I thought I'd have a go at writing something a bit more Mrs Hudson-central :) There's speculation in the DVD commentary that she didn't exactly play an innocent role in her husband's conviction, so I've touched on that too. But ultimately, there is no real point to this fic, other than to bully Sherlock *shifty glance* Eheheheh.
Rated to be on the safe side because drugs are mentioned. But, come on, this is Mrs Hudson we're talking about!
John's phone buzzed on the armrest. Without lowering his newspaper, the doctor glanced at the text on the screen.
1 new message:
He frowned for a few seconds, but before he had time to respond, another message followed.
With a sigh, John returned to his newspaper. He'd give it five minutes. After all, this was an interesting article.
Some minutes previously:
From his position in the armchair, wedged in between a superfluous number of flowery cushions, Sherlock studied the woman perched on the sofa next to him. Her dyed-chestnut hair in a neat perm, her thick, green, hairy cardigan, and the cluster of rings and jewellery fighting for space on her hand, put her at roughly seventy-one, give or take a few months. Oh, and she was a widow and owned a budgerigar. Obviously.
Sherlock had warmed to Mrs Hudson the first time he met her. She had hugged him, and no one did that. Well, Mycroft had once tried many, many years ago, but had found a violin bow jabbed in a rather uncomfortable place for his troubles. It was true that Mrs Hudson owed Sherlock a favour – and a rather large one too – but he was pleasantly surprised at that kind, motherly enthusiasm she had shown during his arrival at Baker Street. She fussed, but she didn't ask questions. It was… yes, it was nice.
So he saw no reason why he shouldn't acquiesce, when, upon going downstairs one afternoon to hand over the first month's rent, she had begged him to stay with her for just five more minutes. Come to think of it, she'd practically lured him into her living room with the offer of a hot cup of coffee and a seat in her favourite armchair.
He just hadn't realised that she would have company.
"Black, two sugars, was it?" Mrs Hudson bustled in from her kitchen and pressed a mug into his hands. "This is Mrs Turner, Sherlock. She lives next door." She inclined her head at the woman on the sofa.
Mrs Turner was peering over the top of her glasses and with a jolt of horror, Sherlock realised she was studying him. Criminals he could cope with, the police were just about bearable, but old ladies… with their innocent questions and welcoming smiles, they could peer into your very soul, whilst at the same time knitting a scarf and solving a crossword.
"Please, call me Marie," this one giggled. "My, aren't you tall? Comes in handy for replacing light bulbs, I suppose."
His eyes scanned the room for the nearest door, but, as luck would have it, Mrs Turner sat between him and the only exit, like some kind of knitwear-obsessed dragon.
"She just popped round to borrow some milk..."
"And to catch a glimpse of my new neighbour!" added Mrs Turner, taking a slurp of her tea. Sherlock's eye twitched. "Mrs Hudson tells me you're quite the celebrity!"
Oh god. She thought he was a pin-up in one of those trashy women's magazines. He reached into his pocket for his phone and swiftly dispatched a text. Dramatic, maybe, but necessary.
"So, Sherlock, what do you do?"
"He solves mysteries," said Mrs Hudson promptly, chest swelling with pride. Sherlock inwardly cringed. He hunted down murderers, had shoot-outs with gang leaders and flogged corpses – how did his landlady manage to make it all sound so quaint?
As if echoing his thoughts, a wide-eyed Mrs Turner gasped, "Oooh, like Miss Marple? Or Scooby Doo?" She leaned forward. "Do you have a van?"
Sherlock clenched his jaw. "I prefer 'consulting detective'." He placed his coffee on the table and made to stand up. "I think I should really be go –"
"Oh, no, no, no, you've only just got here!" She pushed a strong, gnarled hand against his knee and in his haste to get away from it, he found himself falling back in his seat once again. With his flesh still crawling, he sent a second text and prayed that upstairs, John would correctly assess the severity of the situation.
Mrs Turner was still talking. "One of my boys next-door works in IT, of course. He's ever so good. Taught me all kinds of computer trickery –"
"Well, Sherlock has one of those Internet things," responded Mrs Hudson, not to be outdone.
"And my other one, he works in a bank, very talented –"
"Knows people at Scotland Yard, don't you, Sherlock?"
"Very good at putting up shelves –"
"Plays the violin too –"
"Both so charming –"
"Even helped at my husband's trial –" Mrs Hudson stopped, and shot a glance at her tenant, as though aware she had said something she oughtn't. Fingers rose to her mouth nervously. "Eherm… more biscuits, anyone?"
But now the dragon was interested. 'Mr Hudson?' she whispered excitedly, shifting so close to the edge of her seat she was in danger of falling off. 'Yes, what happened to him?'
"Oh, um…" Mrs Hudson scratched her nose. "He was, um, caught smuggling things – drugs – into Florida. Awful to-do, there was. The court thought he was part of a gang, and you know, they've got their funny ways over there…"
"He was sentenced to death," said Sherlock coolly. "So I was called in."
Mrs Turner's mouth jaw dropped. "But, I thought he was dead? So you didn't get him –"
"I found the singular piece of evidence proving his innocence," Sherlock sniffed, taking a sip of his coffee. "But I arrived at the trial with it seconds too late."
"Terrible shame," nodded Mrs Hudson, reaching for a custard cream.
"Traffic jams," Sherlock added quietly.
"And you didn't know anything about it?"
Mrs Hudson gave a laugh that was just slightly too high-pitched. "Oh, I don't know the difference between a – a – a space cake and a jam sponge, so –"
"No, I mean, you didn't even know what your husband was up to?"
She swallowed. "He was… away from home a lot, but he always told me it was part of his job."
"Gosh," the neighbour narrowed her eyes, "what a piece of luck that you inherited this lovely place."
Sherlock snorted. "Especially seeing as he had three other wives on the go –"
"Anyone for another cup of tea?" Mrs Hudson jumped up and with lightning speed, swiped the cups from her guests' hands and scurried off to the kitchen, leaving Sherlock alone with their excitable neighbour, who was gazing at him with newfound curiosity. He silently urged John to hurry up.
"Well I never!" she gabbled and shuffled along the sofa to be nearer to him, whilst he instinctively shrank back in his chair. "So is there anything else you do?"
"Yes," he snarled, rolling his eyes and turning his head the other way. "I visit haunted fairgrounds and pull masks off people."
Sherlock caught a glint of mischief in those forget-me-not blue eyes. Wait, was she just playing with him? There was almost certainly a laugh hidden under those wrinkles as she persisted, "But no lady friend, I gather?"
"What?" This caught him off-guard. "No." He pulled his knees to his chest and scowled, feeling distinctly uncomfortable. It was supposed to be him asking the questions. And, yes, now she would tell him how she had figured it out…
"Dear me, no wedding ring –"
"Oh, well done –"
"And you clearly need feeding up – look at you! No woman would let you starve like that!"
"And your hair, Sherlock, dear." Mrs Hudson had returned from the kitchen and placed the cups down on the table. "All over the place! Has no one told you it needs a trim? Oh, it'll turn your eyes –"
"I've got some hair scissors in my handbag!"
"I have to go," Sherlock snapped and jumped out of his chair. The threat of a haircut was one step too far. "Thank you for the coffee, Mrs Hudson."
"But you haven't started on your second cup, yet!"
"I'll live." For a split second, he wished he'd brought his gun. "My flatmate will wonder where I am."
"John's a doctor," said Mrs Hudson casually, but with a hint of a smirk that screamed, 'DETECTIVE/DOCTOR PWNS BANKER/IT CONSULTANT!'
"Really? Any marriage plans, like my two?"
"No, we're really not –"
"Well, in that case, you may as well look smart for him! Now where are my scissors?"
Was it alright to take a shot at your elderly neighbour if it was in self-defence?
"Of course, yes, won't you let us give it just a little snip? Really, Sherlock, it won't take a second –"
Sherlock had never been so relieved to hear a polite knock at the door, especially when it was followed by the bemused face of John Watson appearing round the frame.
"Awfully sorry, Mrs Hudson. Could I just borrow Sherlock quickly? Decapitation in Oxford Street, you know how it is."
Sensing his opportunity, Sherlock darted between the two women and threw himself at the door. Horrific images of pensioners holding him down and prodding him with sharp implements flashed before his eyes. He managed to slam the door behind him as he caught the last of their conversation, just loud enough, he suspected, for him to hear,
"He's not going out like that, is he? He'll catch his death of cold. Don't you worry, Mrs Hudson, I'll knit him one of my hats. I'll even give it earflaps…"
The detective raced down the hallway, thundered back up the stairs, and waited for John to catch up before proceeding to barricade them into their flat by pushing several pieces of furniture up against the door. Only when Sherlock had dropped into his usual position on the sofa, breathing heavily, did he turn his head to his rescuer.
"You took your time."
"When," John huffed, as way of reply, "are you going to learn that being stuck in a casual conversation with someone doesn't constitute kidnap?"
When he received no response, he continued, in a calmer tone, "So, what's our new neighbour like?"
"Abhorrent," Sherlock moaned, without hesitation. "Prying. Obnoxious. Know-it-all."
"Oh." John settled back into his armchair, now in a peculiar angle up against the door. He grinned. "Just like -"