|skitty_kat (skitty_kat) wrote,|
@ 2010-04-25 14:58:00
|Entry tags:||fic, remus lupin, severus snape, snupin, snupin holmes|
Fic: The Mystery of the Missing Miss (1/4)
The Mystery of the Missing Miss
A Snupin Holmes Mystery
Word Count: 2504 (this part), 11498 (total)
Summary: A new case for wizarding detective Severus Snape: a missing girl. Elopement, abduction or maybe murder? Follow him and his trusty companion, Doctor Remus Lupin, as they find trouble on the streets of Victorian London.
Warning: may contain deductions that Adam West’s Batman would find a step too far.
Beta’d by the ever marvellous and eagle-eyed drachenmina.
Dedicated to the lovely red_day_dawning (aka it's her fault!)
It is in the year 18- that I take up my quill to record the facts of a case which began in a most straightforward manner but was soon revealed to be of a nature far more sinister and dark. For my part, I am Doctor Remus John Lupin and I have both the pleasure and frustration of being the chronicler - amanuensis if you will - of Severus Snape, the famed wizarding detective. The case is one I have taken the liberty of titling ‘The Mystery of the Missing Miss,’ though I rather suspect Snape will deride this as an extreme frippery on my part. The tale begins, as so many others have, in our shared rooms at 221b Snupin Street.
My dear companion Severus Snape was already up that morning, sat at the desk fully dressed from his collar studs to his cufflinks. A cup of tea was held in one hand, occasionally being raised to pursed lips, and his lanky back was bent over a book. I entered the room somewhat blearily.
‘Morning,’ I mumbled.
He turned abruptly, giving my dressing-gown a sceptical eye.
‘Shake a leg, Lupin,’ he ordered, ‘we have a client coming to see us this morning.’
‘A new case?’ I asked, settling onto a chair. I scratched a healing gash on my leg. Three days after full moon and it was already reduced to a shiny pink line. There are times when I am grateful to be my own physician, especially when my roommate is an expert at potions.
‘As much as I appreciate you shedding skin cells across the furniture,’ Snape’s voice cut across my thoughts, ‘our guest is even now downstairs being calmed down with a cup of tea by Miss McGonagall.’
I leapt up. ‘Merlin, Severus, you could have told me!’
‘I just did.’ He leant back, looking up at me. ‘I smelled the unmistakable aroma of our esteemed landlady baking her famous Dundee cake earlier. If he has been coerced into trying to get his teeth through that then I expect you have another five minutes.’
I glared at him and left the room to get dressed.
The entry of Mr. Arthur Weasley into our rooms was, I must admit, somewhat underwhelming. He fairly shuffled across the floor, hands slipping into his jacket pockets. As Snape was his usual taciturn self it fell to me, as usual, to welcome our guest and offer him a chair. He took it with a most friendly smile before turning to my companion with rather more trepidation in his countenance.
‘Mr. Snape,’ he began, twisting his hands before him before trying again. ‘Mr. Snape, the fact is … well, that is to say, the facts are few, but what’s happened is … well, we don’t actually know what’s happened and that’s the problem of it, it’s dashed confounding actually…’
Thankfully, my friend decided to step in before Weasley got any more tangled in his own prose.
‘Mr. Weasley,’ Snape said, sitting up and fixing the man with his intense stare, ‘nothing is so confounding that it cannot be deciphered through the careful application of logic. Let me tell you what I think and you may then complete the tale.’ He steepled his hands before him and began.
‘You are, I would deduce, a passionate man. Your red hair bears testament to the heat of your feelings and you are clearly in a state of some agitation. I would judge from the level of your agitation that whatever events have driven you to seek my counsel involve some thing or someone dear to you. Ah – I see from your reaction that it is the latter; so someone is perhaps in peril or rather, it is not known whether they are or not. Their current state is unknown, hence the confused nature of your opening narrative. Someone dear to you - I would expect a member of your family - and the degree of distress would indicate to me a female. The mislaying of a female is always more worried upon than that of a male. Not your wife, I think, as the spray of Heliotrope tucked in your buttonhole is a clear indication of your spouse’s desire to make you presentable – I find myself at a loss to explain a wife’s motives in such a thing but perhaps Lupin could explain, he has the marriage experience.’ Snape did not even glance in my direction following this little stab at what he still classed as my betrayal. ‘So if not your wife I would suggest – your daughter?’
Weasley gasped gratefully. ‘My Ginny!’ he cried. ‘My dear little Ginevra. A sweet thing she is, the absolute darling of all her brothers. She wouldn’t hurt a fly, Mr. Snape, not a moth nor butterfly either. Such a good girl, she is.’
Snape’s mouth curled upwards a little. ‘I would imagine,’ he murmured, ‘that as befits a girl in a house of boys she has learned a little cunning to counter their more rambunctious ways. A credit to the young lady, of course.’
‘Well, that’s probably true,’ Weasley admitted, fidgeting quite destructively with his tie. ‘But she’s gone missing, sir! That’s no cunning, not as I would see it. Vanished in the night, she did, and not a note left to us. She wouldn’t do such a thing to us, Mr. Snape, not to her own family.’
Snape ran a long finger down the prominent ridge of his nose, leaning back into his chair. His deep-set black eyes gazed intently at Weasley.
‘She has, I believe, been seen recently in the company of Master Harry Potter, son of the celebrated,’ he laid so delicate a stress on the word as to escape our worried guest, ‘Lord James Potter of Godric’s Mansions.’
‘She has,’ Weasley said stoutly, ‘and I’ve nothing against the match myself. He’s a good boy, very decent with her, and not a scandal to his name unlike some I could mention.’
‘Master Michael Corner?’ my friend suggested. ‘I understand he hurried off rather swiftly after two of your sons had some discourse with him.’
‘Ah, well.’ Weasley looked at the floor and shifted his feet. ‘The understandable fascination of a young girl for the romantic ideals of an undesirable man. You know how girls are.’
‘Quite,’ Snape said without feeling. I had to turn away to conceal my smile.
‘Do you think my Ginny and young Potter could have … well, run off together?’ Weasley asked, hesitation clear in his tone at such a suggestion.
‘That may be the case. When young love is involved many things are possible that their parents could never think probable.’
‘But not to leave us word!’
‘It would be simple enough to check whether she has indeed attempted an elopement.’ Snape turned to me. ‘Lupin, you lunch at the same club as Lord Potter, do you not?’
‘I do indeed. I take it you would rather I partake of luncheon there rather than here. Do you wish me to make inquiries to the state of his son’s health?’
‘I believe it would be only natural as his friend and doctor.’
Snape has never made a secret of his dislike for certain of my friends, Lord James Potter foremost among them. He hated it when I lunched with such company. I would frequently return home to find him in some awful snit, having often done something awful to our décor. Once I returned from a charming afternoon tea to find the initials A. P. W. B. D. burned into our wall in hex marks – to our landlady Miss McGonagall’s horror. For all his brilliance, Snape can be the most petulant of men.
He returned his attention to Weasley who, remarkably, seemed much calmer than he had before.
‘Leave the problem with us, Mr. Weasley,’ Snape told him, ‘you may be assured that we will make the necessary inquiries on your behalf.’
‘Oh, thank you, sir, thank you!’
Bowing and near enough babbling with gratitude, Weasley made his way to the door. I saw him out, returning to our rooms to find Snape toying with the violin he kept around him more and more frequently in recent times.
‘I don’t know why you insist on fiddling with that thing, Severus,’ I told him.
‘Fiddling with a fiddle,’ he tossed back at me lazily, ‘very droll, Lupin. You should be in music hall.’
‘It isn’t as if you ever play the thing properly,’ I continue, ignoring his appalling punnery, ‘always picking away at it like that and never a tune to be heard.’
‘I find it curious,’ he defended, ‘that our magical world incorporates so much that is similar to our muggle counterparts yet music is the one area they so frequently surpass us in. I am sure there must be some combination to be had of melody and magic, I have simply to find the right, a-hah, key.’ He propped the instrument against the side of his chair. ‘What did you think of our visitor?’
‘I know what I thought of some of your deductions. A passionate man?’
‘My dear Lupin, no man could have so many children without at least some fire in his loins. Jealous?’
I refused to give that jibe the reaction he wanted. ‘And I suppose you deduced his fecundity from, what, talcum powder on his sleeve? A lingering odour of baby vomit?’
‘I don’t know where you get your ideas from. His wife - a redoubtable woman, I am sure – would never let him leave the house in such a state, especially not if he is going to consult as famous a professional as myself.’
I growled. Snape really could be the most frustrating person sometimes. ‘Then how, pray, did you come by the conclusion?’
‘Weasley is by far the most common name in the births column of the paper, Lupin. At least every other year they grace the world with another red-headed bundle of joy. There must be quite the league of them now.’
His smugness irritated me. ‘Forgive me if I find more fulfilling activities than memorising the lineage of every family who has ever announced their natal celebrations in The Times.’
‘Of course.’ He picked up his violin again, running long fingers up and down the strings plucking pizzicato arpeggios with a dexterity that momentarily amazed me. ‘Speaking of such fulfilling activities, I believe you have a lunch to attend.’
I could hear the disapproval in his voice but chose to ignore it. ‘At which I shall be useful and enquire of my dear friend James the health of his only son Harry, which is relevant to this case we are now apparently investigating. While you shall be…?’
I inwardly prepared myself to come home to devastation. Again.
‘Then I shall see you this afternoon, Severus.’
The quiet plucking of violin strings followed me out of the door, discordant and disjointed. Even to my untrained and generally unmusical ear it sounded sulky.
Lunch was, as usual, a pleasant affair. James Potter was one of my oldest school friends and we passed a pleasant couple of hours over succulent roast lamb and potatoes. I learned that his son was in the best of health and was, even at that time, on his way to Wfftitwff, the country house of his friend Justin Finch-Fletchley, to join a party of his school chums.
‘Saw him off just before I came to see you, old thing,’ Potter had said. ‘Reckless little bounder, but no worse than we were at his age.’
I put forth most delicately the subject of his romantic entanglements, ‘should he have any.’
Potter laughed in the carefree way he always did. ‘Should jolly well hope so!’ he chuckled. ‘I certainly did, don’t you remember? Until I met my dear Lily, of course. Believe me, Remus, there’s no more welcome entanglement than marriage. Oh, I’m sorry…’
I waved him off with a dismissive hand. I abhor sympathy and besides, I hate people to pity what they don’t fully understand. I steered our conversation to safer topics, which was easy enough. As long as I’ve known him Potter’s always been happy enough to talk about himself and I usually have the patience to listen.
After lunch I returned to our rooms in good humour, only for it to fall inexorably down at what I smelt when I opened the door. Thick, unfamiliar scents smothered my nose and I knew Snape had been at his potions again. He rarely opened a window when he was brewing, claiming it spoilt the mix, and the resulting stenches would linger for days. I marched through the rooms, eventually finding him laid out on my bed. An empty vial lay beside him. A pale green residue still coated the inside and was dripping slowly onto my bedsheets. I picked it up, placing it on my bedside cabinet. The photograph of Dora I keep there had been moved; turned to face the wall. Over on the bed black eyes watched me from under hooded and heavy eyelids.
‘I told you to stop this,’ I told him sternly. ‘As your doctor I have to advise you it is detrimental to your health.’
‘I make it myself,’ he muttered, ‘m’not so foolish as to dose myself with poison, am I?’
‘And as your friend,’ I went on, dropping into the chair by my bed, ‘I have to tell you it’s fairly awful that you have to go to these lengths. Why can’t you have some normal pastime instead of drugging yourself into insensibility?’
‘Why would I want to be anything like normal?’ His arm, laid out across my pillow, flapped dismissively.
‘It might be nice to try once in a while.’
‘Pish, like you did? A werewolf, playing at house!’ He rolled his eyes, the whites flashing wildly. ‘And what did that get you – a dead wife and pitying looks from everyone who thought you really loved her.’
He always had to go too far. ‘I’m leaving.’
‘Don’t forget to write.’ He slurred the ‘f’ of forget, intoxication slowing his words.
‘You brute,’ I told him, standing from my chair. ‘You could at least show a modicum of affection.’
‘Oh, Lupin.’ Snape’s tone was flat, of course. ‘Don’t go. My heart will simply shatter.’
‘Brute,’ I repeated, though I didn’t leave. I do love him, for all his sulky contrariness.
He was deliciously languid, laid out as he was, and ever a temptation. I kissed him, ignoring the bitter tint of whichever potion it was that he had been abusing that day. He always tasted a little sour. Today’s was sharper than usual; perhaps a touch of wormwood? Whatever it was it made him uncharacteristically pliant and he submitted to my affections without a murmur of protest, only moans of gratification. I took him slowly, feeling as though the drug had entered my system also, dragging me into his strange, whirling bliss. His legs tightened around me as I dropped into the abyss and we fell together.