Title: Homemade Biscuits and Homemade Deceptions
Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters.
Pairings: None, Sherlock/John gen.
Warnings: Murder, plotting, swearing (possibly). Bombs!
Spoilers: Extreme spoilers for all three episodes.
Summary: You thought he was the real Moriarty? Oh please.
A thousand thanks to my friend Lisa who came out with the idea and sent me a-shrieking.
Sherlock Holmes - the great detective, the genius of deduction, the expert in sniffing out secrets - believed that James Moriarty was a well-dressed, Irish man with psychopathic tendencies, who smiled a lot and dressed people up in semtex when he got bored.
It was almost insulting really.
The first she heard of Sherlock Holmes was after that little tête-à-tête with Carl Powers, back in the eighties. The boy had been stealing fruit out of her garden and laughing in her face like the horrible little brat that he was when she caught him and rebuked him, so really he had deserved to die from the start. She had been quite nice to him really. Well, she could have been worse, anyway. She could have set her husband on him.
That fate would have been far worse than drowning, and she knew that because she had seen what he could do. Really, the boy was lucky. Especially since those peaches were coming out so nicely that year and she had been meaning to make a jam.
Her husband had told her about Sherlock Holmes. Well, not told her, she hadn't exactly told him about what she had done after all, but he had left certain reports written by certain members of his intelligence around the house for her to accidentally find. Sherlock Holmes, she thought. A rich little schoolboy, barely older than the child who had drowned, and he was finding out all her secrets. Not good. But extremely interesting.
She attempted for years to get her husband into exciting this boy's interest properly, into getting him into something he really wasn't ready for, into drawing him out of his safe little world and immersing him in theirs just to see what would happen, but her husband refused.
"I've got no time for some kid who got lucky," he said. "Forget it and move on."
He did not see, even then, that there was no moving on from Sherlock Holmes.
Years later they moved back to his home country of Florida and she became bored again. Her husband's life and job was interesting, and he consulted her about a lot of things to do with it, but really it was the same old stuff - extortion, murder, blackmail, blah, blah, blah. And she was always fond of change, of something new, and she was very bored - really, it was all his fault when she tried to frame him for murder.
Of course the little weasel had to wriggle out of that one, didn't he. He was good at sliming his way out of difficult circumstances. It would be admirable and a little sexy if she hadn't seen it thousands of times before and if he wasn't getting fat and old.
So she succumbed to the ultimate temptation and actually got in touch with the great Sherlock Holmes himself.
"My name is Mrs Hudson," she wrote in her email, practically adding, "I'm a little harmless old lady, look at the way I type, but I'm still sharp as a pin, look at my vocabulary, and I used to have an exciting life, look at the energetic way I write, but my husband has gone too far this time and I'm awfully nice really, people should not be hurt by him anymore, but oh dear, how can I stop such a powerful and unbeatable man, what a difficult case this would be…"
He was at her door under forty-eight hours later. She was smugly proud of herself.
"Cookie?" she asked sweetly, offering him her homemade batch.
Sherlock Holmes was tall with eagle eyes and a dramatic coat, even in the hot Florida weather, and he was aloof, cold and unfriendly. He was just how she had imagined. It was enough to make you weep, it really was. Was no one in this world unpredictable anymore?
"No, thank you," he said and gave her an exasperated look when he thought she wasn't looking, as if he couldn't wait to get away from her.
He thought she was a doddery old woman. He changed his mind when he saw her shoot someone.
Oh, it had all been in self-defence. At least that's what the court ruled, but she knew what she was doing, and she always suspected that Sherlock Holmes thought otherwise.
He was hooked to her after that. She had piqued his attention. She would have been properly proud of herself if it hadn't been so goddamn easy, and, after her husband's death, he still left again and she was at a bit of a loss at what to do next.
So she moved back to London and became his arch-rival. That was easy too - she already had many contacts thanks to her dearly beloved and thankfully dead and cold husband, so she just…promoted a few. And killed a few, because that was important too. She kept the right people close to her and made sure everything and everyone else went through them. She gave herself a name though, because a bit of mystery in the proceedings was always fun - Moriarty. It had been her mother's maiden name. She had hated her father and had always thought her mother should go back to being a single woman again. Moriarty is right, she'd used to say to herself when she heard them arguing as a child and she was hiding under her bed in case he came to find her. Go back to being Moriarty.
Her mother didn't, but she could.
She didn't call herself James, that created itself entirely on its own. Moran had told her that one day in tones of complete terror, he had said, "They think you're a man, ma'am. Sexist and all." Poor, sweet Moran. He'd been in the army, he'd shot many a tiger and he still couldn't keep himself from shaking when she was around. She kept him for the sheer entertainment value in the end.
She liked it, controlling the world while Sherlock Holmes ran around occasionally - indeed, more occasionally than she would like sometimes - sniffing out her well plotted crimes, but she still wasn't close enough. For all he knew, Mrs Hudson was still baking the remainder of her life away in Florida.
And then she heard he was looking for a flat.
"I need a house," she said to Moran, idly planning a new jewellery theft and ignoring the way his fingers were nervously tapping on the desk. "With a flat I can rent out."
Later that day, when they were lazily torturing a serial killer for information on the Black Lotus, Moran handed her a signed and sealed contract on a place called 221 Baker Street.
Now all that was left was to get hold of Sherlock.
"It's a bit mouldy," he said, peeking doubtfully into 221c.
They looked upstairs at 221b. "It's a bit big," he said.
Mrs Hudson smiled. "Well, then, you'll have to get yourself a flatmate, won't you dear? I can give you a good rate."
A flatmate could be useful. A flatmate could be used in a thousand different ways, and, as well as that, he would be a good way of stopping Mrs Hudson just killing Sherlock off when he started prancing about the place exclaiming how he was a genius and sneering at her and her 'herbal soothers'.
Because she didn't want to kill Sherlock Holmes. Good Lord, why would she? He was the most fun she had ever had. She had invented her entire organisation for him. She wanted him alive to play the game, not dead in a gutter. She wanted to feed him biscuits and give him tea and buy his shopping. She wanted to give him a hug and tell him off about the state of the flat. She wanted to commiserate with him about the lack of murders, knowing perfectly well that it was she who was making his life so dull right then. She wanted to be absolutely one of the closest people in his life and know that he still - for all his brains - couldn't work out who she was. She wanted to mock him with every hug, every smile, every offered food item. It was the greatest game of all.
One day, maybe, she would reveal himself to him, but then maybe she wouldn't. It would be perfect, telling him all, it would be her crowning achievement, but what would be left then? What could possibly exist after that? That thrill, that look in his eyes when he realised just what a fool he really was…it wasn't worth it. Not for the boredom that would follow.
John Watson turned out to be a bit of a problem. It was a bit odd, really, how he could do that. He was the most ordinary person you could imagine and yet somehow, just somehow…he was difficult.
He was clearly a bit unsure of her from the start - probably because everyone who had an acquaintance with Sherlock Holmes was someone to be unsure about - but she softened him up as best she could with day time television and offered food (the way to a man's heart was through his stomach…in both respects) and they got quite a rapport going.
The problem with John Watson, ironically, was Sherlock Holmes. He cared about John. Properly cared, not his usual psychopathic, manipulative pretence at caring, he genuinely cared, and about a man who really, when it came down to it, wasn't that interesting at all. It was unbelievable. It was entirely inexplicable. She had not predicted it, and this annoyed her more than anything else, that there was something in Sherlock's heart that she had not seen. Sure, she had been joking about them getting together but this…this was taking it too far. He was changing Sherlock.
She had to get rid of John Watson. He was doing something to Sherlock that she didn't like and didn't understand, and she wanted to understand everything about Sherlock. So she started the bombings. It took a while to organise but really it was wonderfully worth it, if only to see Sherlock running around, sizzling and sparking like a firework, throwing occasional mutters in her direction and making her 'jump' when he realised things, not knowing, not even guessing, even now he properly knew Moriarty existed. She linked the shoes, the Carl Powers case, everything with him, so that it wouldn't even occur to him to think this was really about John. Then she kidnapped John and covered him up in semtex through the lovely psychopathic character of Jim Moriarty, also known as the failed actor Tim Walton whom she had met in a brief money embezzlement and really - if he didn't want to be shopped to the cops - owed her an enormous favour.
He did very well, she'd give him that. But not well enough. John lived.
Sherlock came through the door the day he found out everything was okay and collapsed in her arms, mumbling in exhaustion and relief. She gave him tea, smoothed back his hair and smiled kindly at him, and he, in return, told her she was quite, quite wonderful.
You see, there were many weaknesses to Sherlock Holmes if you knew where to find them. He was almost unashamedly sexist and ageist. He would never believe that an old lady could be a criminal mastermind, not unless you gave him a reason to believe it, and Mrs Hudson was extremely well adapted at hiding anything from him.
This was why it was almost insulting, that he would believe a failed actor to be his arch-enemy over her, simply for silly aspects such as age and gender. Of course, she was very good, he would have to try very hard to uncover her, but he was meant to be a genius, for gods sake.
She wondered if she had overestimated him.
Then she wondered if she had underestimated his feelings. Had he really fallen so much for the bumbling old Mrs Hudson that he hadn't even considered it? Dear oh dear, he really was just one big softie at the core, wasn't he?
And then John Watson returned, and that was when she realised. John Watson wasn't sexist or ageist. John Watson was - in the nicest way possible - suspicious of everyone. And he might have a more obvious heart than Sherlock, but it was also less easily duped.
John Watson - for all his failings - very almost worked her out.
They were sitting watching crap telly, his arm in a sling, a patch on his forehead, she with a cup of tea and a vacant smile. These times were dangerous, because these were the times where she very almost relaxed.
They were watching Jeremy Kyle.
"Sherlock doesn't like him," said John, sipping his own tea precariously. "He prefers poor old Connie."
John's voice went all soft when he talked about Sherlock. It was most irritating.
"Oh, well, Jeremy Kyle gets the DNA tests all wrong," she said lazily in return, thinking more about how absolutely annoying this ridiculously close friendship of theirs was. "He can't even tell the father from their jeans."
She knew she had gone wrong, because John suddenly sat up and went very still, like he was standing to attention.
"You - weren't there when we talked about that," he said haltingly, and stared at her.
Mrs Hudson looked over at him, and for a moment, just for a moment, the world went still and she thought, oh dear.
Then she smiled and offered him the plate. "Biscuit?"
John looked at her for a long moment, but she could see the cogs whirring in his head. He tentatively reached over and took one, clumsy because of his broken arm.
"Such a shame about your arm," Mrs Hudson said sweetly, choosing a biscuit for herself to dispel any doubts about poison (she had poisoned a lot of people in her time, but never anything homemade - even for her there were lines she wouldn't cross). "Still, it could have been worse. You could have died."
She looked at him out of the corner of her eye, watching the biscuit held halfway to his mouth. She knew what he was thinking. He was thinking he was ridiculous, he was a fool. He was thinking that if she was - which of course she couldn't be, how could she be? - Sherlock would have seen it. Sherlock was the genius here, and John was just someone who had watched too many silly detective films, who had seen too many crazy deductions and was letting it get to his head.
"Yes," he said and took a bite of the biscuit.
Mrs Hudson had won, but only just.
They finished the episode of Jeremy Kyle and in the making of tea that followed she plotted a new way of killing John Watson off. It was, after all, now imperative that she do it soon.