Author: Hughesish PM
This is an AU in which John is a 16 year old who's run away from home to London. After a spill in a Tesco he finds himself being 'offered' to share a flat with one mysterious Sherlock Holmes. M for later chaptersRated: Fiction M - English - Drama/Hurt/Comfort - John W. & Sherlock H. - Chapters: 26 - Words: 70,406 - Reviews: 259 - Favs: 317 - Follows: 280 - Updated: 05-16-12 - Published: 04-15-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8028654
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
John hadn't planned on being a runaway, on being just another statistic. He hadn't had much of a choice though. He couldn't stay at home anymore. It wasn't safe there…it hadn't been for a while. So he'd saved his money and taken a train to London the first chance he got. From what he'd heard the city would be perfect for him - it was big, unlike his hometown; you could lose a person in London quite easily. He would be just another anonymous face that blended in with the crowd; certainly no one would see him as "that Watson boy" anymore.
When he finally exited the train he breathed a sigh of relief - there was a sense of accomplishment attained simply by arriving in the city. If he was honest, he'd been sure someone would have stopped him. Not that people would truly feel his absence, although it would give them something to talk about. He supposed Sarah would miss him, she had been his only serious girlfriend, and one of his few friends, Mike, and his rugby mates would probably be a bit put out. There was no use in thinking that they'd have come for him though. It wasn't as though he'd announced his departure and as much as it pained him to admit it they probably all knew what was happening anyways. They'd understand. Even if they had known he was leaving, they might have just let him go. His sister might miss him cleaning her up after one of her rougher nights out, although Harry had never been too keen on accepting his help. Her girlfriend Clara could take care of that though; she'd signed up for it after all. She knew what a drunk Harry was - everyone in town knew. His mom might be worried, but she wouldn't do anything, not unless he told her to. His dad, if you could even call him that, wasn't fond of his son (to put it mildly). He wasn't much of a dad if you asked John, or anyone who knew the man for that matter. He might come after him out of spite just so that he could make John's plans of a new life fail before they even began.
As he wandered the city, soaking in all the new sights and sounds, that thought burrowed deep in his mind: his new life. This was his chance to become someone new, to do something different, to start over… but how? He wasn't even sure what he wanted to do with his life. He entertained the thought of joining the military, but he also wanted to get some sort of education. There was a time he'd been dead set on becoming a writer, to pen fantastic tales of mystery and heroism. But then again, he didn't think himself to be that great of an author. One talent he'd had was biology; he'd always taken an interest in the art of medicine and learning all the functions of the body… or at least as much as anyone takes an interest in those things. For the most part what really appealed to him was the idea of helping people, which was why the military option stuck out to him as well. He wanted so many things: adventure, mystery, to help, romance, friendship… the problem was that he didn't know how to go about getting those things. He supposed he'd have to enroll himself in school somehow to finish his education. It was the summer though, so he had a few months to sort that all out. First, he needed a job and a place to sleep.
He traveled around a while, looking at the shops and stores. It was all so new and big, but eventually he found his way to a Tesco with a large 'help wanted' sign hanging in the window. He decided it was best to apply at any place where work was available; he didn't want to take his chances and end up with no money in less than a week. He walked into the store, his overly large backpack in tow, and searched for the front counter to inquire about applying. When he turned the corner, however, he found something else entirely and he ended up colliding with it at full speed. After the initial shock of impact he looked down to see he'd knocked over a perfectly nice looking older woman and all of her groceries.
"I'm so sorry!"
He stammered and lowered himself to help her up. She accepted his hand and John lifted her off the tiled floor.
"Let me get those!"
He almost yelled when the woman moved to pick up her bags. John swooped down to gather all of the items that had rolled away and placed them all back into the bags. Once collected he picked up the bags in both hands and stood with a weak smile directed at the woman. She smiled back at him in an amused manner.
"I'm really sorry about that; it was an accident, really!"
"It's alright dearie, no harm done."
John didn't like causing trouble for people, especially people who seemed so nice; he couldn't just leave it at that.
"Let me carry these to your car for you, it's the least I could do."
She observed him for a moment but let out a soft chuckle and nodded her head in consent. With a quick wave of her hand she motioned for him to follow as they made their way out to the car park. Her car was relatively close, so it didn't take long for the two of them to get there. All the same, John could feel the strain in his arms from carrying the heavy bags. It seemed impossible that a lady of her size could have carried these, which made a small part of him was glad he'd bumped into her for that very reason. They piled the bags inside of her small car and she shut the door with a soft thunk. John gave her a tight smile and started to walk away when she spoke up.
"What's your name, young man?"
He shuffled on his feet and considered for a moment making up a new name for his new identity. It could be fun… but he'd never been good at lying.
"John, John Watson."
"Well it's a pleasure to make your acquaintance John, my name is Mrs. Hudson."
She extended one of her small hands out and John shook it with vigor.
"It was nice to meet you too ma'am. Sorry about bumping into you though, I can be a bit of a klutz."
She nodded again but waved her hand as if to brush the incident away. She observed him for a beat before she carried on.
"That's quite alright… if you don't mind me asking, what's in your bag there?"
John looked back to his backpack as if to verify that it was in fact the object she was questioning. The woman smiled warmly at the boy as he seemed to struggle with an answer.
"Just some stuff, travel stuff… I'm kind of new to town."
She looked at him curiously but there was a twinkle in her eye of something John couldn't quite place.
"Where are you from?"
John didn't want to appear disturbed by the continued line of questioning, but he'd never been good at masking his emotions. He was certainly worried about what Mrs. Hudson would think if she found out, as well as what she would say or do. What if she called his parents or made him go back home? He decided that while he might not want to lie, he could be extremely vague.
"Just a small town in the middle of nowhere, you've probably never heard of it."
He said trying his best to sound nonchalant.
"All the same…you're not from around here. Who did you come with? You're a bit young to be on holiday by yourself."
John scratched the back of his head nervously; this was the exact opposite of where he wanted this conversation to be going.
"I-uh-I'm older than I look."
It wasn't exactly a lie; his height left something to be desired and he'd often been mistaken for a person a year or two younger than himself, although the width of his shoulders were normally a dead giveaway to how mature he really was. He wasn't good at this lying business though, so there wasn't much else he could think to do.
"Well, I'm sure you are, still… I'm not here to judge dearie, but it seems to me you're not quite the type to be roughing it out on the streets. Not that you don't seem brave or anything, it's just I hate the thought of a nice boy like you amongst some of the shadier characters around here. Now there's no need to argue, I've seen your type before; you've come here to get away from your past haven't you? Well, that's your choice to make, not one I agree with mind you, but I'd be remiss if I left you like this. Have you even got yourself a place to stay?"
John wasn't sure how to respond, the woman was remarkable at reading him; he almost looked to check if he'd posted a sign on his forehead.
"I-I looked up some cheap motels I can stay at until I save up enough money for a flat."
She looked at him considering for a moment before shaking her head.
"No, that won't do, not at all."
"I can't accept that, no telling what could happen to an innocent boy such as yourself in one of those seedy places. No, you come with me."
"Oh, no, I couldn't impose, really, it'll be fine."
He waved his hands in objection but she didn't seem to be hearing any of it. She simply started to steer him towards the passenger side door as he sputtered out protests.
"Don't fret love; I don't mind at all, in fact you're just what I need."
She pushed him into the seat with surprising force before he could blurt out anything else. The woman came around momentarily and strapped herself in while John wiggled out of his backpack. When they got out to the main road she started to talk again.
"You seem a bit young to be out on your own to me, but I don't know all the facts and I don't know why you chose to come here. I won't make you go back home or anything, but you should consider it, or at least letting your parents know where you are…I'm sure they're worried."
John looked out the window and away from the woman as they turned down a side street.
"No, nobody worries about me."
She gave him a pitying look and removed a hand from the wheel momentarily to pat his knee.
"While I'm sure that's not true, perhaps some time away will put everything in perspective, hmm? Besides, Sherlock may even grow to like you."
"Oh, my mistake, I didn't even explain. I'm a landlady dearie, I've a few tenants but this man… well he's a bit of a pain, he is. Don't get me wrong, I love him to pieces, but he's just a handful. He gets temperamental and grumpy, and he's got horrible manners, but he's really a sweetheart deep down…deep, deep down. At any rate, he's a bit of a science enthusiast you could say; he conducts experiments all the time. That's the problem you see, he conducted one just this morning that ruined my bloody wall! With any luck this will teach him a much deserved lesson."
She explained with a devious wink.
"I'm sorry… what lesson?"
She patted his knee once more with a comforting smile.
"Don't worry love, I don't mean any offense to you, but he'll be a bit put off if I make him take you in as payment for those walls. He's not exactly a people person, so he may not take to you very well, but he'll manage. Besides, his brother has been trying to get me to convince him to get a flat share for the longest time now, he even mention paying for their share of the flat if I could find someone brave enough to live with the dear. So, at least you'll have some place to stay, for free too. That's not bad if you ask me, even considering the company."
John shifted nervously in his seat.
"Is he really that bad?"
She gave a light chuckle at that and shot him another warm smile.
"Don't you worry; you'll be able to handle him. I can tell. You're a tough one. He'll warm up to you. Though if you ever feel uncomfortable, you can always come get me. If he tells you to do anything you don't feel comfortable doing you can also just threaten to tell his brother, that normally works too."
John nodded his head and went back to looking out the window as Mrs. Hudson prattled on about all the things John could do in the city, especially during the summer. He wasn't very concerned about that at the moment though; he was more preoccupied with trying to figure out if this was going to be good. There was no doubt he'd be lucky to find a better offer than free for a flat, but he didn't really want to end up living with another psychopath. At the very least he had to give it a shot. Mrs. Hudson was an awfully nice woman and he doubted she wouldn't knowingly put him in any real harm. If he didn't like it he could always leave, he was his own person now; he could come and go as he pleased. Nothing was written that he had to live with this man, so he would give it a chance.
As they pulled onto Baker Street John took a steadying breath; maybe this Sherlock wasn't as bad as she made him seem.