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"Stretching"

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Disclaimers:  Most of this is not mine. Conan Doyle, Mark Gatiss, Steven Moffat, White Wolf Publishing and Bram Stoker contributed a lot. I just put it in a shaker with my love and some of my own vampire creation and voila!
Betas: Thanks to My wonderful and fabulous friends Mojoflower and  Mildred_Bobbin You are awesome and I love you both!
Author's Notes:  In this fic, vampires do not sparkle, do not sell their blood, and you certainly can't kill them with silver;  because silver works only to kill and hurt werewolves, as every old tradition says.  But in my AU both old vampires, and those newly sired by very old vampires, can walk in the sun.

They are ruled by a Prince in each city and a country or a continent by a council. (*more in the notes at the end)
 
Vampires have more powers than just the Glamour of the new vampiric stories; but these came at a price, resulting in certain quirks unique to each Clan bound by Blood.
 
From the Masquerade I will borrow 5 clans, but merge them into 3:  The Gangrels, the Malkavians-Bruja and the Ventrue-Tremere. (*see more notes at the end of the prologue).
 
The Mirrorworld is the name the vampire gives to their society, because they hide from human awareness in plain sight.
 

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Prologue

 
 
 'Time stretches around them that were their secret. They know you not for a day, but for a century or two.'
 

 
Holmes Estate outside London, 1869 *
(*note: The estate, inhabited by the main Holmes family line, would eventually be swallowed by the boundaries of the growing city over the next century.)
 

 
Elsie knew that being a Holmes fiancée would be difficult.  Two hundred years earlier, another woman had broken her engagement to Sir Brian Holmes to go partner with a vampire and thus became part of the enemy.  The family definitely has trust issues with their new additions since then: they still had not forgiven or forgotten, and they became vampire hunters afterwards.  But Elsie really loved Ian Holmes and she wouldn’t fall for another no matter what.
 
 
She thought they treated her like a child, not believing the strength of her feelings, and caging her in the house.  They were in the XIX century for crying out loud. Women were educated, and worked in the cities just like the men; in the States women worked side by side with men to colonize the wild new world.  Why must she be treated like a little flower?
 
 
Ian told her that there were creatures in the night who would take your soul and your blood; and he was only trying to make her safe until he was sure he had defeated them.  She argued that if this were the truth, and he was fighting for his life, then she wanted to fight by his side; but her arguments were to no avail.
 
 
She decided that she would hunt and fight the vampires, too;  so she read, she studied, she practiced more with her bow. She was champion in her archery category and she had hunted foxes with her father so she trained with the guns available in the house. She told the horse master that she wanted to learn more for when she went to hunt ducks or deers, he accepted this explanation and he took on her tutelage.
 
 
One night, when Ian went out to hunt she followed him. But when she was about to reach him she discovered she was too late. Ian's companions were dead at his side, and she was too far away to stop the attack of these awful creatures; vampires were all over them drinking their blood. She shivered when she saw what they did with the others hunters who lay with their limbs torn apart. When she was close enough, the gun was of no use. She threw it away and fought with her bow while getting closer to him.
 
 
Ian was hurt when she finally reached him, but she fought until daylight to protect him. She didn't know at the time but they were trapped by rogue vampires and this kind of vampires were new and unmentored so they would crumble into dust at daylight; but they were driven by hunger and they didn't have a real mind of their own so they were often even more dangerous than proper vampires. So when the morning came the last of the vampires turned to ashes around her and Ian.
 
 
Ian had a big wound in his chest, but he looked at her in wonder and admiration.
 
 
"I suppose I will have to take you with me, my bride, if I hunt again."
 
 
"As you always should, my love," she said caressing his cheeks and his silly mustache, with one hand. She was so tired, but she didn't know what to do, other than hold him and not to think of the red flow which continued its course even when she used her whole dress to contain it.
 
 
Ian looked at her with pleading eyes and clutched her hand. "I must to ask you for your forgiveness my Elsie, because I will not fulfill my promise to you, and I do not want to take you where I'm going so soon. But I do promise I will come back for you when your time comes, my love." She was crying now, because she knew. She tried only to smile at him and not to cry, not now when he still needed her.
 
 
"I have to ask you for another favor, as you can never marry me now. Please promise me you will someday marry someone else, and have some beautiful babes for us." Elsie was trembling and saying no with all her being.  But Ian continued inexorably; she understood, but didn't want to hear him saying this. "Please, Elsie.  I don't want you to be alone. You are strong, and I want you to have a happy life, I cannot rest knowing you will suffer. Your descendants will do well in our business don't you think?" He tried to smile and she knew he was trying to comfort her, but a plan was forming in her mind so she nodded.
 
 
"I promise you, Ian, that I will marry and I will wait for you when you come for me at last.  I love you."
 
 
He smiled at her and perished as if being consumed by fire, little by little and she held him till the end when his eyes turned void and his body dissolved into the morning fog. She cried at last holding her bow as her only companion long into the midday.
 
 
She went home to prepare  his funeral instead of their wedding. There she found the youngest of the Holmes’ uncles:  Mycroft Holmes, the next in line and the elder of two brothers.  They married not eight months later. She knew people would talk, but people did little else.
 
 
Elsie never stopped training, or loving her Ian. And she dedicated her life to the fight against vampires, including the worst of them all, Moriarty.
 
 
Elsie had a long life with sons and grandchildren. She trained both generations in the art of hunting creatures of the night and thankfully they won more times than they lost. She encountered the elusive Moriarty several times, and never lost the game. 
 
 
Moriarty wanted her badly, she knew.  Once she was taken hostage, and Moriarty invaded her mind, trying to convince her to join him, become one of his lovers; perhaps the only one.  But Elsie knew this was not real love.  She knew of real love because of Ian, knew of tender loving companionship because of Mycroft.  Moriarty felt no love:  only sought ownership, wanted entertainment, wanted to mete out punishment.  It was really easy to say no, and thankfully her son and Mycroft came to save her.  Moriarty escaped again... but so did Elsie.
 
 
She killed many vampires and learned a lot about their Mirrorworld society. She wrote several journals, and mastered and modified several weapons and attack techniques. She united others and founded the Hunter Association of Britain, which joined those of other countries and the colonies.
 
 
She was called to the vampire council and she learned and understood more, about how vampires and humans had lived in the same world for millennia and could have a truce.  But peace could never include Moriarty. So she made a treaty with the other vampire  Princes:  the Hunter Association would enforce the agreement and kill both rogue vampires and those who would not sign the treaty.  Members of this pact would work together to bring down Moriarty.
 
 
 But she couldn't destroy Moriarty, just as he couldn't defeat her. In Britain, the Association could restrict his reign of terror to London.  But he had a lot influence abroad in Europe, and in human criminal networks, so it was becoming dangerously complicated to take him down.
 
But where she had lost, her family would prevail.
 
 
Her little daughter Ximena was lost in the battle, when Elsie's strength was abandoning her.  She was killed before her mother’s eyes by Moriarty's favorite lover, the runaway Holmes fiancée of two centuries earlier.  Elsie avenged her daughter, however, killing several vampires before dying in battle.
 
 
So when Death came for her, she was happy that Ian was there, and also Ximena to welcome her into the heavens.
 

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Holmes Estate now inside London, XX century, 1971
 
 
 
She was in love with a Holmes and Irene Addler knew that was a hazard.  Everybody knew. But Brian was lovely and he was hers.
 
 
The seventies were dull and he was bright, handsome and there was something more there, and she liked it. Brian was the youngest. She already met the eldest Holmes, Sigger and his beautiful wife Violet, a French painter. They had two kids: a four year old who never stopped running around and a toddler boy with icy, intelligent eyes and dark gingerish hair.
 
 
She knew they were vampire hunters.  But Sigger, even though he knew all there was to know about hunting, left all the actual work for the British government and his family. Brian had told Irene that Sigger only did paperwork for the Hunter Association. Brian was a real hunter who would willingly trade his life for the life of others.
 
 
Irene wasn't sure if she was afraid of his way of life or this was the part of him that she loved the most. She wanted to be part of that excitement.
 
 
She really wanted to start fighting vampires and monsters. But Brian was against it; he said she must first study, but really, there were too many books and journals about it, and they were so dull and tiresome.  She wanted to be where the fighting was, not where the library and the books were. So one night, she decided to follow Brian on one of his raids.
 
 
She never thought she would be caught in the web of an ancient Holmes enemy.
 
 
 
October, 1971.

 
 
On that fateful night, as she followed behind Brian in secret, intent on being part of the excitement, she was caught by he who had hunted the Holmes for centuries; their own hunter, James Moriarty.  He carried her off to his lair and dressed her up in a parody of a cabaret dancer and raped and tortured her repeatedly. A monster named Moran was brought in to cut her and then lick her wounds, healing them again with his saliva. It was a horrible nightmare for the innocent, reckless Irene, all the while tormented by Moriarty’s taunting smile.
 
 
After a week of this, she simply endured without tears, because really, crying was behind her by now. She knew that death awaited her; she knew that she had lost Brian forever, and even if she did survive, she wouldn't be the same.
 
 
After several days in the closed place where she was kept, another girl was thrown in with her.  She wore fake angel wings, and was dressed in white and lace, while Irene was dressed as a Can-Can girl with red and black lace and black pantyhose. So the monster liked to play and torture playdolls. She was going to die in a Halloween slut costume.
 
 
James Moriarty returned Halloween night. Moran had been torturing them that week, and Moriarty sneered at the women with a cynical smile and vicious eyes.
 
 
"So, you survived beautifully, my darlings. A week with Sebastian is not easy. Now I will take you fully and we will see if you can survive my gift." 
 
Irene was sure this was the end.
 
 
She was raped from behind, as was that poor other girl who by looked now like a ragged doll. And then... Moriarty began to feed, and at last she would die, she knew she was going to die, but pain dulled by more pain may go away.  She violently prayed that her blood was poison and would kill him little by little.  She knew that if she survived she would be turned into a vampire, and would lose Brian either way. So she said goodbye to him and waited.  After a while she was in a bubble behind pain and tiredness, maybe this was death?
 
 
What happened next was all blurry around the edges.  As if she were dreaming, she could see herself being courted by James Moriarty at start of the century or even before; and she was with him all this time fighting the Holmes who had taken so much from him. She stayed by his side: James, her fiancé, her true love, fighting the Holmes, winning many times, losing many times:  eternal life was never boring when a Holmes was out there.  Through James' mind, she could remember the Holmes matriarch, Elsie. She was a woman to behold, and they wanted her, but she outwitted them every time. James missed Elsie; there were no others like her. Life now was so dull. Causing mayhem was not so much fun after centuries, especially without her.  But now there was Irene, to give him a little light.  Irene then understood the longing, it was not hers, but his. She decided that she would do better to be a light for James, a light for herself. And she found that interesting and new.
 
 
Irene woke up later, in the same room, but she was not the same.
 
 
Irene now understood that she would survive because she knew him now, through the dreams which stretched in time for at least a century, and passed to her while he was feeding from her. She didn’t know if the other girl, Annais, survived the night.
 
 
Irene was then unceremoniously left in a cell at the end of the evening, open for the morning sun; and there was a new human girl by her side. The girl was a little bruised but otherwise unharmed, having been kept as simple livestock on which the vampires would feed.  She was a journalist named Shelly. She was not traditionally beautiful, with black hair and brown eyes, dressed in a cafe au lait suit with trousers.
 
 
They talked easily, and for a long time.  Irene’s feelings were confused and distorted:  there was a low-level lust that she could not recognize as blood-hunger, so she thought instead that she might be falling in love with Shelly.   An hour or two before sunrise, the girl asked Irene to make her a vampire too.  She couldn't refuse, what she was feeling must be love she said to herself.

 

Irene would not rape her or torture other women, as they did to her, she would take her time loving her.  She had learned from the dreamtime with James the previous night that she could bend time a little; even just for fun. The two hours extended into a night and when Irene  finally took her blood, it was the most intimate and passionate encounter she’d ever had. She couldn’t get enough of it. It was delicious and she wanted, needed, to drink it all, but she understood she must stop if she didn’t want Shelly to die.
 
 
Irene offered her blood in return, and it was joyously accepted, but sunrise came before the ceremony was complete and the girl vanished in the mist of the morning, turning into ashes.
 
 
Irene escaped and ran away, but where can you run when James Moriarty is your owner? Finally she gave in, but not without a fight. She realized that she was powerful, too, and dangerous because she knew too much from their exchange of blood. So she used it to find a good position for herself in his web, far away from Brian and her past, in Europe. She would be a dominatrix, she had known before she liked to play and she liked girls too, but apparently she was more open minded in love, more than she thought. As Brian was out of the question she would focus on women from now on. Women of the world beware! And men as well.  Because being a Dominatrix was an excellent career choice for finding people on which to feed, to gather information; and also to be as far away from James as possible. The further from the devil and his malicious smile who hunted her, the better.
 
 
Years went by in a blink. She was more confident now. She had her position and her name. She had money and contacts, and she was as far away from James Moriarty as she could be. Irene had found love. Yes, a vampire could love... and not like James did, but with passion and tenderness. Kate was beautiful and perfect, and she was Irene's.
 
 
Irene was satisfied with her underlife, and from afar she watched Brian and his wife and two adolescent kids, Ian and Irene.  The irony of their names didn't escape her. Brian had never stopped looking for her.  But he never found her of course, and was sure she was dead.
 
 
Also she heard about Sigger and his three sons; Sherrinford who turned into a hunter, Mycroft who turned into the British government and the one Irene never met while she was human, Sherlock.  He had grown into a very handsome and brilliant man, a very dangerous man. James had fallen in love with this boy, as James could love, with hate and vengeance, and Irene knew this wasn't going to be good.
 
 
Irene knew James wanted him, as she had once seen in his heart how he had longed for and wanted Elsie.  But Sherlock, like his many times great grandmother Elsie, was a Holmes, and he would never surrender. It was probable that Sherlock and his brothers would be defeated in the end, but Irene would remain neutral in their conflict; until she knew whether she could return to the Holmes for shelter or must continue where she was. She had Kate, and she would not lose her for old humans’ loyalties.
 
 
As she gathered information, which was her function in the web, she focused a little on the Holmes. She knew James would be pleased and she didn't need to give it all away, she never did. A woman has to be clever to survive, but not that 'clever' to catch James Moriarty's rage.
 
 

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Somewhere in Moriarty's Den, October, 1971.

 
 
Anais did recover that awful night, and when she awoke, she was in a cell a different one than before.  It was still night, but she saw a big window where daylight would destroy her in a few hours.. She wore street clothes now.  She had endured all the torture and all the degradation He put her through. She tried to forget the world and act like a doll while James attacked her again, but both he and she knew she was there. She felt him inside her mind as he was avidly feeding on her blood, she was transported long ago. Moriarty knew that she would never submit to him. But James being James, he took her to several timelines and courted her in several manners.  This continued for an eternity while she was inside him as he fed on her.
 
 
She learnt a lot from him, and he still wanted her. That's why she was still there in this last torture, the last test.  In the cell with her was a beautiful sun-kissed blonde. Annais started to chat with the girl, who she said that her name was Helena;  she had been a prisoner for several days and she didn't know why. Annais noticed that she, was an ex-addict and that was why she was rejected early on in the procedures of torturing people to be vampires, so Helena was cattle now, her first feed. If Annais didn't do this, she would die with the first sun, she had the night to prove she could or die.
 
 
Annais knew the hunger was growing in her. If she tried to turn the blonde girl, as she had been turned, she would not survive the sun. What to do then? The key? Maybe she could force the door...No she was too weak.
 
 
She remembered Brian Holmes, the boyfriend of the other girl. So she visualized herself and the girl in danger and tried to reach his mind, but to no avail. Maybe that was a power she didn't gain? Or maybe she was too weak for that as well, how could she possibly know? She was so tired.
 
 
Then she determined what to do...she would survive and she will try to save the girl, but this was not a sure thing so she decided to explain the whole scenario to her, and she accepted.
 
 
Annais was as tender a lover as the others were cruel and when the girl, Helena, reached her orgasm she fed on her just as Helena had asked her to. It was intoxicating; the new vampire could feel all of Helena’s life flowing into her and Annais made a life for them in her mind. Stretching time was so good she lived a complete life with Helena until they were old and happy. She asked her then...
 
 
"Do you want to be with me forever?"
 
 
"No, my love, this lifetime as a human at your side was all I wanted, I don't want to be turned into one of them. Please don't forget me, my lovely Annais," she said while closing her lovely eyes, wrinkled now with age.
 
 
And Annais understood that this was her last night as a human. But Helena gifted her a human's life and partner and she would never forget. So she didn't give her blood but a loving last kiss while she expired in her arms.


 
 
She dressed Helena after she died, kissed her temple, closed her eyes and took a curl of her hair into her pocket. Then she waited.
 
 
The day came and went and when night arrived. James was there, took her hand, and complimented her handiwork.
 
 
"Well done baby, I knew you would be precise and clean, not passionate and foolish like Irene, who cried for the human cattle turned to ash. She tried to turn her, you know?" said James with an evil wink and disdainful flick of his hand.  "She has her beauty all the same, but I love you: precise, logical and clean. You will be extraordinary!"
 
 
Annais stayed by James' side as he wanted her, detached as a doll. He never asked for passion or love; she was incapable of giving it to him. He trained her as an assassin and she could give that to him, keeping her inner self deeply hidden in her mind..Her job had its perks because the more she knew, and the less he knew of her, the better. She was strong and so fast, she could jump great distances and she loved to run in the night. But while she had no power to read minds without feeding, she had a great power to block others, and stretch time while feeding.

 
James never could enter her mind after all, which intrigued him no end, but he never drank her blood again to learn what he couldn't read from her. Maybe he liked her like that; cold, precise and untouchable. The truth was that she was never cold, had never been, but only kept her feelings hidden.
 
 
Stretching was second nature for Annais, like being able to run as fast as James, but James could read minds, except hers, and she can’t read no one, if she didn’t used the stretching ability. As James never feed on her again, they were a mystery to each other, and that was fine with her, and apparently so with James.
 
 
She killed all the criminals out there who had become a problem for James and she was ordered to kill, feed on them and leave them cold without second thought -- and dispose of the bodies cleanly.
 
 
James never knew what she did with the innocent ones she was sent to kill. Annais stretched the time for them, loved them and always gave them the choice, but they never took it. They preferred a human life with her, than a life at her side as a killer, she understood their wishes and she cherished them. She dressed them after, closed their eyes and kissed their temple. Annais took a lock of their hair. After that she buried these innocents as if they had been real husbands or wives, lovingly placed in specially chosen ground. 
 
 
 
James never asked questions about how she did her cleaning.  If James suspected she did anything differently when he asked her to kill an innocent instead of a criminal, he didn’t mention it.  He knew for sure that she always was precise and clean either way.
 
 
She learnt a lot those decades, because she absorbed by stretching and reading all the skills of the criminals she killed. She learnt too, all that her lovers would willingly teach her. Annais never took from a partner; she gave and received, because she loved and she was loved a lifetime, in a night.
 
 
 
Life was like that until Sherlock Holmes came.