Disclaimer: I seek no profit, and own none of this marvelous work. It all belongs to J.K Rowling, although a girl can dream. :)
Chapter Ten: My Heart Is Cold, I Am Empty.
Christmas was coming. One morning in mid-December, Hogwarts woke to find itself covered in several feet of snow. The lake froze solid and the Weasley twins were punished for bewitching several snowballs so that they followed Quirell around, bouncing off the back of his turban. The few owls that managed to battle their way through the stormy sky to deliver post had to be nursed back to health by Hagrid before they could fly off again.
No one could wait for the Holidays to start, all except one. Vela Volans was not excited at all, quite the opposite actually. While the Common Room's and the Great Hall had roaring fires, the draughty corridors had become icy and a bitter wind rattled the windows in the class rooms. Worst of all were Professor Snape's classes down in the dungeons, where their breath rose in a mist before them and they kept as close as possible to their hot cauldrons.
" It's a shame" Said Ronald Weasley, one Potions class, " For Volans, he has to stay at Hogwarts all alone. When he obviously is not wanted at home, I mean who would want him!"
Ronald was looking over at Vela as he spoke. Most of the Gryffindor's chuckled, some of the Slytherin's tensed. Vela, who was measuring out powdered spine of lionfish, glared at the boy intensely. He just won't learn his lesson, Vela thought bitterly. Weasley had been even more unpleasant than usual since the Quidditch match. Disgusted that Gryffindor had lost, since then Weasley had been whispering things behind Vela's back. Vela knew this, he was just waiting silently till he could strike and a lot more painful than last time. Oh, Weasley would feel pain like never before.
It was true that Vela wasn't going back to Wools Orphanage for Christmas. Professor McGonagall had made a list for student's at Hogwarts who would be staying for the Holidays, and Vela had signed up at once. He didn't feel sorry for himself at all; this would probably be the best Christmas he'd ever had. Hermione was staying too, because her family was going away on a business trip which she could not attend.
When Vela left the dungeons at the end of Potions, he found a large fir tree blocking the corridor ahead. Two enormous feet sticking out at the bottom and a loud puffing sound, Vela just stared. What an Earth? He wondered, but his thoughts were interrupted by the rude Weasley boy.
" Hi, Hagrid, want any help?" Ronald asked, sticking his head through the branches.
" Nah, I'm all right, thanks, Ron"
Vela just glared at the two of them, they were in his way. Didn't they both realize this is a public hallway? Vela huffed, sneering down at them.
" Would you mind moving out of the way?" Vela sneered. " Some people actually are trying to walk down this Hallway. Are you trying to earn some extra money, Weasley? Hoping to become a Gamekeeper yourself when you leave Hogwarts, I suppose- with the company you keep yourself in these days." Vela's eyes narrowed on the half giant, glaring at him with dislike.
Ronald dived at Vela, which was a rather idiotic thing to do. Before Vela could react, or badly injure Weasley, Snape came up the stairs.
" WEASLEY!" Roared Professor Snape, shooting the Gryffindor a sneer.
Ronald let go of the front of Vela's robes.
" He was provoked, Professor Snape" Said Hagrid, sticking his huge hairy face out from behind the tree. " Volans was insultin' me and him."
" Be that as it may, fighting is against Hogwarts rules, Hagrid" Said Snape silkily. " Five points from Gryffindor, Weasley, and be grateful it isn't more. Move along, all of you."
Vela rushed past the tree, and waved his hand which scattered needles everywhere. While Vela was leaving he briefly heard both Hagrid and Ronald Weasley speaking.
" I'll get him" Said Ronald, grinding his teeth at Vela's back, " One of these days, I'll get him-"
" I hate them both" Said Weasley's friend Dean, " Volans and Snape"
" Come on, cheer up, it's nearly Christmas" said Hagrid. " Tell yeh what, come with me an' see the Great Hall, looks a treat"
Vela looked over his shoulder at the Two Gryffindor students, and the games keeper. Clenching his fists in anger, no Weasley I will get you one day, thought Vela.
The Slytherin smiled viciously, maybe I could ruin the Great Hall he thought. He followed them in the shadows, as Dean and Ronald followed Hagrid into the Great Hall. Vela snuck in behind them, but he was shocked at what he saw.
The Hall looked spectacular. Festoons of holly and mistletoe hung all around the walls and no fewer than twelve towering Christmas trees stood around the room, some sparkling with tiny icicles, some glittering with hundreds of candles.
Vela frowned, maybe he shouldn't ruin the hall. He would at least like to sit and dine in the beauty of this, later tonight. Vela was about to turn around, when Hagrid and Dean started a rather interesting conversation. Vela found himself eaves dropping in on it.
" Just one" Said Dean. " And that reminds me, Ron we've got half an hour before lunch, we should be in the library"
" Oh yeah, you're right" Said Ron, tearing his eyes away from Professor Flitwick, who had golden bubbles blossoming out of his wand and was trailing them over the branches of a new tree. Why an Earth would they be going to the library? Both of them didn't even have a singe intelligent brain cell, shaking his head Vela listened more.
" The library?" said Hagrid, following them out of the Hall with Vela following them silently. " Just before the Holidays? Bit keen, aren't yeh?"
" Oh, We're not working" Dean told him brightly. " Ever since you mentioned Nicolas Flamel is, that's all" Said Ronald.
Vela quirked his eyebrow up at this, what did the philosopher have to do with Hagrid?
" You're What?" Hagrid looked shocked. " Listen here- I've told yeh- drop it. It's nothin' to you what that dog is guardin" Vela frowned, that massive dog was guarding something big? Obviously otherwise they wouldn't put a hell hound in a school. Now this is interesting, thought Vela.
" We just want to know who Nicolas Flamel is, that's all" Said Dean.
" Unless you'd like to tell us and save us all the trouble?" Ronald added. " We must've been through hundreds of books already and we can't find him anywhere- Just give us a hint- I know I've read his name somewhere" Dean murmured.
" I'm sayin nothin" Said Hagrid Flatly.
" Just have to find out for ourselves then" Said Ronald, and they left Hagrid looking disgruntled and hurried off to the library. Vela had some research of his own to look into now, he turned swiftly around and also headed towards the Library to find Hermione.
When he finally did find her, she was curled up by a fire reading one of her most favorite text books: Hogwarts; a History. He rushed over to her, and plopped down on a soft comfy chair next to hers. She looked over her book and noticed him, she smiled shyly.
" Vela. How are you?" She offered, he nodded at her and stated he was simply fine. He told her of the conversation he heard, Hermione frowned in bewilderment.
" Why would they put a Hell Hound in Hogwarts, to guard something an old Philosopher wanted to hide? " Asked Hermione, raising one of her eyebrows.
" What could possibly be so important?" He asked, her brown eyes immediately lit up with a glint of determination. They looked at each other and raced of into the depths of the library.
Hermione and Vela looked through many books trying to find this mystery man. He wasn't in Great wizards of the Twentieth Century, Notable Magical Names of Our Time, Important Modern Magical Discoveries and a Study of Recent Developments in Wizardry. And then of course, there was the sheer size of the library; tens of thousands of books; thousands of books; thousands of shelves; hundreds of narrow rows.
Hermione took out a list of subjects and titles she had decided to search while Vela strode off down a row of books and started pulling them off at random. Vela strode past the Restricted Section, he narrowed his eyes. He had been starting to wonder if Flamel wasn't somewhere in there. He hummed, he would just have to sneak in there at some point. Unfortunately, you needed a specially signed note from one of the teachers to look in any of the Restricted books and Vela knew he had never gotten one before. These were the books containing powerful Dark Magic never taught at Hogwarts and only ever read by older students studying advanced Defense Against The Dark Arts. Vela smiled, he promised himself no teachers would stop him from entering. He wasn't afraid, he just couldn't get caught.
" What are you looking for, boy?"
" Nothing" muttered Vela.
Madame Pince the librarian brandished a feather duster at Vela, he sneered at her.
" You'd better get out then. Go on- Out!"
Vela waited for Hermione outside in the corridor to see if she had found anything, but he wasn't very hopeful. They had been looking for quite a few hours, and they were both very well acquainted with the library. What they really needed was a long search without Madam Pince breathing down their necks, which should be done soon as possible.
Five minutes later, Hermione joined him, shaking their heads they went off to lunch.
" We should keep looking as soon as possible" Hermione told him, he nodded in return.
" What about the Restricted Section?" Asked Vela, Hermione's head snapped looking at him in alarm.
" Vela! That's against school rules and if were caught…" Trailed off Hermione, he sighed knowing she would be like this.
" Then we have to make sure we aren't caught" He stated, she chewed on her bottom lip in worry, before reluctantly nodding.
Once the Holidays had started, Vela and Hermione tried their best to sneak into the Restricted Section but they always came across such bad luck. The care taker, Filch and his cat Mrs. Norris were always around somewhere. The two students were starting to get very annoyed at the fact, they couldn't get anywhere with their search. Even if most of this was boring Vela was quite content with how his Holidays were going. He had an empty Dormitory all to himself, and the Common Room was far emptier than usual, so Vela was able to sit by the fire and read his books by himself. Which was how the young boy preferred it, yes he did meet up with Hermione but he did love the silence at the school.
On Christmas Eve, Vela went to bed early not really looking that forward to Christmas. In all of his life it had never been fun, so why should he start now. The next morning he woke up with two presents on the end of his bed, in all honesty Vela didn't know how to feel about that. Not once in his life, had Vela ever received one present. Vela opened the first present which was from Hermione; it was a rather large box of chocolate frogs. This left the last parcel. Vela picked it up and felt it. It was very light. He unwrapped it. Something fluid and silvery grey went slithering to the floor, where it lay in gleaming folds. It was quite beautiful, thought Vela. He put the cloak on carefully, Vela looked down at his feet, but they had gone. He briskly walked over to the mirror. Sure enough, his reflection looked back at him, just his head suspended in mid-air, his body completely invisible. He pulled the cloak over his head and his reflection vanished completely. Vela had just noticed a note had fallen from the cloak, Vela pulled off the cloak and seized the letter. Written in narrow, loopy writing he had never seen before were the following words:
Your Father left this in my possession before he died.
It is time it was returned to you.
Use it well.
A very merry Christmas to you.
There was no signature. Vela stared at the note, he looked up and admired the cloak again.
"Now this is going to be useful" Murmured Vela to himself. Although it was useful, it was rather strange. Who had sent him this cloak? Had it really belonged to his Father?
Vela had never in all his life had such a Christmas dinner. A hundred fat, roast turkey, mountains of roast and boiled potatoes, platters of fat chipolatas, tureens of buttered peas, silver boats of thick, rich gravy and cranberry sauce- and stacks of Wizard crackers every few feet along the table. These fantastic crackers were nothing like the filthy muggle ones the Orphanage brought, with their plastic little toys and their flimsy paper hats. Vela examined the crackers, not touching them of course. He never really liked the banging and popping sounds they made that echoed through the Great Hall. Up on the High Table, Dumbledore had swapped his pointed wizards hat for a flowered bonnet and was chuckling merrily at a joke Professor Flitwick had just read him.
Flaming Christmas puddings followed the turkey. When Vela finally left the table, he and Hermione walked around the white winter grounds. The two noticed the Weasleys having a rather large snow ball fight, the only two he tolerated were the twins. He found them both very amusing, and pleasant to be around if you could escape their pranks. After a tea of turkey sandwiches, crumpets, trifle, and Christmas cake, he felt too full and sleepy to do anymore reading and headed towards bed. Not until he climbed into bed was he free to think about it: the Invisibility Cloak and whoever sent it. His Fathers… This had been his Fathers, he had never gotten to know who his Father was. What did he like? What was his job? Who he truly was? He let the material flow over his hands, smoother than silk, light as air. Use it well, the note said. He had to try it, now. He slipped out of bed and wrapped the cloak around himself. Looking down at his legs, he saw only moonlight and shadows. It was a very funny feeling. Vela felt thrilled, the whole of Hogwarts was open to him in this cloak. Oh the things I could do, he thought to himself. Excitement flooded through him as he stood there in the dark and silence. He could go anywhere in this, anywhere, and Filch would never know.
He crept out of the Dormitory, down the stairs, across the common room. Where should he go? He stopped, I know exactly where to go he thought. He grinned in immense triumph. The Restricted Section in the library, I could read what ever I like, for as long as I like. He set off, drawing the Invisibility Cloak around him tight as he walked. The library was pitch black and very eerie, but Vela already knew this from sneaking in at night before hand. Vela lit a lamp to see his way along the row of books. The lamp looked as if it was floating along in mid-air, and even though Vela could see his arm supporting it, he found the sight rather fascinating. The Restricted Section was right at the back of the library. Stepping carefully over the rope which separated these books from the rest of the library, he held his lamp to read the titles. They didn't tell him much. Their peeling, faded gold letters spelled words in languages Vela couldn't understand. Which made him more the determined, to learn more from these treasures. He had to start somewhere. Setting the lamp down carefully on the floor, he looked along the bottom shelf for an interesting looking book. A large black and silver volume caught his eye. He pulled it out with difficulty, because it was very heavy, and, balancing it on his knee, let it fall open. A piercing, blood-curdling shriek split the silence- the book was screaming? Vela eyed it with fascination, but then realizing he could be caught he snapped it shut. But then the shriek went on and on, one high, unbroken, ear-splitting note. He walked back from the shelf when he had quickly put it back, unfortunately he knocked over the lam when walking backwards, that was when he heard the footsteps coming down the corridor outside.
He passed Filch almost in the doorway; Filch's pale, wild eyes looked straight through him and Vela slipped under Filch's outstretched arms and streaked off up the corridor, the books shrieking in his ears. He came to a sudden halt in front of a tall suit of armor. He had been so busy getting away from the library, he hadn't paid attention to where he was going. Perhaps because it was dark, he didn't recognize where he was at all. There was a suit of armor near the kitchens, he knew, but he must be five floors above there.
" You asked me to come directly to you, Professor, if anyone was wandering around at night, and somebody's been in the library- Restricted Section." Vela shuffled closer. Wherever he was, Filch must have known a short cut, because his soft, and greasy voice was getting nearer, and much to his surprise Snape replied.
" The Restricted Section? Well, they can't be that far, we'll catch them"
He backed away as quietly as he could. A door stood ajar to his left. If he didn't want to get caught, it was his only hope. He squeezed through it, holding his breath, trying not to move it, and much to his relief he managed to get inside the room without them noticing anything. They walked straight past and Vela leant against the wall, as he watched them disappear. It was a few seconds before he noticed anything about the room he had decided to remain hidden in.
It looked like a disused classroom. The dark shapes of desks and chairs were piled against the walls and there was an upturned waste-paper-basket- but propped against the wall facing him was something that didn't look like it belonged there, something that looked as if someone had just put it there to keep it out of the way.
It was a magnificent mirror, as high as the ceiling, with an ornate gold frame, standing on two clawed feet. There was an inscription carved around the top: Erised stra ehru oyt ube cafru oyt on wohsi. Vela moved closer to the mirror, and even though he was under the Invisibility Cloak he could see himself in the mirror standing alone in the room. Un-easy with the mirror, the young Slytherin fled from the room.
I'm a broken soul,
I'm an open book,
with many torn out pages.
And I walk through fire,
But I thirst for truth and power,
Things I've never tasted or had.
I'm no longer weak,
I will become the power.