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Fic: The Late, Unlamented, Mr Hudson

Title: The Late, Unlamented, Mr Hudson
Fandom: BBC Sherlock
Rating: PG
Characters: John Watson, Mrs Hudson, Sherlock Holmes
Length: 1,630 words
Alternate Link: AO3
Author's Notes: Written for the watsons_woes JWP 2015 Prompt #24, A Long Suffering Woman. Unbeta'd.
Summary: Sherlock's explanation of how he met Mrs Hudson wasn't a lie, exactly, but he did leave out some important details.

John concentrated on his senses. The familiar, buttery scent of Mrs Hudson's baking. The heat of the china tea cup clenched in his hands. The low mutter of voices from the tele and the rattle of wind-blown rain against the windows. The carefully trained pace of his breath, in for a four-count, out for an eight-count. Anything to distract him from the fact he was so furious with Sherlock bloody Holmes, he was shaking with it.

He would normally have walked it off, but the face-full of rain he'd got when he opened the outside door made it clear that wasn't an option. Mrs Hudson invited him in the moment she opened the door and saw the look on his face.

She hadn't asked what Sherlock had done, and John hadn't told her.

"He isn't intentionally cruel," Mrs Hudson said, placing a plate of digestive biscuits in front of John and sitting across from him at the kitchen table. "I know it seems that way, sometimes, but he's not. He just doesn't always understand how his actions affect other people."

John let out a short, unamused huff of laughter. "I think it was pretty fucking obvious how this would affect me."

"That could be, dear, I can't really say," Mrs Hudson answered, sipping slowly at her tea and letting her eyes slip to the tele.

John let himself slowly unwind in her kind, warm kitchen. A resounding crash from above made him flinch, hard, nearly dropping the teacup.

"Leave it the fuck alone!" John roared at the ceiling. There was a moment's silence, and then a resentful thump.

"I asked him, once," Mrs Hudson said, coaxing John's attention back from where he stood glaring at the ceiling. "'Why can't you try to be nice?' I asked him," and John could hear the echoes of real distress in her voice as she recounted the story.

"What did he say?" John asked, reluctantly curious.

"Well, this was early days, back in Miami, and he was rather out of his head on drugs at the time. So he wasn't exactly coherent, but I think that just makes his answer all the more honest, don't you?" Mrs Hudson asked John, making eye contact over her teacup and waiting for him to sit back down before continuing.

"He told me that no one liked him unless he was someone else, but he couldn't pull that off for long, and then everyone hated him even more. So he would just be Sherlock Holmes at them, as hard as he could, and Sherlock Holmes was not 'nice'."

John could imagine Sherlock saying that.

"Of course, he was with Victor at the time, and that boy was no good for him. That's why I was so relieved when he found you," she said, reaching out to pat his hand.

John grimaced. He'd run out of ways to explain to Mrs Hudson that he and Sherlock were not a couple, and she still kept it up. He wasn't sure if she meant it as an in-joke, or if she was convinced that repeating the assumption over and over would eventually convince them she must be right.

John finished his biscuits. The program they were watching on the tele ended, but the storm showed no signs of passing, and John certainly wasn't going back upstairs.

"Mrs Hudson, there's something I've been meaning to ask you. This ... might be a sensitive topic, so if it isn't something you want to discuss, say the word and I'll drop it."

She raised an eyebrow at him. "Well now, you do have me curious. Go on," she said with a regal nod.

"When I first moved in, Sherlock told me that he ensured your husband's execution in Florida, but when read through the state's death penalty cases, I didn't see a Hudson listed."

Mrs Hudson looked puzzled for a moment, then smiled. "Oh, I see what happened. You misheard him, dear. Frank wasn't executed BY the state of Florida. He was executed IN the state of Florida."

"In the state of Florida?"

She nodded.

"Are you telling me that Sherlock organized your husband's murder?" John exclaimed, hardly believing his ears.

"No, of course not," she said, looking quite offended, then hesitated. "Well, technically-speaking, I suppose ..." Mrs Hudson trailed off as if confused, looking around the room. "Oh look, the rain's letting up. I think I'll just pop off down to the shops," she said brightly.

"Mrs Hudson," John said sharply, freezing her in place as she stood up to clear away the dishes. "You cannot drop a bomb like that and then walk away. I need to hear the rest of the story."

John found himself the target of a very keen, assessing gaze. He straightened in his chair. "Please?"

"All right, John," she said, returning to her seat. "But this is to be kept private. It can't go in that blog of yours, not even a hint of it."

John agreed, and she began.

"I married Frank in my early 30's. Practically an old maid at that time. I knew he wasn't a good man, but I felt I was in no position to be picky. I'd a good head for business, and figures, and I ended up keeping the books for Frank's business. Both sets of them, you understand?"

There was a hint of an accent to her words, as she spoke of her past in America. John nodded.

"He kept me out of the messy side of his work. I suppose things would have continued like that to this day, but as I got older, Frank's taste in girls got younger. Not a bit younger, you understand. Very much younger. He was charged with statutory rape. A young Cuban girl, only fourteen years old. He'd been ... rough with her, and the girl's family went to the police. During the trial, one of her brothers was killed in a hit-and-run, and then none of the witnesses would testify again him. They were about to drop all charges when a young Englishman on holiday in Miami walked into the police station, demanded to see the arresting officer, and provided him with evidence of what Frank had done."

John snorted. "Sounds familiar," he said.

Mrs Hudson nodded. "Frank's business associates assumed that the English boy must be a friend of mine. And if I was willing to talk to the police about one crime, well ..."

John stiffened up.

"The funny thing is, I had thought about going to the police. That girl - she wasn't the first. There were, oh, dozens, I imagine. I wanted to stop him. But Frank was a dangerous man, and the cartel was worse, and I couldn't -"

Mrs Hudson seemed to be working herself up, and John had to interrupt. "Its alright, Mrs Hudson, really it is, " he said, reaching out to capture her hand. "You're not the police. Its not your job to stop dangerous men."

She shook him off and sniffed disapprovingly. "Luckily some people don't let that stop them," she said, glancing up at the ceiling.

John conceded the point, leaning back in his chair.

"So I thought it was a rather ironic, finding myself on a boat in the middle of the bay, late at night, with four armed men and the young man who had done what I couldn't. They wanted me to confess to feeding him the evidence about Frank. And he was ... Sherlock was so thin back then, he looked like a schoolboy, trussed up in the bottom of the boat. He was pale, too, his face all bloody and bruised from the beating they'd given him."

She seemed lost in thought for a moment. "What did you do?" John asked.

"Well, I confessed, of course. Said it was all my idea, that the boy was just a junkie I'd paid $100 to pass on the information to the police and pretend he'd come up with it himself."

"You tried to save him?"

She smiled sadly. "No, it seemed a bit late for that, for the both of us. I was hoping that, if I told them what they wanted to hear, they wouldn't hurt him too much before the end. Then he sat up, spat some blood out of his mouth, and said I was a liar. He told them exactly how he'd figured everything out. And, you know how he is, John. It was the most magnificent thing I'd ever seen."

John could picture it - a tiny boat at midnight, the Miami skyline in the distance, four armed criminals, Mrs Hudson, and Sherlock Holmes doing what he did best. He found himself smiling.

"At the end he told them he was surprised they'd go to so much trouble for a man who was skimming ten percent of their product, and offered them proof of that, if they were interested. And at that point, Sherlock turned to me and winked!"

John barked a laugh. "They let you go?"

"They did," she said. "And Frank was shivved during breakfast in prison the next morning. A rough justice, but quick, and final."

The oven timer chose that moment to ding, as if she had timed her story to the second. Mrs Hudson busied herself pulling out the dessert and chattered away, as she sliced it up, about the bridge club she was off to tonight.

"John, dear, could you bring a piece of this tart up to Sherlock for me? I would do it, but you know how my hip acts up in bad weather."

John nodded, and found himself jogging up the stairs with two warm slices of tart and a smile on his face, reminded of that fact that Sherlock Holmes, for all his faults, was a very good man indeed.



( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 25th, 2015 10:31 am (UTC)
Aw. I liked this a lot. Well done!
Jul. 25th, 2015 09:43 pm (UTC)
Thank you, okapi1895!
Jul. 26th, 2015 12:25 am (UTC)
Great Mrs Hudson backstory!
Jul. 26th, 2015 12:34 am (UTC)
Thank you, captain! I love Mrs Hudson.
Jul. 27th, 2015 02:38 am (UTC)
Dammit now I want that episode of MIAMI VICE.
Jul. 27th, 2015 02:50 am (UTC)

*boggles again*

Now I can't stop thinking about it!

Thanks, gardnerhill!
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )