Albus Dumbledore had known Ollivander personally for almost twenty years by 1892. Their meeting had been when Ollivander had heard Dumbledore had succeeded in killing a rather nasty rogue Chinese Fireball dragon and had sent word to the great up-and-coming wizard that he would pay him well if he would bring back the dragon's heart strings to him. While it was true that Ollivander typically procured his wand cores by himself, when it came to dragons their magical elements could only be obtained through slaughtering them. Because of this it was a great deal easier to simply scour around for those who were going to kill dragons anyway and buy the heart strings off of them. He got the heart strings in owl post and sent back payment according to quality. It was a good system.
Never before had his request been hand delivered however, so young Ollivander was quite surprised when Albus Dumbledore, sporting a dark brown beard reaching down to his chest and wearing muggle clothes (a rather loud red and green Christmas sweater with bright purple pants), walked into his shop in Diagon Alley and handed him a jar enchanted so that each heart string was perfectly preserved within and, as Ollivander noted, perfectly severed. Ollivander had been thoroughly impressed and this began a business partnership where occasionally Ollivander would ask Dumbledore to collect dragon heart strings for him, or sometimes if he was very busy to go and search the forest for unicorn tail hairs snagged on bushes, and even sometimes asking him to scale mountains in search of phoenix nests to collect fallen feathers from them. In all these tasks Dumbledore had always succeeded.
And so, come 1892, Ollivander knew exactly whom to call to this expedition into the Himalayas on a rather special mission.
"A mission," Dumbledore said pleasantly as they were already halfway up Mount Everest on the moving platform the great wizard had conjured, "That you have yet to fully explain to me, Garrik. Given the mountainous setting, are we in pursuit of a particularly beastly dragon or an especially hard-to-find phoenix?"
"The second, Albus," Ollivander smirked as he looked up to the top of the mountain and cast another charm on himself to help cope with the depleting oxygen around them.
"An especially powerful one, I presume?" Dumbledore smiled in an absent way, "Any particular reason we were both needed to go after this one?"
Ollivander chuckled, "Well if you were the only one after it then I wouldn't see him for myself, would I? I've heard tales of this one. Plumage bright red... most are orange-red at best, bright red though, that harbours deep magic, Albus."
"That I well know," Dumbledore shook his head, "And he lives on the highest mountain in the world."
"That's right," Ollivander nodded and sighed, "Well, the best things in life are never easy to reach."
"Very philosophical of you," Dumbledore nodded in return, "Any other legends to share?"
"Well some have called him the King of Phoenixes..." Ollivander said, glancing at Dumbledore to gauge the reaction but the older wizard's expression was, as usual, vague and ever-so-slightly daft. Ollivander knew better than most what an act that expression was. "Surely I must find the nest of such a beast."
"Surely," Dumbledore nodded.
"I'd hardly be the greatest wand maker in Britain if I didn't," Ollivander insisted.
"Hardly," Dumbledore agreed.
Ollivander scowled, "This is completely necessary."
"Completely," the bearded wizard turned a smile on the wand maker and his blue eyes twinkled. Ollivander snorted and looked back up.
"Will you quit that?!"
Dumbledore only chuckled.
A short time later the two reached the mountain's peak and stepped off the platform, casting more charms to deal with the thin air. Once accomplished, the two wizards began to search for signs of a phoenix nest. The nests, of course, could only be seen by those who possessed magic but even then the wizards searching had to know exactly what to look for as such nests are not obvious. Slight scorch marks on rocks, the faintest smell of smoke, and a certain, tingly warmth when you were near one. It was as if standing beside a friendly candle. If one were to search through the dirt in such a location one would find ashes and, if one was lucky, a few reddish-orange feathers from the tail of the phoenix.
However after much searching, not a trace of a phoenix was found on the highest mountain in the world, and Ollivander was looking livid.
"Damn it, bad tip offs!" the wand maker cursed and kicked a rock, "I knew it was too good to be true! The King of Phoenixes indeed... what a lot of bollocks!"
Dumbledore sighed and sat on another rock to rest, looking around at the surrounding landscape and taking pleasure in the sight of the clouds from above. "Garrik, have you considered that this phoenix might not have its nest here, but rather nearby and only visits this peak?"
Ollivander scowled and folded his arms. "I suppose it's possible, but what place is better for the King?"
Dumbledore smiled, "Well perhaps what you determine fit for a King is not what the phoenix determines. Though I'll admit it is a lovely view."
Ollivander snorted and kept walking, kicking at rocks until he noticed to his shock a patch that was in fact more dirt than ice and, as he kicked aside some of the hardened dirt at the top, a smell of smoke drifted up to his nose. "OH! Here! Get over here you old coot, I've found it!"
Dumbledore got up and walked over with a pleased expression. "Excellent of course, Garrik. Will you do the honours or shall I?"
"I'll be doing it, thank you, I AM the wand maker after all," Ollivander scoffed and bent to begin carefully digging through the dirty ash. As he worked, Dumbledore's eyes drifted across the mountaintops again. They were quite the sight indeed.
After a while the sun was beginning to set into a myriad of colour across the sky and Ollivander began grumbling about how deep he was and so far not a trace of a red feather. Dumbledore ignored this, instead interested in how the window blew through the mountains, how it sounded almost... almost like bird song.
Albus Dumbledore, though he had found several phoenix nests in the past, had never until that moment met with a live phoenix in person. And so he did not immediately realise this haunting music that softly echoed across the chasms belonged to the majestic creature until it slowly rose in volume and, as the sun dipped to the horizon and a burst of red filled the sky Dumbledore gasped and stepped back as he witnessed the great bird appear to fly straight out of the burning orb.
The plumage, as rumoured, was the deepest crimson. Its head was covered in high, sleek feathers much like a crown and to top off its royal appearance its tail flowed out behind it like a train twice as long as its body and shimmering in the last rays of the sun. The music was overwhelming to the great wizard and he backed up more, nearly tripping over Ollivander who was so obsessed with his search that he had yet to notice a thing. He did notice being bumped into and sent face first into his ash-hole, however.
"ARG!" Ollivander screeched, trying to squirm upright and wipe the black off his face, "Albus, what the hell are y-you..." the wand maker trailed off when he got the soot out of his eyes and saw to his immense shock the rumoured King of Phoenixes sitting before them on a rock and eyeing them with a look of discomfort. "A-Albus?"
"Er," Dumbledore cleared his throat slightly, "Yes, Garrik?"
"That's... that's the phoenix."
"It is," Dumbledore nodded, still blinking, "Though, admittedly, at close range it is not as majestic as I thought it would be."
Ollivander's eyebrows rose but once the older wizard had pointed it out the wand maker nodded his agreement. Though the phoenix appeared discomforted by their presence, in truth it was not looking well at all. Its feathers were rumpled and bare in some places- it had been molting. Its eyes were a touch filmy and, after a moment, it began to cough and vomited up something unidentifiable but slimy at Dumbledore's feet.
"It's sick," Dumbledore said blankly. Ollivander brightened at his chance to sound superior.
"Well OBVIOUSLY!" Ollivander sneered and then winced. Even he knew how childish that had come out.
Dumbledore smirked slightly, "Not all Slytherins are good at being subtle I see." The wand maker seemed to pout a moment before shaking his head.
"Well, anyway, perhaps it's near the end of its cycle."
Dumbledore's eyes widened, "We are going to see the end of this phoenix's life cycle? That's truly amazing, does that not happen only once every five hundred years?"
Ollivander shrugged, "I said it was near the end, not necessarily AT the end. And no, actually the phoenix's life cycle is 100 years long. Only in muggle legends do they exaggerate so much."
Dumbledore shrugged, "Evidently my information was incorrect. So, there is a phoenix before us."
"Yes," Ollivander nodded, "There is." Dumbledore's knees suddenly bent and he bowed to the creature. "What are you doing now?"
Dumbledore smiled, "If this is the King of Phoenixes, should we not offer our respect?"
Ollivander hesitated, but after a moment shrugged and copied the great wizard. At no point did he consider trying to take the feathers straight from the phoenix in question. That's a sure way to get yourself set on fire such that no water or magic could put you out before you burnt to a crisp. Perhaps, by showing respect, the phoenix would relax and nest and molt some more, allowing them to collect the feathers from the ashes and be done with it.
At first this seemed to work. Ollivander was delighted when the phoenix's head rose proudly and it strut past them into the hole Ollivander had dug. It sat on top of the wide hole and regarded them with filmy, yet soulful, eyes.
Then it burst into flame.
"MERLIN'S BALLS!" Ollivander screamed, "Damn it, damn it, DAMN IT!"
Dumbledore did not react to his companion's outburst, instead staring in fascination as the bird was consumed by the fire, its haunting melody seeming to explode from it and envelope the great wizard in a wave of eerie emotions of intense pain and sorrow that reminded the wizard of events not so long ago that quickly made tears fill his eyes.
After a couple of minutes the show had ended and the bird had been completely eaten away by the flames. In the pit Ollivander had dug was pure ash, not a feather in sight.
"DAMN!" Ollivander swore again, "I-I should have known! That red... it's so hot that any feathers that fall from it just burn away instantly! And now all of it is... damn!" After throwing a bit of a tantrum, Ollivander sighed, "I'm sorry for dragging you up here, Albus. It seems it was a wild goose chase after all. There's no way we're getting a feather from this bird. Er, Albus?"
The wand maker stared in disbelief as he watched the great wizard Albus Dumbledore lie on his stomach and peer into the pile of ashes, smiling gently as a very tiny, grey, featherless chick poked its head from the ashes and looked up at him. Its black, beady eyes met with blue and as Ollivander watched he could swear that there was some kind of tingly warmth coming from the air between the two even in the blue twilight, the sky still light even as the sun had vanished and turned the mountain freezing.
"Er, Albus," Ollivander cleared his throat after a few minutes of witnessing this strange love-fest shared between bird-brain and bird, "Seeing as we cannot collect feathers from the phoenix, we might as well be leaving, yes?"
Dumbledore hummed slightly and then got to his knees, looking up at Ollivander, finally. "Yes, though I would rather like to wait until the morning."
"Why morning?" Ollivander asked with a frown, "It's cold up here you know, even with magic to warm us."
Dumbledore smiled, "I would think, Garrik, that it would be both unwise and unkind to leave such a small creature to grow up all alone in the world."
Ollivander scoffed, "He'll be fine, phoenixes grow quickly."
Dumbledore nodded pleasantly, "Indeed, which is why I wish to wait only for the morning."
Ollivander scowled a moment longer, and then huffed and sank to his knees beside Dumbledore. "Oh very well..." he looked at the phoenix chick grumpily. Even in the dark he could tell it wasn't exactly cute. The full grown version, even so close to dying was a prettier sight than this chick.
Still, the two kept vigil throughout the night. Ollivander would grumble on occasion and try to sleep but was kept awake hearing Dumbledore break into humming or soft singing on a frequent basis, as though the chick was a human toddler he was trying to lull or something. Ollivander still felt the warmth coming from the strange pair, but kept his eyes closed in hopes of catching some sleep before the dawn. He failed to.
However, because he did not sleep, Ollivander was awake enough to hear Dumbledore's soft "Ah!" went the first ray of the rising sun bloomed from the horizon and struck the nest from the east. The wand maker was able to raise his head and turn enough to see the flash of red blossom and grow from the ashes, stretching up, shaking out, and a glorious song of triumph rose into the air. Ollivander's eyes widened as wings unfurled and flapped once, twice, and then up the bird flew. It cried out its music, filling Ollivander with the brightest, most hopeful thoughts he had ever known. The wand maker grinned and raised its arms to the bird, shouting in joy as it circled the nearly untouched mountain peak, soaring and dipped and twirling, its great tail fanning out behind it brilliantly, glimmering in the light of a new day and a new life.
But then, rather than flying off into the sun as Ollivander had expected of it, the phoenix turned in the air and headed straight from the now-standing Dumbledore. The great wizard stretched out an arm and the bird, to Ollivander's wonder, landed upon it, lowering its head to allow Dumbledore to stroke him and the bird rumbled and chirped its approval.
"So, you made friends with it now?" Ollivander said gruffly after managing to get past his surprised silence.
"I suppose I have," Dumbledore said fondly as he ran his long fingers through the feathers on the bird's neck, "How curious."
"So," Ollivander said with a slightly excited expression, "Do you think you could coax it to give up a feather to me? I'd be grateful if it did!"
When he finished speaking however he jumped as the phoenix's head snapped up to stare at him, its eyes narrowed and judging and causing the wand maker to shiver beneath its gaze. However, despite the slight growl at the back of the bird's throat it reached down behind itself and plucked a feather from its tail. It then turned back and stretched its neck out to Ollivander, who took the feather in wonder and stroked it. Soft and warm. Perfect. He gave the creature a quick bow in appreciation.
"Thank you, I will make a fine wand with this," Ollivander nodded, "Yew, I think, would be the best wood to couple with a phoenix feather as grand as this."
Dumbledore hummed and then paused as the phoenix reached behind itself again.
"Another?" Ollivander's eyes widened, "I-it's giving another? How... curious."
"Certainly," Dumbledore nodded as this time the feather was presented to him, though with a far more trusting expression from the bird. The wizard ran his fingers over it before taking it, thanking the bird quietly. "I think, Garrik, holly would be a better wood choice for this one."
"Holly?" Ollivander frowned, "That's an odd choice for phoenix feather. I don't think I've ever had that combination before in my shop. I'm the wand maker here, Albus, I think I will be choosing the wand woods."
"But," Dumbledore smiled, "It is my feather. I don't have to give it to you to make a wand."
Ollivander's eyes narrowed, "How much do you want for it, then?"
Dumbledore chuckled. "Nothing, my friend! Only that you use holly for the wood. You may take the feather and sell the wand with no price paid to me other than that."
Ollivander gave Dumbledore a hard look, but then sighed. "Very well, have it your way. But... why holly?"
Dumbledore looked at the phoenix when he answered, "Let's just say that I have a very good feeling about it."
Ollivander snorted. "Well alright. So, should your phoenix there give away more feathers, you'll supply me with them I take it?"
"Oh no," Dumbledore shook his head, "I highly doubt that this phoenix will be giving any more feathers. They are his pride you know, it is not without greatest deliberation that he gives them up."
Ollivander's eyebrow rose, "So you can speak with it?"
"Him, Garrik," Dumbledore corrected, "And no, not exactly. But I think we do share some sort of bond now." The wizard straightened, "I believe he will be coming back to London with us."
Ollivander's eyes widened. "So he's going to be your pet? That's quite... exotic."
Dumbledore tittered, "I suppose he would be considered such, yes."
"So what will you name him then?" Ollivander asked, shaking his head now.
Dumbledore's head cocked to one side and then he smirked slightly. "Fawkes. I think that's the perfect name for him."
"Fawkes?" Ollivander gave Dumbledore a bizarre look, "As in Guy Fawkes?"
"The very same," the great wizard grinned, "Because he explodes into flame, you see."
"That... some would consider that to be in poor taste. Though I doubt you would care about such things."
"Of course, Garrik," the great wizard said with twinkling eyes.
Ollivander looked out over the mountains again and thought of something else. "Is it true that you're going to be taking a teaching position at Hogwarts next year?"
"It's true. I will be instructing on Transfiguration as Professor Abdere appears to have accidently vanished herself. A tragic event truly, but a new professor had to be found none the less."
"But will you still slay dragons for me?" Ollivander asked with a teasing smirk.
"Perhaps I will need to keep that to the summer holidays," Dumbledore smirked back. Ollivander scowled and stewed for a moment before sighing.
"Well the phoenix will be an interesting addition to a teacher's office at any rate."
"Indeed," Dumbledore's gentle smile returned as he scratched Fawkes carefully under his chin.
With these events concluded, the two men and the bird boarded Dumbledore's moving platform and descended Mouth Everest, slowly removing enchantments as the air regained breathability. They returned together to Diagon Alley and Ollivander's wand shop where the wand maker got straight to work on the yew wand first.
Once finished, the man deemed it to be one of his greatest creations as he set it out to sell in his shop. He told Dumbledore with great certainty that this wand and the one who would wield it would be destined for great things and would likely perform magic the likes of which the world had never seen. Dumbledore merely inclined his head at such statements, sending Ollivander into annoyed mutterings as he began the second wand.
The holly, he found to his surprise, seemed to work together with the feather much better than he would've thought, though he did not tell Dumbledore such a thing for the sake of his pride. Still, he could happily acknowledge the wand did not seem quite as strong as its brother and Ollivander did not feel quite the same excitement in completing it as he had with the yew. Perhaps the owner of such a wand would be destined for great things, but Ollivander was sure the yew wand would bring a far greater wizard into the world than the holly wood.
Still, both wands were set out in the shop and after a long day and night of working non-stop on them, as the wand maker often did when he had a fascinating project such as this, Dumbledore treated Ollivander to breakfast at the Leaky Cauldron. The wand maker could say that he was quite satisfied.