Characters: Mrs. Hudson, John and Sherlock
Word count: 1,585
Summary: Mrs. Hudson takes care of her boys.
Author's notes: This is the second of two companion pieces, this one from Mrs. Hudson's POV. I wanted to do something with the parental roles they tend to play in John and Sherlock's lives.
The first piece "Waiting" can be found here.
The conversation John and Sherlock have in the later part of the story is inspired by a comment made during the A Study in Pink commentary with Stephen Moffat and Mark Gatiss.
Mrs. Hudson had spent most of the morning cleaning 221b Baker Street. She hadn’t intended to, she’d simply gone upstairs to see that everything was in order for when John came home that afternoon. He’d called the night before to let her know he was going to be discharged from the hospital in the morning. Once she got up there, however, she’d decided that the place needed a bit of dusting. Then she’d noticed the floor wanted a bit of a hoovering. Then she’d realized the kitchen should be given a bit of cleaning. Then she’d discovered that the only food in the fridge was rotten, so she’d thrown that out and bought some proper groceries. Now she was rather exhausted.
She hadn’t done anything about the kitchen table, mostly because she didn’t know where to start with that mess. She hadn’t gone up to their bedrooms either. What went on up there was none of her business.
She was giving her feet a much needed rest when she heard the door open downstairs.
“Mrs. Hudson?” Sherlock called.
She frowned and got up, hurrying over to the stairs. Sherlock was at the bottom, removing his coat.
“It is you,” she said. She made her way down the stairs to greet him. “John said you weren’t going to be discharged for another day or two.”
“He wasn’t,” John said, appearing next to Sherlock. He gave him an annoyed look. “He signed himself out against medical advice.”
“Sherlock!” Mrs. Hudson scolded him.
“I’m fine,” he said. He bent down to give her a kiss on the cheek and made a small noise of pain. “I couldn’t spent another hour in there without going insane. There are far better things to do with my brain than try to blow a ball up a little plastic tube.”
“It’s a spirometer, Sherlock,” said John, who’d clearly had this conversation before. “Your brain won’t be doing much if you get double pneumonia either. You’re a rubbish patient.”
“Of course I am,” Sherlock said, unbothered by the accusation.”I don’t know why you thought I wouldn’t be.”
John rolled his eyes and moved his attention to her. “How are you Mrs. Hudson?” he asked. He gave her a kiss on the cheek as well.
“Oh, I’m fine dear,” she said. She tried not to stare too hard at Sherlock’s face, which was covered in yellowed bruises. Poor dear. “I’ve been worried about you both, of course. That nice inspector said you’d be fine, but you never know. All those hospital infections that they’re always talking about in the newspapers and my friend Gladys, she was fine too and then up and died from...what do you call it? Embolism.” She made a ticking noise with her tongue. “You two look well done in. You come upstairs and I’ll make you a nice cup of tea.”
She went back upstairs, her hip protesting a little at the number of times she’d been up and down already. No one was with her when she reached the top. Sherlock was making his way slowly up, his back ramrod straight and his mouth thin with concentration. John came up a few steps behind him, one hand held out slightly to catch him if he fell. Though considering he had one wrist in a cast and the other taped up, she didn’t know how he thought he was going to be of any help if Sherlock lost his footing.
They both arrived safely at the second floor after a slow procession. Sherlock had gone very white where he wasn’t yellow in the face and John’s cheeks were flushed pink from the effort. Both were slightly out of breath.
“You two sit down,” Mrs. Hudson said, making another clicking noise with her tongue. “I’ll put on the kettle.”
She went through to the kitchen and found the tea things, plugging the kettle in to boil. She checked on the boys while she waited for the whistle. Sherlock had only made it as far as the sofa and was sitting all tensed up on it. He relaxed his posture for a moment and winced, then tensed up again. John was in the chair, his head leaned back and his eyes closed.
“Do you want some biscuits, too, dear?” she asked, using the endearment to apply to either or both of them, whoever answered.
“Yes please,” John said his eyes still closed. “Thank you, Mrs. Hudson.”
Sherlock was staring at the desk where the computers were. “Everything on that table has been moved...” He made a pinching measurement with his fingers. “Approximately two inches to the left.”
“I did a bit of tidying up,” Mrs. Hudson said.
“Oh.” Sherlock looked disappointed that the explanation wasn’t more exciting. The poor thing was probably bored out of his mind in hospital without any mysteries to apply himself to.
“I put everything back where I found it, more or less,” she said. “I know how you are about your things, dear.”
“Hmm,” Sherlock said, making a bit of a pouty face.
She smiled and returned to the kitchen to fetch the biscuits. She chatted as she worked, letting them know the latest gossip on the street. No one answered back, but Mrs. Hudson had never really needed another person to have a conversation.
She brought the plate of biscuits out, only to find that the reason she hadn’t had any replies was because they’d both fallen asleep. Sherlock was curled up in a ball on the sofa, one arm hanging off of it and John’s head had lolled to the side and he was snoring softly. She smiled at the sight and went back to turn the kettle off before it whistled and woke them.
She went over to the sofa and lifted Sherlock’s arm up to where it should be. He moved it under his head, wincing in his sleep. She took the blanket from the top of the sofa and put it over him, then went to the cupboard to fetch another for John. She put that one over his legs and closed the curtains, and then tip-toed downstairs to let them have their rest.
The next few days saw Mrs. Hudson up and down the stairs to 221b several times, taking care of the boys. They were both exhausted and both trying not to let it show, both trying to go on as normal. She’d found Sherlock asleep at his microscope, his arms wrapped around a loaf of bread and his head resting on top. She sent him off to bed, and it was sign of how badly off he was that he went without protest.
John was a little better about napping, though she did have to send him to bed once after she found him staring blankly at Pepper Pig on the telly.
She made sure they ate properly and took their pain medicine when they should. She hovered around, half expecting one of them to collapse at any moment. Sherlock’s face was slowly heading toward its normal colour, but he still got awfully white when he moved around too much. John had headaches and bouts of dizziness, which he said was from the concussion and nothing to worry about. He often tilted to one side and grabbed a hold of whatever he could to keep himself from hitting the floor. Her heart stopped every time he did it.
Things eventually began to improve, however. She started to hear the comforting burr of their voices from upstairs as they chatted and the tromp of their feet on the steps as they came down to fetch the mail or get something from Speedy’s (which was about as much as they had the stamina for). Perhaps the most comforting sign of normalcy returning was when she got up to get something for her hip in the middle of the night and heard the strains of Sherlock’s violin. All those sounds she’d didn’t realize she’d missed until they came back.
About a week after they’d returned home, she came upstairs in the morning to find a familiar scene in the flat. Sherlock was at his microscope and John was in the chair, with it turned to face him, and they were arguing.
“I just can’t believe you don’t know how to drive a car,” John said.
“I don’t have a license to drive a car,” Sherlock corrected. “I’m sure in an emergency situation I could easily figure out how to operate a car.”
John snorted. “It’s not that easy, Sherlock, that’s why people have licenses. It’s a rite of passage, though. You never wanted to learn?”
“What’s the point?” Sherlock said. “I live in London; if I need to get anywhere I can take a cab or a bus or the underground - or walk. I have nowhere to put a car of my own and it’s impractical to have to pay for petrol in today’s economy. Besides, my brain is better used being able to think in a vehicle than having to concentrate on not hitting pedestrians or ramming into idiotic drivers who can’t manage the simple laws of traffic.”
“Yeah, you know what? I wouldn’t want you behind the wheel of a car,” John said. Sherlock nodded in a ‘so there’ fashion and then they both laughed.
Mrs. Hudson felt a surge of affection for them at the sight of such a normal conversation.
“Oh, Mrs. Hudson,” Sherlock said. “We’re out of tea.”
She looked between them and nodded to herself, decidedly. “You’ll have to get it yourself,” she said. “I’m not your housekeeper, dear.”
She turned at that and went back down to 221a, knowing they’d both be just fine.