On the Streets of Paris
DISCLAIMER: I do not own Sherlock Holmes or any of the affiliated characters or ideas—their creator is the remarkable Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
A/N: I'm not entirely sure of the quality of this chapter, either, because it was largely written as I was very, very tired. XD If it has errors and such, I'll touch them up.
KS: Welcome to the twenty-eighth and final chapter of On the Streets of Paris, the sequel to Brother. I know I haven't been entirely consistent in this, nor have I been regular with updates, and I apologise greatly for both shortcomings. But, I have tried. I have had many unexpected things happen in life as I wrote it, and that interfered with my writing greatly (which is further proven by a lack of updates on other fics). But now, On the Streets of Paris draws to a close. It's been a bumpy ride, and now it is at an end. I do hope you have enjoyed it.
It is in Watson's POV.
London, Nine Days Later
Holmes tossed his hat onto the rack as soon as he stepped into the sitting-room and walked over to his favourite chair, sitting himself down carefully with a long sigh.
"Mycroft didn't murder you, I see," I said, pointedly imitating the way he usually made observations about me when I entered the room.
"My dear brother decided unsurprisingly that it would take more effort than it was worth," Holmes said dryly, taking up his pipe.
I laughed softly, looking up from my newspaper to see my companion's face.
"A smart move. Perhaps the week's wait softened his anger?"
Holmes smiled as he held the black stem of his pipe between his teeth, holding a match in the bowl to light his acrid tobacco.
"Mm, I think not. But it is hard to raise one's voice in the Stranger's Room of the Diogenes Club and not get thrown out." Holmes tossed the used match into the grate as I laughed, and as he smoked he studied me through the thick haze that spouted from his pipe.
"How is your recovery progressing?" he asked.
"Well enough," said I, setting my paper down and glancing at my ankle. It was still quite sore, and I certainly could not do very much walking on it. "It will be a long time, though, before I can do much of anything."
Holmes nodded understandingly and leaned back in his chair, making himself comfortable. I now was his sole doctor, replacing his bandages, checking his lungs for infection, and making sure he did not stress his wounds. Though he was following my orders not to be going out and exerting himself, Holmes had almost been like a wild tiger in a cage, restless and uncomfortable, especially since he had no cases on hand to distract his formidable mind from the pain.
I had given him permission to go and visit his brother to-day, his first real excursion since we had returned from Paris, and I could tell it had done him a world of good.
Our comfortable silence was soon interrupted by a ring of the bell, and I sighed heavily. No doubt it was a client, for Mrs. Hudson very seldom had visitors, and I knew that Holmes would be very unlikely to turn them away. I saw a light of glee flash in my friend's steely eyes as he stood to his feet.
"I believe that is for us, my dear Watson," he said, listening. "Hum, yes, a light step upon the stair. A woman, if I am not mistaken."
I put aside my paper and took up my note-book from my desk, still hoping that whoever it was brought a case my friend could simply solve from his armchair. There was a small, nervous rap on our door, and Holmes opened it for the visitor. As he saw who it was, his face fell somewhat, and his brow furrowed lightly.
"Miss Scott," said he, "I—"
My friend was cut off by an abrupt attack from the female visitor, which took the form of a very strong, grateful embrace.
"Oh, Mr. Holmes, thank you! Thank you so very, very much!!" she cried. "Oh…how…how will I repay you? Name your price! I am not rich, but I will try!"
Holmes's face had flushed a bright scarlet by this time, and I watched as he fidgeted uncomfortably in her hold. Undoubtedly some of his discomfort came from the fact that the young lady was very close to putting pressure upon his broken ribs, but I also had no doubt that it was more his distaste for such displays that had coloured him so.
"I am sure you are thankful, Miss Scott," said he, pushing her away as politely as he could, "but I need no recompense for your case. I have had more than enough from it. My work was enough of a reward this time."
"But surely, I can do something…A kiss, even! I am unspeakably grateful."
A grimace touched my friend's countenance, but the girl missed it entirely in her gratitude.
"No, thank you," he said, "that will not be necessary. It was worth taking on for just the purpose of ridding society of him."
"And for that, the world thanks you I'm sure, Mr. Holmes."
"Perhaps. Good-bye, Miss Scott."
"Good-bye, Mr. Holmes."
The girl left much in the same way she had came, quickly, and my friend closed the door behind her. He said nothing as he stepped back across the room and settled into his favourite armchair once again. The silence continued as he resumed smoking his pipe and finally, I asked the question that was so obviously on my mind.
"Well, who was she?"
"Hm? Oh, that was Miss Abigail Scott, the woman who came to me about the late Mr. Jackson Hughes in the first place."
There was another short silence.
"More than enough from the case, indeed…" I snorted softly as I remembered his words.
Holmes leaned back in his chair and watched the blue smoke from his pipe as it drifted up slowly toward the ceiling, dancing and wavering at any slight draught.
"As I said, Watson," he began thoughtfully, "It was most certainly worth the troubles to rid the world of Jackson Hughes once and for all. Surely you agree?"
"Hughes was merciless. Men and rivers both become crooked by the same means, Watson: by taking the path of least resistance."
And so ended our extraordinary experiences concerning the villain Jackson Hughes. Hughes's body was laid to rest in America in the city of New York, and the tiny remains of his criminal empire crumbled like ancient stone as the men were either hung or sent to gaol. Holmes and I both recovered quickly from our injuries, and my dear friend was back in a matter of months to the brain-work that he cherished so much.
Those few, brief encounters with the singularly devilish Jackson Hughes may not have been enough to make a deep impression on Holmes, but I for one shall never forget his coldness and the vile pleasure he derived from other's pain. I did not want to meet such a man again, but I knew that if Holmes ever found himself against another opponent so wicked, I would be right at his side, no matter what the cost.
KS: And that is it! Thank you very, very much for reading. Please don't forget to leave a review!