“Ah yes,” came a voice from the back of the shop, sneaking to Harry's ears so softly it took him a moment to realize someone was talking to him. “Yes, yes. I thought I’d be seeing you soon, Mr. Potter.” The voice was followed the soundless movement of long, thin fingers around the end of one of the stacks. The fingers were attached to a pair of arms, long and thin, with no hands in between.
“You have your mother’s eyes,” said the voice, although its own eyes were still nowhere to be seen. “It seems only yesterday she was in here herself, buying her first wand. Rose gold and an index finger. A wand for a rare talent.”
The fingers began to trace Harry’s body, fingertips trailing up his legs, counting his joints so gently he couldn’t be sure if he was actually being touched.
“Your father on the other hand, had a wand of steel and a ring finger. A wand for a warrior.”
The fingers moved up to his torso, sketching it in the air.
"...Fingers?" asked Harry, afraid to break the silence but more afraid to let it linger.
"The fingers of Merlin."
Harry looked at the boxes stuffed onto the shelves, stacked on the counter, piled on the floor, each one a wand. Each one a finger.
"He... must have had a lot of fingers."
"He did. He does. His body still grows them, on occasion. He was not alive in the same way that we are alive, and did not die in the same way that we will die.”
The fingers reached his head. They traced along his jawline, and found the scar, the jagged line of tooth-marks that cut across his face on their way round his skull, as if someone had tried to bite his head in half.
“And that’s where…”
The fingers began to trace the scar, tapping lightly on each toothmark.
The fingers suddenly withdrew, pulled by the arms back among the shelves. There was tapping and rustling and murmuring that might have come from multiple voices and then the fingers returned, clutching a slender box.
“Bronze and a little finger. Strong yet pliable. A wand for a survivor.”
The fingers presented the box. Harry took it carefully, avoiding touching them. Opening it he found a rod of black bronze, as thick as his thumb and as long as his forearm. The handle was engraved with a geometric pattern for grip which had been burnished brown. He took the handle in his hand, and it was like…
…like a pins and needles feeling in his soul. A limb he had forgotten was missing had been reattached. He was greater than whole. This would be every tool he would ever need.
Harry remembered that he was standing in the shop, holding the wand. He had lost track of time and the long fingers were once again investigating his scar.
“Curious… curious…” drifted the voice from the back of the shop.
“What’s curious?” said Harry.
“All wands eventually return to me, Mr. Potter. A successful alchemist will find that their own fingers become enough, and they no longer need to borrow one of Merlin’s. The wands come and go from this shop, generation by generation. And this wand… this wand was last used by the man who gave you that scar.”
Silence hung among the dust in the air.
“Seven galleons,” said the voice. Harry put the coins on the desk and left. Hagrid was sitting on a bench outside. He grew concerned when he saw Harry’s face.
"Don't let Olivander worry you. He's one of the oldest of us, most are still more human than that."