Author's Note: This is an immediate sequel to "Archenemy," a series of drabbles based on Sherlock and Mycroft's relationship from 1976 to 2000 (http:/www . fanfiction . net/s/6459881/1/Archenemy). Though it is a sequel, it can also stand alone as the tale of how Sherlock helped keep Mrs Hudson's husband on death row in Florida.


26 May 2000

Dear Esther,

I think I could get used to this email thing. It's nicer than waiting for the post from England.

Well, dear, I don't know how well I like Florida yet. It's very warm and muggy and bright (though they say it's very dry this year). Mr. Hudson loves it, of course. After twenty years in London, he's been longing for this sort of weather. Serves me right for marrying an American. Well, at least he's happy here. At least I think so. He sits about like a great, fat spider, all engorged, watching the telly, not like he used to be. I remember him when he was young and slender and active— Well, no need to go on about him to you, dear cousin Esther.

I have a most interesting neighbor. He's actually English, if you'll believe that, a very nice and well-bred but strange young man. I only heard him, at first, playing violin in his flat next door. He plays strange, wailing, keening stuff, not like proper violin music at all—I think he makes it up—but I quite like it.

Then, first time we met, both coming out of our flats at the same time yesterday, he took one look at me and said, "You should leave him."

I said, "Sorry?"

He said, "You should leave him, your husband."

For some reason I didn't take offense at such cheekiness from a man young enough to be my son. I said, "I couldn't do that. He's my husband."

He gave me a look as if I'd just been very stupid and said, "Sorry to have bothered you," and went away.

He's puzzled me all day. How did he know about my husband? We haven't had a row since we arrived—that's how I know about him liking the weather. The cold always makes him so irritable. But that young man just seemed to read me, like you'd read a signpost, the moment his eyes lighted on me. I should describe him to you, as I know you'll be getting curious.

Well, he's young, barely more than a boy, really. Not even twenty-five, I'd say. Very tall, very thin, very pale, too much so, like he's been ill recently. Loads of dark hair but very pale grey eyes and a very long, sharpish face. Attractive, really, though you wouldn't think so by my description. But so very thin, sort of wan, sad in the eyes but sharp in the voice.

I don't know why I feel so sorry for him. Maybe just to keep from feeling sorry for myself?

Love from your cousin,

Mary Hudson