The Case of the Blown-Up Cottage

Part 11

by Cyberwolf (wolf at

'He should have been a Slytherin,' Genevieve Malfoy thought, half in irritation, half in admiration.
She was of course referring to Lock Holmes, and this, incidentally, wasn't the first time she had thought about that. And what had set off the observation this time was how well Lock was covering his tracks.
It had been two months since she'd first suspected her friend - as much as the term could apply - of being up to something. And, contrary to how things usually went, she'd found out very little since then.
She was sure of one thing, though. Lock was looking for something. And he needed access to the Restricted Section to find it.
Genevieve sighed, and leaned her cheek against one slim hand. She cocked her head to the side, thoughtfully regarding the boy across the Hall.
'What, Lock? What are you looking for?'
"Here you go, sir," and Lock placed three tightly-rolled scrolls onto Dumbledore's desk, each scroll at least five feet long and covered with the even, flourish-less writing of his bespelled quill.
The redhaired professor looked up and smiled at Lock. "Punctual as always, Mr Holmes." He took the scrolls, depositing them into a drawer already full of Lock's research. He'd have to dedicate yet another drawer to him soon.... "This will be your last drop-off for quite some time, isn't it?"
"Yes, sir," Lock said. Christmas break was coming up, and he would be heading back to Sussex to spend it with his family. He'd actually been tempted to spend it here, at Hogwarts - he had some research to do, after all - but the thought of his mother's disappointment (and ire) halted that notion. Even if he had to put up with Mycroft.
"Are you leaving on the train tomorrow, then?"
Lock nodded.
"Well, I suppose I had better give you your present now."
Lock's eyes widened. "Sir....?" he stammered, for once at a loss. He began to back away, feeling uncomfortable. "Um, don't have to...."
"Really, Lock, it's nothing. Consider it part of your salary for your research. Why not? You've more than exceeded my expectations, and I am considerably further along in my project, thanks to you."
"But sir, I...I...."
Dumbledore, though not prone to yelling and looming and inspiring fear like certain other professors whom Lock could name, seemed somehow to always get his way. There were very few students who turned in late homework two times in a row in his class.
Which was probably why Lock found himself heading back to his dorm with a small gift-wrapped box in his pocket. He'd open it at home.
He smiled. That Professor Dumbledore was a good chap. Not because of the present - Lock had always enjoyed his class, because it was obvious the professor really knew what he was doing. And of course, as Dumbledore himself had put it: 'I am considerably further along in my project thanks to you.'
Quid pro quo, after all.
When the Hogwarts Express puffed into Hogsmeade after the Christmas break, it disgorged crowds of Hogwarts students who were noticeably quieter and more subdued than when they had departed for home. Fear could be seen, with varying degrees, in their eyes.
Except one boy's. Lock Holmes, his Hogwarts robes uncharacteristically rumpled, stalked into the Great Hall with set face and grim eyes.
Dumbledore looked at the student he had bid goodbye to only weeks ago, and sighed. Of all the things to happen....
AN: I just realized that Lock's school environment is highly implausible. For one thing, it's coed.
Um...could you just pretend that the wizarding world were much more liberal than the Muggle world in the 19th Century?

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