The Case of the Blown-Up Cottage

Part 10

by Cyberwolf (wolf at

AN: Don't speak French, so [ ] denotes dialogue or text that is supposed to be in French.
'Dear Professor Dumbledore:
'Thank you for your offer. I shall report to your office next Monday.
'Lock Holmes'
As Lock signed his name with a flourish of his eagle-feather quill, he felt the slight prick of talons on his shoulder as his hawk, with a loud bating of wings, settled down.
"Perfect timing, as always, Gray," Lock said, reaching one hand up to stroke his hawk's gray-feathered head. Perhaps naming the bird after his primary coloration wasn't the most original of ideas, but it was better than nothing. Gray, somewhat uncharacteristically of a raptor, made a noise that was not quite a croon but was certainly less harsh than the usual cries, and butted his head against his master's cheek.
Gray was not a normal hawk. His coloration and conformation were different from any of the species of raptors known by muggles; and he showed more intelligence and affection than most species. He had as much innate magic as a wizard's owl - the only difference between magical hawks and magical owls were that hawks were rarer, noisier and faster on the wing and much harder to train. That was why most wizards didn't take them as familiars - much more trouble when they could get as much benefit from an owl.
"Take this to Professor Dumbledore, Gray," he told his hawk, tying the scrap of parchment onto Gray's leg. Gray silently took off, the wind of his departure ruffling Lock's hair.
He returned his attention to breakfast. As he began to heap fried tomatoes onto his plate, he felt the wooden bench beneath him give slightly as another person settled their weight onto it. He turned his head to see Genevieve Malfoy sitting next to him.
Lock Holmes and Genevieve Malfoy were alike in many ways. Both were fifth-years who tended to act with the self-confidence of seventh-years; both were highly popular yet curiously crowd-shunning; both were top students, brilliant and clever, though Lock's grades were admittedly higher than hers. They even looked somewhat alike, with their thin, aquiline features and similar coloring - though Genevieve's blonde hair and blue eyes were paler than Lock's. Sometimes they seemed almost like siblings.
However, Genevieve Malfoy most certainly did not want to be considered as the sister of Lock Holmes.
Her family had moved to England when she was ten years old. Thus, when starting school she'd been plagued for her as-yet rudimentary English and her thick accent. Only one boy did not taunt her for her unfamiliarity with British life - Lock. He not only did not seem to mind her lack of English, but could also speak to her perfectly in her beloved French - one of the few students who could, and the only one without a British accent when they spoke it to mar her mother tongue. With his help she had improved her English skills until now, in the fifth year of their schooling, she could speak impeccable English with only the slightest trace of an accent - an accent she kept deliberately.
She still enjoyed talking in French to Lock whenever possible, though.
[Good morning, my friend,] she told the closest thing she had to a best friend.
[Why aren't you eating at your House table, Genevieve?] Lock asked, spooning some eggs into his mouth.
Genevieve, who was a Slytherin, grinned and snagged a piece of toast from the platter in front of her. [Why, Locky, can't I visit my very best friend in the world during breakfast? Especially since,] she gave a sigh so deep as to be mocking, [cruel Madame Fate has decreed this to be the dreadful day of separation.]
Lock looked blankly at her.
[No joint Ravenclaw-Slytherin classes, Locky,] she told him.
[Oh.] He returned to eating his breakfast. He kept one eye on her, though. Beneath her occasional bouts of female silliness - and that stupid nickname which was unfortunately beginning to be popular among the girls - lay a very sharp, very astute and - most of all - very cunning mind. She wouldn't have come over just to spout some dribble about the schedule.
Lock was right.
[So...] Genevieve said, leaning nearer to the blond boy, [What did you have Gray deliver?]
[A letter.]
[To whom?]
[....That's personal.]
[Has Locky finally fallen prey to the charms of the fairer sex? Is he writing love letters? Or sonnets? Or declarations of undying love? Perhaps an order for some item of jewelry, to impress the lady love?] she mock-squealed in excitement, clapping two slim white hands together. All around the Great Hall male heads turned to watch the beaming French girl with approval.
Lock's head turned as well, but his look was not so much approval as shocked horror that she could even suggest such a thing.
[It is most certainly not!] he said in rapid French -- unknowingly causing some nearby Hufflepuff girls, who thought that speaking French was utterly romantic, to giggle in unison.
[Then to whom is it addressed?] Genevieve rather thought that she could read her friend's expressions well, and she knew her earlier statement was not true. Not that she'd ever seriously considered the possibility...but still, it was nice to know.
Of course, now she had to know who he was writing to. It wasn't his family - he wouldn't mind telling her if that were the case. And, as already established, it wasn't a girl.
So who?
[My classes are about to start. I'll see you at lunch-time, Genevieve,] Lock said, nodding at her politely as he rose and left the Ravenclaw table.
"Lock!" she called out, rising as well, but those long legs of his took him quickly out of range. She walked back to her table, ignoring the looks of a vast number of the boys in Hogwarts. Her grandmother had been a quarter-Veela, and that tiny trace of blood still told.
Although it didn't really seem to work on Lock.
Well, she had other ways of finding out what she wanted to know.

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