The most disconcerting change is his eyes.
They were a muddled milky-white when Mycroft first opened them, but now they’ve cleared to reveal icy blue irises underneath. And yes, he can still see himself in the mirror.
He doesn’t look eternal. In any other person this would be the face of extreme illness. His face is drained of blood. His skin has a bizarre grey tone now. There are spidery veins standing out on his face and neck, all the way down to his chest.
Mycroft goes back to work the next day, naturally. There are the elections, and then that thing with the dictator.
His colleagues startle, and glance at him from the corner of their eyes. Some out-right fear him. But none dare to say a word. It is an honour reserved for very few, to become.
In the Diogenes club Mycroft gets shown to a different room, where a chair opens up for him instantly. He receives slow nods. He will do well, Mycroft knows. He will adjust to this - to his altered self, his altered life span - and lead.
The changes in perception hit him only slowly over the next few days. Mycroft starts to hear heartbeats. First as a distant mumble, and then as clear as if they were thrumming in his own ears. He gets the increasingly intense sense of being conscious of every moment. Of the fabric he is wearing, of the individual hairs on his forearms, of every single one of his toes. Of the fluttering of a bird’s wings, right outside his line of vision.
Mycroft drinks, and then eats, even though he no longer needs to. He does it because when he presses his lips to something new, when he focuses his perception on lingering in a taste - he is sated for a moment. It drowns out the thrumming of his skin. The whisper of his lungs. The faint ache of his fingertips, begging for something he can’t quite...
Coffee works especially well. Dark chocolate, pastries, anything with a distinct, refined taste that remains on his palate for a while.
Mycroft’s colleagues seem relieved when they catch him with a dark, fine-roasted espresso, some Biscotti, or a rose-water macaroon on his desk. They like to be reassured that his sweet tooth remained, that he’s the same as before. Even Anthea is guilty of it, she goes out of her way to pick him up something special every other day or so.
Mycroft does nothing to dissuade them of that idea. He always loved the finer pleasures of a good meal, after all. Even if he has a hard time remembering what food was even like, before. He remembers his favourite dishes and restaurants well enough, but not how he enjoyed them when he couldn’t inhale a flavour and feel it transform on his tongue like this.
Slowly, the desire for food becomes more urgent.
There is a delivery service. Discreet, naturally. Mycroft lasts for a whole week before ordering a pint of O negative. He pours some of it into a glass, and tries not to look at it, nor smell it while he drinks.
It only helps somewhat.
Mycroft does not wish to partake in it any more than this. He does not wish to feed. Polite society does not speak of it. Popular culture portrays it as a raw, sexual act.
He will put it off as long as possible.
The next time Mycroft visits Sherlock in his small, dingy flat in Montage Street, Mycroft can feel the barrier of another ones home press upon him as soon as he walks into the door, and then up the steps.
At Sherlock’s door he hesitates, not certain if he is physically able to go in. Instead, he knocks.
Either Sherlock is feeling particularly magnanimous or he is curious to see why Mycroft is knocking at all, because after a couple of minutes he opens the door.
Sherlock notices instantly, of course. He stares.
“I am aware,” Mycroft says.
Sherlock asks, after a moment, “Why?”
Mycroft could lie, proclaim the benefit of longevity and increased strength, but he finds himself unwilling to. “I had a small medical issue.” Mycroft prefers not to linger on the memory. A heart-attack at thirty-five, really, he always knew that that much stress would take its toll.
“You died?” Sherlock, to his credit, seems faintly disturbed by the idea.
“No reason to expect the inheritance yet.” Mycroft smiles. Then sobers a little. Or ever. He won’t die at all now. He will outlive Sherlock by dozens, or even hundreds of years. “It was decided that I should be... reinstated.”
Sherlock gets closer. Mycroft can feel the interest radiate from him. Curiosity, yes, it is a condition not widely publicised, but also... he is trying to determine whether he is still himself.
Sherlock, after long seconds of scrutiny, says, “Come in.”
And Mycroft feels a sense of relief as the barrier lifts. He realises that he was highly uncomfortable being even that close to the doorway. Also that he, in some undignified way, did fear Sherlock’s disapproval. His rejection.
Mycroft walks into Sherlock’s flat. He takes the papers that lie on top of the only near-empty chair, straightens them, and puts them on the next available surface so he can sit down. It’s a mess, as ever.
“Irresistible desire to clean?” Sherlock is following his every move. “Count, or pick up fallen objects?”
Mycroft tilts his head, and lines the papers up at a ninety degree angle. “Not especially, no.” Although he does severely dislike Sherlock’s approach to housekeeping - he can see rat droppings in the corner.
Sherlock frowns, and then rolls his eyes. “Of course, you were already OCD, what’s the difference.”
Then looks him over again. “Increased sense of smell?”
Mycroft nods, stiffly. “I believe so.” Maybe before he would have known that Sherlock has encountered at least one drug dealer in the last twenty-four hours, but not exactly where it is hidden in the flat on smell alone.
“Touch, as well?”
“How highly increased?”
Sherlock seems plainly interested now that the first shock has worn off, and Mycroft realises that he has not seen him like this in a very long time. Focused, intrigued, and asking him questions he wishes to know the answer to. Mycroft almost feels glad to be of interest to him for once, watching him dissect this new information at lightning speed, drawing conclusions. “I really don’t know.”
Sherlock lists, “You walk more carefully than before. Since you arrived you have been wringing your hands, holding onto the papers, or tracing the fabric of the chair. You are bothered by the seams of your shirt and socks, and the confines of your shoes. You need constant stimulation?”
Mycroft raises an eyebrow. And lets go of the chair.
Sherlock doesn’t mean it like that, Mycroft knows, but it is difficult not to think of the double entendre when he can feel Sherlock’s vibrancy so close. He wasn’t aware he was letting his guard down so much that it is obvious, even just to Sherlock. Mycroft says, awkwardly, “Constant sensory input helps to maintain a certain level of comfort, yes.”
Sherlock moves on from the subject, thankfully. He locates a small tin box, rummages in it, and comes back holding a necklace. “Give me your hand.”
Experimentation, oh joy. Mycroft sighs. “Silver, is it? No holy water handy? Garlic? A crucifix?”
He sticks out his hand anyway, palm raised. Mycroft will allow a little curiosity over his condition, even if it is only to see Sherlock like this. Alive.
Sherlock takes Mycroft’s hand, and holds it. His fingers feel warm. Sherlock’s not holding on tightly, but yet Mycroft can both feel Sherlock’s heartbeat pulse in his touch, as well as hear it.
Sherlock puts the necklace in Mycroft’s hand. It feels hot, as if it has been laying in the sun. Mycroft can stand it for a couple of seconds before it starts to heat up, and he pulls his hand away sharply. It leaves a thin red mark on his palm, much like a burn. It stings like it as well, but not for long.
It heals itself as they watch.
Well. Mycroft is fascinated despite himself. He had not thought to try these things.
He briefly spares a thought for the collection of silver tiepins and cufflinks he owns, the pocket watches, his rings. He will put them aside for Sherlock, if he ever wants them.
Sherlock takes Mycroft’s hand again, and dangles the necklace over it so there is only a small part of it that comes into contact with his skin. Then moves it, gently. It burns a slow, simmering trail down the palm of Mycroft’s hand. Then up to his fingers.
Mycroft can’t help but notice Sherlock’s movements in stark detail. The flutter of Sherlock’s eyelashes. Sherlock’s breathing. The soft throb of a vein in Sherlock’s neck. Mycroft can smell him clearly, too, something stale. Some laundry detergent, but old sweat and cigarettes beneath.
Sherlock touches the necklace to every fingertip, feather-light. Mycroft can feel the individual chains as they barely catch his skin. It burns. His hand breaks out in red lines, and near-instantly heal again. Mycroft breathes out shakily, and aims for a note of boredom in his voice, “What exactly are you hoping to accomplish?”
Mycroft can feel an odd, pleasurable pressure in his jaw.
“Sherlock?” Mycroft knows he’s reacting to Sherlock’s close presence. He hasn’t been touched since this happened. He hasn’t had to deal with the sensation of another person’s skin pressed to his, the heat. He struggles not to pull away, or lean in, or do something. His teeth still feel strange.
And suddenly, the pressure seems to grow, and his teeth are touching his lips. It takes a moment before Mycroft realises what exactly happened, but when he does, he inhales sharply, and pulls his hand out of Sherlock’s grip immediately.
Sherlock looks up, annoyed, and then takes a hurried step back, a flicker of fear in his eyes.
Mycroft stands up, and tries to determine whether he can speak like this. The teeth dig into his lower lip, and they’re sharp. Mycroft’s eyes are drawn to Sherlock’s neck - by association, or because he truly wishes to feed, he does not know.
“Hungry, are you?” Sherlock says it scathingly, but there is some panic underneath.
“I...” Mycroft feels shaken, lightheaded. And strangely draw towards Sherlock’s neck, still. He swallows. “My apologies, I have not... quite managed this yet.”
Sherlock raises his eyebrows, and is about to speak, but Mycroft nods at him, and exits as swiftly as he can.
Once outside, Mycroft ducks into the waiting car, not wanting to be spotted in a full-on feeding mode in public. It’s indecent.
It takes three uncomfortable hours for his teeth to go back to normal. Afterwards his body is shaky and weak, even after he has drunk two bags of blood.
In the next couple of days, the desire to feed becomes an unavoidable thing.
It’s more than hunger. It’s a need to have. To take. To seduce.
Mycroft is starting to understand where the myth of them being incredibly sexual beings comes from, because the increased sensation is, frankly, maddening.
Every time Mycroft undresses himself. Every time he sits down just so. Every time he traces a fingertip lightly over himself - it’s enough to create that familiar spark. It’s as if every pleasant sensation has now become plainly sensual. Mycroft can trace his knee, and break out in goose bumps. Touching the inside of his thighs is enough to make him shudder. Flicking a nipple is as a shot through his chest, licking his lips becomes blatantly erotic, every trace of his skin sensitised to the point of near-pain.
His penis remains flaccid, but incredibly sensitive. Just trailing a finger over the soft flesh creates waves of sensation flowing hot through his whole body.
It feels like a betrayal, that it should be this good.
He never needed it to be.
Eventually, Mycroft gives in, and runs himself a hot bath with the intention of satisfying at least one desire. He steps into the water, lowers himself into the bath, and lies there. Looking at the ceiling. His cock lies meekly against his thigh. He will not get hard again unless he feeds.
But still the hunger for this, too, thrums close underneath his skin.
Mycroft lies back more. His neck feels somewhat uncomfortable leaning on the cold edge of the bathtub. He closes his eyes, and allows himself, with some sense of inevitability, to give into this.
He touches the soft tip of his finger to the head of his cock underwater. He feels the tiny shift in pressure as he moves his finger away. Then pushes the water back, and touches himself. He drives himself into hyper-sensation by just that.
Mycroft never found it very fulfilling, sex. The few men and women he has known were always clever, first and foremost. They would tell him their convoluted fantasies, designed to arouse his mind, because that is what they assumed he wanted.
This is much plainer in its need.
The water is lapping around him sensually. The bottom of the bathtub feels hard under the bones of his arse. There is steam, making his face feel hot, small drops of condensation rolling off it. But Mycroft only has to visualise running his fingers over someone’s neck... and his nipples tighten, he shivers, and every edge of himself is suddenly starkly defined by want.
Mycroft scrapes his nail against the side of his leg, then up to his stomach, and down again to the crest between his leg and cock. It’s enough to make his entire body tense in a long, delightful shudder.
Mycroft thinks of breathing on that neck. Leaning in closer, and closer, until he can feel a heartbeat pulse underneath his lips.
The heat of skin. The scent of it. The little joint of neck bone and jaw, pulse quickening visibly underneath.
Mycroft shifts. He bends his legs, so his knees push outside the warm cocoon of water, and he can move his hand easier. Unbidden, he can smell Sherlock again. The memory of Sherlock’s scent lingers in Mycroft’s nose, lives in the back of his throat. No.
His teeth ache with the thought alone.
Delicate, flexible, hot skin.
Mycroft is holding his soft cock in his hand. He is pulling it, breaking the water level, making obscene sloshing sounds.
Warm blood, thick and steaming.
Mycroft never thought that that idea would arouse him at all, but it, shamefully, does.
Mycroft opens his legs more, and puts one knee on the side of the tub. It stretches his muscles but he does not care, he wants to feel as if he is giving more, as if…
Sherlock’s long, pale neck.
No. Mycroft tightens his hand punishingly, and goes harder. Not Sherlock.
Tasting the warm metal throb of blood. Not just lapping it up, but sucking it wildly, drinking it in, drowning in it…
Mycroft arches his back, tightens his hand. Sherlock’s sweet smell, to hold him down and just... Mycroft’s breath stills, and he comes, a symphony of shuddering and ecstasy.
Mycroft does not stay in the bath, after. He immediately rinses off and gets out. Pyjamas, and he goes to bed, pulls some of the covers over his knees, and very carefully does not think about what he just imagined.
He works, instead. But his body still radiates a sense of hunger.
This is not over.
Mycroft is careful not to give into the temptation to go and see Sherlock. It’s obvious that he needs to control this first. He cannot allow himself to... hunger for Sherlock. It’s despicable, for one’s own brother.
There are some who feed non-sexually with family, usually young ones, but they are few and far apart. It largely is a sexual activity, all hungers fed in one action, in one entwinement of bodies.
Mycroft will need to find someone who he can share that moment with, and he needs to find them quite urgently.
He does look for it. He scans the masses. Everyone he comes into close contact with is a plethora of smells, some fairly appetising, but when he comes close enough their skin seems to radiate something acidic. Mycroft’s teeth do not react to anyone he encounters.
Even when Mycroft is in a meeting for several hours with a perfect view of a dozen necks, he does not once feel inclined to bite anyone. In truth, he is relieved by it - it means it will not interfere with his work quite as much as he had initially feared.
But it feels uneasy.
Mycroft knows the sheer biology here is undeniable: some will attract him and some will not. Still, it seems implausible that there would be only one for him.
Although, perhaps not.
He did always care only for Sherlock.
Once weeks have gone by with growing hunger and no one he wishes to sate it with, Mycroft starts to accept it as a truth.
He shall not feed, then. Keep it to himself. He will survive on bagged blood for a while, and when he eventually gets to a point where it is unmanageable, inevitably his body will give in, and want to feed from someone else - it must.
That seems like a perfectly maintainable solution, until the moment Sherlock is at Mycroft’s door.
Sherlock uses his key to let himself in, and Mycroft can feel a surge of panic at hearing it. Sherlock’s heartbeat underlies his approach like a drum.
As soon as Mycroft sees Sherlock appear in his doorway, he says, “You should not be here.”
Sherlock frowns. “Why not?”
“You are very well aware of why not.”
Sherlock eyes him. “You still haven’t fed on anyone?”
That is private information, highly so. But Mycroft sees little sense in not admitting it, “No, I have not.” And he will not, Mycroft reminds himself.
Sherlock walks close.
Close enough that he has to look up at him, and Mycroft leans back in his chair, cautiously. He prepared for some sort of sting, or joke, of a fight, even. But then, as he sees Sherlock’s expression change, Mycroft asks, “Sherlock? What’s wrong?”
Sherlock slowly reaches out. Mycroft looks at his hand, but he’s not certain what Sherlock wants. Sherlock doesn’t take Mycroft’s hand, exactly, but wanders his fingers over it. It’s pleasurable, the touch of his fingers is warm and comfortable. Mycroft feels mostly perplexed at Sherlock touching him at all.
But... Sherlock’s eyes are large, and his pupils dilated.
Mycroft sighs. He should have known. “What did you take?”
Sherlock slowly frowns, and shakes his head. “I didn’t take anything.” Then he seems confused as to whether he did. “I...” He stops, and licks his lips.
Mycroft knows Sherlock well, of course, every detail of his face, every tell. But before, he never would have known that Sherlock’s heartbeat is bouncing in his throat. That just looking at his neck feels like pure sin. Mycroft’s holding himself perfectly still, and tries to gather the will to look away.
Sherlock’s becoming blurry now, nothing but skin and the vague hue of his eyes. And the thump-thump of his heart. He smells uncannily good. Mycroft licks his teeth, and finds them, against his will, extending again. The dull pressure is a relief of sorts.
Sherlock has noticed, of course. Sherlock leans over him, and touches his fingertips to Mycroft’s mouth.
Mycroft shivers, for a long moment transfixed by the power of it, this.
Then pulls away.
Mycroft leans back stiffly in his seat, and tries to pull his mind together. To scold Sherlock. “Sherlock, I can understand that you are curious but this is dangerous, I cannot....” control myself. Mycroft swallows. “Please leave now.”
Sherlock’s mouth opens as he breathes out, showing a bit of tongue. “No, I want to.” Sherlock smiles, slowly, his eyes a little wild. Then says, “Feed on me.”
What? Mycroft screeches the heavy chair back, hard. “No, absolutely not.” He gets up in a rush of shame. “Sherlock, for once in your life, just...” Mycroft’s heart is thumping wildly in surprise, in anger, in temptation. “...be sensible! You are my brother, I cannot feed on you!”
Mycroft breathes out, and lets the moment settle between them. Calms himself. There is no reason to panic over this.
Mycroft, trying to find some sense of normality, says, “If you are that interested you might ask someone else.”
And then he regrets saying it instantly, because the thought of Sherlock with anyone but himself feels rudely painful. Mycroft instantly feels a deep urge to rip the throat out of anyone who tries. But it is the truth. Mycroft imagines that there are many who would love to sink their teeth into Sherlock. To suck, lightly, at first, then...
Sherlock rolls his eyes. Then says, “You are hungry, so...”
Mycroft is loathe to say it, but he needs to. “It’s a sexual act, Sherlock.” Surely if Sherlock understands that much, then he will see that this is not possible between them.
“Can’t you just feed? Leave the rest?”
Mycroft has been wondering that himself, but, would he have enough control? He cannot be sure. And he will not play with it. “I will not discuss this any further.”
Sherlock looks away. “Fine.”
The movement makes the column of his neck stand out beautifully. The sharp line. The pale skin. Mycroft forces himself to pull his eyes away.
But Sherlock does not leave. Instead he says, his voice a deep rumble, “I want to sleep here tonight.”
Mycroft sighs. Sherlock’s high, he can tell. “Then stay, you know you’re welcome to.”
Sherlock seems briefly surprised that he gave in, and then smiles.
Mycroft is not thinking much beyond ‘good’. That this is what it should be. He feels some instinct, not new, but magnified, telling him to keep Sherlock close. If he cannot feed, at least keep Sherlock where he can smell him, where Sherlock’s skin is within reach.
Sherlock follows him as he turns off the light, and walks towards the stairs.
Mycroft selects a pair of pyjamas, and takes them into the bathroom with him to get changed there. He does briefly wonder at how he did not intend to be in a room alone with Sherlock at all, and now somehow he agreed to Sherlock staying the night. But it is only vague. It feels right. Sherlock should be here.
Sherlock is lying under the sheets of Mycroft’s bed when he comes back. Mycroft is aware, in the back of his mind, that this is not what he intended. That there is a guestroom. That he should say no to this.
But it is not the first time Sherlock has slept in his bed. Although it has been at least fifteen years, Mycroft finds that he wants him to start doing it again. To stay close. So he gets into the bed, lies down, and turns the bedside light off.
The bed is large. Mycroft can sense Sherlock with every breath he takes.
Sherlock turns onto his side, and shifts until his back is close. Mycroft remembers sleeping just like this when Sherlock was a child. The smell of his hair. The thin bulk of his shoulders. Mycroft extends his arm, and Sherlock settles against his chest.
Mycroft’s fingers faintly touch Sherlock’s breastbone on every inhale. He can smell his toothpaste.
Mycroft is hungry, a dull throbbing now, but it is overshadowed by the enormous awareness of skin, of touch, nearby. His entire being is telling him that this is what he needs. Sherlock in his arms.
Mycroft relaxes against Sherlock’s back with the feeling as if he is sinking into a lover. Mycroft feels the smooth line of Sherlock’s back press against the row of buttons on his chest. The tip of Mycroft’s nose brushes Sherlock’s cheek, and Mycroft can hear his heartbeat, loud and clear. Feel Sherlock’s body heat burn between them.
He will keep Sherlock safe, Mycroft thinks. Use his strength and influence and long life to always, always keep Sherlock from harm. No one will touch him. Sherlock will be his, his alone.
Mycroft tighten his grip. In response, Sherlock searches for Mycroft’s hand, and puts it on his chest, right on the thudding of his heart. His skin is hot, and clammy.
Sherlock’s nipple hardens under Mycroft’s touch, and Mycroft thinks, unbidden, the things I could make you feel...
Mycroft’s arousal is an all-encompassing, full-body thing. He cannot recall how he ended up here, with Sherlock in his bed. How this is a reality. But at the same time he is feverishly categorising every single sensation.
Mycroft knows that Sherlock has an erection. He can smell it. Mycroft can hear the rush of Sherlock’s heartbeat like being near a waterfall. Nearly taste the slight sweat of his skin. It is a physical pull to get nearer to him.
Sherlock shift in his grip, so his hips drag against the sheet. Mycroft can feel the slight movements as Sherlock trails his hand down.
He is touching himself, Mycroft realises. And the stab of deep-seated, raw heat of it, is enough to make him startle. “Sherlock!”
“Hmmm...” Sherlock sounds drugged. Actually drugged.
“What are you doing?” Mycroft struggles from under the covers, and sits up.
“I want you…” Sherlock says it as if in a haze, still moving his hand, getting himself off.
Mycroft’s teeth are extended, still. Did they ever go down? What is happening? Mycroft forces himself to get away from the bed, although it near-physically hurts to do so. Sherlock is moaning now, at him, and Mycroft wants him, too. He needs him, to possess him, to bite and take and own.
Instead, Mycroft pulls himself away. He reaches the door, and gets out. He struggles down the stairs, the presence of Sherlock as a great pull behind him, but he makes it, and veers off, into his library. Mycroft locks the door. Puts the key on the other side of the room, and sits down, feeling half-wild. Unsure of himself, of what he could do, if he were to go back.
What he would stop at doing.
Mycroft does not move from his chair. Not once, for the entire long, cold night.
Mycroft can hear his front door slam shut around eight in the morning, and the sense of Sherlock, still so close by, thrilling him, aching, slowly leaves. Mycroft lies back, his whole body shaking with the effort of holding back for that long.
A vampire’s desire has an overwhelming trance-like effect. Mycroft had read it, but he had never truly understood it. What it would mean, to have his near-uncontrollable need be an order to others.
He must never, ever be alone with Sherlock again.