Chapter 1 : A Case of New Identity
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It wasn't a big discovery in comparison with one of their previous Headmasters who had discovered the twelve coveted uses of dragons' blood; nor was it a big discovery in the sense that it did not make anyone else's day-to-day lives any easier. But it was a big enough discovery to change the course of the third-year Hugo Weasley's life.
Because Hugo had just discovered that he, in fact, was Sherlock Holmes.
To explain this extraordinary turn of events, we must go back to the morning of the last day of Hugo's second year at Hogwarts.
The students were milling around the castle trying to find their belongings and saying good-bye to their friends when the explosion went off. It wasn't an unusual occurrence for Hufflepuff house - they had in fact become quite accustomed to Hugo's accidents and occasional catastrophes - but on that particular day, the Venomous Tentaculars had snatched all of Jenny Kirkham's shoes and were holding them at ransom, and only Professor Neville Longbottom could calm them down.
He was walking back to the Hufflepuff common room, his arms filled with the contents of a miniature shoe shop, when he smelt the smoke, saw the fire and then heard the explosion in that order.
"What was that?"
"That was Hugo Weasley," Jenny said, rolling her eyes and taking her shoes from him, "Thanks, Professor Longbottom."
"No problem," he muttered, his eyes fixed on the smoke coming out from the direction of the boys' dormitories, "I was happy to help." He turned to leave, ready to forget about the whole thing, when the smoke evaporated and left a foul smelling green liquid in its place.
Professor Longbottom pushed past Jenny and into the common room, ignoring the other students and their attempts to hide their 'banned' items, and stumbled into the second year boys' dorms after carefully manoeuvring his way around the little rivers of vile green goo.
"Hugo, what in Merlin's name is going on here?"
Hugo turned, a smile already on his lips and a small contraption in his hands. "Hi, Professor, are you here to take a look at my newest invention?"
"Your newest invention?" Neville asked, eyeing the pair of black tweezers in Hugo's slime-ridden hands.
Hugo saw where Neville's eyes were looking and lifted them up to the light. "Yep, the finest invention of this term, I think."
"What is it?" Hugo held his device out to Neville but he shook his head and took a seat on the edge of one of the boys' beds.
"This," Hugo stood up and puffed out his chest, "is the Automatic Airbrushing Appliance!"
Neville looked at the small black tweezers again and raised an eyebrow. "The Automatic Airbrushing Appliance?"
"Yep," Hugo grinned, "I invented it myself. It gets rid of all the annoying little hairs and imperfections of the skin, like spots and stuff. All the girls in my year said they would buy one if I had it ready by the end of term, and Uncle George said he would stock it in the joke shop too, so here it is!"
"Yes, here it is," Neville mumbled, watching some more green liquid drip out of the end of the tweezers. "Is it meant to...leak like that?"
"What?" Hugo glanced down at his hands and picked up a filthy handkerchief. "No, no it's not. There have been a few...mishaps; but it's ready now."
"Hugo," Neville sighed exasperatedly and stood up, "as your teacher and your godfather, I forbid you to sell this contraption to your school friends, or school enemies for that matter. You'd be expelled, I'd be fired for not stopping you, and hundreds of parents would make a fuss if this...thing even entered their house." Hugo hung his head and Neville shook his head, "I'm sorry, but itís a health and safety hazard, you know it is."
"I know," Hugo mumbled, still not looking up, "I just...wanted to prove to Uncle George that I could do it. That I could really make a product that worked!"
"Well you have, haven't you? Didn't you say that this was your best invention of this term?"
"Yeah well, that's not hard," Hugo moped, pulling out a small red box from underneath his bed and taking off the lid, "all the other ones are rubbish."
Neville looked inside the box: there was an assortment of commonplace items - socks, a couple of toothbrushes, an old shoe - and a few not so commonplace items - the hand of a grandfather clock, a golden plate from the Great Hall - all mixed together with the smell of rotting eggs, a strange grey powder that kept puffing out of the sock every ten seconds, and an awful lot of the green goo that was currently dripping onto Neville's shoe.
"Ah," he said after a moment, "I see."
Hugo grabbed the box back and put the lid on it before kicking it under his bed again. "I know, it's a 'health and safety hazard', but all I've ever wanted to do from when I was younger was work in the joke shop and invent loads of cool stuff for my friends. But I'm obviously not smart enough to even invent an Automatic Sock, or an Automatic Toothbrush, or an Automatic-"
"You like the automatic stuff, huh?" Neville smiled.
"I just wanted to make things that I would want. Like, things that make things easier for everyone. I'm not smart like Rose, so I wanted to make little things that meant I could be smart...in a different way."
"But Hugo," Neville got up and sat down next to Hugo, "you are smart."
"I know you're my godfather, Uncle Neville, but you donít have to lie to me." Hugo sighed and gave him such a Hermione-esque look that Neville almost felt like an eleven year old boy again, sitting in Potions with Hermione telling him the answers to the most simple questions that presented nothing short of an enigma for him.
"I'm not lying to you, Hugo," Neville said. "You are smart, maybe not like Rose or your mum, but then again, I don't think there are many people who can actually say they are as clever as them." Hugo gave a small laugh. "But you're smart because you see things that other people don't and you try and act on them to make these things better."
"Whoop-de-doo," Hugo said, his whole body seeming to deflate. "It's still not a kind of 'smart' that I can actually use though, is it? People don't think I'm smart because I 'see' things that other people don't; they just think I'm weird."
"I'm sure they donít think you're weird-"
"I've heard them, Uncle Neville," Hugo said, suddenly looking up at him, but with such calmness in his bright blue eyes that Neville was momentarily stunned into silence and couldn't respond. "The 'Weasley Freak', the 'Gryffindor Reject', the 'Break-dancing Bowtruckle Boy'-"
"That's another story," Hugo rolled his eyes and Neville laughed. "But I've heard them, Uncle Neville, and being able to 'see' these things doesn't make me famous in a good way. They wouldn't make anyone famous in a good-"
"Yes they would," Neville said, holding up his hand to stop Hugo mid-sentence. "Yes they did." For Neville had just remembered something, something that was so important to him when he was growing up that he wanted to kick himself for not thinking of it until now.
Neville Longbottom, the boy his family thought was a Squib and whose friends at Hogwarts always thought he was a little bit strange, had found solace in someone else with peculiar talents. And now, here was another boy facing the same problem. How could he have not thought of this before?
"I'll be right back," Neville said, suddenly standing up and then being pulled abruptly back down again by the sticky goo. "Don't move."
"Not like I can," Hugo said, trying to lift his foot out of the puddle of gunk surrounding his feet and failing. "Where are you going?"
But Neville had already gone. Hugo sighed and looked around at all the mess he had made in the morning's experiments; he hadm't even packed his trunk yet and the Hogwarts Express was leaving in less than two hours. And Dennis was going to kill him; he hadn't asked about using his bed sheet to clear up the mess that was slowly congealing in a corner.
Dennis Cooper, his best and only friend in Hogwarts, had told Hugo time and time again that if he kept using his stuff in his experiments, he would 'feed his toad to Theodore Macmillan's Praying Mantis'. They were best friends, really, only sometimes Hugo's experiments - or as Dennis called them, "death wishes" - got to him a bit, but never actually came between them. Yet.
"Smarmy," Hugo called, craning his neck over to the other side of the bedroom where his toad was sitting and surveying the mess. "Come over here Smarmy before Dennis gets back and turns you into Mantis treats."
The toad ignored him.
"Fine then, on your head be it." Hugo huffed, turning his back on Smarmy and tried to use the 'powers of his mind' to get his possessions into his trunk. Needless to say that by the time Professor Longbottom returned, Hugo had managed to get his textbooks and his robes covered in the green slime as he leapt across the room trying to gather all of his stuff whilst Smarmy looked on.
"Sit down, Hugo," Neville laughed sweeping his wand about the room. All of Hugo's things, including the now-smoking box from underneath his bed and Smarmy the toad, leapt up from their place and settled in his trunk. "I have something for you."
He held his hand out. Hugo looked down at the small book and then back up at Neville. "Thanks, Uncle Neville, but you know that I don't like reading-"
"Ah, now that is where you're wrong." He smiled and, with another wave of his wand, got rid of the foul stuff on Hugo's hands. "This isn't just a book, this is a way of living. This is one of the reasons I made it through my pre-pubescent years, with the help of your mum and dad and Uncle Harry, of course. When I was lonely, or sad, or just wanted a bit of peace and quiet, I'd go and sit in the Boathouse, listen to the water and read this." He grinned and looked down at the slightly battered book lovingly, and then held it out to Hugo, "And now I want you to have it."
"Have it?" Hugo said, gazing down at the book and with Neville's words still resounding in his head.
"Have it until you need it and then...pass it on."
"But whatís it even about?" Hugo asked, taking the book in his hands.
"It's about a man who sees things that others don't," Neville grinned, "and becomes famous in a good way because of it."
"Uncle Neville, I already told you, no-one can be famous in a good way because of-"
"Just read the book, Hugo," Neville said and walked towards the door, "I promise you won't regret it. Now get your stuff down to the Entrance Hall, the carriages will be here in any minute and you don't want to be left behind now, do you?"
Hugo shook his head and put the book into his pocket. It wasn't until he was settled in a compartment on the train a few hours later, waiting for Dennis to get back from the trolley lady, that he remembered the small book and the words his Uncle Neville had said:
"It's about a man who sees things that others don't, and becomes famous in a good way because of it."
He pulled the book out of his pocket and gazed down at the front cover. The silhouette of a man smoking a pipe with his coat collar turned up looked back up at him, whilst the title formed itself out of the smoke:
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.
"This had better be good, Uncle Neville." Hugo sighed, and then dived into a word filled with mystery, crime and, Hugo's favourite, explosions.
Oh how Dennis Cooper wished he;d returned to the compartment ten minutes earlier. If he had, the whole of his third year might have been completely...well, normal.
As it was, Dennis Cooper didn't make it back to his compartment in time, and when he finally did, the look in Hugo's eyes was enough to make his stomach drop.
"What in Godric's name have you done now?"
"I," Hugo said, puffing his chest out and looking off into the distance, "have just made the biggest discovery of my lifetime. You'd better sit down, John."
"I'm not - who's John?" Dennis said, whipping his head round to check that he wasn't part of some elaborate practical joke.
"That's neither here nor there, John," Hugo chuckled deeply and Dennis stared at him in wonder.
"What have you done with my best friend?"
"Nothing, nothing whatsoever," Hugo said, a flicker of the old Hugo showing through.
"Well, whatever you have done with him, could you return him for this train journey at least and we can deal with...this," he motioned up and down at the way Hugo lounged around on the seats and pretended to smoke his wand, "next year?"
Hugo looked at Dennis steadily for a minute, lowered his wand from his mouth and picked up one of the pumpkin pasties Dennis had bought from the trolley lady. "Okay, but next year you shall find out that I," he stood up, his hands on his hips and stared out into the distance again, "am the great-"
"Oh shut up, Hugo," Dennis said, shoving the pasty into his mouth and grinning. Hugo collapsed onto the seat and grinned, making sure that he remembered every minute of this day, because today was the most important day of his life.
Today was the day that Hugo Weasley discovered that he was Sherlock Holmes.
A/N: I wrote this a while ago, straight after 'The Reichenbach Fall' (BBC 2012), to try and overcome some of my feelings. Needless to say, this only made them worse. I really hope you enjoyed this first chapter, this was such a fun story to write with plenty of twists and hilarious mishaps. It would be smashing to hear what you think about it, so please leave a review! ♥
Story-wide disclaimer: The title of this story comes from Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle's brilliant collection of short stories 'The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes', and the title of this chapter comes from his story 'A Case of Identity'. The characters you see here are both from JKR and ACD, and so I neither own the rights to any of them.