a fantastic image by VEEKay@TDA
'Urgh!' Ollie exclaimed closing the heavy library book, she had been reading, with a bang, before reaching up and putting it back on the shelf. One of the reasons she had for staying at Hogwarts over Christmas was to use the library, though not to study for her NEWTs, like she had told her Dad and Ginny, but to do some research into who the Volkovs were. She had been meaning to do it since she had discovered her mother's name, but had not found the time. Also, during the term timer, the library was normally filled with people writing some essay or other, but now, during the holidays it was practically empty.
However her search for information had not been going well and the only thing she had been able to find on the Volkovs was a brief mention in a magical genealogy book, which stated that they were an Old Russian pureblood family, who had lands in Siberia, but nothing else useful.
'Still haven't found what you want?' came a voice to the left of her and Ollie turned to face a 6th year Slytherin, who seemed to be pouring over a defence against the dark arts textbook.
'No' she replied shortly, before reaching up to grab the next book on the shelf.
'You've been in here every day of the holidays, so far and you still haven't found what you want' the boy commented.
'Yes, I know that' Ollie replied tersely, she did not like to be reminded that she already had wasted some of the holidays in the library with little success.
'Maybe you should try the restricted section' the boy suggested
'I would, but I don't think the teachers would think that my reason was good enough' Ollie replied as she closed the next book she had been looking through.
'Well you could break into the restricted section'
'And how would I do that? Madam Prince patrols the door like one of the dragons in Gringotts'
'Well, you could ask me to help you' the boy replied with a charming smile. 'Gordon Boyle, at your service' he said, holding out his hand.
'Ollie Potter' Ollie replied 'would you help me?'
'Well, what would you do for me in return?' the Slytherin asked slyly
Ollie thought she had forgotten that this boy was a Slytherin and not a member of one of the more helpful houses. 'I could help you with defence against the dark arts' she stated finally, noticing the book he was studying.
'Fair enough, I'll help you' Gordon replied, closing his book so he could look at Ollie properly. 'Come on, let's go to the Great Hall' he stated standing up.
'Because, firstly its lunchtime and secondly I'm going to have to call on some reinforcements'
Ollie and Gordon sat down opposite each other on the one table they were serving food on. As a result of the fact that there were so few students staying at Hogwarts over the holiday, they were all eating together. However many people were surprised to see Ollie Potter actually eating with someone instead of by herself at the end of the table.
'Oi Merry, come over here' Gordon shouted, calling out to a 2nd year Ravenclaw who had just walked through the Great Hall doors.
'I told you not to call me that!' she huffed, looking everything but merry. 'Would you like me to call you Gordie?'
Ollie stifled her laughter behind her spoonful of hot soup. With the added facts that they both had same the light brown hair and annoyed facial expression, from the way they were bickering, it was clear that they were siblings.
'What are you laughing at?' the girl asked, clearly having some attitude.
'Nothing' Ollie muttered
'Merry meet Ollie, Ollie meet Merry, I mean Meredith' he amended upon seeing his sister's glare. 'Ollie needs our help'
'You're Harry Potter's adopted daughter' Meredith stated, plonking herself down in the space next to her brother.
'Yes, that's me' Ollie replied though gritted teeth
'So why aren't you spending holiday with your family?' Meredith asked curiously since Professor Potter and his wife weren't spending the holiday at Hogwarts. She reached out to grab a bread roll from the mountain in the middle of the table as she waited for Ollie to answer.
'I've sort of fallen out with my Dad' Ollie replied quietly
'Oh, join the club!' Meredith exclaimed
'So why are you at Hogwarts for Christmas?' Ollie asked
'Dad has a new young wife and a new family' Meredith replied as she buttered her roll
'Don't forget that that Anita absolutely loathes us' Gordon interjected 'and Mum's off gallivanting with her new toy boy'
'Wow, and I thought that my mad family was bad' Ollie replied. 'I can sympathise with you though, sometimes you feel really out of place.
'So what do you want us to do? Meredith asked as they finished their lunch, having had a discussion about their respective families' vices 'and what do you need me for?'
Ollie looked helplessly at Gordon, who seemed to be the brains behind the operation
'Ollie needs to get into the restricted section and I need you to be a stereotypical Ravenclaw (Meredith huffed) and distract Madam Prince.
'I suppose I will help you -'
'Brilliant!' her brother replied cutting across her
'As long as Ollie can help me with defence against the dark arts as well' Meredith finished
'How did you know?' Gordon asked incredulously, turning to look at his sister.
'Well, why else would you be helping someone? You only help someone if you are going to get something out of it and what you need at the moment is a defence against the dark arts tutor, because that is the subject you have been failing in all term and who better that Professor Potter's daughter?'
'She's good' Ollie commented. 'Yes if you want I can help you as well' she offered to Meredith.
'Well now that's sorted, here's what we will do...'
Ollie stood nearby the entrance to the restricted section, surreptitiously peering over the top of a book as she watched as on Gordon's signal, Meredith, as planned, engaged Madam Prince in a conversation so she was distracted.
'Madam Prince, I was wondering if you could help me find a book which would help me understand the workings of a mandrake root' Ollie heard Meredith asked the librarian sweetly before leading the fearsome librarian to the part of the vast library furthest way from the restricted section.
'Quickly!' Gordon hissed as he appeared out from behind a bookshelf and dragged Ollie into the now unguarded restricted section. 'Now don't go near the books by the windows, or near the ones in that shelf covered in chains, they're the howling book and try not to perform any magic in front of the book as some react badly. 'What?' he asked as Ollie looked at him quizzically, wondering how he knew all of this. 'It was a dare which went badly wrong in my third year' he answered.
'And you got caught?'
'Well how was I meant to know that half the books in here aren't real books but just act as alarms? Now hurry up before she comes back!'
Ollie wondered between the shelves, glancing over the book titles. She had only ever been in the restricted section back in her fifth year when she needed to read up on the polyjuice potion for a project. Finally she found a row which was dedicated to magical history. She ran along the aisle, blanching slightly and some of the more gruesome titles, until she found one which looked vaguely promising, Eastern European Magical Legends. She flicked through the pages of the old book which depicted crude drawings of multiple beheadings, ugly creatures and even some flaying, until she came across a page dedicated to a legend call the Secret of the Sayan Mountains, which she remembered behind part of Siberia, from her research in that area, since that was where the Volkovs came from. As she was about to read the page, she heard Gordon's warning whisper.
'Ollie, she's coming back!'
Quickly she pulled out a blank piece of parchment from within her robes and performed a hasty copying charm, praying that this was not one of those books which reacted badly to magic, that Gordon had mentioned. To her immense relief it was not and Ollie grabbed the now text covered piece of parchment and stuffed it back into her robes, placed the book back on the shelf, before running out of the restricted section with Gordon. They stood near the entrance panting slightly as Meredith and Madam Prince appeared around the corner.
'Thank you for all your help' she heard Meredith say to the librarian and Ollie breathed out a sigh of relief, they had done it!
'So did you fine what you were looking for?' Meredith asked as she tucked into ice-cream and pancakes in the kitchens afterwards. Apparently holding a conversation with a librarian and standing on guard duty made you very hungry so Ollie had take the siblings down into the kitchens, where she had introduced them to Ribbons, who had quickly provided the hungry trio with food and drink.
'I think I found something' Ollie replied as she took a sip from her hot chocolate
'I never thought that we would actually make it out in time' Gordon remarked as he tackled his waffles 'I really thought she was going to catch us!'
Ollie just laughed; it was good to be having mad adventures, though she felt slightly guilty that it was not Jon or Phoenix that she was sharing them with. She also could not wait to read what was written on the parchment and she hoped that their little afternoon escapade had been worth it.
Ollie collapsed, tucking her feet underneath her as she curled up in the squishy armchair by the fire in the deserted Gryffindor Common Room. She pulled out the parchment and read it eagerly.
The Secrets of the Sayan Mountains
There was once a local witch who was exploring the caves in the mountains near where she lived. She was sheltering from a storm in one of the caves when she came across a stone, which called to her and she impulsively picked it up. When the storm subsided she tried to leave the cave be to her horror discovered that during the course of the storm the giants which dwelt in the mountains had been awoken and were now blocking her way.
The witch, believing that her life was about to come to an end, closed her eyes and held the stone tight, as the giants advanced towards her, hoping that by some miracle they would just go away. To her amazement, when she opened her eyes, wondering why she had not yet been devoured by the clearly hungry giants, she saw that the giants had parted, now standing at the sides of the cave with a blank look in their eyes.
The witch ran home clutching the stone which she believed had saved her life and had given her power over the giants.
Ollie finished reading the parchment angrily and gave a frustrated sigh; it had nothing remotely to do with the Volkovs and was practically a children's story. She wondered why something, which was practically a fairy tale, was in the restricted section and Ollie crumpled up the useless piece of parchment into a ball before throwing it with her accurate chaser's aim, into the fire. All she had wanted to do was find out more about her mother, but it was proving harder than she had expected.
'That is unusual' Gabby commented putting down the local newspaper of the French town she had her husband were currently staying in before they headed back home for Christmas.
'What is it?' Dennis asked, looking up from repairing his camera. His blonde haired wife just slid the newspaper across the coffee table towards him, pointing at the article in question. 'Gabby you know that I'm hopeless at reading French, the only word I can understand in that entire article is fire, and so what is so strange about this fire?'
'The fact is that the fire in question happened in a convent run orphanage in a village near here and according to the local police, there was no obvious cause for the blaze so they concluded that it must be accidental'
'Look Dennis, how likely do you think it would be that these nuns just left a cooker on or forgot about a candle whilst looking after all those children. They are nuns, they are more responsible than this article is implying. Can we just go and take a quick look?' she asked her husband widening her cornflower blue eyes and pulling a face that she knew he could not refuse.
'Fine, we've still got a couple of days before we need to get back' Dennis replied.
'Bonjour' Gabby said as a nun opened the old wooden door to the convent, one of the only buildings which had not been too badly damaged by the fire, 'My partner and I are here to investigate the fire'
'We've already had the police investigate and they said it was an accident' the nun replied
'But you don't believe that, do you?' Gabby countered as the nun was about to shut the door in their faces. 'Look, we are special investigators and like you, we don't believe that the fire was an accident'
'Well, you'd better come in' the nun replied, opening the door wide enough to allow Gabby and Dennis to enter. 'You should probably speak to the mother superior' she stated as they walked down a tiled corridor. 'We are the only two sisters here, the rest have gone with the children to our temporary home in the next village, whilst we try and work out how to fund and repair the buildings damaged by the fire' she added before knocking on the Mother Superior's door.
'So what brings you to St Cecilia's?' the Mother Superior asked, peering at Gabby and Dennis over the top of her large round glasses.
'We came to investigate the fire' Gabby replied
'What about it?'
'We, like you, believe that the cause of the fire was not an accident' Gabby said. 'Can you remember anything suspicious or odd which occurred before the fire?'
The Mother Superior sat forward in her chair, leaning on the old desk. 'Well, now you mention it, we did have one peculiar visitor, a foreigner, I guess because even though his French was impeccable, he had a heavy accent. Anyway, he came and asked if we remembered a child called Ollie-'
'Gabby and Dennis looked at each other in alarm.
'-and when I replied that we have never had anyone called Ollie here, he asked if we remembered someone called Katerina instead. He seemed to get really annoyed when again, I replied no. I have been head of his orphanage for over thirty years and I remember every child who passes through our gates. I told him that we have never had a child called Katerina but we did have a woman, who died during childbirth along with her baby.'
'What did this man look like?' Dennis asked, in his less than perfect French.
'Well he was dressed rather oddly, like he was wearing robes and he had this peculiar scar running down the left had side of his face...'
And so the plot thickness...