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Ollivander was an old man, stronger than many his age, but after the long confinement in nearly total darkness and precious little food, he knew he was probably tottering on the edge of death. The chill wrapped around him like the coils of a giant snake, squeezing him in freezing cold, making each muscle shudder violently through the night. He hoped vainly for the rain to stop, for warmth.

It never even occurred to him to take his coat back from Luna as she lay on the old camp bed. Even if he died, he knew she needed it more.

Dawn eventually came, a tiny bit earlier than the day before, and a few rays of light penetrated the cell. Ollivander put a hand to Luna forehead as she slept but pulled it back at once. She was burning up.

He wondered if he should risk pounding on the door of the cellar and screaming for help. It was possible they might decide she was too important to let die, but it would be just as possible the Death Eaters would decide to make sport of her. There were worse ways to die than illness, and he’d seen them here.

He knew he had to do something, though, anything to get her help. His mind raced from one useless possibility to the next until the morning’s breakfast appeared in front of him. He stared at it for a moment, wondering for the first time where it came from, and the obvious answer was this place had House-elves. It was the sort that would.

“Now, listen here,” Ollivander grumbled quietly to no one in particular. “I know you elves listen so you can serve. The girl needs help. I’m afraid she may die if she doesn’t get it. Please. Please help.”

He hadn’t meant to start crying, but the tears came down his face. It was a remote chance. House-elves had powerful magic, but going against their masters’ orders was sometimes physically impossible for them. Even if they managed it, they could face horrible punishment. Still, Ollivander guessed that they had been treated as poorly as any servants ever, and perhaps a few of them harbored a spark of defiant rebellion from it. Maybe one of them would believe Luna was worth the risk.

Ollivander waited for a long time, but nothing at all happened. Oddly, that’s what gave him hope.

The breakfast always vanished within a few minutes of its sudden appearance. More than once, he and Luna had seen it disappear right out of their hands.

But the two bowls of porridge and mugs of water were still sitting there. At least half an hour had passed, and there they were.

This meant House-elves had heard him; of that he was completely certain. He even guessed from the silent but meaningful act of disobedience that they were willing to help if they could, bless them.

Despite his hunger, Ollivander didn’t touch the food. He clung to its continued reality.

The sunlight had moved to a completely different angle before anything else happened. An elf who had certainly not appeared to be there before suddenly stepped between the bowl and Ollivander.

Most importantly, it had something in its hand as it bowed to him.

Quickly, it put its finger to its lips to indicate silence, and Ollivander nodded. Then it passed him a stoppered flask that felt delightfully warm to the touch. The elf point to it, then Luna, then mimed drinking it down in one go.

Ollivander mouthed the words “thank you” silently, and the elf smiled, then disappeared.

He would have run to the camp bed except that he feared breaking the beautiful flask. The simple glass vial was the single most wonderful thing he’d ever laid eyes on. He didn’t even have to guess what was in it.

“Luna,” he said quietly. “Child, you need to wake up. Everything is going to be all right now.”

She stirred feebly, and he helped her to sit up against the wall.

“You need to drink this,” he said. “You understand?”

She nodded, but she was too weak to hold the flask. He carefully tipped the potion into her mouth.

No sooner had Luna swallowed the potion than a thin vapor of smoke started coming from her ears. Gradually, it got stronger until finally it appeared as though she had a pair of locomotive smokestacks on her head. She smiled up at him as he laughed in pure relief.

“How did you ever get Pepper-Up Potion?” Luna asked, and her voice was already stronger.

“That’s the strongest batch I’ve ever seen in all my years,” he said, still laughing. “You’ll look like a house on fire for hours!”

She giggled as well, and the world was almost right again.

The potion did its work, and by morning Luna was as close to her old self as she could be: thinner, paler, but no longer in any danger.

“It’s probably best not to talk about what happened,” Ollivander warned her gently. “Someone could get in trouble.”

The glass vial had disappeared in the night, and no other trace was to be found from their helpers.

“I agree,” Luna said, “but we can certainly think about it as much as we like. That’s one of the good things with thoughts. You can think whatever you like without getting anyone in trouble.”

Unless, of course, someone was a Legilimens, Ollivander silently thought, and he knew very well that there was a horrific one just above their heads. Even so, the chances Voldemort would choose to invade Luna’s thoughts were slim. Ollivander was beginning to doubt he remembered putting her here at all. She’d never been summoned to his presence, and for that he was deeply grateful.

He sent one silent, wordless thought of thanks to the House-elves who had saved her, then told himself to think of them no more, but the knowledge someone wanted them to live filled him with hope.

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