|SIYE Time:4:18 on 17th January 2018|
Going on a Unicorn Hunt
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Category: SIYE Challenges, Magical Creatures Challenge (2017-3)
Story is Complete
Summary: Bill and Ginny share the story behind Ginny's wand with Harry.
Hitcount: Story Total: 1338
Awards: View Trophy Room
Disclaimer: Harry Potter Publishing Rights © J.K.R. Note the opinions in this story are my own and in no way represent the owners of this site. This story subject to copyright law under transformative use. No compensation is made for this work.
Thanks to Arnel for a quick beta job! Hope you enjoy!
Harry couldn’t help but smile as he stepped onto Diagon Alley. It was such a fascinating place with interesting shops, tasty food, and nice people. He’d been staying at the Leaky Cauldron since he’d run away from his aunt’s and uncle’s house after his run-in with Aunt Marge.
Not having chores to do all day and having friendly people to talk to was such a pleasant change from his usual summers. He’d finished his homework and he was exploring all the shops on Diagon Alley. He decided to start with the junk shop just past Ollivander’s Wand shop.
As he walked down the street, he passed Gringotts. The tall white marble building was such a commanding presence that he couldn’t help but look over. He caught sight of a familiar shade of red hair.
He watched as Ginny Weasley turned and blushed when she caught sight of him. She smiled and Harry noticed a taller, young, red-haired man behind her. Possibly one of her brothers? He was a bit disappointed not to see his best mate, Ron, but he was still thrilled to see one of his friends.
“Hi! I thought you were in Egypt.”
“We were,” she agreed. Gesturing to the man behind her, she said, “This is my oldest brother, Bill.”
Harry smiled and shook hands with the older wizard. Bill was tall and thin and he was dressed rather like a rock star. His hair was long and pulled back into a ponytail and he wore a dragon fang earring in one ear. He wore a silky-looking grey shirt, dark jeans, and dragon skin boots. There was no other way to describe him other than cool. He was simply cool.
“It is very nice to meet you, Harry,” Bill said with a smile. “I can’t thank you enough for being there for me sister last year.”
Harry blushed slightly, but grinned. “I’m glad I could help.”
“To answer your question, my family came to visit me in Egypt,” Bill explained. “The rest of my family is still there, but I wanted to bring Ginny to Ollivander’s to purchase her wand. We were able to use the Gringotts Floo Network.”
“You didn’t get a wand last year?” Harry asked.
She shook her head and pulled a battered wand from the pocket of her jean shorts. “This was my granny’s wand. It works okay, but Bill says that having my own wand will be better.”
“Ollivander told me that the wand choses the wizard,” Harry offered recalling his interaction with the odd wand maker.
“Would you like to come with us?” Bill asked. “We are going to Ollivander’s and then we’re going to get some ice cream.”
“Sure,” Harry replied.
He fell in step with the two Weasleys and explained what he was doing on Diagon Alley. Both Bill and Ginny laughed when he described blowing up his aunt.
“I was so worried that I would be in trouble,” Harry said.
“It was just accidental magic,” Bill said. “You shouldn’t be in trouble at all.”
“Last year I got in trouble because a house-elf performed magic in my house,” Harry said. “I figured blowing up Aunt Marge would cause a lot of trouble.”
“A house-elf?” Bill asked.
“Dobby,” Harry said. “He was Lucius Malfoy’s house-elf. He knew that Malfoy was doing something bad and he wanted me to be safe. I freed him after…after we got out of the Chamber.”
He was immediately sorry he said that because Ginny looked down. Bill put his arm around his sister who looked up at him and returned his smile.
“They should be able to talk to the elf and clean up your record,” Bill said.
By this time, they’d reached the wand shop. Bill opened the door for his sister and Harry. Ginny looked a bit nervous, but also excited. Mr Ollivander appeared from the back room and nodded at the three of them. “Miss Weasley. I expected to see you last year.”
“I was using my granny’s wand,” she said nervously.
Mr Ollivander shook his head. “I wish parents would not do that. It is the wand that chooses the witch or wizard.” Shaking his head, he said, “Better late than never.”
“Mr Ollivander, we have some unicorn hair that I thought would make a good wand core,” Bill said. “It was given to Ginny when she was a child.”
The older wizard’s grey eyes lit up. “She was gifted with unicorn hair? That should make an excellent core.”
Harry watched bemused as the wandmaker brought out several different pieces of wood and had Ginny hold her hand over each of them. Harry couldn’t tell what was going on, but Mr Ollivander seemed to be watching for a reaction of some kind. He and Ginny both almost jumped out of their skin when Mr Ollivander suddenly grabbed one of the pieces of wood and cried out, “This is it!”
Examining the wood, he said, “Holly! This will make an excellent wand. Holly and unicorn hair can work well together, but can be difficult to use. I think you will do well with this wand.”
“How long will it take to fabricate the wand?” Bill asked.
“It shouldn’t be long,” Mr Ollivander said confidently. “Return in two hours and it shall be done.”
Bill took care of paying for the wand and led the younger two outside. “Why don’t we go get some ice cream?”
Once they were seated at the ice cream parlour, Harry asked, “What did he mean that you were gifted with unicorn hair?”
Bill laughed. “That is quite a tale. When Ginny was little she wanted to go on a unicorn hunt.”
“Charlie was always talking about dragons,” Ginny put in, “but I wasn’t really interested in dragons. I thought unicorns were beautiful.”
Harry nodded. “I saw some in the Forbidden Forest with Hagrid. They are beautiful animals.”
Ginny smiled as she took a bite of her strawberry and blackberry swirl ice cream. “That they are. When I was little, Bill was always my protector against the twins or whoever was being mean to me. I was tired of hearing about dragons and I thought we should find some unicorns. I was fascinated by unicorns. Bill bought me a book about them and I coloured lots of pictures of them. The summer I turned five, Bill took me on a unicorn hunt.”
She smiled at her oldest brother as she thought back to that warm summer day so many years earlier. It had been a typical summer’s day at the Burrow. After breakfast, the boys spilled out into the garden to find something to do. Ron and the twins were playing in the orchard while Percy brought a book to sit in the garden and read. Charlie was at a friend’s house leaving Ginny and Bill.
Disappointed that her older brothers had left her behind, Ginny walked over to her favourite brother, Bill. He smiled when he saw her and lifted her up onto his knee. She’d let her mother put her hair into two pigtails and was wearing her yellow sundress. Bill thought she was adorable — she was his favourite as well. “What are you going to do today?”
Holding onto his arm, she looked up at him. “Can we go on a unicorn hunt?”
He looked down at her a bit uncertainly. “A unicorn hunt?”
She nodded eagerly. “We can see if we can find one. It would be so fun. Please, Billy.”
Unable to resist her big brown eyes, Bill nodded. “Let me talk to Mum. If she says it’s okay, we can go on a real unicorn hunt.”
Cheering, Ginny hopped down from his lap. As he walked inside, she imagined finding a whole herd of beautiful white, silver, and gold unicorns. She remembered that baby unicorns were golden coloured, they turned silver when they were two, and turned pure white by the time they were seven. They usually grew their horns when they were four.
Excited at the thought of hunting unicorns, Ginny hurried into the house. Mummy just had to agree. Mummy and Billy were in the kitchen talking. Ginny looked up at her mother anxiously. “Can we go on a hunt?”
Smiling down at her daughter, Molly knelt by her. “If I let you go with Bill, you need to promise to listen to him.”
Ginny nodded earnestly. “Of course, Mummy.”
Looking between her oldest and youngest, she nodded. “You can take the small tent. I don’t want you gone any more than two days. Your father will take you over and check on you after work.”
Surprised, Ginny’s eyes widened. “Two days?! This is going to be the bestest hunt ever!”
With some help from her mother, Ginny managed to pack a small bag. She brought her favourite unicorn book as well as her stuffed unicorn. She brought some paper and crayons so she could colour more pictures of unicorns. Mummy insisted she bring some clothes as well as her hairbrush and a toothbrush and toothpaste. Ginny didn’t think they were really necessary, but she gave in as long as she could search for unicorns!!
While Ginny was going through her bag, Mrs Weasley smiled at Bill. “It is very nice for you to do this for your sister.”
Blushing slightly, Bill shrugged. “She’s so excited by the idea and I’d hate for the twins or Ron to ruin it for her. I’ve heard there is a herd in the Lake District. We can camp at one of the campgrounds and explore the area. That way even if we don’t see any unicorns, she will still have fun.”
“You’re a good boy,” Mrs Weasley said as she kissed her son on the cheek.
Mr Weasley came home from work a bit early so he could go with them to settle them into the campground and make sure they had all the necessary equipment. Mr Weasley easily managed the welcome centre and whilst he was quite excited about all the Muggles, he guided them expertly through the shop.
Bill picked up some buns for breakfast to go with the bacon and eggs his mother sent with him. After watching some of the Muggles, he decided to purchase some sausages and try cooking them over the fire.
The tent in which they were staying appeared to be a normal two-man tent, but once they entered, it was obviously a magical tent. There was a small kitchen, a bathroom, and two small bedrooms. Ginny was thrilled as she ran around the tent looking at everything. She put her bag in the bedroom Bill told her was hers and brought out her stuffed unicorn, Artemis. It was a fancy name for a unicorn, but Bill had read her a story about the Greek goddess Artemis who had a chariot drawn by eight unicorns so Ginny named her stuffed unicorn after her.
Daddy and Bill were sitting outside in chairs by the firepit. There was a small purple chair, just her size waiting for her. Daddy smiled with her saw her bringing Artemis with her.
“Is Artemis going to help you find some real unicorns?” he asked with a gently smile.
Ginny nodded her head earnestly. “I’m sure she will.”
The evening flew by as the two Weasley men managed to cook the sausages over the fire and heated up the Scotch eggs sent by Mrs Weasley as well as some cut up fruit. Ginny was enchanted by the idea of just the three of them eating outside by the fire. They could see the fires and tents of Muggles in the area and everyone was very friendly.
A few people stopped by to say hello while others simply waved and smiled as they walked by. Two children from the next campsite over invited Ginny to search for glow worms with them.
Ginny looked excitedly at her father. After he spoke to the children’s’ father, he allowed her to search. The three children ran between the two campsites and managed to find a few glow worms, but they didn’t manage to capture any. Bill ended up carrying his sleeping sister into the tent after she fell asleep outside by the fire.
“Will you be okay here with just you and your sister?” Mr Weasley asked.
Bill nodded. “We’ll be fine. Tomorrow we’ll go explore the meadow I heard about and see if we can find any unicorns.”
“Even if she doesn’t see any, she’s already had a lot of fun,” Mr Weasley said with a smile. He clapped his oldest son on the shoulder. “I’ll come by tomorrow after work.”
Harry smiled as the siblings talked about their first night of the hunt. “That sounds like so much fun.”
Ginny laughed. “I’d almost forgotten about searching for glow worms.”
“I can still see you curled up in your little chair with Artemis waiting not so patiently for daylight so we could start our hunt.”
“We woke up early the next morning,” Bill explained.
The smell of bacon cooking over the fire lured Ginny out of the tent. She was wearing her favourite jean shorts and a sparkly green t-shirt. She’d done well dressing herself, but Bill knew he’d have to brush her hair for her. She just didn’t have the knack for brushing it out herself.
“Good morning,” he said as she sat down.
“Good morning!” she replied as she accepted a plate of bacon and eggs. “You cook almost as good as Mummy.”
Bill laughed. “I don’t think so, but I’m glad you like it.”
The siblings quickly demolished their food and made plans for the day. After tidying up the campsite, they struck out along the trail Bill had been told about. It was a beautiful day, not too hot and no rain in sight. Ginny skipped along at Bill’s side, excited to finally be on their hunt. She had her bag over her shoulder with some carrots in case they found some hungry unicorns as well as some paper and crayons so she could draw pictures and of course Artemis was with them. Bill had brought a camera with him, just in case.
After skirting around the meadow, Bill spotted the trail they needed to take. It was heavily charmed and he could tell there were Muggle-Repelling Charms mixed in as none of the Muggles were anywhere near the trail.
Ginny reached out for her brother’s hand when they started into the forest. It was still pretty, but forests were a little bit scary. The oak trees soared above them and Ginny could hear birds singing. Squirrels ran between the trees and birds flew above them. The trail wasn’t very wide, but the two siblings could easily walk side by side.
“Do you think there are pixies here?” Ginny asked quietly.
“Probably not,” Bill said. “They live in Cornwall. We might find some fairies, but they are really good at hiding when they want to.”
After walking a good while, they came upon a meadow. Bill grinned at his sister, he’d seen what he thought was unicorn hair up ahead. “Why don’t we sit quietly in the meadow? Unicorns like when people are still and quiet.”
Ginny nodded. She was a bit tired after walking so far. Opening her bag, she found that Bill had stashed some water and a bun in her bag. She ate her snack and took out her crayons. With Artemis sitting on her lap, she started drawing a picture.
Bill settled at the edge of the meadow knowing that a unicorn was much more likely to approach Ginny if she was alone. He pulled out his latest book about curse-breaking in Egypt and started reading.
Occasionally, he looked up to make sure Ginny was still there. It amazed him how still and quiet she could actually be. He was so used to his rough and tumble brothers, but she could be very different.
He reckoned they’d been sitting in the meadow for almost an hour when the sound of a twig snapping made him look up. He didn’t see the unicorn right away, what he saw was the look of wonder on his sister’s face.
A small golden unicorn with tiny golden hooves was standing not two feet from her. Bill stayed perfectly still not wanting to startle the creature. Ginny smiled. “Hi, baby unicorn.”
The little animal let out a soft nicker and walked closer her. Ginny held out a carrot and the unicorn studied it for a minute before coming close enough to take it from the little girl. Bill held his breath as Ginny reached out and petted the golden coat. Glad that he’d left the camera around his neck, he quickly and quietly snapped off several pictures of Ginny petting the unicorn.
When Ginny sat back down, the unicorn did as well. Ginny was smiling so big when the little foal put her head in Ginny’s lap. Ginny continued to pet the unicorn and talked in her quietest voice. She introduced the unicorn to Artemis and told the little animal how much she loved unicorns.
After a good thirty minutes of playing with the baby, it suddenly stood up. There, at the edge of the clearing, was a beautiful pure white unicorn with a long silvery horn in the middle of her forehead. The baby walked over to the adult unicorn.
Ginny slowly stood up. “Is this your mummy?”
The adult put her head down to rub her nose against the baby. It watched Ginny cautiously as she approached. Bill was so proud of her — she was quiet and gentle, but quite confident. “Hi, Mummy Unicorn.”
The older unicorn gave a louder nicker and watched Ginny carefully. When Ginny reached her, the unicorn stood still while the little girl petted her. “You are so pretty. You are a lot prettier than the pictures,”
Ginny told her. “I hope you don’t mind my playing with your baby. I’ve never seen a baby unicorn before.”
With a swift move of its head, the unicorn moved its horn into Ginny’s hair. It was hard for Bill to hold still, but Ginny didn’t seem to mind. In fact, she giggled. “That tickled.”
Reaching up, she ran her hand through the unicorn’s mane. When the animal didn’t seem to mind, she walked around the pair petting them. Bill had spelled the camera to take pictures which was probably a good thing because he couldn’t believe how lucky they were.
A louder neigh sounded from the trees and Ginny seemed to realize what that meant. “Do you have to go? Thank you for visiting.”
She kissed the baby unicorn on the head. The mother lowered her head again so Ginny could give her a kiss as well. Ginny ran her hand through the soft mane one more time and this time she came away with a handful of unicorn hair.
Bill’s jaw dropped as the two unicorns ran off into the forest. They’d gifted her with some of their hair! It was a well-known fact that unicorns could gift their hair to humans they felt would appreciate it by releasing the hair, but he never had expected to see it in person.
Ginny was twirling around the clearing laughing and clutching the precious hair in her hands. “Billy! Did you see that? Two unicorns! A mummy and a baby!”
“That was brilliant!” Bill laughed as he joined her. Lifting her up, he swung her around in a circle. “You were such a good girl! You didn’t scare them and they think you are a friend.”
Setting her down, he carefully took the unicorn hair. Taking some of Ginny’s drawing paper, he wrapped it up. “This is very special. Unicorns don’t give their hair to just anyone. They must have thought you were very special to give it to you.”
Her eyes grew big at the thought. “What should I do with it?”
“I will keep it safe for you,” Bill promised. “When you are older we will find the perfect use for it.”
The exhilaration of finding a unicorn lasted for days. Bill developed the pictures and put them into a photo album for his sister. His favourite picture of her talking to the baby unicorn he had put into a frame for her.
“That is amazing,” Harry said as he looked from one sibling to the other. “Do you still have that photo album?”
Ginny nodded. “Of course, that is one of my prized possessions.”
“Would you mind showing me when we go back to school?” he asked.
With only a slight blush, Ginny nodded. “I’d be happy to.”
The three had long since finished their ice cream, but Mr Fortescue had brought them each out a small ice cream cone topped with nuts and sprinkles while they talked. Harry smiled. “I’m going to be taking Care of Magical Creatures this year. I hope we learn about unicorns.”
“You should,” Bill said. “I don’t remember what year, but you definitely study unicorns. I remember Charlie complaining. The unicorns wouldn’t go near the boys and he didn’t find them near as interesting as dragons.”
Ginny laughed. “He doesn’t find anything as interesting as dragons.”
After finishing their ice creams, the three of them decided to walk around Diagon Alley. Both Weasleys were as enthralled with the new Firebolt as Harry.
“I read about them in Which Broomstick,” Bill said. “They are supposed to be amazing.”
Ginny nodded. “The Irish team is buying Firebolts.”
“I’d love to fly that fast,” Harry said a touch wistfully. “I love my Nimbus, but if I ever had to replace it I’d love a Firebolt.”
“You have a Nimbus?” Bill asked.
Harry nodded. “Professor McGonagall gave it to me when I made Seeker in my first year.”
Bill whistled. “You must be really good.”
He shrugged. “I love playing Quidditch. Flying is brilliant. When Professor McGonagall saw me dive during my first flying lesson, she took me to see Oliver Wood, the Quidditch captain that year, and had him put me on the team.”
Bill looked impressed. “I’ll definitely have to see you fly sometime.”
As they walked down the alley, Harry asked Ginny, “What have you seen in Egypt so far?”
Lighting up, Ginny described the pyramids they’d visited and boat trip down the Nile. “Bill has been showing us around. It’s been amazing!”
“It sounds it,” Harry said a touch enviously. “I’ve never left Great Britain before. I’d love to see Egypt.”
“I’ve only been to two places,” Ginny said. “The year before I started Hogwarts, I went to visit Charlie in Romania. That was great fun. We got to see his beloved dragons and I got to see a baby dragon hatch.”
“Charlie told me you and Ron helped get them another dragon,” Bill said.
Harry laughed. “Norbert. Someone gave Hagrid a dragon egg and he was crazy enough to hatch it in his wooden house. We sent a letter to Charlie to see if they could take him. We ended up in a lot of trouble, but some of Charlie’s friends picked up the dragon and took it to Romania. Hagrid even put a teddy bear in the box for Norbert to play with on the journey.”
Bill and Ginny both laughed at the thought. “Hagrid is a bit foolish about his pets,” Bill said.
“Tell me about it,” Harry said. “A dragon, a three-headed dog, a giant spider. He seems to like the more dangerous animals.”
Although Harry had already bought his school supplies, he went into the stationery shop with Bill and Ginny. Ginny was looking for her favourite red ink which Bill bought for her. By the time they’d finished window shopping, it was time to return to Ollivander’s.
“Is it common to bring your own material to a wand shop?” Harry asked.
“Not common,” Bill admitted, “but it’s not unheard of. I met someone in Egypt who had a wand made with Hippocampus scales. He’s Greek and in Greece that is a more common wand core. Ollivander only uses three cores — unicorn hair, dragon heartstring, and phoenix feathers. I have dragon heartstring.”
“I have a phoenix feather,” Harry said. “Professor Dumbledore told me that it was Fawkes who gave the feather for my wand.”
He didn’t want to mention that that Voldemort’s wand was a brother wand to his. He liked his wand and didn’t want it associated with the monster who killed his parents.
Ginny entered the shop first, eager to see if her wand was finished. Bill and Harry followed close behind. Mr Ollivander glided out from the back room with a slender wand box in his hands. He presented the wand to Ginny with a flourish.
She took it with slightly shaking hands. Waving the wand, red and golden sparks flew from it. With a smile, she said, “Lumos!”
The end of the wand lit easily. Ginny grinned. “Nox!”
Looking at her brother she said, “It’s never been that easy for me before.”
He hugged her and kissed her on the cheek. “That’s great, Ginny!”
After thanking Mr Ollivander, Ginny happily left the shop with her new wand. She turned to look at Harry. “I’m sorry, Harry. We have to go back to Egypt.”
With a sinking heart, Harry nodded. “Have fun! Will you be coming to do your school shopping?”
She nodded. “I think so. I think Mum wants us to come once we get back from Egypt. I’ll make sure that Ron sends you an owl so we can meet you.”
He nodded. “That sounds great.”
When they reached Gringotts, Bill reached out and shook Harry’s hand. “It was very nice meeting you.”
“You, too,” Harry said. He grinned at Ginny who only flushed slightly. “I’ll see you in a few weeks.”
Harry watched the two siblings walk into the bank. He had to admit, he was a bit envious of them. Bill must be a great big brother to take his little sister on a unicorn hunt.
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