Basil of Baker Street has a pleasant warm smile on his face, which may even seem sincere to the unknowing side-observers. His clothes, one of the most luxurious and expensive ensembles that can be found in London, are always clean and ironed, as if only from the store, or maybe they really were “politely borrowed” from the owner of some boutique who was too lucky to attract the attention of the gentleman. Basil had already forgotten that distant, very distant time when the inhabitants of London could mention his name without fear, when everyone around him did not bend under all his whims, anxiously fearing that Basil would pull a small bell out of his jacket's breast pocket and call his charming true basset hound friend. If it were physically possible, the pavement would break under his polished shoes, considering how much chaos he could single-handedly wreak on these old streets.
All for the sake of his happy and comfortable criminal life.
Ratigan wears maybe not the most fashionable, but quite neat (as neat as it can get) simple tweed set, in contrast with which a bright pink-purple scarf is tied around his neck, perhaps the only truly interesting and stylish thing in his wardrobe. Of course, in his dreams he would like to dress better, but he long ago got used to the fact that his social position and the desire to earn an income in a honest way severely restrict his funds. His regular income is fine enough so he can provide everything necessary for himself and his cat (Felicia, for she is his only true and loyal friend)? Sometimes he himself wonders how, after all the nightmares that he had to go through, for all the years everything managed to result only in one single broken neck once upon a time, when he could not contain himself anymore. At the end of the day, this small incident didn't influence his career as a private detective much, so one can skip this part of the rat's biography.
What did influence, however, is the mysterious case of Basil of Baker Street.
It started so long ago that Ratigan gets lost in numbers, trying to remember the exact starting point of their relationship, and ultimately makes the decision that at this point the time doesn't matter anymore.
He accurately remembers that their meeting took place in the first major case of Ratigan: "The Big Ben Caper", as the police decided to name it. A week before the incident, Ratigan began to find small clues that something is about to happen, clues left as if for him specifically (or just confusing enough to go unnoticed by the policemen). Three days later, he had not slept for two days, trying to understand what it all meant. Another two days later, he pulled on his hair, realizing where the crime would take place (Big Ben, oh, the sentries would stop these overly feeble-minded and courageous gentlemen before they could even enter the tower). And after final two, he saw the corpses of these very sentries lying on the threshold, and the culprit himself possibly somewhere in the depths of the tower.
Ratigan was quite surprised to see that the scoundrel was completely alone, packing the money in a bag with an impressive size and muttering something about the guards. Although the profession of a detective doesn't imply the usage of brutal force, there wasn't anyone at the moment better suited to do the dirty job, so the rat had to act by himself. He wanted to quietly and quickly eliminate the one who stood before him, but the figure noticed him first and turned around. Mouse, judging by the shape of the muzzle and height (tall for a mouse and yet still too short to be a rat, even a small one). With short, light brown hair and beautiful clothes. The facts on the crime scene indicate his obvious involvement in the incident, but for some reason the detective wanted to wait for the man in front of him to act. He, in turn, in a gentlemanly fashion took off his top hat, the brim of which had previously cast a deep shadow on his face, revealing his bright green eyes and smiled, his white teeth gleaming when exposed.
"Basil of Baker Street, my good fellow."
That night he was never caught.
Ratigan said that, by the time he arrived, there was no one in the building. It was much easier to lie and endure the reproachful murmurs of the police and disapproving tired looks than to explain why he, having the possibility to do this, did not stop the wrongdoer.
After what happened, Ratigan began to think very often about what he had seen. Thoughts flooded his head, bad and good, but all those on the verge of obsession, and what had imprinted itself in his mind the most was the delinquent's unique face. An interesting combination of all facial features and incredible, bright and lively green eyes didn't leave the detective’s head (after all, in fact, this is all he knows about the mouse he encountered), at least he doesn't see them in his dreams.
He also haven't slept for a really long time.
At that time, it seemed that ordering a portrait, the details of which Ratigan personally presented to the artist in a written form on 5 A4 pages, was not such a bad idea. "Basil" looked wonderful and, of course, no one would suspect anything if he would just put a portrait of a beautiful individual on his fireplace, without attracting anyone's attention. The picture came out wonderful, though, it was even able to get close to the effect that Basil himself made when encountered face to face.
Reconsidering everything, remembering, the detective even offered himself an absurd idea that he initially was completely wrong about the corpus delicti. Basil was absolutely not like those low-life criminals whom Rathigan saw during his career, both in terms of appearance and manners; he was sweet and amiable, handsome and neat; typical London criminals, in turn, looked and behaved as if they completely spent their entire lives in sewers without access to the civilized world (which was often actually true). Stupid as it was to suppose that this wonderful façade really ment something, but when Ratigan’s thoughts were clouded with that smile and eyes, for him it made a sense in some way or another.
These illusions were completely and ruthlessly destroyed during their second meeting, when Basil, sitting on the bridge, turned to face Ratigan with the same friendly smile and waved with his hand which was stained with blood and held a charged revolver, half of the bullets of which were already used. Cries for help, crying and splashes of water were heard under the bridge. And then the criminal turned back, looking down at a few bodies, helplessly gurgling in the river. He quickly noticed the one who had the most chances to get out of the trap alive. There was a shot and a loud laugh.
Gold chains, rings and beautiful earrings with precious stones gleamed dully in the pockets of his jacket.
The case was recorded as mass murder.
Since then, they began to see each other far too often. More often, at least, than Ratigan would like to see Basil.
The fact that the criminal drives the rat crazy even when not being presented next to him personally doesn't help the situation. Even when he doesn’t hear stinging comments– “For a foul sewer rat, you aren’t even as stupid as I expected you to be, commendable it is,” this phrase was said during their first actual dialogue– this rodent still looks at him with a condescating smile from the portrait he, despite everything, kept on the fireplace. Indeed, if you don't want anyone notice, just put it before everyone's faces. Or, perhaps, the identity of the detective has overgrown with such terrible rumors that now no one gets surprised that he keeps a custom-made portrait of his obsession in his house.
Retigan languidly raises his eyes to this portrait, once again spending his precious time in vain, investigating the crime of Basil, who once again leads him to a dead end. He would like to say that, after the experience of communicating with Basil, his knowledge of the criminal became almost perfect and now he can safely catch him, but, from the very first case, this particular opponent of Ratigan did not spend a single night behind the bars. Meeting eyes with the mouse on the picture, he feels his claws itch from the desire to rip his throat out. Or, perhaps, his own too. The detective inhales deeply and exhales in the same way, mentally counting up to ten (back in the day his parents told him that it helps), removing his claws back until he again decides to do something stupid.
Now he is almost calm.
"What are you doing with me, Basil?"
Basil is prideful like the Devil himself, for years he laughs at the unsuccessful attempts of the bloodhounds from Scotland Yard to put him behind bars or, even more ridiculously, to take him to the scaffold. The fact that it was Ratigan of all possible detectives that repeatedly manages to single-handedly destroy all his plans, should have forced the perpetrator to pour arsenic into the rat's tea a long time ago and get rid of this annoying factor. Nevertheless, he surprisingly for himself understands that this game brings him some twisted sort of satisfaction. Finally, at least someone worthy of his genius, someone who cannot be seen once and be forgetted for the rest of his life, someone for whom it is not such a bore to constantly invent new ways to bring misfortunes to others, has appeared.
The meaning of their little cat and mice (rat and mice?) game is to win this time, and Basil is enraged by every time he is the losing one. This awakens the desire to break the detective's neck, scratch out his eyes and, probably, quarter, preferably everything at once. And the criminal doesn't mind openly telling him about it, barely audibly hissing from anger. Just as he doesn't mind leaving a deep wound exactly under his eye as a punishment for daring to try to intercept him with these terrible, rough, clawed paws he has. Basil also has claws, albeit less dangerous than those of Ratigan, and this should not be surprising.
Taking advantage of the moment when Ratigan is half-blinded, covering his eyes with his free hand and is not capable of anything, he deftly escapes from the grasp and runs off into the night, almost completely satisfied with himself.
This time, police intervention is enough to stop Ratigan from making serious mistakes that h will regret in the future.
During all his long enough life, Ratigan strenuously repressed his essence, tried to discipline and limit himself, learning self-control. In the end, it happens to even bear fruit, but he feels freedom and impunity next to someone like Basil– “no matter what I do now, it will not even get close to what he is doing daily,” he thinks to himself– therefore, during kissing, he allows himself a little liberty and with light uncertanity, but still firmly bites the mouse’s lower lip, hearing his disapproving low groan, and licks small droplets of blood before they begin to roll down his chin and drip onto his clothes. Basil hisses in pain, but doesn’t move away, wrapping his arms around his neck instead and tapping his claws against his nape dangerously.
"Do this again and I will splatter your brilliant brain all over the wall, dear detective."
In the tone with which Basil says this, there is not even a hint of anger, rather it sounds like a jest, like a kind and completely harmless joke, but Ratigan knows perfectly well that the criminal would keep his promise without a twinge of conscience. Detective is well aware of this and he decides not to try his luck.
"Don't you think it is somewhat rash to call yourself after your place of residence, Basil?" Ratigan asks during another moment of excessive proximity between them.
Something is wrong.
“Oh, come on,” Basil laughs. "If you haven't noticed yet, I am actually quite hospitable, unlike some. If you want to visit for a cup of tea and chat about the weather, then I will be just happy to see you."
He seemingly out of nowhere takes out a small paper sheet with an address, hands it over to the detective and leaves without waiting for his reaction.
"Baker Street 221b"
Now it is Ratigan's turn to laugh. Of course, Basil has a wonderful sense of humor.
The detective is annoyed that two mice (one of whom is also a child, God have mercy on him) suddenly decided to burst into his house in the middle of the night with, frankly, a stupid request to find the girl's missing father. Of course, he is, indeed, very sorry that the girl lost her only parent and is considered an orphan for now, but right now he has more important things to do than to search for some mice completely unknown to him (from which he also most likely will not gain any benefit, given that the girl is dressed rather poorly); she already has an adult companion (apparently a doctor; among other things, he is much less annoying), he perfectly can manage to look after her until, probably, tomorrow, when Ratigan has time and desire to get down to business solely out of his own kindness. He is ready to throw them out of his house as discreetly and politely as possible because they make him furious him with their excessive perseverance, when he suddenly hears that the child mentions the perpetrator of the crime– “He was taken by a bat!”.
And this is interesting.
Ratigan listens attentively, but does not want to bestow Basil with any reaction, instead preferring to stare up somewhere with an empty look, while the criminal with the enthusiasm of a child explains his over-the-top plan for killing them. A mousetrap, an axe, a pistol and something else. How stupid and difficult it is, and yet Basil is most likely incredibly proud of his creation (and how could it be otherwise?) and of the fact that now Ratigan no longer has any chance to escape.
“You do understand that it would have to end anyway,” says the criminal, feigning the grief in his voice. He gently strokes the detective's chin and retreats to the gramophone to set up the machine, his heels chattering on the stone floor.
When he finally sets everything right, a sweet, cheerful melody starts to play from the gramophone, which absolutely does not fit the situation. On the background you can hear Basil's nice voice, singing "Goodbye, so soon, and isn't this a crime ...". He really has never been deprived of vocal abilities. A small green airship with the letter "B" on it flies down to him. Fidget works very hard with the pedals, trying to be as fast as possible. "Who would have doubt," Ratigan thinks, rolling his eyes. This mouse would not miss the possibility to stroke his ego even now, it would have been far easier if the detective understood it a long time ago.
But for some reason, the detective doesn't want to say it out loud, as he would have done before, as he would have done if he had not completely failed. No, this time he just doesn't care.
"Adieu, ciao, auf wiedersehen, farewell!"
"So here's goodbye, so soon, you'll find your separate way.."
"Goodbye Padraic," Basil throws with a small chuckle and waves his hand, flying away to the palace.
Ratigan tries to come to terms with the fact that maybe the victory should belong to Basil. Maybe he deserves to lose– he and his newly acquired comrade were lured into an obvious trap and, since he lost in the battle of minds, he could not deserve anything better, all that could be done now is to spend the last moments of his life in the depths of self-loathing. In the end, even now, being so close to the grand finale, he still cannot understand the meaning of the words "And I have an important engagement in... Buckingham Palace," and this no longer matters. Dawson, tied to the mousetrap next to him, is trying to say something to him, to convince him of something, but for Ratigan it all sounds like an unidentifiable noise, incomprehensible and completely meaningless, so he pretends that he hears nothing (even if it is partly true). If the detective had a desire to speak now, he would apologize to the doctor for dragging him into what he shouldn’t.
How exhausting his work actually is.
Ratigan is surprised that during their last meeting in both of their lives, there is no familiar smile on Basil’s face. Judging by the face he is making, though, it is painfully obvious that this isn't the way he imagined his death to be. In his imagination, this was supposed to be something majestic and romantic, but in no way a shameful death, before which he was publicly humiliated, and his plans were utterly ruined. Even injecting a lethal dose of heroin, having already surpassed himself and not seeing any more meaning in existence, would be a more worthy way to end from his life than how it will happen now.
The vibrations caused by the clock's chiming knock Basil off his feet as desperately grasps his fingers at the hands, trying his best to save himself.
Ratigan feels a dull pain when he sees the criminal fall helplessly into the cold water under the tower.
Olivia and her father are rescued and reunited, Ratigan hopes that they have successfully made it back to Scotland; the queen is alive and well and ready to perform her duties further; Dawson, agreeing to continue their friendship with Ratigan and become his colleague after all that happened, nicely talks about something mundane with Mrs. Judson in the next room. Everyone is happy. All is well and calm. Everything is just as it should be.
Ratigan carefully removes the picture from the fireplace and stares at the face of the one he knew for a long time. It doesn’t matter now whether anyone notices it or not, whether anyone finds out what was between them or not, but just for the sake of his own, he puts the portrait in the empty drawer of his bedside table and firmly shuts it with a key.
He does not understand if he would save Basil if there was ever a chance or if he would let him rot behind the bars. But this does not mean that he doesn't miss him already.
A quiet violin melody spreads through the house.