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The Adventure of the Malfoy Animagus, Part 2 of 2 - Wemyss's Appalling Hobby:
From the Party Guilty of Committing 'Gate of Ivory, Gate of Horn'
wemyss
wemyss
The Adventure of the Malfoy Animagus, Part 2 of 2

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I had immediately despatched an owl to Holmes upon the conclusion of my colloquy with young Mr Brown, setting forth his statement and the conclusions to be drawn from it.  The next two hours, in which I interviewed the household, from the elf to the mistress, not overlooking even Mr Brown’s mother’s uncle, an elderly papist clergyman of Chesterton, in Huntingdonshire, who lived with the family and was seventy years in age and bedridden, gave me no cause to modify my views or add to the report I had made.  Nor did the gossip I was able to overhear at the local public-house, where I combined surreptitious investigation with my own recruitment, a simple but excellent repast of ale and cheese.

 

Upon my return to Baker Street, I discovered that Holmes had been no more idle in body than in mind, for in our consulting-room-cum-study sat a pretty young lady of evident breeding and grace, whom my friend was watching dispassionately as he distilled something in his chemical apparatus.  She was a fair creature, rather slender, in soft mauve, with a fall of lace beginning just under her piquantly-pointed chin, her graceful neck swathed; her posture was excellent, and her cornflower eyes very fine beneath their blonde lashes.

 

‘Watson,’ said he, ‘you come most punctually upon your hour.  Having had it nosed about that we were interested in the evil doings of one Abraxas Malfoy, I have been rewarded in the presence of one who seeks our aid, complaining of the man’s behaviour.  She gives her name as Miss Evadne Russell; Miss Russell, my friend and colleague, Dr Watson.’

 

‘Miss Russell.’  My mind was yet full of my Norfolk adventure, in a land upon which the earls and dukes of Bedford and of Russell had so deeply impressed their stamp.  ‘Are you by any chance of the noble East Anglian family of that name?’

 

‘I must disclaim that rank,’ said she, in a low, pleasant voice, soft, yet with a depth rare in woman.  ‘My family are from Huntingdonshire, near the village of Yaxley –’

 

‘Rather than near to Chesterton,’ said Holmes, insinuatingly.  ‘Your pardon,’ he went on, and to my astonishment, took up the hunting crop in which his wand was commonly concealed, and, in three swift moves, Stunned our fair visitor, bound her to her chair with Incarcerous, and sealed the room.

 

‘Holmes!’

 

‘Come, come, Watson!  And you with an experience of the fairer sex, so-called, extending over many nations and what you are pleased to call three separate continents – I presume you mean thus to include Europe and Asia under a single heading?’

 

‘Really, Holmes –’

 

‘You mustn’t mind my chaff, my dear fellow!’  I noted that my friend’s eyes were glittering with that excitement that so often attended a crisis in affairs.  ‘I rely upon your experience, as a man of the world.  You know my methods, Watson.  Apply them to our fair visitor.’

 

I was overborne.  Little of this incident pleased me, yet I could not suspect Holmes of any ill intent, and I knew of old that it was his gift to see further than I.  ‘I cannot credit, Holmes, that the lady is suspect.  Yet as you insist….  She is between twenty and three-and-twenty years in age, well-formed, and a trifle tall for her sex.  Her countenance is not that of a woman who resides wholly in Town, yet it is by no means weathered; she is clearly a woman of the upper-middle-classes, at least, with a country residence, and quite possibly rides to hounds.’

 

‘Sound enough.’

 

‘I am further led to that speculation in that her hands, even thus gloved, suggest rather more muscular development than would otherwise be expected in a gentlewoman, although the labouring classes find many women engaged in manual work.  I should say that she has had occasion to hold a steady rein on a spirited hunter from time to time.’

 

‘In conjunction with the conclusion from her countenance, that is perfectly rational.’

 

‘She appears further to be in excellent general health, which again is consistent with a competent fortune and gentle breeding.’

 

‘Perfectly sound.’

 

‘Her voice is low, in both senses.  This is hardly conclusive, but it certainly does not contradict my prior suggestions.’

 

‘Quite so.’

 

‘She appears to be rather more slender than many women of her class, yet there are suggestions of fine muscular development in her, again consistent with such a life.’

 

‘True enough.  And?’

 

‘I can go no further, Holmes, save to ask whether she is indeed under any glamour or the effect of Polyjuice.’

 

‘I can assure you that she is not.’  With another slashing movement of his crop, he cast an Ennervate upon our visitor, and at the same time, a Silencio.  ‘You have seen, Watson, and, in some measure, you have observed.  Yet I fear that even you have missed the most fundamental point of all.  Surely you will recall the sad imposition practised upon Colonel Pickthorne in Siam?’

 

‘Oh, Holmes!  Surely not –’

 

‘I fear so, Watson.  Allow me to introduce to you, not Miss Evadne Russell, but rather Mr Evan Rosier, whom I shall now introduce to the wonders of Veritaserum.’

 

‘Good God, Holmes.’

 

‘Yes, I had hoped to catch a spy – for surely Rosier here and Malfoy should wish desperately to have intelligence of our plans – when first I noised our interest about; and I thought it best that one of us be here to meet their agent whilst the other was safe elsewhere, lest we should both of us be overpowered and perhaps murdered.  No, no, Watson, you must see that I dispensed with my trusty protector and man of action on this occasion, not for want of any confidence in you, but so that one of us was safely away from what might so easily have been a dangerous encounter.’

 

‘Really, Holmes, I mayn’t be your equal as a reasoner, but surely I have established a right to be at the point of danger.’

 

‘Indeed you have done – drink up, Rosier, or I shall be regretfully compelled to use force – but of the two of us, you are the more useful and less well to be put in danger.  The Unspeakables should never have forgiven me.  And you are, confess it, my dear fellow, the more susceptible of us.’

 

‘You foresaw that the spy should come en travestie?’

 

‘I thought it likely that it would be Rosier, and I suspected the hold Malfoy has upon him, and the predilections of Rosier’s upon which Malfoy preys.  Now, young fellow, state your name.’

 

Reluctantly, but powerless against the compulsion of Veritaserum, our prisoner answered.  ‘Hilary Evan Rosier.’

 

‘And you are the partner – in all senses – of Abraxas Malfoy in crime – in all senses.’

 

‘Yes.  No.  You speak of crime –’

 

‘Your personal passions are no business of mine, sir.  And yet: do you not assist Abraxas Malfoy in ravishing women and boys?’

 

‘No, Mr Holmes!  Not – it is not assistance.  Yes, I am complicit, in covering the matter from view.  But you must understand!  Abraxas … it is like lycanthropy, Mr Holmes.  He cannot bear that the true passions of his heart cannot be expressed in society, and ever and again, there comes the fit.  Afterwards, he is like a child for several hours, a child who has accepted his father’s punishment and is now purged of his wrongs, and he is able to love and be loved, by me and by those who choose – mark that: choose – to join us when we want companions, for perhaps a month together until the fit is upon him once more.’

 

I thought of my friend Stamford’s diagnosis, and of the sadness that inhered in such unfortunates as Thaddeus Sholto and even indeed the vicious John Clay, and felt an unwonted pity for the man.

 

‘Yet how do you excuse your predations, in turn, upon your fellow ill-starred victims of these predilections?’

 

Evan Rosier hung his head.  His very grief was womanly; it was easy to see that he not only passed as, but conceived himself, a young gentlewoman.  ‘That is all Milverton, Mr Holmes.  Abraxas and I are but his agents, as we must be, for we are as deeply in his toils as any.’

 

‘Have you some way of summoning your – partner – here?’

 

‘Yes.  It was arranged that if I fell into trouble – there is a Charm –’

 

‘I shall trouble you shortly to execute it – ah, of course, that fine cameo brooch.  Watson, if you will take a position by the Apparation point?  Thank you.  And now, pray, Miss Rosier –’

 

Hearing himself thus called, our prisoner smiled with a queer gratitude, and touched the charmed adornment that would fetch his lover.  Immediately, with a crash, not one body only, but two, fell to our floor, and Holmes and I seized them both and bound them fast.

 

‘I see,’ said Holmes, dryly, ‘that Mr Milverton does not altogether trust you, Mr Malfoy.  Nor do I, yet I trust you better than I do Milverton.  You might easily have been splinched, Apparating with a Muggle clinging to your skirts in this fashion.’

 

‘He seized upon me as I moved to Apparate,’ said Abraxas Malfoy.  I surveyed our newest captives.  Abraxas Malfoy was a fine figure of a young Wizard, so blond as to be almost white-headed, well set up, with an air of arrogant mastery; yet his eyes, as he looked to see that Evan Rosier was unharmed, were full of care and longing, and perhaps something akin to love.

 

As for Milverton, he was a remarkable specimen.  Solid, well-fleshed, prosperous, and dignified in his outward appearance, with the look of a solid citizen of West-Country antecedents and Westminster polish, he appeared to the casual glance the embodiment of British virtues, a Conservative, a churchman, and a gentleman.  It was only upon closer examination that one recoiled as from the reptile he curiously evoked.

 

‘I think,’ said Holmes, ‘that it will save time if I set out what you have done, and by what means; you may correct me in any trifling error of detail I may make.  Watson, do you administer Veritaserum to Malfoy.  Milverton, here, is a Muggle, or perhaps a Squib of some sort, yet there are means to compel him to be truthful.’  And as I forced three drops of potion upon Malfoy’s reluctant tongue, Holmes, as good as his word, cast upon the Milverton creature several spells that I had thought exclusive to my department.

 

‘Malfoy and Miss Rosier found themselves drawn together, perhaps at school; both were no doubt compelled to marry others, against their inclination.  Neither, I think, founded the establishments in Guisborough Mews; I should think there has been something of the sort there since before there was a London.  When the two were first come of age, and established with competent fortunes, it was natural enough that they purchase the places, both for their own better security and as property not without value.  These considerations are however hardly material.  Yet mark, Watson, how once more the grotesque is the precursor to the criminal!

 

‘Nor is it within my remit to reprove their private morality.  Their psychological imperatives, Malfoy’s particularly, are rather a matter for an alienist than an Auror.’

 

‘You shan’t convict me, Mr Holmes.’  Malfoy stated the thing as an assertion, not as a plea, but his proud tone could not conceal the quaver in his voice.

 

‘Your family, Malfoy, possess few claims to distinction, or indeed to any consideration.  It does, however, possess a vulgar amount of Galleons, quite possibly sufficient, before our corrupted Wizengamot, to buy your acquittal: that is quite true.  Fortunately, my instructions render the question unimportant.  I have said that what these two youths may do in private is their own business; but, Miss Rosier, mark me well, your almost womanly loyalty to your lover has been the downfall of you both.  You accommodated his illness of mind and the fashion in which he purged himself of his guilt.  And you continued to do so even when Malfoy, with low, animal cunning, found it safer to relieve his impulses upon Muggles than to risk a third charge’s being brought to the Aurors.’  It was evident upon Malfoy’s countenance that my friend had reasoned aright.

 

Rosier wrung his hands in their ropes.  ‘I confess it.  I love him – what could I do save support him?’

 

Holmes, remorseless, was unmoved by this distress.  ‘In so doing, you and he together violated the Statute of Secrecy – and, what is more, you opened yourself to Milverton’s blackmail.  Worse still, his hold over you compelled you to engage in blackmail of your own, and worse than blackmail: in the manufacture of evidence of crime and dishonour against perfectly innocent Witches and Wizards.’

 

‘How –’

 

‘How do I know, Malfoy?  And how did you compass this?  The deductions were simple enough, once the good Watson had amassed the data for me.  By excluding the impossible, the answer became evident.  It suffices between us that I say that you have acted as a vile, disgusting cockroach, and that were it not for my peremptory instructions, I should crush you under my slipper like the insect you are.’

 

I saw the shot go home, and thought of the infestation of vermin in Norfolk.

 

‘As it stands, I am sorely tempted to Transfigure you permanently into a large rodent and Banish you to the Isle of Sumatra.  That, however, might exceed even the most liberal construction of my orders.  No, the question is now what to do with the two of you, without further injury to the innocent.  Watson is accredited a Muggle physician as well as a Healer, and is an Unspeakable; I am not the least useful of Aurors.  Between us, we could strip you both of your magic, permanently, to teach you not to violate the Statute of Secrecy.  Ah!  Ah!  Allow me, pray, to finish.  The fabricated, and any actual, blackmailing materials you possess, are, I presume, under Fidelius?  And you are one another’s Secret Keepers, of course.  You were wise not to trust to locks and codes, Runes and Arithmancy, Malfoy: what one man may cipher, however learned an Arithmancer he be, another may decrypt.  Now, I can free you both of Milverton’s hold upon you, and remove the temptation to indulge in blackmail; I can prevent your resorting to your Animagus forms; and you, Malfoy, I can free of the hag-ridden guilt that has forced you to revenge your nature upon the innocent.  Will you accept that judgement?’

 

‘Will we – we will still know one another?’  To my surprise, it was Malfoy rather than Rosier who asked.

 

‘Your relationship will not be altered.’

 

‘Then we abide your judgement.  But what of the Muggle?’

 

‘I’ve heard a good deal, you know!’  The man’s crowing was contemptible.  ‘And if you don’t place these two inverts, these pathics, in the dock or the witness box, you cannot do anything to me, Mr Holmes.  Indeed, you’ll find yourself in Queer Street, abducting me and keeping me here in this fashion, sir!’

 

‘I think not,’ replied Holmes, with fastidious distaste.  ‘On this occasion, it is true, I am constrained not to obliterate you, but I can certainly Obliviate you.  Good Heavens, man, think you I had revealed Watson’s position, and to a Muggle at that, were I not prepared to wipe your memories as a schoolboy wipes a slate?  No, Milverton, you will survive this encounter, if only just; but I strongly caution you that it be the last, for next time, I shall not stay my hand, and you will have but little time to repent your folly ere you die.’

 

As Holmes had pronounced, so we acted, and within the quarter of the hour we had removed all memory of the Wizarding world and his commerce with it from the mind of the loathly Milverton, and adjusted the memories of Malfoy and Rosier so that they should not recall what was best forgotten.  Once we were free of their presence in our rooms, Holmes chuckled.  ‘Do you, my dear Watson, send an owl to Lestrade, and – I thought it best not to mention this to our late guests – instruct the Aurors with him to render the houses of ill-repute in Guisborough Mews, Unplottable and forever vacant.  No-one shall ever discover the cache of false blackmailing secrets even by accident, I think; and it will go hard with Milverton if he is found searching for them.  I shall communicate our success to Lord Salisbury and the appalling Spavin, and then – there is a new virtuoso, a pupil of Joachim’s, who possesses a Guarneri del Gesu and is giving a recital tonight.  We shall be in good time if we leave in the next half-hour.’

 

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END

 

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8 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
femmequixotic From: femmequixotic Date: June 16th, 2010 05:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, dearest, this is brilliant. I love it, and I love the way you twine the Holmesian and Potter universes so very well.

My heart might have broken a bit for Rosier and how very much he loved Abraxas and how difficult it must have been for him not only because of his sexuality but his gender issues as well. How deftly Holmes handled that may have just made me fall a bit more in love with him than I already was. (And do I need to add how utterly canon your Holmes and Watson are? Dear God. It's almost as if ACD himself were writing in the Potterverse.)

This is now part of my Malfoy family canon. :D

(BTW, Noe and I encountered a portrait of Lord Burghley in the National Portrait Gallery today and I may just have flailed a bit about your fic there. *g* And snickered at the half-Goblin reference. :D)

Oh, and while in Reykjavik, we came across the following signs and just had to snap a photo for you:



Please write more wizarding Holmes, dear. I am utterly and completely charmed.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: June 16th, 2010 08:18 pm (UTC) (Link)

Ta, love.

And you've no idea - or, rather, you and a few others will have an idea - how sodding difficult it was to do this whilst preserving Watson's Late Victorian voice.
femmequixotic From: femmequixotic Date: June 18th, 2010 02:58 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Ta, love.

Well, you did it brilliantly. As always. I am utterly entranced with your voice, dear.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: June 18th, 2010 03:20 pm (UTC) (Link)

You're too kind.

Thankee, lass.
noeon From: noeon Date: June 18th, 2010 02:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
And here I was, wondering what I'd said in my summary comment that was so offensive. And the answer is NOTHING. My comment did not post yesterday.

I'm reconstructing here from memory and notes. I know I began with the fact that I read your comment back to femme (above) about the difficulties of keeping Watson's voice AFTER I wrote my comment on the first part praising what you'd done. We both were talking about the exceptional quality of it. Also, yes, Lord Salisbury is a charming read in your hand. MOAR, as they say in the peanut gallery.

The notes I have read, "Melding of Holmesian and Potterverses: seamless historical work. Lovely Watson, just scrumptious (and of course he's an Unspeakable - it's always the seemingly bumbling, is it not?) The speed of Holmes and his genuine magic in addition to deduction - the interplay of Wizarding and Muggle worlds and in the end, the sadness and pathology at the heart of the characters is beautifully expressed in almost 19th - 20th century sexology language. Also grotesque. An incisive look at what happens when people do not have freedom to express natural traits - pathology and hidden subcultures and the vulnerability to predation."

Sorry for the missing feedback (and the time it took to get these up!)


wemyss From: wemyss Date: June 18th, 2010 02:36 pm (UTC) (Link)

Ah, the joys of LJ.

Thank you. And you are as ever at once incisive and encouraging. I am very fortunate in my readers.

I think the duke and the Browns will want to have their say in due course as well as did Watson.
red_day_dawning From: red_day_dawning Date: June 23rd, 2010 02:56 am (UTC) (Link)
Such a brilliant rendering of Watson's Victorian voice - I don't think I've ever seen it done so well. And I enjoyed the blending of the HP and the Holmes 'verses very much.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: June 23rd, 2010 12:34 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you, very much indeed.

You're very kind and I'm greatly obliged to you.
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