|skitty_kat (skitty_kat) wrote,|
@ 2010-05-06 21:06:00
|Entry tags:||fic, remus lupin, severus snape, snupin, snupin holmes|
Fic: The Mystery of the Missing Miss (3/4)
The Mystery of the Missing Miss
A Snupin Holmes Mystery
Word Count: 2367 (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
When I woke he was halfway across the room, dressed in my shirt and scrabbling through the bookshelves with some urgency. I pushed myself up to sit against the bedstead, watching him search. He snatched a book up, flicked through its pages with frightening haste and whirled to face me.
‘My God, Lupin, I’m an idiot!’ He slapped his forehead. ‘An absolute, genuine imbecile!’
I have to admit I was not at my most capable and did not manage a fully formed response to that.
‘Molly Weasley,’ he went on, ‘was born a Prewett.’ He waved the book at me: Turperton’s Wizarding Lineages. ‘Youngest of seven children. And her daughter, Ginevra, has six older brothers. She’s the seventh child of a seventh child, Lupin!’
I sat suddenly bolt upright and uttered something quite unrepeatable. ‘And with that power at his disposal, Voldemort…’
‘Has the key to eternal life, yes.’
‘Among other things, I presume.’ I pulled on my dressing-gown, hurrying over to the shelves and looking through.
Snape made a disdainful noise and began to pace across the rug. ‘I know the man, Lupin, and I know his mind. He is my nemesis, my Eumenides in one man. His lifelong quest is to seek the extension of his criminal life and my quest is to stop him.’
I pulled a treatise – Lestrange’s Blood Relations in Ritual and Rite - from the shelf and flicked through. Snape clicked his tongue dismissively.
‘Mediocre at best,’ he sneered, ‘a little too concerned with incest to boot. Where’s your copy of Kochno’s Magus Cruorem? Or my Ddefod dylwyth? I know you’ve had it off my shelf recently, Merlin knows why.’
Truth be told, I had squirreled away some of Snape’s darker books – in case the Aurors came knocking, you must understand. Some of Slafenog’s darker rituals in the Ddefod dylwyth would be highly disapproved of by our esteemed Ministry and I had no desire to see my friend hauled off to the chokey for his questionable choices of reading matter. I pulled them out from the back of my wardrobe, thinking as Snape watched me do so that I would now need a new hiding place. He all but snatched them from my hands, turning their pages greedily.
‘Here,’ he said, thrusting an open page at me, ‘here’s one requiring the sacrifice of just such a girl, and over the page here instructions on prolonging one’s life by spilling the blood of a red-headed virgin. I presume she …’
He raised an eyebrow. ‘We live in modern times, Lupin.’
‘I am sure she was … I mean, is!’ I was flustered at the suggestion. Snape always has to push, always enjoying shocking others.
‘One should never assume,’ he said calmly, flicking through pages, ‘though I suppose we cannot rule it out. Hmm, and there’s another potential one here, and this one – except no, that’s not nearly potent or dramatic enough for him.’
We continued studying the books for a while, making hasty notes as to the ones we thought Voldemort might possibly be attempting. Several of the rituals described in the books quite turned my stomach and once we were done I had the overpowering urge to scrub my hands clean, and not just from the dust that Snape’s older books seem to have ingrained. With these tomes I fear to imagine what filth has seeped onto their covers given the nature of the Dark instructions they bear within them.
I was quite disturbed at the number of possible rituals we had found involving seventh daughters of seventh daughters, and particularly by their gruesome contents. Snape seemed more irritated that he couldn’t narrow it down further. He stalked up and down, pausing suddenly in front of the remains of his experiments from the night before. Crystals had formed along one of his tubes and he studied them.
‘This is a very good potion,’ he mused aloud. ‘Very effective, perhaps even more so than I anticipated.’
This is probably the closest Snape has ever come to admitting he was wrong. Feeling gallant, I decided not to mention it out loud.
‘Which tells us what?’ I asked, a sudden hope striking me. ‘Is there perhaps some extremely rare ingredient that he could only obtain from one particular place?’
‘Regrettably they are common enough ingredients, Lupin, but unless he’s had time to establish a very good herb garden of his own he had to buy them somewhere. The quality of the coriander is rather familiar – Slug and Jigger’s finest stock, if I’m not mistaken. They use a particular Hippogriff manure to grow it.’ He rose, snatching his cloak from where it lay across a footstool and tugging it on in a swirl of black fabric. ‘Come on, Lupin. We have a pressing need to visit Diagon Alley!’
Diagon Alley was much the same as ever, full of witches and wizards on their own busy errands. Above and behind the leaning shop fronts could be seen the great chimneys of muggle industry, belching smoke into the sky. Thankfully, our wizarding streets were kept clean of the awful smog the factories caused but I was all the more aware of it when we ventured onto the highways and byways of muggle London. I still remember too well the case of the murderer who found the great smogs the perfect cover for his crimes, though of course Snape caught him in the end.
We entered Slug and Jigger’s through the shop door, the little bell attached to it tinkling merrily. From the obsequious smile on Mr Jigger’s face as we did it was clear that Snape was one of his most valued customers. He put down whatever foul mess he had been grinding together and, with a quick wipe of his hands against his apron, sidled over to us.
‘Mister Snape,’ he greeted, ‘and Doctor Lupin. How good it is to see you again.’
Snape merely nodded, never generally one for civilities. ‘We need to know whether anyone purchased certain ingredients from your shop, say three weeks ago or so.’
‘We sell a lot of ingredients to a lot of people, ha ha,’ Jigger said nervously.
‘Coriander,’ said Snape, ‘rosemary and thyme. Ashwinder eggs. Perhaps you may have felt they were … unlikely customers.’
‘Love potions?’ Jigger looked thoughtful. ‘Now that you say that I think there were two. Rough couple of chaps, not exactly the sort one would expect to be buying ingredients for a love potion.’ The apothecary twitched his lips into a grim smile. ‘Then again, I suppose they are exactly the sort who would have need of them, ha ha.’
‘Could you describe them?’ Snape asked.
‘Certainly.’ Jigger drummed his fingers on the countertop. ‘Big chaps, taller than you Mr Snape and even your companion there. Burly too – not the sort of fellow I’d like to get into a fight with. Not that I like to get into fights, ha ha. Beyond that I’m not so sure. I was rather too busy being careful that they weren’t making off with half of my stock in their grubby pockets.’
Snape frowned. ‘They didn’t call each other by name or anything?’
Jigger thought for a moment. ‘Not that I recall.’
‘I need to see them,’ Snape said. ‘Would you permit me to view the memory myself?’
Jigger looked nervous. I didn’t blame him in the slightest; my companion’s intensity can be intimidating.
‘I assure you that I will go no further than that particular memory,’ Snape said calmly. ‘And I give you leave to spit in my next three orders of beetle eyes if I do.’
I knew the apothecary wouldn’t dare but the idea seemed to ease his nerves.
‘Very, ha ha, well,’ he agreed, nodding his head.
Snape raised his wand. ‘Legilimens,’ he whispered, eyes staring into Jigger’s and gleaming like dark jewels.
They remained like this for some minutes, locked in silent discourse. Snape’s face remained pale and impassive, his glittering black eyes the only sign of the spell he was casting. Jigger’s countenance twitched faintly; a jerky, awkward counterpart to my friend’s stoic mask. I fidgeted with my cane. As impressive as Snape’s abilities are they are somewhat tedious when one is not involved.
Finally, just as I was beginning to worry, the spell broke. Snape released Jigger from his gaze, blinking and looking around the shelves for a moment to allow the apothecary to regain his composure. Jigger leant against his counter, breaths coming fast and jerky. Thankfully, he calmed himself before I had to aid him in my professional capacity.
‘We had best be off,’ Snape said, turning to me. ‘I fear we still have much to do. Thank you, Mr Jigger. You may count on my custom another time.’
He swept out of the door in his customary fashion, leaving me to mutter another thank you to the still somewhat shocked apothecary and scurry after my companion.
‘Well?’ I demanded on catching up with him. ‘Who was it?’
He pulled on his bowler hat with elegant hands. ‘A pair of thugs by the names of Crabbe and Goyle. They’re known to the Aurors but have never been involved with anything more than petty crime. If we can only…’ He stopped mid sentence.
‘Can only what?’ I asked.
‘Great Scott!’ he suddenly ejaculated. ‘The game’s afoot, Lupin. This way!’
He grasped my sleeve and pulled me to follow as he darted down the street. I couldn’t see what had so urgently stolen his attention and anyway was soon caught up with apologising to each passer-by Snape pressed aside in his single-minded pursuit. It is a constant frustration to me how my friend forgets his social proprieties when he becomes involved with a case. I am frequently in the position of having to make amends for his rudeness.
‘What is it, old thing?’ I asked breathlessly, hard pressed to catch up.
‘The very men,’ he said, hurrying around a corner with me close behind. ‘Crabbe and Goyle themselves – see those two large gentlemen just going down Baker Lane?’
I squinted ahead, making out two burly figures turning the corner ahead of us. ‘That’s a piece of good fortune,’ I said as we followed, only to find that the two men had stopped and were waiting for us. They did not look particularly welcoming. ‘And what do you suggest we do now?’
Snape had the grace to look a little contrite. ‘I must admit I neglected to plan this far,’ he said.
Crabbe cracked his knuckles in a way that I don’t believe was intended to be friendly and moved forward menacingly. Goyle wasn’t far behind.
‘One each?’ I suggested brightly. ‘It only seems fair.’
‘By all means,’ Snape agreed with a bow. ‘First to knock his out buys the next bottle of Firewhiskey?’
Then the thugs were on us and battle was joined.
I know little of Snape’s upbringing – he is an intensely private man, even to his closest companions, and I rather suspect it does not fit with his public image as a gentleman detective – but it certainly taught him to fight, and not with a well-bred man’s fisticuffs. I learned to do anything to stop my opponent in the army but Snape seemed to have that instinct already inbred.
None of us involved in that scuffle wished to attract the attention of the Aurors by use of our wands; we certainly could not prove that Crabbe and Goyle had committed any crimes and insisting that they were working for a dead criminal mastermind would not have done us any favours in the eyes of the law. Inspector Shacklebolt of Scotland Yard may be favourable to us but he is too fair-minded to arrest two chaps just because they are obviously ‘wrong ‘uns.’
Snape was ducking and diving, his lithe body twisting away from Goyle’s blows. I am not nearly so elegant, though I fancy I am the more physical combatant. Snape prefers to battle with wand or word, resorting to physical violence only when necessary. Unfortunately, both Crabbe and Goyle turned out to be surprisingly agile fighters. I was hard pressed to keep up with Crabbe myself. I landed a hard crack against the side of his knee with my stick while he in return knocked me backwards with a blow to the jaw. I launched myself back at him, sending us both to the ground. As I looked across I could see Snape having similar trouble with his opponent, having been pinned up against the wall by the titanic figure. Snape soon sent him reeling, though, with a blow no gentleman should be proud of but which is certainly most efficacious.
I wrapped my arm about Crabbe’s throat, hoping to choke the blighter into unconsciousness. I am not a violent man by nature but life as a military doctor has taught me its uses. Being Snape’s chronicler and all too often right hand man has accustomed me to returning such inclemency in similar fashion. Before my chokehold could prove effective on the thick neck, however, I was unceremoniously thrown off. I skidded some way down the street and landed against a wall near my companion, who lay huddled with an arm wrapped about his middle.
‘Damn you for bastards,’ he spat, quite shocking me.
The two thugs took one look at him drawing his wand and the vicious expression on his face and fled round the corner. I pulled myself up slowly, managing to hobble after them in vain pursuit. They disapparated midway down the street.
‘Well, that was useless,’ I grumbled.
‘Not at all, Lupin,’ Snape said, pushing himself gracefully to his feet. ‘Mr Goyle kicked me quite heavily in the stomach during our scuffle.’
‘And you consider that profitable?’
‘Quite.’ Snape plucked at the front of his robes. ‘There was mud on his shoe, quite unlike that from the city streets. Together with the twist of grass I observed to be caught in his shoelaces I deduce that he has been out of the city recently. This,’ he held up the pinch of dirt he had scraped from his robe front between finger and thumb, ‘may be the very clue we need!’