Title: The Case of Missing Whisky
Rating: PG for big words
Category: Sherlock Holmes/Harry Potter crossover
Disclaimer: Nope. Don't own it. But it's fun to take them out for a test drive every now and then.
Author's note: Gallia est divisi in partes tres, et quoque storia mea.
Mrs. Hudson and I laid him on the sofa; she removed his shoes while I sought the trauma that had rendered him unconscious. I was at a loss to explain it. His heartbeat and breathing were regular, and there were no contusions or swellings on his head or torso. It wasn't until Mrs. Hudson began rubbing his forehead with a damp flannel that he began to stir.
"What, is that you, Watson?" His eyes slowly focused. "What has happened?"
I laughed with great relief. "I thought you were nearly for it, my dear chap! I was terrified that the red-haired man had fired a gun at you!"
"What red-haired man?"
"His hair probably looked brown to you in the dark, but in the street lamp it was most definitely red, or auburn if you prefer."
"I really don't know what you're talking about Watson." He shook his head.
"What the devil time is it?"
"It's nearly eleven, Holmes."
Holmes absently rubbed the bridge of his nose and stared at the grease paint that had rubbed off on his fingers. His eyes flicked around the room in wide-eyed panic before he was able to collect himself.
"I can't remember any of it Watson," he said softly. "The last thing I remember was having a chat with Wiggins, I believe." His eyes hardened.
"I presume they went to the Borough and did not bring enough information to satisfy me. I then sent for you and I stationed you to observe my incognito investigation, lest I befall whatever fate met the Irregulars. Apparently, my disguise was in vain."
I sighed in relief. "You remember, then."
"Not a bit of it, Watson," he snapped. He sat upright and made a move to stand, but Mrs. Hudson put a restraining hand on his shoulder.
"Now, Mr. Holmes, if you think I'm about to let you exhaust yourself after being out cold for nearly an hour, you've got another think coming."
He tried to wave her off, but she was firm.
"You will stay on that sofa until you've had a cup of tea and calmed yourself. Honestly, Mr. Holmes, I've never seen you this badly off. I'm sure the good doctor will agree that things will make far more sense once you've had a good night's sleep." She shook her head and remarked to me, "You'd think a man that clever would have a little more common sense about his own health." Tsking to herself, she went to fetch the tea.
Holmes sighed and lay back down.
"If I am to be confined to the study, will you at least fetch me a towel, several wet rags, and the bottle of mineral oil that you will find on my dresser, Watson? I should be far more relaxed in my own person, and a false beard is hardly conducive to such a state."
I did as he bade me, and returned to find Mrs. Watson fussing over him. He seemed quite relieved to escape her ministrations, and quickly set himself to the task of removing his disguise. While Mrs. Hudson poured the tea, I helped Holmes remove the wig and beard. When the last traces of grease paint had been scrubbed from his face and neck, he appeared much more at ease, though his silence led me to believe that he was as perplexed by the events of the evening as I.
When Mrs. Hudson was satisfied that Holmes was no longer a danger to himself, she suggested that we all get some sleep, a suggestion that both Holmes and I thought imminently sensible. I rose reluctantly to gather my things when Mrs. Hudson laid a gentle hand on my arm.
"Doctor Watson, it's very late, and I just wanted you to know that you're more than welcome to sleep in your old room, if you'd like. I'll wake you in time for you to get back to your practice for your morning patients."
"That is very kind of your, Mrs. Hudson, but I really should-" I cut myself off with a deep yawn.
The hand on my arm tightened.
"Honestly, a couple of grown men having to be put to bed like children," she exclaimed, leading me to my old room. She had already turned down the bed and laid out a nightshirt for me.
As I drifted off to sleep in the same bed I had spent so many nights as a bachelor, I silently thanked Mrs. Hudson for her foresight. It was the soundest sleep I had had in quite some time.
Holmes had been up and dressed for some time by the time Mrs. Hudson announced breakfast. His usual brisk manner had returned and he showed no sign of the previous night's trauma. He gestured for me to sit and bade me tell him of my observations. I told him my tale in as much detail as I could remember, and he began to ask me questions. He was at first exasperated by the fact that I could remember none of the details of the warehouse, but was quickly distracted by my description of the assailant.
"A purple smoking jacket?"
"Yes, Holmes, and green brocade knee-breeches. He wore a high-cut waistcoat made of the same material and a jabot of lace at his throat."
"What of his bearing? His demeanour?"
I thought for a moment.
"He seemed very alert and did not want to be seen. He moved with the kind of economy of movement that a boxer has, and must have been in excellent condition to have moved you without obvious effort. When he was no longer carrying you, he walked with a very forceful stride."
"And you are certain that the footprints he left matched the ones in Eddington's cellar?"
"Absolutely certain. His shoes were black, high-heeled, and decorated with silver buckles. If not for the outlandish colour of the smoking jacket, he could have stepped out of a nobleman's portrait from a hundred years ago. He was really quite extraordinary."
"You saw no sign of a weapon on his person or any potential source of the mysterious red light?"
"Not a thing."
"Interesting." He lapsed into thoughtful silence. It was not until I had finished my breakfast that he spoke again. "Watson, I will not keep you from your practice today, but I will require your presence here when you have finished with your last patients. Will being here at seven o'clock give you sufficient time?"
"Do you mean to take up the investigation so soon after last night? I say, Holmes, as a physician and your friend, I must protest!"
"Have no fear, Watson. I will not be taking up such strenuous exercise today, merely observation from your vantage point last night."
I gave him a hard look. "I shall never understand things the way you do, Holmes, but it is obvious to me that our man is a very dangerous person. I should feel much more comfortable if you were to take a few days off the investigation to recover from last night's fiasco. I would also recommend a sedative for your nerves."
"Dear Watson, your concern for my health does you credit, but you should know me well enough to realize that my nerves would be in far worse condition if I were to be confined to this flat when such a man as our red-haired thief is at large."
"Come now, Holmes, I'd much rather see Jones suffer through hours in that pestilent warehouse than you. Now that you've located the man, can't you hand the case back to Scotland Yard?"
"And let the most elusive quarry I have ever had the pleasure of tracking slip through that bungler's fingers? No, Watson. This is a job that requires subtlety and a delicate touch, neither of which are qualities any reasonable person could ascribe to Atheleny Jones.
I sighed, sensing defeat. "Is there nothing I can say that would convince you to stay at home today and rest?"
"Nothing, unless it was to tell me that you had secured the red-haired man as our dinner guest for this evening and that he was bringing the whisky."
"Very well, Holmes, I shall see you this evening at seven o'clock."
I bade him and Mrs. Hudson farewell and hired a hansom back to my practice. I arrived with just enough time before my first scheduled patient to change out of my rumpled clothes and unpack the accoutrements from our latest adventure.
I had left my revolver with Holmes, just to be on the safe side.
I spent my scant free minutes of the day mulling over the previous night's events. If Holmes was perplexed, I was utterly flummoxed. I could make nothing of what I'd seen. I briefly entertained thoughts of time-travel to explain the red-haired man and his idiosyncratic mode of dress, but I dismissed those as soon as they occurred.
That evening I felt none of the excitement that I felt the previous night, but felt an inexplicable sense of foreboding. It was with a relieved sigh that I observed Holmes' silhouette walking in front of the brightly lit study window. When I rang, Mrs. Hudson answered the door with a floury apron and a wide smile.
"You're just in time, Dr. Watson," said she. "I've been working on an honest-to-goodness feast since he returned home with the other gentleman."
I assumed Holmes had informed Eddington of the drastic turn his case had taken and invited him to dinner to discuss further investigation.
"Thank you, Mrs. Hudson. I shall join them in the study."
"How did you know that they were in—" she cut herself off with a shake of the head. "I declare, Doctor, you grow more and more like Mr. Holmes every day." She shooed me up the stairs and returned to the kitchen. I heard Holmes laughing behind the closed study door, so I knocked before entering.
"Come in, Watson! I'd know that officious-yet-respectful knock anywhere."
I entered the study, and my eye was quickly drawn to Holmes' chemical-stained desk, upon which was perched a large wooden duck where Holmes' well-used brass microscope had once stood. I looked to Holmes in bewilderment and noticed that a number of items around the room had been changed. One of the photographs on the wall had been replaced with a stunningly accurate reproduction of DaVinci's "La Gioconda," and the slipper near the fire that held Holmes' supply of pipe tobacco was now an attractively ornamented snuff box.
"Been doing a spot of redecorating, Holmes?" I asked.
"Indeed, Watson, though I have had a bit of help."
He smiled with a vigour I didn't expect from a man who had been inexplicably unconscious for over an hour the night before. Holmes' colour had improved significantly. While I marvelled at his resilient constitution, I noticed movement out of the corner of my eye, as the person seated by the fire stood to welcome me. When I turned to face him, I was unable to suppress a cry of horror. Resplendent in a bright green smoking jacket with a black velvet collar stood the red-haired man.
I was nearly as surprised to feel my friend's reassuring arm behind my back.
"Watson, I should like to introduce Mr. Albus Dumbledore, of the Ministry of Magic."
I felt the blood drain from my cheeks. "I beg you pardon, Holmes, but did you just say 'magic?'"
"Yes, Watson. Ministry of Magic, to be precise. The governing body of the British Magical Community."
Holmes waved his hand impatiently. "Of course, Watson. Wizards, witches, magic wands, dragons, goblins, spells, enchantments; it all must be hidden from the general populace. The 'Muggles,' as they call us. It wouldn't do for a gryphon to land in the middle of Broad Street, would it?"
My amazement and disbelief must have shown on my face, for the red-haired man –Dumbledore- gave me a sympathetic look and drew a slender wooden wand from the folds of his jacket.
"Dr. Watson, I owe you an apology. Mr. Holmes has informed me how admirably you coped with the stunning and memory spells I used on him last night. I cannot apologise for having used them, but I hope you will understand why it was necessary for me to do so."
"Think nothing of it," I said, finding an approximation of my normal speaking voice at last, and availing myself upon the sofa for support.
Holmes laughed and sat next to me. "I have had the great pleasure of Mr. Dumbledore's company for most of the afternoon. He has been most candid on his part in the disappearance of Eddington's whisky, and I now consider the case quite closed." He placed a reassuring hand on my forearm. "But my dear fellow, you have gone quite pale! Rest assured, Mr. Dumbledore means us no harm; quite the opposite, in fact. Mr. Dumbledore, if you would be so kind as to give Watson a practical demonstration?"
"I should be delighted." Dumbledore held aloft his wand. "There are many kinds of magical manifestation," he said impressively, "though all incidences of magic can generally be broken down into either Transfiguration, Charms, Potions, or Wandless."
He tapped his wand on the table lamp. To my amazement, it abruptly shrank into a confused looking hedgehog, which surveyed its surroundings sleepily before resting its head on its forepaws and falling asleep. Dumbledore tapped it a second time, and it was restored to its former state.
"Transfiguration is used to alter the form of pre-existing objects, while Charms are used to affect but not alter the shape of pre-existing objects." He flicked his wand in the air and the lamp rose into the air, floated around the room, and came to rest on the sideboard.
"Potions usually do not utilize the wand, but rather alter the inherent magical properties of their ingredients to suit virtually any purpose." He drew two glass vials from the inside of his jacket. The larger of the two contained a substance that was a rather ghastly yellow in hue, and the second contained a shimmering turquoise-coloured liquid. "This is a potion that allows me to take the appearance of another person for approximately one hour," he indicated the yellow one, "while the blue one will make me invisible for twenty minutes. As these are both very labour-intensive potions that contain expensive ingredients, I hope you will take my assurance as proof of what they do.
"Wandless magic is the most difficult to describe, as it encompasses many kinds of special abilities from the gift of prophecy to being able to being able to converse with certain animals. Few wizards and witches have these skills innately, though some wandless abilities can be learned and others approximated with a spell ors potion. Have you any questions?"
Holmes glanced at me inquisitively, and I attempted to pull my thoughts together. "Not about magic, exactly, Mr. Dumbledore, but I don't exactly understand what magic has to do with Eddington's stolen whisky."
Holmes cut in. "I should think that patently obvious, Watson, in light of Mr. Dumbledore's explanation. You yourself saw the inexplicably thick dust in the wine cellar, the untouched door lock, the odd habits and dress of Eddington's uncle, and even made the insightful suggestion that he and his mother's family were hiding something from Eddington and the other Billings relatives."
My jaw dropped. "Do you mean to say that Augustus Billings is a wizard?"
"A wizard, and part of a well-to-do magical family, Dr. Watson, on his mother's side," said Dumbledore.
I digested this for a moment. "It is no good; I cannot yet put the pieces together, and any further attempts should give me a frightful headache." I accepted the brandy Holmes gave me with a shaking hand. "Mr. Dumbledore, if you would be so kind as to start at the beginning of your involvement with this case, using as many small words as possible, I would be most grateful."
Dumbledore looked at me kindly and held out a tin that contained, to my surprise, red and white peppermint candies. "I find that mint does wonders for my concentration when I am faced with a vexing situation."
I took one, and found the familiar flavour quite calming.
"As you are aware, or in this case, were unaware, the magical community lives in secrecy from the Muggle population, and our government has passed many laws to protect magical and nonmagical citizens from mutual persecution. The rules are more fluid when it comes to wizards and witches that are born into nonmagical families, thankfully rare, or those who marry into nonmagical families, which happens occasionally, especially in heavily populated areas. Augusta Primus, Eddington's grandmother, did so against her family's objections. I do not know the particulars of the relationship between Augusta and Algernon Billings other than that it produced two children; a nonmagical daughter and a magical son."
Dumbledore threw a conspiratorial look my way. "Now, Dr. Watson, I have been most impressed by Mr. Holmes' capacity for divining the particulars of any given situation, thus far. Perhaps he would be so good as to offer a conjecture as to the reasons for the breach in the Billings household."
Holmes gave a wan smile. "My dear Dumbledore, it is most elementary; it could have been the plot from one of the symptomatically sentimental novels written with the sole purpose of titillating housewives. From Eddington we have had the facts; Amelia, the daughter, refused to marry a man of her mother's choosing and her father's reluctant approval. This points to someone of the magical community. Since Augusta married Billings against her parents' wishes, we may conclude that this marriage was to be an attempt to bridge the social gap between the magical and nonmagical worlds. However, on the eve of her arranged wedding, Amelia eloped with her music instructor; humiliating her mother, who had worked hard to secure such an advantageous match."
"Very good, Mr. Holmes."
Holmes smiled with equanimity. "You begin to understand why I have been called a wizard on several occasions myself, though I cannot claim the least amount of real magic in my methods. Only the twin powers of observation and reason. But we have strayed far from events of the actual 'theft.' Pray, tell us of your first correspondence with August Billings."
"Very well. On the evening of September fourteenth, I was working a late night at the Ministry when I received an urgent message from Augustus Billings telling me that magical items had been bequeathed by his father to a Muggle relative. My department of the Ministry specializes in routine collections of this nature, and I am almost invariably the one who does the collecting, since is in making things vanish without a trace." He smiled ruefully. "Of course, speaking with Mr. Holmes on the subject has been most enlightening. But I digress.
"I was dispatched to the Billings residence where I inspected the wine cellar. From the tone of Billings's note, I was half expecting to find something truly spectacular in the wine cellar, but the only remotely magical things I found after an extensive search and a magic-detecting charm were a quantity of Ogden's Whisky, an exorbitantly priced spirit that has become popular in the wizarding world. I was half tempted to leave them both, as there is nothing particularly magical about the drink, other than the method by which it is produced. However, I did not wish to explain my decision to disregard a request from the scion of an old and wealthy family to my superiors. I reduced the cases to the size of an apple and placed them in my pocket.
"Billings's note said that he had already taken the liberty of removing the anti-dust charm on the room, and to make certain that nothing appeared out of the ordinary for a Muggle wine cellar, I placed a layer of dust on the contents of the room. In retrospect, I should have done that last, but I mistakenly assumed that my arrival through apparation and removal of the whiskey by magic would be sufficient to prevent any Muggle interference, once again dismissing the possibility of being tracked."
"Excuse me, Mr. Dumbledore," I interrupted. "What do you mean by 'apparation?' It sounds as if it has quite a different meaning than the one to which I am accustomed."
"Oh, I beg your pardon, Dr. Watson. Apparation is a magical method of transportation over short distances, and it is far more easily demonstrated than described." And then he disappeared with a pop. Immediately, there was another pop from the far corner of the room, and I spun around to find Dumbledore regarding me with a look of understated smugness that reminded me strongly of Holmes.
"As you can see, apparation is the ability to instantaneously travel from one place to another. To enter the wine cellar I might have used an unlocking charm or followed someone in while invisible, but given the high amount of Muggle police presence in the neighbourhood, and not being familiar with the habits of the household, I deemed apparation to be the safest method."
"Well, Watson, " said Holmes, whose eyes were dancing, "what do you think of that?"
"I think I would like to know how you managed to speak to Mr. Dumbledore without being on the receiving end of another memory spell."
"It's quite simple, Watson. I followed my nose, quite literally."
The memory of my vigil in the odiferous warehouse must have shown plainly on my face, because Holmes and Dumbledore both laughed.
"Dear fellow, it was far less traumatic than you imagine. I returned to the intersection of Barbary and Beecher's this morning in my own person to enquire after the warehouse that none seemed to remember. The area was, of course, very busy, and nobody seemed to pay me much notice. After a few moments' observation, I noted from the workers' hands and clothing that a majority of them were rotational, and did different jobs from week to week. This struck me as unusual, since all of the shipping houses with which I am acquainted prefer to keep a permanent staff rather than bring in new men week after week, even if it costs marginally more. The sentiment is that the money saved in labour is quickly lost in stolen merchandise.
"But before I had a chance to digest this particular piece of information, the warehouse break whistles blew, and I was nearly knocked down by swarms of workers rushing toward the small confectionary situated next to Lamprey and Son. Fragrant steam billowed from the open door, and the line into the shop soon stretched around the block. It wasn't until the break whistles sounded again that the end of the line became visible again, yet the workers seemed far more concerned with purchasing sweets than returning to work on time. When the last of the line had made their purchases, I entered the establishment and spoke with the proprietress, one Mrs. Lovett by name.
"She is a shrewd businesswoman and, unlike so many of her sex, has a fine mind for details. Not only was she able to tell me that our red-haired man was a regular customer of hers, she was also able to tell me his favourite sweets and the time that he usually came in. I then pressed her for her assistance with my plan to speak to Dumbledore. She was initially concerned that I was a policeman, but received my assurances with the same equanimity that she received clients of such eccentric appearance as Mr. Dumbledore. I thanked her, purchased a bag of liquorice allsorts, and sat down to wait.
"At precisely the time Mrs. Lovett had predicted, two minutes before the lunch whistles, our red-haired man entered the store. She masterfully engaged him in conversation to the effect that by the time he had purchased his sweets, the shop was filled with workers. I rose and intercepted him as he was leaving, gaining his attention with a few well-chosen words and assuring him that it would be in his best interests to speak with me."
Dumbledore chuckled. "As I recall, you told me you had a revolver in your pocket. You are very fortunate that had a passing knowledge of Muggle weaponry and the sense to realize that you didn't want to use it in a crowd of Muggles anymore than I wanted to use my wand."
Holmes gave a good-natured shrug. "A working man's adage is that it is better to be lucky than good, but in this case, my good fortune was tempered with a fair amount of probability and reason. Watson's account of the previous night led me to believe that you wished whatever mysterious weapons you had at your disposal to remain secret. This was my reason for engaging you in a crowded public place. I must admit, this afternoon's discussion quite exceeded my expectations for the confrontation. It pleases me greatly that Inspector Jones will receive no more credit for finding the thief than Augustus Billings will for making Eddington's whisky disappear.
"No, Watson," he said, answering my unasked question, "I have not forgotten our rason d'etre. Mr. Dumbledore has generously offered to transfigure replacement cases of whisky like enough to the originals as to satisfy Eddington and different enough to satisfy his uncle. Now, as I hear Mrs. Hudson's tread on the stair, I suggest that we adjourn for supper."
Presently Mrs. Hudson arrived and ushered us into the dining room. Though she had prepared a veritable feast for us, I found myself scarcely able to eat a bite.
Much later that evening, after our guest had left, I found myself sitting on the sofa in deep contemplation while Holmes played something slow and sweet on his violin. The mournful tune reflected my mood perfectly, and I soon found myself sighing deeply. The music stopped abruptly. Holmes came to stand in front of me.
His eyes were grave. "For the first time in quite a while, I find myself perplexed, Watson."
I laughed, though it sounded hollow to my own ears. "That would make two of us, Holmes. I hardly know what to think anymore."
"You don't mean to tell me that this cloud of melancholy is on account of our solving the case?" He shook his head. "Even for you, Watson, that is most illogical."
His scathing tone brought all of my anxieties forth in a torrent of passionate speech. "Don't you see how this changes everything?" I cried. "Your methods, your scientific investigations, my practice? Neither of us is in a profession that can afford to acknowledge the supernatural without severely crippling logical faculties. Where will I be the next time I encounter a patient an inexplicable ailment? Or you the next time Lestrade calls on you? Can you say that the possibility of magic interference is not a concern of the highest magnitude?"
"Perhaps it is, though I doubt we will ever see such serious repercussions. For the life of me, I don't see how it will affect either of us professionally."
"How can you say that, Holmes?"
"In the sixteen years since we first worked together, have we, until now, ever come across anything in our work that could not be explained scientifically?"
I thought a moment. "No, but that's hardly the point."
"It is precisely the point, Watson. The magical community has taken great pains for several hundred years to prevent magic from disrupting the nonmagical. They have their own society, their own codes of conduct, and, most importantly, their own legal and penal system. We have no place in their world, and we have no place in theirs. With their arsenal of memory and repelling charms, it's impossible for a Muggle to be aware of their actions unless they wish to reveal themselves. Unless, of course, the Muggle happens to be Sherlock Holmes."
I was quite flabbergasted by his conceit and was entirely too upset to hold my tongue. "You place entirely too much importance on yourself, Holmes."
"Do you think so, Watson? Pray, what do you think would have happened in the extremely unlikely event that Jones or Lestrade had stumbled upon definite evidence of Magic, and the even more unlikely event that they recognized it as such?
"I will take the liberty of answering for you. He would have been memory charmed on the spot. The only reason I was able to escape such a fate the second time was because I had something to offer the man who has everything."
Images from a popular production of Faust sprang unwillingly to mind. "What did you give him?"
"Nothing so grave as you would imagine. I simply promised to give him an introduction to my methods. He left this evening with a copy of my monograph "The Book of Life," which you once characterized as 'ineffable twaddle,' I believe, as well as a copy of the Telegraph. We will meet to discuss them next week at Mrs. Lovett's sweet shop. I plan to start him on practical chemistry by analysing London soils if he does well with the paper."
"How in Heaven's name do you expect a man surrounded by magic his entire life to understand science?"
Holmes' tone was sharp. "The same way I expected you to understand magic. Really, Watson, if you're having such a difficult time separating the spheres, I can ask Dumbledore to cast memory charm on you."
He must have read the shock on my face, because he amended quickly. "This is a great gift we've been given, Watson, and it should be viewed as such. Dumbledore would never cast magic on either of us without express permission."
"Unless one of us stumbles upon something he doesn't want us to see. And what happens when he feels he has learned everything he can from you? What's to stop him from using a memory charm then?"
"Presumably his sense of honour. The man is not a criminal, Watson. I, for one, feel that he is trustworthy."
"But how can you be sure, Holmes? Surely there are wizards in the world that would not hesitate to take advantage of those without magic. What if Dumbledore fabricated 'Muggle protections' and the Ministry of Magic to placate you?"
Holmes' pale cheeks flushed slightly, though his voice was still calm. "I flatter myself that I am capable of discerning the a lie, even from the lips of a skilled and practised liar."
"But you cannot be certain Holmes, and you would risk your mind and sanity for a bit of knowledge that you admit will not affect your practise? Forgive me for speaking plainly Holmes, but I fear this taste of new knowledge has blinded you to the obvious risks!"
"And your own fear paralyzes you, Watson!" He cried. "In all our years of association, I have never seen your fancy override your sense to such a degree. Of course I cannot be completely certain of Mr. Dumbledore, but I do not need to be. We are men of science, you and I. Even the most basic tenets of our learning are in constant flux. In Aristotle's time, disease was caused by evil spirits. Centuries of science have allowed us to cure and prevent a number of diseases and infections, but would this not be magic to Aristotle? Perhaps one day we will reach a point where all actions, magical and scientific alike, can be explained by physical laws, but until then, the only thing certain in this world is uncertainty. And that, Watson, is where reason and probability come in.
I will admit that it is possible for Dumbledore to have fooled me or to have been dishonest about his intentions, but I do not think it probable after my time with him this afternoon. You may be surprised to hear that I observed very little difference between him an a regular person, other than his abilities and mode of dress."
"That, and the fact that he could likely kill one of us with the wave of his wand."
Holmes turned his head to me sharply and observed my countenance with a piercing eye. "Oh, Watson," he said sadly, "You still fear for me."
Something in his tone angered me. "Dash it all, Holmes, of course I still fear for you! I lost you once to Professor Moriarty at Reichenbach Falls, and the other night in that horrible place, I thought I'd lost you again. You can't understand what it was like to see him strike you down without a second thought, as if you were a stray dog. I do not trust the man who did that, Holmes, and I do not think I ever can."
"I am grieved to hear it, Watson. Very grieved indeed. I shall speak no more on it." He filled a pipe with tobacco from the snuff box by the fire, which Dumbledore had forgotten to restore to its regular shape, pulled his knees up to his chest, and began to smoke in silence.
I left a short time later.
The next day, I received a letter and a parcel from Holmes. The note was uncharacteristically terse.
I have given Eddington his whisky. Here is your share of the fee. Do not call on me Tuesday afternoons, as I will be having a guest that you are not anxious to see.
In the parcel was a dark brown bottle of Ogden's Old Firewhisky.
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