shared.
This time she didn't conceal her hurt, and the unexpected blow seemed to darken her whole presence, even though it was only for a moment. Yet, stubbornly, without indulging in the distressing feeling, she managed to say something, just something actually sensible.
"Is there anything else that you need before leaving, Severus?" she asked.
The outfit that he was wearing had been delivered some days earlier along with his luggage, after he had sent a note to Minerva asking her to send him the personal effects still remaining in his office at Hogwarts; so, probably, her question was useless, as he would surely point out again.
Waiting for an ironic remark, and for the inevitable impending farewell, she didn't realize, of course, how the words that she had chosen could be interpreted as an opening for more important questions and answers.
She hadn't realized how her words might sound, but Snape had and, for a few endless moments, he had considered them.
He had been in a strange mood the whole day, since the moment when the nurse had announced his discharge; and then, right when he had started to realize what was most troubling him, Hermione had appeared at the door, unaware of his turmoil and cheerful as ever.
Of course it hadn't taken him long to spoil everything. But then, unexpectedly, her words had given him a further opportunity to fix things, and he wondered if it would be wise to grab that chance.
"Actually, there is one thing I need to do before going home," he said in the end, mentally shaking his head at the thought that she still seemed to want to have something to do with an ugly old man like him, now that the days during which she had inflicted on herself the atonement of taking care of him were coming to an end.
Seemingly unaware of what had passed through his mind, she was quietly waiting for him to continue.
"I can't even imagine how I would manage out there without a wand," he explained.
She blushed, and he thought that perhaps she was remembering the time in which they had spoken of the loss of his wand. He felt once more that he was inadequate to the task of attempting to set things right.
"Well, I could find one for you," she offered. "I can ask Harry; he's training to became an Auror, you know, and they surely have some-"
I'd rather have the right one, not a borrowed substitute," he snapped, cutting off her solicitous suggestion.
"Do you want to buy one? Would you like me to go with you when you go to buy it?" she asked, while an unmistakable light brightened her eyes and a sort of hopefulness enlivened her voice, in spite of his abrupt interruption.
He blushed, remembering the day on which, guided by his mother, he had bought his first wand. That memory elicited a comparison that, somehow, made him feel even more foolish about his request. Something indefinite was preventing him from continuing to deny his feelings, though.
"It's just that I would like to do it before anything else, today. So, since you asked…" he muttered.
"Of course, you need to have your wand before anything else, and of course I'll come with you, Severus," she concluded and seemed really glad to have a chance to be still of help.
"Thank you, Hermione," he finally said. "That would be appreciated".
Pleased at having managed to achieve a good outcome from that awkward moment, he didn't notice that feelings of comfort and relief – so similar to his - were lightening her expression too.
They Side-Along Apparated to Diagon Alley.
Looking around, Hermione was relieved to see that nobody was looking at them, probably because of a light Notice-me-not charm that she had cast on themselves. Happy for the success of her safety measures, she nodded and headed with Severus towards the wand-maker's shop.
When they entered, it seemed that Ollivander was waiting exactly for them.
"Well, well, well, Miss Granger, you came for your wand, at last," he began.
Snape looked at her with a puzzled expression.
"No, I haven't purchased mine either, Severus. I'm still using Bella's…" she confessed softly, returning his gaze with an embarrassed smile.
The old wizard witnessed the quiet exchange and their complicity with inner delight.
"But I can come another day, Mr. Ollivander," Hermione addressed the wand-maker again. "Today, we are here for the Professor".
Then, before she went on explaining, Snape finally spoke.
"My old wand served me well," he said, "but it seems that, unlike me, it didn't survive the ordeal with the snake."
"Well, given the choice between its survival and yours, I'm sure that it was a worthy sacrifice," the older wizard gently commented.
"Now, let's see…" he continued, beginning to extract the long and thin boxes from the shelves.
He was taking his time in doing so, attentively weighing each item without offering any yet. So, in the awkward silence interrupted now and then only by the old man's mutterings, Snape glanced at the woman at his side and began to wonder about several things which he hadn't considered up to that moment.
"Why on earth didn't you change the wand? Really!" he whispered nervously to the young woman, who was standing close to him.
Giving him a strange look, a mixture of hurt and hesitation, she answered slowly, "It would be a long story…"
The wand maker, who was really being too long in deciding which wand to offer to Snape for testing, pricked his ears.
"I'd be glad to listen to it, Hermione", Snape insisted.
She sadly shook her head and, silently, pointed at Ollivander's back.
Snape frowned and crossed his arms, thus showing his growing impatience. "I see that it isn't easy to find the right wand, Mr Ollivander," he said aloud. "I'm feeling a bit tired, however, since it's my first day out of the hospital. Shall we adjourn to when you have found the possible candidates?"
"It's up to the wand to choose the wizard, Professor Snape, not to the wandmaker. I thought you knew this essential rule," the older wizard answered, a hint of wounded pride and disdain in his tone.
"Of course," Hermione hastened to add, blushing and casting a reproachful look at her companion.
Seemingly mollified by the witch's answer, Ollivander pointed at a door.
"If you would like to be more comfortable while you are waiting, I have a private parlour with a couch where I sometimes catch a little rest when business is quiet, and you're welcome to use it."
Both nodded gratefully and followed the direction which had been indicated.
He was truly feeling a selfish bastard now.
During the long weeks of his slow recovery at St.Mungo's he hadn't spared a thought to the girl's life out of there, if one didn't count the wish for her to go back to it when he was in his foulest mood.
And, he was now realizing, she had never burdened him with her troubles during the many hours of conversation they had shared; instead, she had always been careful to choose subjects that might interest him, mindful to avoid upsetting topics.
But, as he was learning, she hadn't really had anything to go back to: what she had left was a mess, starting with her parents' situation and ending with the unpleasant consequences of her experiences during the war, both on her health and on her social life.
In spite of her declaration about the length of her story, it hadn't actually taken her too many words to tell him about all the reasons why she had slowly focused her days on him rather than on herself.
"And I don't know if the reversal of the spell that I cast on my parents will work, since I used my old wand," she was saying now. "They are OK as they are, in Australia, and I wanted to be sure before trying to reverse their condition, but there wasn't time to research it until now, not as long as I had to deal with my health problems and…"
"And with mine," he thought in an unsaid conclusion when her voice faltered.
He didn't know what would come out of the very odd mixture of feelings – gratitude, significance, friendship, care, affection, attraction - that continued to keep them close to each other, nor did he dare to think about the next possible word on such a list… However, for once Severus did not let his doubts and worries to restrain him, he just followed his impulse and, taking her hands in his own, he tried to reassure Hermione.
"You can ask Ollivander about your problem, since we are here. He surely is the greatest expert on wand lore", he murmured.
Nodding faithfully and smiling with gratitude, she moved closer to him.
"Hermione," he began without letting go of her hands, but rather tightening his grip as if gathering strength from that touch.
Yes, he didn't know if there was a true chance of happiness in front of them, but he very much knew that he didn't want for this day to be the last of the mutual company they had shared till now.
Just as in the first days of their renewed acquaintance, when she seemed to know his wishes even when he struggled against them and rejected her presence, Hermione said aloud the words that he wasn't finding, then, and they were words that allowed him to hope.
"I would like very much to face all these things alongside you for a little bit longer…"
Severus closed the very little space between them to a point in which they were mere inches from each other: and, seeing that she didn't draw back but looked at him with expectation, he whispered, "You can." Only a last remaining spark of self-control prevented him from kissing her parted lips, instead prompting him to wait for a more private moment and place.
"I think we are ready," the wand-maker said aloud from the other room, coughing discreetly.
Slightly flushed, the couple joined him, and, eyes twinkling with pleasure, Ollivander offered a half-opened box to Snape.
As it had happened on the very first day in which Severus had held his old wand, feelings of light, warmth and happiness permeated his whole being as soon as he touched it.
"Olive wood, 14?", Augurey's feather," the wand-maker announced. Then, with the same fluency as on the distant day just remembered by the younger wizard, he went on explaining.
"For a long time, Augureys, or Irish Phoenixes, were said to be an omen of death; but, of course, it was just a mere superstition, as you surely know… their colours resemble your favourite ones, it appears. And olive wood, ah, the trees of my ancestors' home… they mean regeneration and peace after the struggle, as their crooked branches suggest. It looks indeed as if was waiting for you, because it was very well hidden amongst the general stock."
Just as it had happened all those years ago, Severus seemed unaware of the meaning hidden in the other man's speech and completely lost in the magic that was spreading through his whole being. He was wielding his wand as if he had always had it, with such evident self-confidence and elegance that really there was no need to ask him to cast a spell in order to verify if that was really his wand.
The older man looked at Severus with complacency; then, before emotions overwhelmed all of them, he spoke again in a very sensible tone.
"Now, as for your wand, Miss Granger. I don't think that we should look for something very much different from your first one. I'd like you to try this."
After all those months in which she had used a captured wand - not very many times, to be honest, since she liked to do her daily chores the Muggle way – the difference that Hermione felt was stunning.
"Yes, I would say so," Ollivander commented smugly. "Pine, 12?", dragon heartstring; only a slight change in the wood and in the length, according to the difference in your age.
"And yes, Miss Granger, it would be safe to use this one to restore your parents' memories. I remember you speaking of that during our meetings at the hospital," he added, nodding, careful to give a plausible explanation for an answer to a question that hadn't been asked.
Once he had given this information, on hearing which the young woman beamed, he didn't tell them anything else about a peculiarity of the tree from which the wand had been made: in ancient Rome pine trees were, indeed, the trees of wedding rites and a symbol of everlasting love.
Those were his secret gifts and his wishes, he hoped, to the two souls in front of him: magical souls with which he had shared, in the darkest hours of his life, the most warming feeling of brotherhood.
Twenty years later…
A young wizard, whose silvery eyes very much recalled his father's to all the customers who entered his shop, greeted the boy and the parents who where accompanying him to buy his first wand before his journey to Hogwarts.
At the sight of the little family, young Mr. Ollivander remembered the tale that his father, more than once, had told him, proud of the role that he had played at the beginning of the romance concerning the famous heroes of the Second Wizarding War, Severus Snape and Hermione Granger.
With a warm smile he greeted them, then he personally addressed the boy.
"Wandlore is a complex and mysterious branch of magic," he started, quoting his father's most famous words of welcome as he always did in front of new customers. Then, seeing an astonished look in the child's black eyes, he continued.
"Let's give your wand time to choose you, Mr Snape, as it has happened to every wizard and witch before you, including your parents," he continued, pointing at the boxes that he had put in front of him.
Exchanging a fond glance at those words that reminded them of their old friend, Severus and Hermione Snape looked lovingly at their son, smiling a reassuring smile.
Hung up on the wall behind the counter, Garrick Ollivander's portrait nodded knowingly, then happily resumed his peaceful nap.