Disclaimer: All the Harry Potter characters you recognise were created by J.K. Rowling and are hers entirely. I owe Sherlock Holmes to Arthur Conan Doyle, Mary Russell to Laurie R. King, and the rest to my own imagination.
Author's Note: Thanks and praise to excessivelyperky, a most excellent and resourceful beta reader, without whose collaboration and knowledge this story would never have been written, and to Snape's Witch, for her insight. DN
All Will Be Revealed
Chapter One: An Unsettling Discovery
. "One day your spirit will be moved, and the best you can hope for is that you follow where it takes you without question. When you can do that, all will be revealed."…Albus Dumbledore, in "To The Honour Of The Mother".
Severus Snape was in full voice and fine fettle, striding up and down (swirling his cloak about himself artfully every time he changed direction, Madam Pomfrey noted), clenching his fists when he was not flinging out a long arm to emphasise a point. "Do you think for one moment that I need help? You'd have the place crawling with Muggle gumshoes, Ministry morons and the entire bloody Scotland Yard if I allowed it, and I will not! WILL NOT!"
At a quarter to three that morning, Hogwarts' peaceful slumber had been rudely disturbed. Mrs Norris, padding quietly along the halls during her routine patrol, felt a disruption in the general pleasance of the castle as she approached the eastern corridor of the Ravenclaw wing. Something was Not Right; something was… she put her whiskers forward: yes, an unusual and unpleasant smell. She rounded the corner and there! In the middle of the floor, on the carpet, lay two humans. They were dead. She ran, screaming, to find Filch.
Argus Filch, upon viewing the bodies, asked the house ghosts to keep any curious onlookers from approaching too closely, and then he ran as fast as his bowed legs could carry him to get Professor Snape and Headmaster Dumbledore. Snape arrived at the discovery scene, gave it a cursory investigation, determined that the subjects, lacking pulse and breath, were indeed dead, and cast a Holding spell over the corpses, so that they should not decompose before he had had a chance to examine them. He sent an elf to fetch Madam Pomfrey. The mediwitch and the Headmaster arrived at the same time.
The house elves crept fearfully around the bodies, torn between their natural desire to clean up and fright: dead Masters! They were accustomed to Hogwarts' ghosts, friendly and otherwise, but lifeless bodies terrified them. Mrs Norris stood against the balustrade, her back arched, her tail as thick as a bottlebrush. Nearly Headless Nick was literally beside himself; he had exuded enough nervous ectoplasm to create a doppelganger, and both were wringing their hands, rolling their eyes and anxiously passing back and forth through the walls.
"The questions are, who are they, why are they here, and why are they dead?" Dumbledore poked one of the corpses with his wand, eliciting neither the silver spark that would identify a Wizard nor the green mist that would confirm that the deceased was a Muggle. Snape levitated the bodies so that he might walk all around them and under them.
"From their clothing I would infer that they are foreign," he said. "Some Middle Eastern country that is largely desert, hence the loose-fitting, flowing robes of Arabian design. There are no outward signs of the cause of death, no blood, no knife or teeth marks, no contusions. However, from the looks on their faces, it is clear that they did not die peacefully – or naturally." Snape glanced at the corpses: they bore expressions of extreme terror, as well as severe pain. He stretched out his long hand towards the bodies – no, none of the residual prickling that would indicate the use of a Curse.
"My," said Madam Pomfrey. "Have you ever travelled to the Middle East, Professor?"
Snape looked at her condescendingly. "Hardly," he said. "One can read all one needs to know, if one is so inclined, without the expense and discomfort of travel in foreign lands."
"Well, we know they're not Muggles. What indeed are they?"
Irritated, Snape strode over to the corpses, bent over them briefly. "Take them and prepare a morgue," he ordered. "I can re-construct the scene if need be. I shall be there presently." Madam Pomfrey and her aides cast a Mobilicorpus spell, and the levitated bodies began to move, side by side, enabling the aides to guide them towards the hospital. Snape began to stalk away, then turned, his cloak swirling about him. "I must work undisturbed. I shall arrange for another professor to take my classes until this matter is resolved. This is a most unusual case, and will require my full concentration."
"Wait, Severus," called Dumbledore. "I agree: we've never seen the like of this before. Usually, when someone is killed, we know who did it and why: it's Voldemort or a Death Eater or a troll, something like that. But this – we can't hand it over to the Muggle police, because they're not Muggles. However…" he stroked his long white beard, "We might seek some help from the acknowledged expert in forensic science. You've heard of Sherlock Holmes, I trust?"
The Headmaster was untroubled that the Great Detective should be a character in literature, not a real being, but the mere thought of being assisted by anyone – real or fictitious – caused Professor Snape, an acknowledged expert in matters forensic in his colleagues' (and his own) estimation, to take a conniption.