Author's Note: Okay, who would've thought I'd write in this category? Well, I have, and it won't be my last fic. I just love GMD after watching it again after ten years and it's still as awesome as always. I just HAD to write something about it, delve a bit deeper into who Basil is and most importantly, what drove him to be so determined to bring Ratigan to justice. So here you go, a small introspective fic written in first person. Enjoy!^^
Disclaimer: I do not own Great Mouse Detective or any of its characters.
"I'll... I'll never forget you."
"Nor I you, miss... miss Flangerhanger."
Lo and behold, I had not forgotten her.
As a matter of fact, I never forget the face of my clients. As it was expected, it happened the same with this miss Olivia Flaversham, who had made things different for me. Towards the end of our adventure, I grew slightly fonder of her since, without of course escaping of the naivety all children possess, she had shown herself to be courageous and most importantly, not a bother. To top it all off, well... hm, let's say her Scottish accent made her sound funny; I'll leave things there. But to tell the truth, she was a charming youngster. Naïve, yes, but nevertheless charming: it is in naivety that charm resides most of the time.
I received a few letters from her during my convalescence and, frankly, both Dawson and I had a splendid time reading them. It was odd to see a little girl like her write with an adult's scribble like mine would be, and Dawson did not make things any easier: he very skilfully adopted a Scottish accent to read the letters and not many were the times when I couldn't picture young Olivia reading them to me... not to mention Dawson's imitations were quite amusing. She very nicely told us about her new life in Sheffield, where her father had been offered a decent job in a toy company. Knowing his skill in clockwork and similar, I wasn't surprised. Olivia always ended her letters with a "Best regards" that was a poorly disguised "I miss you". Aside from sincere, it was irritating.
The day the last letter arrived, whilst I was resting on my armchair by the fire, Dawson approached me with a cup of steaming tea in either hand. When he offered one to me, I grew stiff. I knew Mrs. Judson had the nasty tendency of surreptitiously putting in the drops of the medicine I was required to take, drops with a taste that had the habit of ruining my drink. Dawson seemed puzzled at first, then smiled.
"I watched over it myself, Basil."
Despite his words, I didn't change my expression of distrust. Mrs. Judson was also very attentive, always looking out for my well-being may I say almost excessively, and if not even I could escape her persuasion, then Dawson was in the same boat as I. In the end, I sighed in acknowledgement: with drops or not, the tea was necessary at that time of the day.
"Fine, fine. Oh, do sit down, old chap," I said, gesturing at the other armchair. He handed me my cup and as he sat, I dipped my fingertip in the tea and tasted it: why yes, no drops this time. "I shall give you the usual answer before you ask: they still hurt, which is why I will not take the drops anymore. I've been waiting for results for four days and I can barely walk without limping!"
That fact sent me into a very bad mood and a state of brainstorming. Whenever I failed to gather my temper, my mind became flooded by senseless thoughts... and it happened again. The scars were still healing, so it goes without saying that they hurt like the first time I laid down in bed to get some real rest, once more cleaned and bandaged. The doctor came to 221B for a thorough examination the following day and since then, the 28th of July, I have been waiting for some kind of breakthrough or significant relief.
Dawson looked at me, sympathetic. "All in good time, Basil," he said, rather pointedly.
I smirked, bitter. "You won't stop bombarding me with my own sayings, I suppose?" I sighed. "But yes, you're right."
We both fell into a pleasant silence; well, at least it was pleasant for me. I didn't know how long we were like so nor how fast time was passing; what I did know was that something was bothering my friend. I said nothing for quite a while, observing him, until he finally spoke up. His ears had drooped, his countenance a bit sadder than before, and his voice came out more subdued than usual.
"Basil, I have to ask... Whyever did you always show yourself reluctant when dealing with... children?"
I knew it! I knew that question was coming: I had estimated a ninety percent of probability. Whilst I did stare at Dawson with quite the shocked expression, I didn't jump nor react unsuitably. It was a mere question, yes, but it somehow hurt my ego to be forced to answer such inquisition. Dawson looked away, just about to excuse himself, when I took the turn.
"We've only come across Olivia, my good fellow; don't speak in general so soon," I told him, then sipped my tea. I knew how to make him nervous and pry something else out of him.
"Well, alright," he admitted. "Olivia's the only case. But my question stands."
I chuckled. "Oh, Dawson, you're quite mistaken."
Dawson perked his head up, as surprised as I had been before. "I beg your pardon?"
"I suppose you didn't assume or suspect that Ratigan's case was more than personal to me, am I right?" I inquired, a smile on my face, and then I took a longer sip of tea. Dawson looked nervous, clearly unsure of what to say.
"Well, no... Frankly, I had assumed it was a normal case of vehemence, persistence."
I let out a loud laugh, because of his words and contrite expression. "Vehemence! My dear Dawson, you sincerely astound me at times!" I exclaimed, leaving my cup on the side table and raising my knees up to my chest. "But yes, you're somehow on the right track."
Dawson's curiosity didn't surprise me, neither did it irritate me. Aside from Mrs. Judson, who didn't know me too much aside from what she had seen, I had never had anybody to talk to or to share my troubles with, hence my secretive and introverted nature. Of course, that did not exempt me from being naturally expressive and sometimes extravagant, but I digress. Whenever Dawson wanted to know something about me, I could see it miles away. I had revealed some bits those past days, but nothing like I was about to tell him. Also, he deserved to know.
"Certainly," I spoke with a nod. "Ratigan and I had some history together; sinister, no doubt, but history nonetheless." I made myself comfortable in my seat. Dawson was curious, very, but he was also modest: he couldn't hide that.
"It was odd to see you so... down and self-pitiful," Dawson commented, shrugging. I let him speak, also curious about what he had to say about me. He would never know -at least, for the time being-, but a good and sound 'thank you' was yet due. Were if not for his encouragement and scolding, I would've never found the will to keep going. "Knowing you, you still had your head to think. Good thing you used it later, though."
"I've taken up hundreds of humiliations," I told him, "but none had been as infuriating as Ratigan's. And yes, I could barely put my thoughts together." I made a pause, looked at the fire, remembering. "We met at a trial; we were both lawyers at a very young age. And we got along instantly, if I may say."
"Is that so?" asked Dawson. By his surprise, I could deduce he had assumed that the trial had been the beginning of our enmity. I nodded.
"Quite. We were on different cases, him and I, and my client was found guilty in the end. His deductions and questions were extraordinary; he had my client pinned down since the very start, and I knew it. When the trial was over, I neared him and praised his deducting skills and methods. You should've seen him, Dawson: when I told you he was a genius, it was not dust in the air."
Dawson nodded. "Oh, I can imagine. But... wasn't the idea of mice and rats together rejected?" I chuckled once more, a gesture that seemed to make him realize how oddly the question had sounded. "I mean, they were judged only by their size, weren't they?"
"Mm-hm," I hummed in response. "With size comes aggressiveness, or so they said." I slowly went over all the articles I had pinned against the wall and fireplace, reminders of my constant chase after him over the years. For five years I had tried to capture him; I couldn't believe it had ended so quickly. "But Ratigan was different: he was intelligent beyond doubt and was a great thinker, open-minded and observant like me. We were together on numerous cases, all of them successful in bringing criminals to justice, and we had a lot of things in common. When I said different though, I was also talking in the negative aspect.
"He was different, simply put. Whilst I believed that words hardly ever preceded brute force, Ratigan was a different kettle, if I may say so myself. Many had been the times when he had attempted to take cases onto his own hands. I have to admit most of those cases were of horrendous and vile natures, but in the end they were all declared guilty. With all modesty, we managed those because of me: I managed to help Ratigan get his wits again and start over once more, plucking out every detail we could've missed. One of those times... I was not so lucky."
I made a heavy pause. It wasn't always that you started remembering past events and 'anecdotes', so I myself found it a bit more complicated to express myself. Not five seconds had gone by when Dawson said, "Great Scott, Basil, do I... Did it happen like I imagine it happened?"
I shrugged, my hands on my knees. "Did I not tell you it was sinister? Should I keep the scary stories for another moment?"
It was right then that I realized I had made a mistake.
I saw a fleeting moment of indignation in his eyes, then he narrowed them at me in a way I had only seen in Toby. I remained silent, unmoving, quite conscious of the fact that an angry Dawson entailed painful moments of equally painful silence, not to mention uncomfortable. I frowned at him, somewhat contrite, until I shrugged and lowered my head to my knees. I did not know why but I wasn't in the mood for anything else: I had never known that giving vent to one's sorrows was tantamount to having drastic mood swings. But then, with wide eyes, I slowly lifted my head when I heard a brief laugh coming from Dawson himself.
"I've heard a few urban legends myself when I was a youngster, so I suppose you can very well keep up with yours, Basil," he said. And simply, just like that! As if nothing had happened! I couldn't believe it myself. "Whatever's keeping you so wide-eyed?"
"B-but- wait just a moment, Dawson, I-" I couldn't help my stuttering. First, he barely knew me at all; second, everyone tended to snap at me -drat, they snapped whenever I made sarcastic or snide comments; and third, I indeed wondered if he had a forgiving capability as big as I imagined he did.
"Don't you think I've gone through this same scenario, Basil?" Dawson asked me, raising an eyebrow. "Come now, chap, I was expecting something else."
Oh, bold words and like swords they were. Still, he was actually right and for once, I admitted his counter-attack. "Perhaps it's because of that scenario that I am forgetting many things, doctor."
"And judging by your state, it's most impolite to keep you here, so-"
"Doctor, it's better to eat a full meal rather than half and half along the day, correct?" I told him, improvising an understandable but dull saying. "I'd rather finish my story now so that the scenario doesn't repeat itself twice; that is, if you're still interested in hearing it."
Dawson didn't reply immediately, remained staring at me searching for some sort of confirmation, but I suppose my words were just what he needed. He settled back against the armchair and I shifted my position. I was ready to continue my story, I was ready to let him know of a mere fraction of my life, but alas... I faltered. I couldn't find the words to express myself: my emotions could've done the talking were it not for the impossibility of materializing them. After a few more moments of silence, I overcame my hesitation and spoke as I remembered that life-changing day.
"Drat! Dash it all!"
Basil jumped from his seat, walking away from the papers strewn across the table. By it stood Ratigan, impatient but silent. Basil paced back and forth, drawing in short, shallow breaths, going over the evidence again and again until his head was beset by something close to migraine. They were missing something, something that no matter how much they thought and rethought things over, they could never find. A missing link.
"No, Padraic!" Basil almost shouted back, turning harshly. "There must be something we can do! As long as we can think..." He looked around, desperate, not finding what he was searching for. "As long as we can think, there's a choice! Th-there must be something, I know it! It shouldn't-" He stopped rambling the same moment he met Ratigan's gaze. "Don't tell me..."
"We've tried everything, Basil," Ratigan said, hard as a rock. "It's time I take matters into my own hands, like I should've done many other times!"
Basil was floored. "Please, old fellow, violence is not a solution!" he exclaimed, gesturing with vehemence. He had to convince him there was another way! "You know I'm no idealist when it comes down to this, but we can settle this case! We've faced others worse than this one, chap, and we've succeeded! Give me more time, I'm-"
"No, Basil!" snapped Ratigan. Basil froze in place, almost literally glued to the floor. He had anticipated change in Ratigan since the very beginning; what he hadn't was that it would come so soon, so quickly. "Time is of the essence, and I'm done wasting it!"
"But... but I thought-"
"You thought wrong then, old boy."
Impotent, Basil watched Ratigan swiftly march out the door, leaving him with silence as his only companion.
"It was that day that we parted ways," I concluded, lowering my head. "From then on, Ratigan was a criminal to me. And foolish me, I had very unconsciously placed myself as his first target."
"He knew your methods. He knew how you would act," Dawson reasoned, reminding me once more of my mistake.
"I see you're catching up, my friend," I admitted, nodding. "And when he committed his first crime, I realized how dangerous and ruthless he could be." And here I would give Dawson the answer he had been looking for since the first moment. "His first crime involved a child."
Dawson gasped at this, more than shocked, and I tried my best not to falter again.
"Throughout his crimes he reminded me of the moral values we had been fighting for, albeit he liked to believe that naively. I vowed to bring him to justice and prove him wrong not just because of some silly case of... vehemence," I laughed as I said this, "but to somehow make myself believe I had made the right choice. I will not go into further details, if you'll excuse me, but I surmise you've just obtained your answer: I never disliked Olivia, but for a case to involve both Ratigan and a child..."
Dawson nodded briskly in understanding. "I see now."
"At the same time, whenever you hold onto something, then that's what you've got to lose," I said, sighing. "I knew Ratigan could use both you and Olivia against me. Of course, he had assumed you were a stowaway, so his last resort would've been Olivia. I don't know how I did it, but I managed to get you and her to safety. So you see, I can't still put my thoughts in order."
A short silence followed my words, then,
"I've seen life through a very different perspective," Dawson said, looking down at the fire, "so have you. Perhaps we may get to learn from each other."
"I couldn't agree any more with you, my dear doctor," I agreed, smiling. "I learn something new every day that goes by, and today wasn't an exception."
"And what was that you learned today?"
"That, I will keep to myself, Dawson." He followed me with his eyes as I stood up and after dipping my head at him, I retired to my room. My injuries didn't hurt that time, nor the time after or the time after that one. What I had learnt that day I would never tell him of, but he'll figure it out eventually. After all, I always say the same thing.
"Actually, it's elementary, my dear Dawson."
And it was no exception.
A/N: Perhaps it may not have turned out as you had expected, but I suppose it's alright for a first try. I'll keep honing my skills like I have with other categories so that I keep bringing good work to the site. And drat, there needs to be more GMD fanfiction on the site... confound it! xDDD
Reviews are appreciated!^^