The Case of the Blown-Up Cottage

Part 9

by Cyberwolf (wolf at

AN: Am feeling high due to b-ball team trouncing rivals in another match. Yay! ^_^ Have some friends - although I'm feeling a little reluctant to use that word - becoming very bitter about their team losing, though. (sigh)

Wolfie: Yes, and I'm sure everyone's simply fascinated by the life and times of Cyberwolf, but do you think we could get on with the story?

Right. Sorry.
Albus Dumbledore, the young Transfigurations teacher of Hogwarts, strode down the corridor briskly, his robes flapping round his ankles. He saw a tall boy emerging from the library and called out to him.
"Mr Holmes! A word, if you please."
The boy turned to face him, suspicion in his blue eyes. "How may I help you, Professor?"
Albus examined the boy. Always lean, even as a first-year, Lock was looking positively gaunt now, and skin usually at least slightly tanned was almost as pale as Gibeon - who was called Floury by the students due to his white, never-see-the-sun complexion. But Albus knew that Holmes had a positive horror of the Hospital Wing, and any suggestions that he have anything to do with it. Rather ironic, considering that he ended in Matron's clutches more often than any of his yearmates....
Albus held his tongue, but decided to have a word with Lock's Head of House.
"It's come to my attention that you've been spending a lot of time in the library, Mr Holmes," he began.
Lock stiffened.
Albus, seeing this, hastened to reassure the boy. "I'm not saying this to censure you, lad. What I meant is that, I've need of a research assistant, and Master Gibeon said that of all the students in the school, you'd most likely fit."
Lock relaxed slightly. He stuck his hands into the pockets of the uniform trousers, trying to affect a casual stance while inside his mind raced. If he played his cards right...
"Research assistant?" he repeated, lightly.
"Yes. You would report to my office every Monday, after classes, and I would give you a list of topics. After a week, you'd give me the results of the research, and I'd give you new topics. In return, I'm willing to extend you extra credit in Transfiguration class - " (not that the boy needs it, he thought to himself wryly) " - and a monthly stipend of three galleons."
Of course he'd say yes. Not for the credit or for the three galleons - but because research assistants, he knew, got unlimited access to the restricted section. But it wouldn't do to appear so excited about it, so...
"Could I answer you tomorrow morning, sir?" he asked, making sure to sound properly uncertain and yet respectful, as if he were afraid of the offer being taken away.
"Of course, Mr Holmes. Send me word by owl...I believe you have one?"
"No, sir...I have a hawk."
Albus looked a little startled. "A hawk?"
"I learned falconry at home, with my brothers, sir," Lock explained. He smiled dryly. "My father was insistent. So when the time came for me to go to Hogwarts, and I chose my familiar, I decided to choose an animal I was familiar with."
"Oh," Albus said. He shook his head once, as if to clear it. So what if the boy had an unusual familiar? He knew there were two Gryffindors with canine companions, instead of the more usual rat-or-owl-or-cat, and the number of Slytherins with reptiles....
"I hope to hear from you soon, Mr Holmes," he said, and then took out a pocket watch. "Dear me. It seems we've missed supper. My fault, for keeping you out talking," he told Lock. Lock, who knew very well that even if Dumbledore hadn't come round he would have skipped dinner anyway in the library, opened his mouth to protest but was cut off as Albus waved his wand and a tray of food materialized from thin air.
"Not quite up to Hogwarts standard, but I'm told my food-creation spells are edible," Albus told the boy. "Eat up!" he said cheerily, before walking away. 'Anything to fatten that boy up,' he thought. 'He's beginning to look like a starved hippogriff.'
He then scolded himself for sounding like the Matron. Lock Holmes wasn't even a member of his House - he was under Professor Ducaine, the Charms teacher and Head of Ravenclaw House. Why was he so concerned about this one boy?
Because, one part of him said, Lock reminded him very much of himself in his younger days. Not exactly - Albus had been shy as a boy, but not antisocial, whereas Lock never seemed to exhibit shyness - the opposite actually - but tended to be a loner nonetheless. But in some ways....
Lock looked down at the tray still floating in front of him. He picked up a chicken drumstick and took a cautious bite.
'Hmm. Needs salt.'
He did, however, finish the food.
(sighs) Can't get the dialogue right. I've never tried to write 19th Century style, so... oops for any anachronistic slang.
I'm glad you like the Lock name. Maureen, you've given me an idea for one source of Holmes' dislike of the fairer sex... ^_^ Speaking of Sherlock's name, I was just over at the house of a schoolmate, and I met their adorable golden cocker spaniel - Watson! As me and my other groupmates cooed over him, and he made the most of huge brown eyes to get food, I mentioned that I found his name interesting. Were any of them Sherlock Holmes fans? Not really, was the answer, but the neighbor was, and had a huge stand-offish German Shepherd named Sherlock. So....
Just a little vignette.

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