The mist hung over the streets, refusing to move. She had been walking back to her flat when she suddenly felt a prickle of fear on the back of her neck. The streets were deserted, which seemed unusual for London, especially this part of London, but she had assumed she was alone.
Somehow, she knew that was no longer the case.
She slowly reached up to ease one of her earbud headphones out of her ear. Not both; they were Bluetooth compatible so if she ran into trouble she could switch from the music player on her phone to 999, but she wanted to be more aware. Her mother had always warned her that walking home at night with headphones on could be trouble, but it kept the harassers at bay, or drowned them out.
But now she considered maybe her mother had been right.
The street was eerily silent, with no noise from the surrounding buildings or traffic anywhere in the vicinity. It was so quiet she could clearly hear her footsteps echoing. Damn it, why did she wear pumps? They made a clacking sound with each step she took.
She stopped and decided hell with it, she could walk the rest of the way in her stocking feet. Quieter that way, and easier to run. She reached down to pull off one pump, then the other.
The next sound heard on the street was the clatter of the pumps on the pavement, followed by a strangled scream. And then the eerie silence settled in again and the mist got thicker.
She never made it home.
And the most puzzling part was, this was not the first time this had happened, and Molly seemed to have no idea why.
He laid on his back, eyes focusing on the ceiling. Molly had decorated the ceiling with glow in the dark stars as a joke on his birthday when John had mentioned Sherlock knew nothing about astronomy. She’d actually put up most of the stars in the constellations visible above London, and when he couldn’t sleep at night he would memorize the various constellations. The fact that he usually was wide awake at night was still troubling, and he would sometimes go up to the roof and leave Molly to her sleep.
How she was getting out of Baker Street without him noticing had him troubled. If she was sleepwalking, it could be dangerous. She was very good at keeping her blood urges under control, better than him, but if she was asleep that could spell trouble if she stumbled onto someone who was bleeding. A midnight snack was fine if it came from a blood bag or a human donor, but a stranger? That would bring unwanted attention to them.
And with his fame, that was the last thing they needed.
He ran his hand along her arm, finger idly tracing shapes, as he wondered about the situation some more. But his thoughts were interrupted by the ringing of his mobile. He reluctantly lifted up his hand to pick it up, seeing it was Lestrade. “Hello?” he asked.
“Do you ever sleep?” Lestrade asked, his voice sounding like he’d been rather rudely woken up from a peaceful slumber.
“Yes,” Sherlock said. “Just not often. What do you need?”
“There’s an unusual murder in Church End, Barnet,” he said. “Victim is drained of their blood and there are puncture wounds in their neck. For all intents and purposes, it looks like a vampire got her.”
Sherlock froze. This was not good, not good at all. “I’ll be there soon,” he said. Lestrade rattled off an area to meet him at and then Sherlock hung up. He leaned over and pressed a kiss into Molly’s damp hair before sitting up. He hoped fervently that things were not as they seemed, that Molly wasn’t killing people in her sleep.
If she was, it would be bad news for them both.
Sherlock surveyed the crime scene. Since he’d become a vampire himself he’d used his more enhanced sense to solve cases more quickly, but this one stumped him. Jacob had taught them both how to cover up their tracks, and it seemed like whoever or whatever had committed this murder had done the same, but there were subtle differences. Not in that this was a violent crime that resulted in a death, but it seemed...off.
“I don’t see how I can help,” Sherlock said finally, turning to Lestrade. “But don’t go out warning people there’s a serial killer.”
“How did you know this wasn’t the first death like this?” Lestrade asked, his eyes widening.
Now it was Sherlock’s turn to be surprised. “I didn’t. I was thinking back to the serial poisoning and how you were trying to convince everyone they were suicides.”
Lestrade eyed him for a moment and then sighed. “We need to talk. In private. And if you can make sure there’s whiskey on hand, that would be great. This is not the type of conversation I want to have without some liquid courage.”
“We can go to Baker Street,” he said.
“I’ll drive,” Lestrade replied. He went to Donovan and spoke to her at length, leaving Sherlock to stew over his own thoughts. And one came up over and over: Lestrade knew the truth. Somehow, he had figured out he was a vampire and he suspected him. Or...maybe he knew about Molly and suspected her. The thought sent him into a slight panic. He could very easily convince any human that he didn’t do it, but with Molly disappearing at odd hours…
Lestrade came back and they made their way to his vehicle, Sherlock forcing himself to breathe. He tended to forget to do that when he was lost in his thoughts. They got into the car and Lestrade drummed his fingers on the wheel for a moment. “You’re full?”
“What do you mean?” Sherlock asked in a neutral tone.
Lestrade stopped drumming and turned to look at him. “Did you commit the murder, Sherlock? Just tell me the truth. And don’t think about using compulsion to convince me you didn’t if you did. It won’t work.”
Sherlock hadn’t even realized he’d been holding in his last breath until he let it out. “No, I did not. And I have no real idea who did.”
“But…?” Lestrade asked.
“A question first. Do you know who my sire is?”
Lestrade nodded. “Molly, right?”
“Yes,” Sherlock said. “She’s...going out, when I’m not with her. I can’t track her. I can’t tell where she’s been. But I’m going to assume it corresponds with other killings you’ve been dealing with.”
“Jesus Christ,” Lestrade said, tilting his head back onto the headrest. “This is not good.”
“No, it’s not,” Sherlock said.
“No, you don’t understand,” Lestrade said, lifting his head up and shaking his head. “Van Helsing is crap but vampire hunters...monster hunters...are real. And the Lestrades are a very long line of monster hunters. If Molly is doing this, I’m honor bound to kill her.”
“Over my undead body!” Sherlock said, not caring if anyone heard them.
“Then help me,” Lestrade said. “If there is anything, anything at the scene that makes you think for even a moment Molly didn’t do this, tell me. I’ll come up with some BS explanation to solve the case but if this is a real vampire attack and...”
Sherlock got quiet. This was all so much worse than he could have imagined. “Molly doesn’t have it in her to kill,” he said. “She’s never fed from a human, aside from turning me. She refuses to do so. I feed on John every once in a while but we both prefer bagged blood.”
“Then tell me what your feelings on the scene are,” Lestrade said.
“It was...off,” Sherlock said after a pause. “The tracks were covered, but not in the way Molly and I were taught if there was a need to feed off a human.”
Lestrade nodded. “Then that’s a start. For right now, this has been kept fairly under wraps, but this is something I hadn’t sensed. I usually kill monsters, not befriend them.” He fished his keys out of his pocket and started the car. “You and Molly are, so far, the only exceptions.”
“Do you trust me?” Sherlock asked.
“I do,” Lestrade said, looking right into his eyes.
“Then there is someone else you should talk to if he’s willing,” Sherlock said, reaching for his mobile. “And if he is, he’s off-limits unless he goes against whatever your code is. Understood?”
“Understood,” Lestrade said with a nod. Sherlock pulled up the familiar contact for Jacob and waited. This was going to be an interesting conversation, he could tell...
It seemed as though Jacob knew all about Greg and Greg’s family line, and Sherlock half-expected him to say no to the proposed meeting on principle, but he agreed. “For Molly’s sake,” he had said. Sherlock thought he knew why; Jacob had no children of his own but he did not take lightly to those who broke rules when it came to siring or killing. And he, like Sherlock, had to have realized this was something Molly would not do. So sitting in the sitting room at Baker Street while Molly slept soundly in the bedroom to make sure she existed a little while longer was what he, as her adopted sire, was willing to do.
“If Sherlock says I can trust you, I will,” Jacob said. “Not that I need Sherlock’s word. You are far more honourable than others in your lineage, Gregory.”
Lestrade nodded. “There have been some real arses in my family line. Went crazy over the job.”
“You seem to balance the duties of being a hunter and a copper well,” Jacob said with a nod of his own. “I approve of people who help keep my kind and others like us in line and do so without alerting humans. Your kind does not always tend to the messes they make when there is an...incident.”
“No, they don’t,” Lestrade agreed. “Which is why I’m hoping this won’t become an incident.”
“It’s doubtful it will,” Jacob said. “I had been alerted to the murders and surveyed the scene after the humans left. I can assure you, if Molly was behind them, which I do not think she is, she is being overridden by a werewolf.”
Sherlock and Lestrade’s eyes both widened. “There’s a werewolf in London?” Lestrade asked. “Christ.”
“A few, but we had been keeping tabs on the rogue ones. This one is an interloper. I recognize the way he handles the scenes, as though they are works of art, and it’s similar to a pack in America.”
Lestrade snorted a laugh. “We have an honest to goodness American werewolf in London? I thought that movie was utter tripe.”
Jacob gave him a half-smile. “Truly. Not the best horror movie to be done. It did werewolves a disservice, much as the Harry Potter series treatment of Remus Lupin did them a boon.”
“An American werewolf, though?” Sherlock interjected. “Why would an American be after Molly?”
“Who has she angered?” Jacob asked.
“Moriarty won’t stop harassing her at the morgue,” Sherlock said.
“The ghost?” Jacob asked.
“Wait a minute. Moriarty is dead? And a ghost at that?” Lestrade asked. “I could use that whiskey any time now, Sherlock.”
“Long story short, Moriarty planned to kill me. He succeeded somewhat. Molly made sure he paid the price by having him take the second bullet meant for her before she turned me. Unfortunately, Heaven didn’t want him and Hell was afraid he’d take over, so...” Sherlock had moved into the kitchen as he told the story, getting John’s whiskey. “He’s stuck at Barts, the place of his death.”
“I never sensed him when I was in the morgue,” Lestrade said.
“He could know you’re perceptible to his presence,” Jacob said, tilting his head. “Therefore when you are in the morgue he leaves you be.”
“Who shot you?” Lestrade asked Sherlock when he came back with the whiskey and a glass.
“I believe it was Sebastian Moran, Moriarty’s lieutenant. But he and I were both shot by a sniper from a distance, so I’m not absolutely sure.”
“The Moran pack are vile werewolves. They turn people for the hell of it, or they hunt them for sport,” Jacob said bitterly. “And they are American. It makes sense that Sebastian Moran may be carrying out revenge for his boss.”
“So what do we do?” Sherlock asked.
Jacob turned to Lestrade. “Are you capable of exorcising a demon? Or banishing a ghost?”
Lestrade nodded. “Both. Why?”
“Because from what I sensed at the scenes I went to, it’s not just Moran doing this. Either he or his boss made a deal with a demon for the revenge to be carried out. Fortunately, most low-level demons are imbeciles. We need to rid Barts of Moriarty’s presence, and then expunge the demon before we take out Moran.”
“That sounds doable. I need to get some things, but--” He fell silent as Molly came out. “Hi, Molly.” But she acted as though she didn’t hear him, heading to the stairs leading down to the door. “What…?”
“She’s been ensnared by the demon,” Jacob said, getting out of his seat and moving in front of her, careful not to stop her. “We may need to do the exorcism by the seat of our pants, gentleman. I have the feeling we’re about to meet Moran in the act of committing another murder.”
“Then let’s stop him,” Sherlock said, getting up.
“If we can,” Lestrade said. “The victim may already be dead. But at least we can prevent more.”
Sherlock nodded and followed behind Molly. He would free her, whatever it took.
Eventually, the four of them ended up by the warehouses at the docks. Sherlock knew that the invisible homeless population that tried to stay off the police’s radar spent time there, but not at this time of year. His Homeless Network had told him it got too cold during this time of the year, and various Underground stations were preferred as much as they were able to be used. So if there was a victim here, either they had been brought or they were unlucky in their choice of abode tonight.
Jacob halted them outside the door that Molly had disappeared into. “I sense two heartbeats,” he said. “Our potential victim is alive, for the moment.”
Lestrade reached for a gun that was holstered in an ankle holster. “Silver bullets,” he said, looking up at Sherlock. Then he turned to Jacob. I assume aim to wound?”
“If you can,” Jacob said. “Should the situation call for it, however, aim to kill.”
Lestrade nodded and then handed the gun to Sherlock. “I know your ring will protect you from the gun,” he said.
Sherlock carefully took it and found none of the ill effects he’d felt when taking blessed items. “How..?”
“I recognized them,” he said. “Yours and Molly’s. It’s how I knew you’d been turned.” He nodded towards the door. “Just don’t shoot me and I won’t stake you.”
“Deal,” Sherlock said. The three men crept into the warehouse, Lestrade moving almost as silently as Jacob and Sherlock. Sherlock assumed he’d had much practice if his career as a monster hunter had been going on for a long time.
It was easy to spot Moran in the scene they walked to the edge of. His platinum blonde hair shone in the rig of red fire around the victim. Sherlock only knew it was not natural fire because it wasn’t setting the place ablaze, but he had the feeling it could if Moran commanded it to. Molly was in the middle of the ring with Moran and an older homeless woman whose expression was just as blank as Molly’s. Then, to all of their surprise, Moran vamped out and moved towards the victim. Lestrade gave a quick nod and began the exorcism spell as Sherlock aimed the gun and fired, hitting Moran in the shoulder. He let out a sound that was a cross between a growl and a snarl and then dropped the victim and made for the nearest door.
Lestrade ran forward, continuing the exorcism spell in perfect Latin as Sherlock fired off another shot, hitting Moran in the back of the kneecap. Moran growled in agony this time but jumped through the glass window next to the door, and Lestrade gave chase.
Jacob and Sherlock approached the ring of fire and studied it. “I can’t remove them from the ring without knowing how it was cast,” Jacob said. “If your friend manages to complete the exorcism, it may extinguish on its own.”
“So we wait?” Sherlock asked, worry in his voice.
Jacob nodded. “We wait. But keep your guard up; the monster may return.”
Sherlock kept his sense at their heightened state and waited, nearly shooting Lestrade as he opened the door next to the smashed window. “Bastard got away,” he said, holding his arm.
“Did he slash you?” Sherlock asked.
Lestrade shook his head. “Tried to do something I shouldn’t have.” He nodded to the fire and then stuck a hand over it. “Cold as ice. I can get them out.”
“Please do,” Jacob said. Lestrade stepped over the ring of fire and handed the woman out first to Jacob, and then Molly to Sherlock. “I don’t think the exorcism was successful.”
“Nope,” Lestrade said, popping the word a bit. “Bastard jumped up onto the bloody roof of another building. I tried to access the stairs but they were up to high and I landed on my arm.”
“Is it broken?” Sherlock asked.
“Just bruised. But now I’m righteously pissed.” Lestrade came back out. “Let’s get out of here before he has any bright ideas of making this a real fire with us inside.”
“Let’s,” Jacob said, carrying the woman out of the building with Sherlock and Lestrade behind him. So far, this was a favourable outcome, but not the best one.
Lestrade insisted the older woman be taken to a hospital, and so he went to take care of that while Jacob and Sherlock took Molly back to Baker Street. Her eyes were still wide open, staring out unseeingly, and Sherlock tucked her into bed again, hoping she stayed there this time. Just because Moran was wounded didn’t mean they were mortal wounds. He could try again.
Jacob had said that at this point, it would be best to deal with the root of the problem: Moriarty. Sherlock had no doubt this elaborate plan of revenge was all Moriarty’s doing: frame Molly for murders, have a hunter come after her. Then the problem of her presence in the world of the living was solved. Moriarty would still be stuck at Barts but Molly would be dead and he would be bereft with grief, he was sure Moriarty assumed. It was almost perfect.
They began to formulate a plan to rid the hospital of the ghost’s presence, and once Lestrade came in he told them the specifics to rid a place of ghosts. It was determined that Lestrade and Sherlock could do it all on their own and Jacob would keep watch over Molly.
The morgue would be the best place to perform the spell that was needed to banish Moriarty somewhere else, somewhere he couldn’t cause any real trouble anymore. A ghost haunting the moors would just be a boon to the local industry, really, and if Moriarty was stripped of any powers he had beforehand, even better. When they got there it seemed the timing was fortuitous since the attendant wasn’t there. Molly would likely be upset to know it was unattended, but for the moment it suited their purposes well.
“I see you aren’t a frothing beast, so I’m assuming the plan didn’t work.”
Sherlock glared at the apparition coming towards them. “Unfortunately for you,” he said to Moriarty.
“My man isn’t dead, you know. But I suppose the gift in the freezer won’t be all that appreciated.”
Sherlock could see Lestrade look paler, but he was resolute. “We’re going to send you somewhere where you won’t cause trouble,” he said.
Moriarty gave a mirthful laugh. “Doubtful. Neither Heaven or Hell want me.”
“Oh no. You’ll still be a damnable spirit,” Sherlock said. He nodded towards Lestrade. “After you, Gregory.”
If Lestrade was surprised Sherlock knew his actual name, he showed no surprise and began casting the spell needed to transfer Moriarty’s place of haunting to Dartmoor. They had picked the exact spot to be the minefield where Dr. Frankland had been felled. That way, even if Moran went hunting for his boss, the chances were he wouldn’t survive the trip, even with his enhanced senses.
“What do you think you’re doing?” Moriarty snapped, the first look of panic in his eyes.
“Sending you to a place where you’ll bother no one,” Sherlock said as Lestrade continued the spell. Soon Moriarty’s spirit was encased in a blue flame, shrinking in size but not in fury. No matter what he yelled at the two of them, Lestrade kept saying the spell. Then the flame turned the same red color as the flame circle at the warehouse and he stopped. “What is it?”
“Time for an exorcism,” Lestrade said, sweat tinging his brow. “He was the one in control of the demon.” Lestrade began the same spell he’d used in the warehouse, and for a moment the blue flame and red flame fought each other, surrounding Moriarty as he laughed. But then the red flame was extinguished and the blue shone brighter as it swallowed Moriarty up whole, and the echo of the word “No!” bounced through the room for a moment as it suddenly went out.
“So it’s finished?” Sherlock asked, but Lestrade slumped before he could answer. Sherlock moved to his side, helping him stand upright.
“Yeah, I think so,” Lestrade said. “Demon was vanquished, Moriarty’s gone...” He took a few deep breaths. “Now we just need to deal with the ‘surprise,’ but I can handle that. Might be best if you leave, though.”
“Will the victim’s family know what happened to him?” Sherlock asked.
“Well, I’m leaving the scene as it is and we can ask your brother to pull surveillance tape of our visit,” Lestrade said. “I’ll come back in an hour on a ‘tip’ as an official copper and handle it from there. At least I know who to look for off the books.”
“Moran,” Sherlock said, nearly spitting the name out.
Lestrade nodded. “But I figure we’ll catch him in the end, won’t we?”
Sherlock felt a sense of warmth in his heart. Even knowing what he and Molly were, they were still a ‘we’ in all of this. It was good that he had not lost an ally...no, that he had not lost a friend. “We will,” Sherlock said with a nod. “I’ll call my brother now.”
“Best course of action. He may want to initiate a cover-up for all I know.” Lestrade nodded towards the door. “Let’s go see how Molly is, shall we?”
Sherlock began to head to the doors, pulling out his mobile. At least one problem was solved. Now he just hoped the other one was as well...
Jacob had company in the sitting room when they returned. Molly was sitting in her favourite chair, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand. “I was hungry,” she said sheepishly when she caught the fond smile on Sherlock’s face.
“No work for you today,” he said. “Though there may be a funeral for a coworker to attend in the near future.”
Molly sighed. “Jacob told me Moriarty was behind this whole thing,” she said. “I suppose it was Harris who was killed?”
“If he was on duty tonight,” Lestrade said. “Though that was all Moran’s doing. Mycroft said the body would be smuggled out and an accident involving fire would be staged. If you could do the autopsy, Mycroft would like to have the results falsified.”
“I can do that,” Molly said. “But what about Moran?”
“We’ll get him, eventually,” Sherlock said. “We wounded him with silver bullets, and for a werewolf-vampire hybrid, that’s bad news.” He pressed a kiss to the top of her head. “How are you?”
“I feel...fuzzy, inside my head,” she said. “Jacob said I was under a different type of compulsion than what we can do.”
“You were,” Lestrade said. “But Moriarty was behind it and I doubt he’ll manage to get anyone close enough to get them to perform the ritual needed to summon a demon. Though there are a few anti-possession measures that even vampires can take.”
“Good,” Molly said. “I don’t ever want to go through that again.” She shuddered slightly at the thought and then curled into Sherlock, who had sat on the arm of her chair.
“I think we can leave you both alone. Gregory and I have much to discuss about a potential partnership,” Jacob said. Lestrade gave him a searching glance. “It just strikes me that if you’re to go after Moran, you may need help, and I can occasionally direct you to troublesome creatures that need disposing of.”
“I think that could be mutually beneficial,” Lestrade said. He then nodded to Sherlock and Molly. “Take care of her?”
“Always,” Sherlock said, wrapping an arm around her shoulders. Once they were alone, he looked down at her. “What do you want to do now?”
“Something that makes me feel as close to alive as possible,” she said.
“I think that can be arranged,” he said, leaning in and kissing her passionately. She responded in kind and he knew it might be some time before either of them went back to sleep.