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The Case of the Missing Wizard
Chapter 4. Into the Past

By Ishtar

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Author Notes:

Sorry this chapter is late; I was trapped in the Land of No Internets (aka my mother-in-law's place in West Nowhere) over the holiday weekend.

Rated for Bad Language: Dudley Dursley swears. A lot.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Lestrade called while the Holmes-Watson household was still at breakfast. Dudley Dursley had been located and was fortunately immediately available – he was, in fact, currently residing in Pentonville Prison, the very institution Jim Moriarty had attempted to crack open three and a half years before. The prison break had mainly failed because the security systems there were so antiquated that Moriarty’s henchmen had succeeded in setting off the alarms but the cells had not actually opened. Thus no one had actually escaped, and Dursley was therefore available to be questioned regarding the murder of his parents – not that Lestrade actually thought he was involved, at this point, but the questions had to be asked. Lestrade offered to swing by with Sergeant Donovan and pick Sherlock and John up on his way to the prison.

Sherlock complained about having to ride in the back seat of Lestrade’s car (claimed there wasn’t enough room for his legs), but at least it wasn’t a panda. He shut up after Lestrade handed him Dursley’s records to review, which was what he’d wanted all along.

“Dursley’s record is a mile long,” said Lestrade for John’s benefit. “Juvenile record reflects the usual bullying, vandalism, and petty thefts. His adult record started with minor assaults and he eventually worked his way up to manslaughter – would have been felony murder, but he had a good barrister. He tried to make it as a professional boxer, but couldn’t keep his weight down enough even for the heavyweight classes. After his career ended, he hooked up with one of the minor mobs, did general muscle work, that sort of thing, until he beat a bartender to death with his bare hands and we caught up with him. Keeps getting in trouble and time added on to his sentence, so I doubt he’ll be on the street again any time soon.”

“How about Potter?” cut in Sherlock. “Any priors?”

“Nope, no record, no wants, no warrants. Either he’s kept his nose completely clean all these years, or he’s very good at staying under the radar. Thing is, no tax records or property ownership records either. So he’s working completely on a cash basis and probably owes a ton of back taxes – we can hold him on that, if nothing else, when we catch up with him. This is assuming he’s still alive. Curiously, his father – James Potter, no middle name – doesn’t seem to exist either, outside the bare records of birth, marriage, and death. No NHS records, no education records, no taxes, no work history, nothing. The mother had the normal birth, education and health records until she finished primary school, then she disappeared as well. We have the marriage and death records for them, but even those are just bare bones. We couldn’t find any records of grandparents or anyone on the father’s side. The mother’s side goes back a few generations until it gets lost in the mass of Evanses in Wales and Brownes and Prestons up north. Nothing unusual, though.”

“That’s an impressive run-down. I didn’t know you guys did genealogy like that,” said John.

Lestrade snickered. “Donovan got curious and plugged him into one of those ancestry sites, and that’s what came up.”

“She’s finally learning, then.” Sherlock gave back the Dursley file and assumed his ‘don’t bother me, I’m thinking’ pose for the rest of the drive.

Dudley Dursley had blond hair in a buzz cut which did nothing to hide his incipient bald spot, watery blue eyes, sloppy prison tattoos on his hands and forearms, and the build of a Russian powerlifter. His solicitor was much less memorable, but competent.

Sherlock, John and Donovan watched from the darkened observation room. Dursley and his solicitor sat on one side of the interrogation table, facing the mirror so they could see him clearly, and Lestrade sat with his back to them.

“Whatever it was, I didn’t do it,” Dursley said as the DI sat down. His smirk said he clearly thought this was a clever way of opening the conversation.

“Didn’t say you did,” said Lestrade easily. “Pretty sure you didn’t, matter of fact.”

“What, then? I’m not going to nark on anybody, so if that’s what …”

“Mr. Dursley, please. I’m not here to question you. I’m here because … I’m sorry, there’s no good way to say this … Mr. Dursley, yesterday morning your parents were found dead in their home in Little Whinging. I’m sorry for your loss.”

Dursley sat back in his chair, which groaned under his bulk. He looked stunned. “Dead?”

“Yes, sir.” Lestrade was playing the sympathetic ‘good cop’ for all he was worth.

“Both of them? At the same time?”

“I’m afraid so, sir.”

“What happened? Was it a fire? Or … did something … someone …?”

“We are currently investigating their deaths as homicides. I would like to assure you that we are doing everything we can to apprehend the perpetrator or perpetrators.” He very carefully did not ask whether Dursley might know anything about the murders. If the man made a statement, it had to be completely voluntary. The solicitor would stop him saying anything otherwise.

“What, I mean how … was it … did somebody shoot them, or …”

“No, Mr. Dursley, I’m afraid not. I can’t tell you the details, because of the investigation, you know, but …”

“It was something weird, wasn’t it? Something mad that makes no sense. Am I right?”

“Well, there were some odd things …”

Dursley’s lips twisted. “I fucking knew it. Bet you anything it was that freak. Or his freak friends.”


“Mr. Dursley, if you think you might know …” Lestrade said, at the same moment the solicitor tried to stop Dursley from speaking further.

Dursley shook off the solicitor’s advice. “Shut up, I’ll talk if I want to. This isn’t about me, it’s about him .” The listeners in the observation room could hear the hatred, loathing, and more than a little fear in the big man’s voice.


“My mother’s fucking nephew. Harry Potter. Him.

“Do you mind if I take some notes?” Lestrade asked, pulling out his notepad and a pen and pretending the whole session wasn’t being taped. “Thanks. So this Harry Potter … your mother’s nephew … wouldn’t that make him your cousin?”

“If you say so,” said Dursley, shrugging. “I don’t like to think he’s any relative of mine. Not a freak like that. I’m a Dursley, not a fucking Potter.

“Okay, so this Potter. Can you tell us what he looks like?”

“Scrawny little git. Kind of short and skinny, but he was starting to grow a bit before he left. So he might be taller now. Black hair, always sticking up in all directions. Mum tried to shave it all off once, but it grew right back. Green eyes, and wore these stupid round glasses. Mum said we had to pay for his glasses, but she got the cheapest and ugliest frames they had.” Dursley snickered at the thought. “Oh, and he had this really ugly scar, kind of zigzag, on his forehead just over his right eye. Never healed right, always looked all red and angry. Sometimes he put his hand on it like it hurt. I hope it did, anyway.”

“Do you know if your parents had any pictures of him? School pictures, that sort of thing?”

“Why would they want pictures of the freak?” asked Dursley in a scandalized tone. “Kept him home from school when Picture Day came around. He got in one of the Christmas pictures accidentally once. Mum cut that part of it off. Said she didn’t want him spoiling the memories.”

“Pity, it’ll be harder to identify him then. And how long did he live with you?”

“Mum said he came to live with us before I was two, when his parents got blown up. Guess he was about the same age as me. Think I’m a bit older, but not much – we were in the same classes in school. He left when I was fifteen.”

“Do you know his birthday?”

“No, it never mattered to me. Not like he ever got a party, or presents. I think maybe in the summer sometime.”

“Harry short for something? Harold? Henry?”

“Dunno. Just Harry as far as I know.”

“So he’d be about your age, now. How did you get along with him?”

Dursley shrugged. “Tried not to, mostly. He kept stealing my stuff, eating my food. When we went to school I made sure everybody knew what a freak he was, made sure nobody played with him or like that. Me and my friends, we taught him his place so he wouldn’t bother the normal kids. Taught him not to get better grades than me. Dad said it was all right, made the teachers stop complaining about it.” He grinned sadistically. “Potter may have been a freak, but he yelled the same as anyone else when we knocked him around. Chased him up trees, all the way up on the roof of the school, once.Taught him not to try to be friends with real people. Freaks don’t get to have friends. Shouldn’t even be allowed to live around regular people. Dad said he’d kick him out as soon as he could – send him to go live with the other freaks. But he left on his own before then.”

“When did you see him last?”

“Like I said, when I was fifteen. He disappeared. Ran away from home.Had a fight with my Dad and left. I wasn’t there that night. Didn’t even realize for a few days he hadn’t been around.”

“He take all his stuff with him? Or did your folks get rid of it?”

“Must of done. Didn’t really think about it then. Don’t care now.”

“So why do you think he might have something to do with this?”

“’Cause it’s always him. It’s always been him. Anytime something weird, something freaky happens, it’s him. He was always sneaking around, listening at windows, stealing stuff, breaking stuff. One time he even set a bloody snake on me! Twenty feet long, it was! Almost killed me!” He paused, clearly remembering things he didn’t want to think about. “He invited some of his school friends over once and they blew up the fireplace and gave me poisoned candy and laughed. He tried to blow up my Aunt Marge. He ruined a big deal for my dad’s company by attacking a client that came over for dinner. Threw a trifle dish right at her head! Waste of a good pudding, criminal if you ask me! Some of his friends tore out a window and ran off with him for the rest of the summer. We had to have people over to fix the wall.”

“Slow down a bit. Tore a window right out of the wall? Which window?”

“The one on his bedroom. Upstairs rear.”

“Why’d they do that?”

“So he could get out, right? My dad locked him in his room. So they ripped the window right out. My dad tried to stop them, and they dragged him right out the window and he fell in the bushes.”

“So they were outside the upstairs window in the back garden and managed to drag your father out through it? How’d they manage that?”

“Dunno. Freak stuff. That’s what they do.”

“This the window with bars on it?” asked Lestrade. “I’ve been to their house, you see.”

“Yeah, the one in my second bedroom. The one where he slept.”

“Your second bedroom?”

“Well it was when I was a kid. Kept my toys and stuff there. Mum and Dad moved him into it when his school letters started coming.”

“Where did he sleep before then?”

“Um, somewhere else,” Dursley said. “And after he left we just closed the room up. In case he came back. ‘Cause he always did keep coming back, up till then, anyway. They’d come part way through the summer and take him away and he stayed at that freak school for Christmas and Easter hols – but then he’d be back when school ended for the summer. Dunno why he couldn’t have stayed away then, too. Not like we wanted him back. Don’t think they wanted him either – the freaks have their own police and they sent him notices about stuff. But that summer, he was just gone, and didn’t come back the next year at all. They sent somebody to look for him – some Ministry woman talked to my Mum about it. No idea if they ever caught up with him, though.”

“Which Ministry? Education, health, what?”

“Just ‘the Ministry’, far as I know.”

“Okay. What school did he go to?”

“Some freak school, up North, I think. Called H … Ha…. Damn, I can’t even say it. Full of freaks like him – ‘s where he learned all the freak stuff. They didn’t wear normal uniforms, or have proper books – big old fashioned leather-bound things is what they had, and robes and cloaks, and they wrote with feather pens! And he kept an owl in his bedroom. What kind of freak pet is a fucking owl ?”

“Did he have a wildlife rehab license?”

“No. He was twelve , how was he going to get a wildlife wotsit license? My dad would never let him have one anyway.”

“Okay, we can add charges for possessing an illegal owl when we catch up with him. What kind of owl was it, anyway?”

“Now you’re just thinking I’m an idiot, or lying. I’m not lying. He did have an owl. Dunno what kind. It was white, and he let it fly out the window when my Mum wasn’t looking. It brought things to him sometimes. Look, this is all about when he was little. What about what he did to my parents?”

“So far you haven’t said anything about what he might have done to your parents.” Only given him a damn good reason for running away. “You said you haven’t seen him for twenty years.”

“Haven’t. Doesn’t mean he didn’t come back.”

“Okay. Going back a bit, you said he came to live with you when his parents got blown up. Do you know any more about that?”

Dursley shrugged. “Dad always said they were drunks. Probably got involved in some lowlife thing.”

Lestrade thought that was rich, coming from someone like Dursley.

“Or maybe some terrorist thing, wasn’t that happening back then? I dunno, ancient history to me. That’s what that giant guy said back before he went to the freak school the first time, anyway. Too bad they didn’t all get fucking killed, I say. World would be better off without the fucking freaks at all. It’s not like they’re regular people.”

And so it went, for an hour or more, with Dursley’s stories getting both more outlandish and more incoherent. The only thing he was sure of was that Harry Potter had disappeared twenty years ago, almost to the day. And that somehow, he was sure, Harry Potter was responsible for the deaths of his parents. Eventually his solicitor managed to stop the flow of babble and turn Dursley’s attention to the matter of his parents’ estate. Convicted felon or not, he was their only heir and would inherit everything, although it would have to be managed for him until he was released – if he ever was. Lestrade turned over a card for the Dursleys’ solicitor that he’d found in the brown folio – most likely the man had their Wills and would be able to start the process of putting the estate through probate. Then he gave Dursley and the solicitor his own cards, telling them that if anything came up or Dursley remembered anything else, to call and let him know.

Then he stepped into the next room, signalled the three occupants to come out, and they moved down the hallway to where they wouldn’t be heard. Sherlock was uncharacteristically silent, John was spitting mad, and Sally Donovan was deeply shaken.

“So. What do you all think?”

“I think that Dudley Dursley is the most repellent individual I have ever laid eyes on,” said John. “Maybe even more so than Jim Moriarty. Moriarty at least was insane. Dursley doesn’t have that excuse. It’s no great loss to the world that he probably won’t live much longer.”

“Huh? Why?”

“Congestive heart failure,” said John.

“He’ll be shanked in a stairwell,” said Sherlock simultaneously.

They looked at each other and Sherlock gave a grim little laugh.

“Either way, all that lovely money he just inherited from his parents …” John started.

“… will go to his nearest relative, the cousin that he hates, instead. Assuming he’s still alive,” finished Sherlock.

“And assuming Dursley’s not smart enough to make a Will,” put in Lestrade. “Which he probably isn’t.”

“I think … I think I will never call anyone a freak again,” muttered Donovan, glancing once at Sherlock and then turning her gaze back down at the floor. “I’m sorry,” she breathed.

“The word ‘freak’ means an eccentric or nonconformist person, or something markedly unusual or irregular,” said Sherlock. “Both of which I am. The term is accurate, although it is always – always – offensive. I doubt you merely intended to be accurate. You intended to offend. You are a competent enough officer, Sergeant Donovan, and may one day head your own team. I think we will both appreciate not working together then.” He turned to glance back at the door to the interrogation room where Dursley was still meeting with his solicitor. “Dudley Dursley, and probably both of his parents, has taken his use of the word to an extreme – he fears what he doesn’t understand, and what he fear he hates and attempts to wipe out of existence. I don’t doubt that Dursley’s hatred of ‘freakishness’ by now extends to anything outside his sphere of understanding. Science, the arts, anything beyond the most brutish examples of human relationships.Such a limited view of the world. I do not believe that your view is anywhere near as limited, Sergeant Donovan. I would be sorry if it became so.”

Sally Donovan understood that her apology – such as it was ­– had been accepted, and that neither of them would ever mention this exchange again.

When Lestrade checked his phone after leaving Pentonville, there was an urgent text from Anderson.

Have AFIS match on Potter prints.

SH will want to know.

Bring him in soonest.


Lestrade showed the text to Sherlock and John. “Looks like Anderson’s got something interesting.”

“Anderson? He couldn’t find his nose in front of his face. He couldn’t see a door in front of his face,” Sherlock scoffed.

I couldn’t see that door in front of my face,” said John. “Let’s see what he’s got, at least.”

The ride back to the Yard was mostly silent, each person in the car wrapped in their own thoughts. Anderson intercepted them as soon as they came off the elevator, handing Lestrade a file folder. Lestrade flipped it open to glance at it on the way to his office, and then came to a dead halt in the middle of the floor, Donovan almost colliding with him.

“Well, shit,” he said.

“What?” Sherlock made a grab for the file, which Lestrade jerked away from his fingertips.

“My office. Now.”

Lestrade waved Sherlock and John into the visitor’s chairs in his office and both Donovan and Anderson crowded in behind them, Anderson, surprisingly, closing the door to give them some privacy. Lestrade dropped into his chair and opened the file, perusing its contents while John and Sherlock waited with growing impatience. Finally he finished reading, closed the file and put it on his desk. There was honest confusion in his face as he looked up at Sherlock. “So when exactly were you going to tell us? I assume you had some reason, other than just having us on?”

“Tell you what?” asked Sherlock.

“This!” he said, rapping his knuckles on the file. “You had to know it would come up.”

“Perhaps if you’d let me know what it is I’m supposed to know, I could tell you why I didn’t tell you.”

“I think I actually followed that,” said John. “That frightens me.”

Lestrade pushed the file across the desk to Sherlock, who opened it, skimmed the front page, frowned, flipped through several pages of attachments, returned to the front page and reread it slowly and thoroughly, which surprised John no end; Sherlock never reread anything. Sherlock closed the file thoughtfully and put it on the desk in front of him.

“Well. That’s … unexpected.”

“Did you really not expect us to find out?”

“I … I didn’t know there was anything to find out. This is as much news to me as it is to you.” He was not used to being caught flat-footed.

“This raises more questions than it answers, but at least now we know where Harry Potter is,” said Lestrade.

“Really? Where?” asked John. After so long working with Sherlock, he knew exactly what question to ask and when to ask it to allow his friend and partner his moment for the dramatic revelation.

To his surprise, it was not Sherlock who answered.

“Two feet to your left,” said Anderson. “Sitting right next to you.”

Donovan, who had been leaning against the doorframe, jerked upright, and John abruptly sat up from his relaxed position in the chair. Lestrade simply nodded.

Sherlock opened the file again and pushed it over in front of John.

“That is the preliminary report on the fingerprints from Privet Drive,” he said in his usual ‘explaining things for the slow people in the room’ tone. “As predicted, most of the prints from the main body of the house itself belong to Vernon and Petunia Dursley. Two prints from the living room might be the killers’, or might be the next door neighbours’. Prints belonging to Dudley Dursley are on the trophies and some of the personal belongings in his room. There are prints from several other individuals from the smallest upstairs bedroom, none of which are in AFIS. The vast majority of prints from that room, and the child’s hand print from under the stairs, come from one individual whose prints do show up in AFIS.”

He pulled two exhibit pages from the file and arranged them neatly on the desk. One showed the child’s handprint from under the stairs and a set of prints presumably assembled from the mass of prints from the bedroom ­– only a print for the left little finger was missing – and the other a copy of an official NSY fingerprint card dated several years before. The name on the card was clearly typed.

“They are mine, including the small scar on my left index finger that shows up on the prints from the upstairs room, but not the ones from under the stairs. This confirms that I must, in fact, be Harry Potter, though I have no memory of it, nor any idea of how it might be possible.”

“How can you not know what your real name is?” asked Lestrade. “I could understand it if somebody changed it when you were a baby, but Harry Potter was fifteen when he disappeared.”

Sherlock looked evenly across the desk at Lestrade. “My legal name – the only name I remember having – is William Sherlock Scott Holmes.”

“The only name you remember –?”

“What do you know about retrograde amnesia, Inspector Lestrade?”

Lestrade was more than a bit unnerved by the eerie calm on Sherlock’s face. “Amnesia? Convenient excuse for people not remembering things when they do something stupid and get themselves hurt. Happens all the time on telly. Get hit over the head, and bang! The character doesn’t remember anything. Then they get hit again, and bang! Remember everything again.”

“It’s not as common in real life as on telly,” said John. “But it does happen. It’s a neurological condition usually connected with trauma, brain injury or illness affecting the brain – not a mental illness, but a physical one. There are varying degrees of loss, and it can be permanent. Getting hit on the head again does not restore what’s lost – in real life, it would just make matters worse by inflicting more trauma. Amnesia does also sometimes happen for psychological reasons, usually stress or PTSD, but those generally resolve themselves within a few weeks or months when the stress is relieved.”

“On August 2, 1995, just after eight o’clock in the evening, a car belonging to a couple returning home from dinner in Devon, just outside of Exeter, rounded a curve and struck a teenage boy who ran out of the dark toward them,” said Sherlock, still in a totally calm voice. “The boy slid across the bonnet of the car, struck his forehead against the windscreen hard enough to shatter it, and rolled off onto the road as the car came to a sudden halt. The boy was taken to hospital, where he was treated for a broken leg, severe concussion, and skull and facial injuries that necessitated a certain amount of reconstructive surgery. There was extensive bruising on his body from the accident, but in addition, there were bruises on his throat, indicating that a strong person with large hands had attempted to strangle him more than two but less than six hours before. His body bore other signs of moderate to severe neglect and abuse. The boy remained unconscious for three days, and even after he regained consciousness, it was several days before he was coherent. It was eventually found that he had no memory of his identity or his past. He was diagnosed with retrograde amnesia as a result of trauma to his brain when he struck the windscreen and then hit his head again on the pavement. He had no identification and no one ever reported him missing. After he recovered from his injuries enough to be released from hospital, he was going to be put into the local foster care system, but the driver of the car and his wife offered to take him into their care as a foster child. They later adopted him and gave him the name William Sherlock Scott Holmes. My first memory is of waking up in the neuro unit of Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital. No amount of therapy – and I went through a lot of therapy – ever enabled me to retrieve any memories prior to that date.”

He took a deep breath and continued. “Mrs. Sheffield of Number Seven, Privet Drive and Dudley Dursley both described Harry Potter in the same way – slim, even skinny build, recent growth spurt, black hair, green eyes, wore glasses. He had a zigzag scar over the right eye. That is a remarkably good description of what I looked like at the time of the accident – except for the scar, which may have been assumed to be part of the facial injuries from the accident. It will not have escaped your notice that I still fit that description for the most part – my hair curls when it is long, but is uncontrollable when shorter, which is why I wear it longer than is strictly fashionable. I am told that my eyes become green when I am angry or subject to other strong emotions, and I have no doubt that Harry Potter was angry or distraught most of the time. Until I was seventeen I wore glasses; I later had laser surgery to correct a rather appalling vision problem.

“The last time Mrs. Sheffield saw Harry Potter, on the evening of August 2, 1995, he was being choked or strangled by his uncle, Vernon Dursley, but he managed to break away and leave the scene. Bruises would have been left on his throat from that action; there are pictures of handprint bruises in my hospital file and the ‘John Doe’ police file that was opened at the time. Perhaps they can be matched with Dursley’s hand span.

“Finally, according to Dudley Dursley, Harry Potter owned a pet white owl. As all of you know, I also have a pet owl – a snowy owl, in fact, which I found injured and adopted shortly after I left the hospital; rehabilitating her became part of my own therapy. I now suspect she may be the same owl. Damage found on the window frame of Potter’s bedroom matches damage done to my furniture over the years by Gwenhwyfar’s talons, further backing that up. Pets are sometimes known to seek out their owners over long distances. Gwenhwyfar is more intelligent than your average dog or cat, and may have been able to find her owner, though she was injured in the process and almost died.

“I have no idea how Harry Potter managed to disappear from a suburb in Surrey just before sunset to be struck by a car in Devon, almost 200 miles away, a minimum three and a half hour drive, less than two hours later. Nevertheless, I must believe it happened, and that I am Harry Potter.” As he said the last words, something sizzled down his spine and made his skin tingle. The reaction puzzled him, but there were already so many odd things about this case that he dismissed it for the moment – he’d figure it out sooner or later, he was sure.

“So Mr. ‘I Remember Everything’ didn’t remember who he was?” said Donovan, her tone clearly disbelieving.

“That is why I became Mr. ‘I Remember Everything’,” said Sherlock flatly. “Having lost all knowledge of myself, my own history, once, I determined never to let it happen again. Curiously, I had retained part of my prior education, but it was spotty at best – you may recall my difficulties with the solar system. I had to relearn everything. Memory training was crucial to that.”

“But this ‘retrograde amnesia’ wouldn’t change being a psychopath now, would it?” Donovan asked. “According to Dursley, Harry Potter was a right little hellion.”

“For God’s sake, Donovan, give it a rest!” Lestrade growled out. “Dursley’s not exactly what I’d call a ‘reliable witness’.”

“I’ve told you before, I’m a high-functioning socio-“

“You’re not that either, Sherlock, give it up,” said John, interrupting him. “You’re neither a psychopath nor a sociopath. You pretend to be for your own reasons, but you’re not. What you are is frighteningly intelligent and bored, which is a bad combination but not pathological in any way.”

“Thought you were a medical doctor, not a shrink,” said Donovan.

“Did a psych round in training, we all did. And I did a refresher recently. Had to, with everybody flinging around psychological terms they don’t know the meanings of,” John said, glaring at her. “I’m not immune to it myself, Greg can tell you I thought I had Sherlock pegged as Asperger’s for a while, but that didn’t quite fit either. Knowing about all this makes a lot more sense. It also puts a new light on things Mycroft said when we first met.”

“He worries about me,” said Sherlock. “Because he doesn’t know who or what I was, and what might come out of my past to touch the rest of the family. At one time he honestly thought I manipulated our parents into taking me in, to take advantage of the Holmes heritage for my own purposes, but I believe he has recovered from that particular delusion. Over the years he has managed to develop something like brotherly affection, though he expresses it in odd ways. It hasn’t stopped him using my skills and abilities – using me – when he thought he needed to. Including setting me up for Moriarty – all for the good of the country, you know.”

“Yeah, so he has some paranoia and control issues going there. Those are his problems, not yours,” said John.

“You didn’t know about any of this, though? His best friend?” Donovan asked.

“Personal history and not my business, until all this came up. Last I heard, people are entitled to private lives. He doesn’t know what happened to me when I was fifteen, and if he does I’ll thank him not to say it,” John said loudly, stilling Sherlock, who had just taken a breath to speak. “I doubt you’d want your teenage years spilled all over, either. None of this is any of our business except in how it’s connected to the Dursley matter.”

“Right. The Dursleys,” said Lestrade, who appeared grateful for the chance to turn the conversation back to the case. “Who apparently abused their nephew verbally and emotionally, neglected his physical requirements, treated him as a house slave, and allowed their son to abuse him physically. Who didn’t bother to report to anyone that the child for whom they were responsible had run away. And who were killed yesterday morning by a person or persons unknown, either attempting to leave a message for this child – now an adult – or working on his behalf.”

Sherlock’s calm face became totally impassive. Like stone.

“Are we back to that again?” asked John angrily. “Because you know where that kind of thinking got us the last time.”

“Different situation entirely,” said Lestrade. “And for the record, I don’t believe it for a second. That man” – he jerked his thumb at Sherlock – “would not arrange for the murder of two individuals, no matter how repellent, twenty years after getting away from them. Especially since he doesn’t even seem to remember them. There are doctors’ statements to verify that, Sherlock? Hospital records, maybe? We’ll have to talk to your parents, too.”

“Of course. I was also written up in a few psychological journals. Shall I get you copies of the articles as well?” Sherlock snapped.

“Yeah, that’d be great,” said Lestrade, letting Sherlock’s anger roll off him. “Get it on record, there won’t be a problem. We’ll get copies of the ‘John Doe’ records from Devon. As far as I’m concerned, that covers that. But that still leaves open the thought that somebody might have done this on his behalf but without his knowledge , okay? Like they thought they were doing him a favour.”

“It also leaves open the question of whether they were really trying to attract the attention of Harry Potter – or of Sherlock Holmes,” Sherlock said slowly. “If they somehow knew he and I were one and the same. Which in turn means they know more about me than I knew about myself until just now. And that concept is very disturbing.”

“So we dig. That’s what we do best. Sherlock, I gotta apologize up front, because it looks like we’ll be digging out some nasty stuff. It may – probably will – hurt you.”

“Better to know than not to. At least I know my own birthday now. I’m a year older than I thought – we had to guess, you see, and I was a bit on the short side then. And my birth parents’ names. That already makes it worth it. Give me a copy of the Dursley interview when it’s transcribed. We can try to find out exactly how much truth, if any, is in that mass of fairy tales. You work it your way, I’ll work it mine. Agreed?”


Sherlock stood up to leave and brushed past Donovan without comment but paused in front of Anderson. “This is the first time you have solved a major aspect of a case before I could. Congratulations. Don’t get used to it.”

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