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Sanguineous Serendipity

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It was past midnight when Sherlock entered the field hospital in search of blood. He was far from home, far from comfortable amenities and was forced to find sustenance while making the least fuss possible. Over the last several weeks, he had scoured hospitals filled with wounded soldiers; the ones that had been doomed to die he’d drained quickly and given a better death than the agony that had awaited them. He could feel that this night would bring him enough strength to return to London. 

Now, he was about to drain a wounded soldier with a simple bullet wound through his shoulder but a horrid slash to his abdomen. Sherlock had seen enough dying men to know that this one had no more than several hours to live.  

Upon Sherlock's approach, the delirious man opened his eyes to look at him. They were the most beautiful shade of blue Sherlock had ever seen. The lagoon shades ranged from aero to baby blue, to almost green and looking into them was akin to looking at an oasis in the middle of the desert – a bewitching sight amongst the dry sand of reality. They were full of pain and reluctant acceptance of the situation the soldier was in. Sherlock found himself mesmerised, never before having seen so much expression in a dying man’s eyes. He sat on a round metal chair next to the soldier’s bed and met his gaze. He couldn’t snuff the light out of those eyes just yet. Maybe ever. 

“What’s your name?” Sherlock asked, whispering to avoid waking up other patients even though most of them groaned in discomfort or pain.  

“Watson... Captain John Watson, 5 th Northumberland Fu-” He recited in a weak voice but with surprisingly clear enunciation for his state.  

“Shhh, John.” Sherlock hesitated for a moment longer, but he knew he had already made his decision. “Do you want to live?” 

“No.” The pull towards oblivion in the man’s gaze pierced Sherlock’s undead heart. The surety of the reply stunned him. It was uttered quietly, the single word devoid of anger, but full of resignation. 

“Why?” Sherlock couldn’t remember the last time someone managed to shock and fascinate him within minutes of meeting. 

“I have nothing and no one to live for.” The answer was uttered as a fact and the bareness of it struck Sherlock so hard that he had to gather his thoughts before he continued. Emotions he hadn’t felt for decades surfaced as he felt the pain and general grief of the man as if they were his own. They had been his own once... John deserved more than the ending Sherlock had initially planned to offer him. 

“If you could live as a whole man, with no crippling wounds, would you want to?” 

Silence fell between them for a moment, only the raspy breaths and groans of the other wounded soldiers filling the stale air of the room. John swallowed loudly before he opened his parched lips to speak again. 

“That’s a fool’s dream.” 

“What if it wasn’t?” It was Sherlock who was the fool, acting on impulse. He was intrigued and excited at the same time — too far gone to stop himself now. “Indulge me.” He waited a moment more before he heard the dying man speak again. 

“Yes.” The single syllable was whispered with dreamy wistfulness.  

“Do you believe in fairy tales, John Watson?” Sherlock bared his fangs, making sure the soldier could see them. He didn’t flinch. Instead, his lips lifted in a smile. 

“You’re an illusion, are you? A dream... I’ve gone mad.” The last words were spoken in a vague sing-song. The soft smile was self-deprecating and Sherlock felt another unexpected surge of kinship between them.  

“Would you like to live forever, John?” Sherlock whispered right above John’s ear then licked the side of his neck with a languid slide of his tongue. 

“As a whole man, yes.” There was no hesitation in John’s voice. It shouldn’t have been enough for Sherlock, but it was and it pushed him to make a decision he had never made before. With a resolute move, Sherlock bit into the soft flesh of the dying man. “Ah!” The soldier's gasp turned into a moan as the initial sting transformed into pleasure triggered by the vampire’s saliva.  

Sherlock bit him swiftly, letting the rich blood explode on his tongue. As he sucked, he braced his arm on the other side of the soldier’s body, leaning his own above him until they were touching chest to chest. The warmth of John’s body seemed to permeate his cold one, just as the richness of his blood fuelled him. 

Sherlock drank, letting the copper taste of life spill in his mouth and down his throat. He could feel the tissues within him that should have been dead a century ago now burst with a new dose of life. He groaned, stretching his muscles with minimal movement, letting the tingling sensation of life-prolonging blood work on his body. 

The soldier’s body was pliant in its surrender, his heartbeat slowing down, his hands holding onto Sherlock’s arms without pushing away. He welcomed death, and that made Sherlock want to keep him alive even more, to find out what was going on in that fascinating head of his. 

Finally, he stopped when it was time to breathe life into the dying man. Reluctantly, Sherlock pulled his elongated canines out of the soft flesh of John’s neck and proceeded to lick the puncture wounds clean, the healing qualities of his saliva helping them close to stop the bleeding. 

“Stay with me.” He whispered into John’s ear, but the man’s eyes were struggling to remain open. “Soldier!” The word came out louder than it should have in the quiet of the field hospital. The soldier's wounded comrades stirred but none of them seemed to wake. John managed to open his eyes and Sherlock wasted no time. He ripped into his wrist with one of his fangs, slicing open the vein John's blood had helped to fill just moments before. Placing the bleeding flesh above the soldier’s lips, he spoke again, calmly this time. “Drink.” 

John grimaced and tried to move his head away when the first drops entered his mouth. 

“Drink if you want to live as a whole man. That is what you want, isn’t it?” 

In lieu of a reply, the soldier opened his mouth and licked the wrist bleeding above his mouth. Tentative at first, he soon started sucking, his cracked lips holding onto the flesh as the crimson liquid healed his body.  

Sherlock placed his other hand on John’s abdomen, feeling the bandages holding him together. His heightened senses let him feel the wound closing, the organs underneath his palm regenerating, then transforming to adjust to the soldier’s future needs. John grew in strength by the minute, gripping the arm that fed him with both his hands, holding tight to it as he kept sucking.  

Sherlock had never brought anyone back before and he wasn’t sure when he should take his arm away from the hungry mouth pressed to it. He knew the process in theory, had witnessed it several times as well, but most of what happened was based on instinct. He had to feel when John was healed enough and when the change in his body took place in order not to stop too quickly. If he failed, John's body might reject the change and he would die, just as he would have if Sherlock had never interfered. He let the soldier drink his fill, relishing the exhilarating sensation of being the donor which he hadn’t felt for a long time, not since he had been human and had undergone his own process of turning.  

The muscles of John’s body started to harden. Sherlock witnessed the change with fascination as he felt it take place under his palm and in the grip the man had on his arm. The success of the first stage of the change seemed imminent now, making Sherlock feel elated, determined, dizzy... 

“Live, John...” came as a whisper from Sherlock’s lips. He swayed slightly as he started feeling faint, his vision becoming blurry. Refocusing on the man below him, he listened to his heartbeat. It was faint, dying. The barely visible Zenith analogue watch on his free wrist showed 2:21 am when the last beat of John’s heart as a human sounded. It was stronger than the previous ones, marking the end of one life and the beginning of another. From that point on, his heart would only beat once every twenty-four hours. “Enough.” Sherlock tried to pull his still-bleeding arm away but John was strong, clinging to it, sucking harder. “Stop, soldier!” 

Hearing the command, John let go and Sherlock cursed under his breath as he took his arm away. John’s eyes rolled to the back of his head before they snapped open again, alert.  

“What happened?” He said with bewilderment, sitting up so abruptly that the bed’s legs squeaked on the floor.  

Disorientation was an expected side effect and initial reaction to the first stage of the change. 

“It is very important that you listen to me now, Captain Watson.” Sherlock said after licking his wrist closed. John nodded, the use of his military rank seeming to bring him to attention more efficiently than the sole use of his name had, but couldn't keep himself from glancing around. “Focus on my voice and look at me, Captain.” John followed the instruction and nodded. “We have to leave instantly but we need to be quiet. Do you understand?” John nodded, his handsome, bloody face a macabre sight in the pale moonlight. “Can you stand up?” John swung his legs to the side and stood as the soldier he was, in a flash of movement. “Now, pick up your boots, but carry them.” John nodded again and walked slowly, deliberately but stealthily. The joints in his toes cracked as he moved, but otherwise, the only sounds to be heard from him were the shallow, infrequent breaths the soldier didn’t yet know would soon be unnecessary. Sherlock grabbed the dark-green duffel bag that lay on the ground next to the bed and placed John’s arm around his neck so he could support him. 

John’s body was clearly accepting the change for now, but they were not out of the woods yet. His organs were still adjusting but he was already functioning at an unprecedented level. Even though Sherlock had not turned anyone before, he’d done enough extensive research about his species to have a fact-based opinion. He had a feeling that John had always been able to accomplish remarkable things thanks to his stubbornness alone. What must have happened to him then to make him welcome the cold hands of death? 

Twenty-two steps later, they were outside, the chilly night air hitting Sherlock’s face, the sand in the wind settling in his hair. John took a few more sure steps, then he began to falter. He turned to Sherlock and pointed a trembling index finger at him.  

“You.” Was all he said before his face scrunched up in pain and he collapsed on the sand of the Afghan desert. 

Chapter Text

John woke up to the soft whisper of pages being turned. It was an old book, smelling of dust and mould. He could hear the leather binding creak as the person reading it closed it and put it on what sounded like a wooden surface.  

Before he opened his eyes, his mind was flooded with images of the beautiful pale face of a man standing over him, his voice whispering into his ear, then his mouth at his neck... 

He opened his eyes to see that same face looking at him as the man sat on a chair by his bed. It had to be an illusion, a fever dream. He must still be in the field hospital under medical care. John calmed down at the thought and let his eyes close, hearing the man, whoever he was, move closer. 

“Drink. We need to make sure the change settles,” the low rumbling voice said close to John’s ear. Close enough that he could smell the man, the indescribable musk that made him want to bury his face in the crook of the man’s neck and inhale until he was the only thing John could smell. He murmured his assent at the question as well as approval of the scent invading his nostrils. John opened his mouth and swallowed the liquid that poured into his mouth. It tasted weird, but all medicine did. He felt full a moment later and his body yearned for the slumber to which he gladly succumbed again. 

John dreamt that he was running in the desert. Not just running, but running away from someone. No, it wasn’t a person, it was something bigger, more dangerous. It was a sandstorm nearing, right behind him, on his heels. He ran, ran as fast as he could, as fast as his legs would let him. He was hindered by his bare feet, which were being burned by the hot sand. The muscles in his legs screamed with exertion but he refused to stop, not until his feet sank into the sand and he toppled over; in an instant, he was swallowed by the darkness of the sandstorm. Long, cold fingers wrapped around his wrist and he clutched the helping hand as it pulled him out of the engulfing blackness with enormous strength.  

John’s eyes flew open and landed on the face of the man that seemed to never leave his bedside. The cold touch left his wrist as the man took his hand away and John’s memories came flooding back. 

Blood. 

“What the fuck did you do to me?” he rasped, his voice unusually gravelly to the point that he had to clear his throat.  

“I gave you a second chance.” The reply was smooth and velvety, yet so very deep that it permeated John’s body until goose-bumps broke on his skin. Forcing himself to focus, he levelled his gaze on the man.  

“You bit me!” John tried to sit up but found that his wrists were bound with a rope that seemed to go under the bed. “And you tied me up!” The man had the audacity to smirk at the accusations, but John was having none of the dismissal. “Who are you? Explain yourself!” He spat the last part as he fought the binds, bent on wiping the amused expression off of the man’s face. 

“My name is Sherlock Holmes.” The pale man leaned closer, levelling his face with John’s, speaking slowly and clearly. “I promised you a life and I’ve given you one. In lieu of thanks, you tried to attack me. Don’t fight the binds; they’re for your safety more than mine at this point.” With that, he leaned back in his chair as if that were all the explanation that he deemed necessary. 

John paused, recalling a whispered promise of being a whole man coming from the dark-haired man’s lips. To confirm whether the promise had been real or imagined, fulfilled or abandoned, he rolled his left shoulder. He had been told that it was wounded so badly that he wouldn’t be able to move his arm properly for the rest of his life. For a surgeon, that was akin to a sentence to the guillotine. He braced for a stab of pain at the movement, and frowned as none came. Then he remembered his abdominal wound and the slash of the knife that had opened a way to organs that should have never seen the light of day.   

All the events were slowly piecing themselves together: being grievously wounded and relying on his adrenaline to get himself to safety, being ushered into a helicopter on a stretcher, then to a hospital where he had been subjected to the efforts of the emergency medical team. In the dead of night, he hadn’t survived. He hadn’t pulled through, hadn’t recovered... or at least, not the way he’d thought. Instead, the same man that was looking at him right now had bitten him, and then had given John his open wrist to drink from.  

Wait...  

John had drunk his blood... 

From somewhere deep inside came the realization of the impossible truth that was his, but his conscious mind resisted and bucked against the idea of a fairy tale come to life.

John swallowed, the lingering taste of copper surprisingly pleasant on his palate; then he felt the sharp, elongated canines with his tongue. He gasped for breath but the action didn’t relieve his need for air, but as he struggled he dimly realized that he actually didn’t feel any such need at all. His chest constricted and so did his throat; his hands shook and he felt the soft bedding underneath him swallowing him, sucking him under as he suffocated. 

“John? Calm down. You’re a doctor; you know you’re having a panic attack. Don’t try to breathe; it won’t help.” The voice was strict, logical, and commanding. “Now focus - calm your mind and your body and I will explain everything.” John couldn’t. He felt darkness come over him and pull him under as he ceased to see his surroundings. “Captain Watson!” the man who called himself Sherlock yelled in a stern voice that brooked no questions as he worked to free John’s wrists from the restraints. John felt a slap on his cheek and the abrupt sting, coupled with being addressed by his rank, made his eyes snap open. “Get a grip,” Sherlock shouted again, turning John’s panic into anger at the dismissive tone. He knew nothing of John and yet tried to order him around as if he were his superior.  

It happened in an instant, faster than John had ever thought he could move. One moment he was panicking and the next he was on Sherlock, his hands wrapped around his throat.  

“Who are you?!” He yelled as he squeezed harder. The man underneath him smiled even though John’s grip had to hurt. John adjusted the placement of his hips to gain greater leverage. He froze when he realised what his grinding must seem like. He was off the man as fast as he had attacked him and backed against the wall. 

Sherlock stood up with much uncanny grace and straightened his black button-down. “You know what I am, John,” he answered calmly. “Can I call you ‘John’?”  

“I don’t know what to think anymore,” John panted, flexing his fists at his sides, feeling drops of sweat on his forehead. The cold wall at his back did nothing to cool his body or mind. It was not real, it wasn’t, it couldn’t be...  

“Let me enlighten you then. Sit.” Sherlock nodded at the bed as he grabbed the back of a wooden chair, swivelled it, and sat astride it, facing John. He folded his arms on top of the backrest and awaited questioning as John took a seat on the bed. Faint lighting from the bedside lamp bathed Sherlock’s regal face in a warm white glow, making him look ethereal, unreal, inhuman... 

“You said I would be whole.” John touched his abdomen, sliding his hand under his shirt. He could feel muscles, a tad harder than he recalled them having been before. A horizontal scar marred his side and he lifted the hem of his shirt to confirm with his eyes what he felt under his fingertips. The gash he had received during the stakeout gone wrong was now fully healed, the scarring minimal. He lifted his gaze to Sherlock, who was patiently waiting. “How long was I out? Weeks? Was I in a coma?” 

“I approached you yesterday.” Sherlock glanced at his watch which indicated that it was just after 2. “Nearly twenty-four hours ago.” 

“What? How?!” 

“John. You’re not human anymore, you’re a v-” 

“Don’t say it! I don’t want to hear it. Just let me...” he buried his face in his hands, the significance of his infrequent breaths adding to his panic. He wasn’t a human anymore... “Let me process it all.” 

“Take your time. Just stay in the room. I’ll be right back.” With that, he sauntered towards the door, his long graceful legs crossing the room in a few steps. John’s eyes followed the motion, mesmerised, as his mind tried to go back to coherent thinking.

“No, wait!” John had too many questions to be left alone with them. “Do I drink blood now?” 

The smirk and the twinkle in the man’s eye, the incredible beauty of his face, made John believe he was indeed not a man at all. He had to be something more to be this gorgeous.  

“You do.” 

“Food?” 

“Better not, but drinking is fine.” 

“Okay. How does it work?” 

Sherlock resumed his seat on the chair, the buttons of his shirt straining as he assumed the same position as he had before. 

“I spent the last century travelling and doing research. From a chemical point of view, blood is so potent that nothing else is needed to sustain the organism. From what I’ve learned, the blood I shared with you started the process of turning and will now convert any blood you consume into blood with the same, or rather almost the same, qualities.” 

“It doesn’t get diluted?” 

“Not the way you mean. All the blood in your system is now “turned” blood, changed.” He clarified. “However, over the millennia its quality has been diluted, and with it, the power it bestows.” 

“So, I can’t turn into a bat then?” John chuckled somewhat bitterly. At this point, he could either take it lightly or his brain would leak through his ears from the onslaught of the bizarre new information. He wanted to know it all, or as much as he could take in right now. 

“You’re not too far off the mark actually,” Sherlock replied in all seriousness, taking John aback. 

“What?” John’s laughter died off. 

“The legends and what little of the written word I found say that indeed shape-shifting was possible in the old days, but the aforementioned quality of the blood abated slightly from fledgling to fledgling. Through generations, that particular ability appeared less frequently in the newly turned. Some abilities became less useful with the help of modern technology, therefore becoming redundant.” 

“How does that help? The technology, I mean.” 

“Why would you turn into a bat — which I've been told is an unpleasant experience — when you can comfortably travel by plane? Also, you can easily bypass the difficulties posed by exposure to sunlight by working from home. You can chat via computer with your boss who is in, say, Australia and for whom it would be day, while for you it’s night.” Sherlock waved his hand in dismissal as if the subject bored him. 

“Okay. So the sun is harmful, then?” 

“Yes, stay away from direct sunlight.” 

“Fuck. That’s not easy.” 

“It’s not at the beginning, but you get used to it.” 

“I can still die then?” 

“Yes.” 

“Sun?” 

“Yes. It won’t kill you outright, despite what media leads the grey masses to believe, but it will weaken you considerably. The touch of the rays would be akin to pouring boiling water over your skin,” Sherlock continued and John grimaced at the image. “Prolonged exposure to it is fatal.” 

“Right...” John processed the information, his insides turning at the prospect, but not enough to derail him from knowing more. “Anything else?” 

“Decapitation and removal of the heart from the chest cavity,” Sherlock said matter-of-factly, as if he hadn’t just painted a gruesome picture.  

“Uhhh... okay.” John touched his neck imagining the scenario as a cold shiver ran down his spine.  

“But a wooden stake would do as well. If coupled with the decapitation of course,” Sherlock said matter-of-factly. 

“Of course.” John fell silent again, thinking. The macabre scenario was straight from spooky stories, but unfortunately, as a medic in the army, he’d seen a lot worse.  

His gasp echoed loudly in the room and he put his hand on his chest, his eyes going wide with shock. 

“What was that?!” He yelped. “It felt like a heartbeat, but I thought I didn’t have one anymore.” John stared at Sherlock, waiting for an explanation. His companion glanced at his watch and his composure made John erupt with more questions. “Is there something wrong with me? I mean, of course, many things are wrong now, but considering-” 

“It was a heartbeat.” Sherlock interrupted his panicked reaction. 

“What? Why? How?” 

“Your heart will beat once every 24 hours on the exact second your last heartbeat as a human sounded, which in your case is 2.21 am. To some, it’s a reminder that they once had been human and indeed still have a heart.” Sherlock let his voice trail off, as if it were an ending to a gloomy story one told by a campfire. 

The gravity of his situation weighed heavily on John, but he tried to take it all in stride, as he usually did when the situation was too dire to analyse too deeply, too soon. One could fall into the pit of woe and despair or hold his head high and plough through difficulties or weird-as-fuck situations thrown one’s way. The way he saw his current circumstances was thus: he could either trust Sherlock and follow his lead into this unknown world of mythical legends come to life, or he could flee and risk exposing himself to an unfortunate and self-destructive event ending due to insufficient knowledge of the world he inadvertently found himself in. He wasn’t a fool and was not about to throw away a second chance at a life, no matter how grotesque the circumstances. Learning all he could from the enigmatic, alluring and insanely attractive man who was his ‘maker’, as he put it, was not such a hardship either... 

John glanced at Sherlock, then thought of the stake again, the sheer ridiculousness of the legend being true, and snorted with laughter. The information he had been given so far started to paint a picture. He wasn’t able to see all of it, but bits and pieces made sense. There was so much more he wanted to know, once he processed what he already knew. Sherlock was still sitting, waiting patiently, watching John as if he were a museum piece, put in place to be looked at and his every detail to be recorded in a book. He couldn’t decipher what Sherlock was thinking, not by the neutral expression on his face and not by his posture, eerily unmoving. What he could do, however, was hear every slight creak of the chair Sherlock sat on, the rustle of sheets following his own movements, and the soft gusts of wind outside. 

“Is it normal for everything to be so loud?”  

“Yes. You’ll have to learn to sort through it, to focus on the things you want to hear and block the rest,” Sherlock replied, and it was the vaguest instruction John had ever heard, but some things would probably have to come to him with time. 

“How many people have  you ...umm... turned?” John asked, unsure of the word until Sherlock's nod confirmed it. When he was focused on John like that, his pale silver eyes reflected decades of knowledge and John couldn’t wait to learn more of what Sherlock’s fascinating brain held. 

“You’re my first.” The words came out in a low rumble as Sherlock lifted his chin to observe John’s reaction to the news from under slightly hooded eyes.  

John formed an O with his lips, and closed his mouth only to open it again. 

“Why hasn’t there been anyone before me?” He asked, surprise clear in his voice.  

“People,” Sherlock sighed, looking to the ceiling, clearly downplaying the question. “Not my area.” 

“Why me then?” John frowned, not grasping the reasoning behind the choice. 

“I think that’s enough.” Sherlock stood up, pulled the heavy curtains closed and put a chair in front to hold them in place for good measure. “Rest now. We’ll hunt in an hour.” 

“Hunt?” John inquired.  

“For food.” He gave John a pointed look. “Blood.” 

“Right.” 

John lay down even though he knew there was no way he could sleep. He still had too many questions; there was no way he could rest. However, his body had a different plan. Feeling heavy and tired, with the weight of what he had just learned still rolling around in his head, John’s body succumbed to slumber. 

Chapter Text

John woke up with a start, feeling the bed dip on one side next to his hip, indicating an intruder. His body reacted before his mind analysed where and what he was now. His fist froze mid-flight to Sherlock’s face and the grip on his wrist was strong, a lot stronger than the lean frame of the man suggested it would be. That was because he wasn’t human, he was... nope, he was unable to even think it. After trying and failing to free his hand from the grip, John looked at Sherlock pointedly and saw his calculating stare. 

“I’m awake now,” John reassured him. 

“Fool me once...” Sherlock said flatly, releasing the wrist he’d been holding. John rubbed the sore place with his other hand. 

“Sorry, instinct. I’ll probably wake up like this for the rest of my life.” He sighed and looked at his battle-worn palms. 

“No need to apologise.” Sherlock brushed aside the issue. “I took the liberty of buying you some clothes. We can’t have you hunting in rags.” He said the last word with such disgust, John could swear he had to be RuPaul’s biggest fan. “No offence, but you also need a shower.” 

“Right. None taken.” John stood up and noticed that indeed, neither his looks nor smell were particularly appealing. “I’ll pay you back, of course,” he assured, but Sherlock flicked his wrist in the air dismissing the notion. “How did you know what size I wear?” John frowned as he accepted the full-length garment bag of clothing that was presented to him. 

“I observed.” The smug smirk and a glint in Sherlock’s eye made John shiver all the way to the bathroom door. 

“Do I just wash normally?” John felt flushed as he asked the personal question but he wasn’t sure of anything anymore. 

“As you have before, yes. Unless you need assistance...” Sherlock's back was to him and John couldn’t see the expression on his face but he felt his own reaction to the words deep in his abdomen. 

“No, no. I’m fine. I’ll be fine. Ahem.” John cleared his throat and all but ran into the bathroom.  

After tossing his filthy clothing in the corner, John stood naked in front of the bathroom mirror and couldn’t believe how good he looked. It was amazing how, in such a short time, his wounds had healed, leaving behind scars that held no residual pain. Sliding his fingertips over the hard flesh that rose in a star pattern on his shoulder, he could feel the smooth scarring.  

One day. It was hard to believe that his body had healed in less than one day.  

Even though the panic attack had shown him that he didn’t need air anymore, he caught himself breathing without a conscious thought from time to time. The fact that his brain didn’t send signals to his body that it needed oxygen freaked him out. Less visible but even more bizarre was the lack of a heartbeat. John felt panic rising in him again and to ward it off, he stepped away from the mirror and into the tub where he leaned against the tiled wall for support. He had to focus on survival and see the good things about his new situation. As he attempted to calmly consider his state, he realized that the most freakish thing was that he actually couldn’t see many negative aspects of it. 

The water from the wall-mounted showerhead poured over him, washing away the remnants of the Kandahar sand, his own dried blood, and all evidence of the life he’d left behind. When washing, he noticed his muscles were a bit more defined, adding visible strength to the military shape he had been honing for years. He also felt stronger and more capable of extreme strain. 

Once he put on the clothes he’d been handed, he looked in the mirror again. The charcoal suit jacket accentuated his wide shoulders and was tailored at the waist, just the same as the dark blue button-down he wore underneath. The trousers were just on the good side of tight without being uncomfortable. He expected the shoes to be a perfect size as well and was not disappointed. They were leather loafers but with a 1920’s pattern on them, adding a flair that he had to admit he approved of. He would think it creepy, that Sherlock had just “observed” his size with such precision, but honestly, he had bigger fish to fry. Feeling fresh, as if he were going on a date, he left the bathroom. 

“Ready?” Sherlock asked, already reaching for a long woollen coat. A personal fashion statement for certain, as John doubted it was cold outside - assuming they were going outside. 

“Just tell me what to do.” John looked at Sherlock only to see his expression darken as he studied the way John looked in his new attire. Heat bloomed in John’s abdomen at the clear approval and it took him a moment to get a grip on himself and follow his companion through the door.  

“I was able to transport you into the city. At least for a while, you should avoid meeting people who knew you were on your way to certain death.” 

“I really was, wasn’t I?” John’s voice constricted as he spoke. “I mean, I knew that, but hearing it confirmed is different.” The knowledge that he should have been dead by now hit him like a wrecking ball in the gut, even though he’d suspected as much.  

“I wouldn’t have approached you otherwise. Despite what you might think, I take no pleasure in killing,” Sherlock stated coldly. John wanted to reassure him that it was not what he thought at all, but Sherlock talked over him, quickly changing the subject. “I took care of the paperwork that now says you’ve been discharged into a private clinic where you would allegedly recover. After that time passes, you’d be free to do whatever you wish.” 

“Except walking in the sun.” 

“Unless you deliberately choose to do so, yeah.” There was something wistful in Sherlock’s voice when he said the words that unsettled John. As if that idea had actually been appealing to him at one point in his existence. “We’re going to London tomorrow,” Sherlock continued. “You still have a lot to learn and I can’t let you expose yourself, which might happen if I let you do it all on your own. My Maker didn’t show me the ropes and I don’t want anyone going through what I went through. You’ll have to stay with me for a few days, whether it’s convenient for you or not.” 

The care disguised beneath a thin veil of indifference and arrogance touched John, but he kept that to himself. He didn’t think Sherlock would appreciate his sentiment. Not now, maybe not ever. He nodded his agreement as the idea of more time with his Maker was very appealing on more levels than one. 

“Why London?” John asked instead. 

“Problem?” 

“Not at all. All my family is dead and I’m not in touch with any friends that may still reside in the city.,” John said with as much casualness as he could muster, not wanting to dredge up his lonely state as of late. 

“Good enough. You can use your own identity if you wish. You’d have been invalided home anyway, so you can resume your life for the next decade or two without suspicion.” 

“Why the time frame?” 

“You will look twenty-nine for the rest of your existence. Even the densest of your neighbours will finally start to question your good looks.” The last was said with an air of appreciation that wasn’t lost on John or on his libido.  

Sherlock opened the door and stepped into the corridor, walking with confidence that John would follow him. He was not wrong. 

“What’s the location of this hotel?” John asked as he quickened his pace to catch up. He realised he only knew they were in Kandahar, but not exactly where. 

“Near Kandahar airport.” Sherlock replied, slowing his pace so John could keep up with his long strides. 

“Convenient. Did you plan this? I mean, turning someone, me or anyone else?” John was suddenly suspicious that Sherlock had plans when it came to him and that he wouldn’t like them at all. What if John were just a plaything? A test to see if Sherlock were able to turn someone. What if the test failed? Now that he had been given a new life, he didn’t want to lose it. 

“No. It just sort of... happened.” Sherlock didn’t meet his gaze as he walked down the hotel corridor to the lifts. Sherlock's tone sorely lacked the confidence it had held until now; it made John question even more strongly the motive behind Sherlock's decision to turn John. It was the second time Sherlock had avoided answering and John was determined to drill him again later. A sense of dread filled him but he fought it, not wanting to exacerbate what might already be a bad scenario.  

Instead, he focused on the present as they walked along the corridor. It was a modern hotel, recently renovated and efficiently built. There were photographs of snowy mountains and a ski lift. John had heard his buddies talk about a ski resort in Kandahar, but he had never had the opportunity to see it for himself. Sherlock stopped by the lift and it dinged open a moment later. 

John could feel the alluring fragrance wafting off of Sherlock and he closed his eyes to revel in it. He smelled of fine perfume, decisive but pleasantly light, fitting Sherlock’s confidence and attentiveness intertwined together. His newly heightened sense of smell made him desire Sherlock to heights greater than those at which he had ever desired a member of his own sex before. John felt like he was on an emotional rollercoaster and assumed the change was to blame. One moment he was panicking and suspecting Sherlock of foul play, not sure if he were about to die at any moment; the next, all he wanted to do was to shove Sherlock against the wall and...  

No.  

John Watson, get a grip. 

Chapter Text

Yet again, John had to remind himself that he was fine. He was walking and talking and not going completely crazy. He should have been dead right now, yet his body felt incredibly alive and his senses were deeply attuned to the man next to him.   

The undead man next to him. John swallowed hard as the realisation hit him of what was about to happen once they exited the lift. “Will I have to...bite a stranger?” John whispered the last part even though they were alone in the lift.  

“You cannot drink human blood, not yet. You need a third dose of mine first to complete the change,” Sherlock answered as if the stages of turning were obvious.  

“Okay...” John’s relief was short-lived. He wouldn't have to engage with a stranger but he still had to drink blood tonight. No field medic was squeamish when thinking about or looking at blood, and he was no exception. However, dealing with blood when saving a life was quite different from extracting blood in order to drink it. The thought made him shudder. Hopefully, Sherlock would show him a way to do it in such a way that he would be able to stomach it and sustain his undead state for a while. The will to live was stronger in him now than it had been since... since he couldn’t remember when. He straightened his back in resolve. Tonight, he would apparently just have to take Sherlock's vein. John flushed at the thought of drinking from Sherlock again, being so close to the tall-dark-and-handsome man, touching and tasting him. Then he tried to discern the logistics of blushing in his new state. God, his brain was a mess.  

“You’re still not completely transformed, so you yet retain some typically human functions.” Sherlock's voice filled the small compartment, startling John from his thoughts. 

“How did you —?” John’s eyes went wide. “Can you read minds?”  

“No. But I can read your blush and the subsequent perturbed furrow of your brow. It’s an easy enough deduction from there, don’t you think?” The blasé expression was accompanied by the lift of one elegant eyebrow. “The fact that you force yourself to breathe from time to time shows how uncomfortable you are made by the fact that you need no oxygen. You ask a lot of questions because your doctor’s brain would rather know all of it than panic from the lack of knowledge about your own body. When half of what you’re finding out makes little sense, you begin to question your sanity. The one good thing is that you really are not regretting the change. Not yet anyway.” 

“Amazing,” John chuckled, seeing Sherlock look at him with bewilderment as he said it. “That was... amazing.”  

The lift’s doors opened and they walked through a carpeted hallway to stop at the open glass door to the bar area. Sherlock gave their room number to the security guard at the entrance and tapped a credit card on a reader. There was a crowd of elegantly dressed people scattered throughout the room with low tables and comfortable-looking leather lounge chairs.  

There was an evening party in progress; the lights were dimmed, creating a cosy atmosphere and just the long bar along the wall was illuminated with bright colours.  

John was still smiling after the exchange in the lift, but his expression changed when he looked at the well-dressed crowd, knowing that one of those people would be going to sleep that night with half a pint less blood. The music seemed to be piercing his brain with tiny needles, so he focused on tuning it out, just as Sherlock had instructed him. It worked to an extent, and he saw an approving glance from Sherlock as he must have noticed what John had just done. 

“How do you go about this?” John began to contemplate fleeing to wait for Sherlock in their room; maybe he wasn’t as brave as he’d previously thought. He wouldn’t have to feed on a human tonight anyway, so he could just go, right? If he did that, however, he wouldn’t be able to feed on his own when the time came; he wouldn’t know the logistics. He suspected that Sherlock would leave him to his own devices soon after they made their way back to London to fend for himself, so the smart thing to do would be to learn as much as possible now.

“I do what one usually does at a party; talk to people who interest you. Flirt.” Sherlock paused, analysed John’s expression, and clearly saw the concerns that must have been painted on it, then explained further. “I can’t transmit or get any disease and neither can you as of tomorrow, so whether a person is healthy or not is none of your concern.”  

“Noted.” John frowned, knowing it couldn’t be that simple. He was looking at the crowd mingling by the bar until his eyes set on a pretty woman in high heels. “They can’t just agree for you to drink—” he hushed his voice and looked pointedly at Sherlock “...you know.” 

“No. To answer the real question you’re trying to ask: they agree to a 'quickie', and I make my feeding a pleasant experience for them, so they don’t mind. They see the fangs and their immediate reaction is to think that it’s a part of my kink, that it’s roleplay. Once they show interest in continuing down that path, neck-biting and blood-sucking cease to be peculiar.” He waved his hand as he spoke, indicating his dismissal of their opinion. “Then I tamper with their memory of me and no one is the wiser.” He glanced at John, took in his horrified expression, and sighed. “I’m not usually forced to do this, but we need to feed and currently have no better options. I can tell you disagree with taking some decisions out of someone else’s hands but tonight we have no choice. I can either charm a person to come with me or take their blood by force. Because I will feed today, no matter how.” Sherlock finally finished and turned to John, clearly awaiting further questions. His eyes shone with a dangerous glint and determination, as if waiting for John to defy him. A lesser man would have taken a step back at the glare, but John stood his ground, meeting Sherlock’s gaze. 

“It’s not like I can stop you.” John held onto his calm demeanour by force of will only. 

“No, you can’t,” Sherlock confirmed, his tense shoulders relaxing a bit. 

“Right.” John took in the information and his stomach turned at the thought that they would be forcing someone to give their blood, even if Sherlock had made it sound less drastic than that. The lack of clear consent from the person they would be taking it from weighed heavily on him, but for now, he was in no position to argue. Later, he was sure he would be able to figure out an alternative way to feed. All that, however, wasn't even the creepiest of things Sherlock had just casually mentioned. “What did you say about tampering with minds? What does that mean?” 

“We can tamper with short term memory only, to varying degrees of success. Some are better at it; some never get the hang of it. Whoever you drink from can be made to forget the bite itself or forget you altogether, but that would create a blank spot in their recollection of their evening. It’s best to just remove the biting itself and blur your face, leaving the rest,” Sherlock answered in the voice of a professor who had reached the end of his patience. 

“The brain cannot take too much of that sort of trauma before undergoing permanent damage,” John translated Sherlock’s words into the medical information drilled into him in medical school and it helped him to make sense of all that Sherlock had told him. 

“Precisely. That’s why it’s inadvisable to feed on the same person several times, unless they know what they’re dealing with already and agree to it.”  

“What? Like a willing donor?” John massaged his temples to delay the imminent headache. 

“Yes, you’ll see. I’ll show you everything.” Sherlock’s tone was sincere as he uttered the promise John truly believed he intended to keep. “Now,” Sherlock said in a way that announced the closure of the subject at hand. “You’ve been looking at the woman in the red dress. Do you fancy her?” The question brought John’s eyes back to the woman. 

“Well, she is pretty.” John’s eyes roamed over her body, noticing her enticing curves, her short brown hair... and the man who slid his hand around her, placing it on her hip. 

“Ah, you finally noticed. French diplomats, married. Tedious, mostly because we need just one today.” He sighed in a show of very human-like exasperation. “Let us sit.” Sherlock indicated a crescent-shaped sofa before he took a step towards a waiter who passed nearby. He leaned to whisper in the young man’s ear and handed him a folded bundle of bills. Shrugging his coat off, Sherlock approached the sofa and they sat next to each other, facing the crowd.  

“It comes naturally to you, does it? Seeing minute details about everyone around...” John continued their conversation. 

“I see it, the same way I know a lot about you. From your demeanour, your gait, your speech, and your reaction to certain words and topics.” He looked at John then, giving him a once-over. “You won’t have issues persuading anyone to give you their blood, I presume. However, it’s useful to pretend that you could be their friend or colleague, or that you have similar interests. Remember to look at their shoes, hair and cuffs. You can learn a lot about a person by the state of their shirt sleeves. Once you know what they like, you could just look at them with those eyes of yours...” Sherlock lowered his voice at the end of his sentence and John felt the rumble deep inside his own body. He cleared his throat and straightened in his seat in an attempt to right himself.  

“If it’s so easy and so much fun, then why did you drink from dying soldiers?” John finally let fly the question that had been nagging him. 

“Several reasons. It’s hassle-free. No need to talk to people, no need to tamper with their memories. They’re dying and it would be a pity to let all that good blood go to waste,” Sherlock said simply, turning back to the crowd, the macabre explanation lost in the sense of it. 

“You are helping them die without agony, aren't you?” John felt a pain in his chest, remembering how much he had wanted to be dead when he had lain in pain. 

“It serves everyone,” Sherlock said calmly but his face never turned towards John. 

The waiter chose that moment to bring two glasses of whisky on the rocks and John accepted his with a nod of thanks, adding to the debt he had when it came to Sherlock. His Maker was perusing the people by the bar, allowing John to boldly look at the distinct features of his face and mull over the conversation. He took a large sip of his drink, then another one before he finally spoke again. 

“I can’t do it. I can’t kill wounded soldiers; they could be my patients. I... I won’t be able to do that with you...” he confessed. 

“I assumed so. We’ll be on our way to London in a few hours and once you know all the ins and outs, you can move on and do whatever you want with your eternity. That includes feeding in a way that suits your morality.” 

“Right.” John felt lost for a moment, the explanations far too vague for him to grasp just yet.  

“You’ll know everything soon. It’s not possible to explain it all in one sitting.” The ice cubes clinked in Sherlock’s nearly empty glass as he swirled it. “You may be able to develop some talent of your own. It’s usually a heightened ability that you already had in your life as a human.” 

“Really?” John perked up with interest, his mind going over his own talents and which one would he want to be developed more. “Is that how you can deduce people?” He had a feeling his well of questions was miles deep. 

“Yes. I could do that before I was turned; now I’m just much better at it. Infallible.” He didn’t say it as a boast but as an irrefutable fact. Sherlock fell silent, scanning the crowd again, and John used that time to do the same. 

“Who did you pick?” John asked unsure if he was ready for the answer. 

“The American accountant at the end of the bar.”  

“A man, then.” 

“Problem?” 

“No, it’s all fine.” John had always been attracted to men but since women’s bodies appealed to him more, he had never considered it much more than what they called “experimenting” in the school rugby team. Now, he was looking at Sherlock's face as he in turn observed the accountant. Sherlock’s regal profile was captivating; John thought it worthy of being made into a bust just so he could admire that view every day on his desk. The idea of Sherlock taking blood from a man created a stir in his abdomen, an unexpected desire to be in the man’s place. 

“He just broke up with his long-time girlfriend and is unsure whether he is attracted to the same sex. Let’s see if he is ready to decide,” Sherlock said, as if oblivious to the fact that he was inadvertently ripping John’s thoughts and insecurities out in the open. 

“Good Samaritan,” quipped John, smiling despite his own indecision. 

“Shut up.” Sherlock looked at John with a smirk on his face. “I didn’t want to presume your proclivities before tonight,” Sherlock fired, taking John aback. “However, there was a photograph of a woman in your wallet and tonight you were looking at the woman-” 

“You went through my bag?” John gasped, incredulous, having no idea why that seemed like a bigger invasion of privacy than drinking his blood had been. 

“I took your bag when we left and I wanted to make sure you gave me your real name before I proceeded with your discharge paperwork. I was entitled to know your real name, considering I shared my blood with you.” Sherlock’s sass was not lost on John; he could see the point being made and calmed down.  

“Harry. That’s who is in the picture in my wallet. She was my sister.” John sighed remembering his older sibling with fondness, the way he followed her like a puppy and idolised her his whole childhood. “She died three years ago and I enlisted a week after.” 

“I’m sorry for your loss; however, that explains a lot about you,” Sherlock said, not without sympathy. 

“Like what?” John frowned, seeing nothing good coming out of that assumption. 

“Your incessant pull towards danger,” Sherlock answered calmly. 

“You don’t know me; you can’t say shit like that!” John tried to rein in his annoyance to no avail and the words came out louder than intended. He refused to think of himself as an adrenaline junkie; he had been called that before, so Sherlock’s words touched a sore spot. 

“I know you studied and continued to practice to become a surgeon but gave that up for the army, mostly because you wanted to get away from your old life after the loss of your beloved sister. I know you enjoyed the danger and ran towards it to the point that you ceased to care whether you came back home alive. You would have been miserable once invalided home. With the small army pension, you would have either looked for more danger to involve yourself in or you’d have offed yourself.” 

“Fuck you. You can’t know that!” John spat in Sherlock’s direction with as much malice as his hushed tone would allow. He’d rather avoid making a scene in a public place, as he was supposed to still be in recovery and shouldn’t call attention to himself.  

“I can deduce it. Now you can lead your life as dangerously as you wish while feeding on an accountant, a screenwriter, a bank manager, whomever you want,” Sherlock continued talking, using his pointed nose to indicate the people he listed. John was reeling with anger, but his rational mind told him it was mostly because what Sherlock said was the truth.  

“I can’t do this.” John started to get up but felt Sherlock’s hand on his knee. The gesture sent a heatwave up his leg and to his abdomen. 

“Sit. You still have too much to learn. You don't want to leave.” Sherlock's voice was commanding but calm. 

“This is insane. I’m neither your prisoner nor your toy!” John sat back under the strong hold but felt like screaming at the top of his lungs until his voice became raw.  

Sherlock leaned on the hand that was still on John’s knee and put his face in John’s line of vision. “No, you’re not. You can go,  but if you sabotage my feeding tonight, you will see a side of me you’d regret seeing.” Sherlock’s voice became low, menacing, and John could swear he could hear an echo of it in his head.  

“Fine,” John spat angrily. 

Sherlock’s face smoothed, the narrowed eyes and furious expression transforming back into the gorgeous innocence of his neutral expression. John could feel Sherlock’s other hand on his cheek and his own anger started leaving him slowly. He should push Sherlock away, fight his hold, but he truly didn’t want to. A cold thumb brushed John’s cheek and he ground his teeth as he refrained from leaning into the touch. 

“Such a pretty face,” Sherlock whispered with reverence. 

“You’re insane,” John breathed, but the malice was gone from his voice. 

“And you like it.” Sherlock’s lips were millimetres from John’s as he spoke. They stayed unmoving for what seemed like aeons. Just a tiny movement and John could link their mouths together, confirming that he was just as insane as the mythical creature who had given him a new life. However, he wasn’t ready for that just yet. 

“Fuck you.” The words John spoke were barely audible even to his newly heightened hearing. 

“Mmmm...” Sherlock’s murmur turned into a deep chuckle before he pulled away and to his feet in a flurry of graceful movements. “If I leave with him, follow us discreetly,” he threw over his shoulder as he sauntered towards the bar. 

John nodded, then shook his head at himself because God knew, Sherlock had been right about him. He liked it, he loved it, and was fascinated by Sherlock and the whole new world he had been introducing John to. It was time for him to let go of his inhibitions and let himself live for a change. “Carpe fucking diem,” he murmured to himself before he took another sip of the excellent whisky in his glass.  

He’d assumed Sherlock would want to be alone with the man during feeding; apparently, he had been mistaken about that. Curiosity and anticipation filled him at the prospect of witnessing the feeding and his eyes followed Sherlock as he walked. His movements were hypnotising, his long legs eating the distance with confidence and indescribable grace. He looked like he was dancing more than walking, as if he were about to sweep the accountant off his feet and start waltzing around the room. Seeing Sherlock, the man turned from his position at the bar and seemed to fixate his full attention on the tall stranger immediately. 

Why couldn’t John have been swept off like that by Sherlock? It would have been a better experience than being turned while dying in a hospital bed. Then again, Sherlock probably wouldn’t have turned him if he hadn't been about to die. John still didn’t know why he had become the chosen one... 

Chapter Text

Sherlock reached his target and signalled the bartender as he leaned against the bar, putting his weight on one leg. John was able to see a bit of Sherlock’s profile as he charmed his way through the conversation. Despite his newly heightened senses, John was unable to hear him from afar and over the music. He focused and tried to tune his hearing, imagining a soundboard and adjusting the settings, but it didn’t work quite as he’d hoped. With more practice, he was sure he would be able to get better at it. 

John’s eyebrows shot up when it was the accountant who initiated the first physical contact. He put a hand on Sherlock’s bicep as he laughed at something Sherlock had said to him. In response, Sherlock put his hand over the man’s and took a step towards him. Not five minutes later, they walked next to each other outside of the lounge area, leaving Sherlock’s fresh drink untouched on the bar. John grabbed Sherlock’s coat and followed the two men, who were chatting as if they’d known each other for years.   

“Ah, here you are John,” Sherlock said jovially when John caught up with them in the hotel’s corridor. “This is the friend I told you about,” he told the accountant, smiling, acting completely out of character. 

“Hi, I’m Rob.” The man was of sturdy build, just slightly taller than John, but not nearly as tall as Sherlock. It was worth noting that even though he was handsome he wasn’t as blindingly gorgeous as Sherlock was... 

“Hi.” John shook the hand that had been offered to him, feeling guilty for tricking the man into a false sense of security. 

“Rob is here on business, just passing through. I told him we can help make his stay more pleasant.” Sherlock’s voice was dripping with seductive innuendo making Rob blush profusely as he produced the key to his room. 

“I don’t normally do this,” he said, but his movements were sure as he stepped into the room and let them in. 

“Neither do we,” Sherlock replied with fake sincerity, making Rob chuckle flirtatiously.  

Inside the accountant's hotel room, things progressed a lot faster than John was used to, even in his days of picking up girls in a bar.  

They had barely entered the room before the initially shy man was tugging on Sherlock’s lapels and toppling backwards onto the bed. John’s first instinct was to bolt, unable to watch intimacy when he was not involved. Then he remembered what he had promised himself and took a step further into the room instead. 

He stood, observing, his previous sexual experiences racing through his mind. The view of two men writhing on a bed made him take two steps back so as not to intrude, until the backs of his legs hit an armchair in the corner. He flopped down on it, his eyes never leaving the scene unfolding before him. John looked inside himself, expecting to find distaste or hesitation, but all he encountered was pure, unadulterated lust. Far from home, far from family, colleagues, buddies, John let himself be who he really was and accept himself. From now on, he wanted to be free of labels and expectations. He had no idea how to accomplish that, but tossing away the home-ingrained shame of being attracted to men seemed like a good start. 

Sherlock was sitting astride Rob and kissing his neck, making the man arch on the bed beneath him. Rob’s fingers were digging into Sherlock’s back, urging him closer. John imagined himself in his place for a moment, not dying and dirty as he had been when they’d met, but as he was now. The tightness in his trousers showcased how sure his body was of the pull towards Sherlock and of his apparent lack of disgust at the feeding process. He was fascinated by Sherlock’s brain, by his charismatic personality, but also by his incredible body and how he wielded it as a weapon of seduction.  

To relieve the immediate tension, John rearranged his cock with the heel of his palm. A groan escaped him before he could rein it in, his body ready for a lot more than drinking Sherlock’s blood. 

John could tell the moment Sherlock bit Rob as the man yelped, jerked, and then relaxed. Loud moaning ensued and John’s body responded to the sound with more heat. The fact that he had an excellent view of Sherlock’s arse in tight trousers as he bent over his victim, who was moaning with pleasure, didn’t help the emergency situation in his own pants. 

Sherlock drank from the accountant’s neck while John watched with so much more than fascination. He felt like a dirty voyeur, but he was not ashamed of letting himself enjoy the view and observe the action for future reference. John was certain, however, that the moment they would start getting naked, he would have to leave. He found himself unable to imagine Sherlock in bed with someone other than himself. 

John’s mind supplied him with more scenarios, all of which included only him and Sherlock. In his mind’s eye, it was him Sherlock was feeding from, but as opposed to the tableau before him on the bed, he would be undressing Sherlock and vice versa to continue drawing pleasure after the feeding was over. 

Sherlock repositioned himself as he was licking Rob’s neck closed, then whispered in his ear. When the long-limbed man elegantly climbed off the bed, Rob lay still. John sprang to his feet, panic coursing through him. 

“What did you do?” John demanded of Sherlock accusingly as he hurried to the man on the bed. 

“The memory tampering works similarly to a simple hypnosis, but with a bit more of a push.” He patted John’s shoulder blade in reassurance. “Don’t worry, he’s asleep now. All he will remember is a hot encounter with two men that ended with his pleasure coming a bit too quickly,” Sherlock explained calmly, taking his coat from John’s hands. 

John leaned over to see the satisfied expression on Rob’s face, his eyes closed and his breathing even. As he moved to curl on his side, John got a glimpse of the wet stain adorning the front of his trousers. Rob really had enjoyed himself... The two puncture wounds on his neck were already scabbed and healing. There would be no sign of them tomorrow. 

“Come along, John. We’re done here.” Sherlock was already opening the door and heading towards the staircase. His movements were final, decisive, as if he had eaten his fill at a restaurant and was ready to be getting back home. John followed the billowing coat hastily, running to keep up, and after a short climb up the stairs, they reached their hotel room. 

Inside, Sherlock leaned on the closed door and graced John with a sultry look. 

“I reckon you quite enjoyed the show.” Before John managed to reply, Sherlock continued, cutting to the chase as he tossed his coat to a chair similar to the one John had occupied in the other room just moments before. “You can drink from my wrist. It’s not the most comfortable but there is a suitable position-” 

“I want to drink from your neck,” John announced before he could change his mind, missing the heartbeat that would have been a staccato in his chest right now at the very thought. 

“Very well,” Sherlock agreed with a nod, and shrugged off his suit jacket, tossed it on top of his coat and proceeded to unbutton his cuffs. 

“What are you doing?” John frowned, unsure if it was panic or hope in his question. 

“I don’t want my clothes stained with blood.” The answer was matter-of-fact, but the low rumble it was delivered in did unspeakable things to John’s libido. 

“Right.” John watched Sherlock undress and he could have sworn the man added flair to every movement. John had to admit, it worked on him. His eyes traced Sherlock’s graceful fingers unbuttoning the shirt, then followed the path of the shirt sliding down after an elegant shrug of the shoulders. The rich silk revealed a chiselled chest, lean and smooth, unmarred bar a two-inch horizontal scar under his ribs. John’s lips dried suddenly and he had to lick them as he envisaged his hands exploring that chest with gentle fingertips, sliding lower and lower... 

“To drink from the wrist, you could sit on the floor between my legs while I would sit on the bed, but if you prefer my neck...” Sherlock leaned against the wall, half-naked and beautiful in his confidence. Even the way he tilted his head to the side was executed with regal elegance. By putting his hands in his pockets, he wordlessly handed over the power of decision-making to John. That small gesture prompted John to take a step towards Sherlock, opening his own collar and ridding his body of the unnecessary suit jacket and button-down, then tossing them on the same chair in the corner of the room that held Sherlock's coat. Just as bare-chested as Sherlock, he stood with his hands at his sides, prepping himself mentally for what he was about to do. His life had been turned upside-down in less than two days, but he had not a single regret about it. 

Tentatively, he placed his hands on Sherlock's alluring hips, just above the low-slung waist of his slacks. He watched as his thumbs grazed the muscles that created a vee pointing to lower areas he wanted to touch in time. He was met with a welcoming slide of Sherlock’s hands along his arms all the way to John’s shoulders to encourage him to step even closer. John could feel the cool hands on his flesh and wanted them touching even more of him than he had exposed so far.   

It was John’s turn to let his hands wander and he slid them up Sherlock’s chest. He read the soft skin and the lean muscles underneath his fingertips as if they were love poems written in Braille. Looking up, he met Sherlock’s gaze. His lips parted at the sight of silver eyes boring into his soul from under his lashes. Sherlock’s slow blink was akin to a nod and John let their chests touch, his whole body feeling the connection that resonated through his blood. Sherlock leaned forward to make up for the difference in their height. 

“Bite me as if I were someone you were having sex with, but harder,” Sherlock growled with clear impatience and arousal. 

John looked at the long porcelain neck in his field of vision, licked his lips, and bit. 

He felt his fangs sink into the pale flesh of Sherlock's long neck. The blood poured free, sliding along Sherlock’s collarbones and his chest. John couldn’t catch the flow with his lips and his tongue as his fangs didn’t sink deep enough. 

“Harder!” Sherlock ordered in a gravelly voice. “Bite harder and suck, soldier!” 

A surge of determination washed over John and he pulled out then bit again, harder this time, piercing the skin and burrowing in deep. The improved hold let him latch onto the puncture wounds and drink the crimson liquid properly. The sweet copper taste exploded in his mouth, velvety like melted chocolate but with heavy spices, driving home to John the fact that he would indeed be able to live on this taste only, for the rest of his existence. Even though it was his third time taking blood from Sherlock, it was the first time John was lucid enough to feel the blood entering his system. He closed his eyes and was able to feel the immediacy with which the changes took place in his tissues and his organs, strengthening them tangibly. Sherlock moaned under him, sending vibrations to John’s lips, still latched onto his neck.  

Sherlock was so tall, the angle was a bit off but John refused to stop. His sense of smell sharpened as he drank, and the waft of arousal coming from Sherlock released something primal in him. Feeling his cock fill with blood, he ground his hips into Sherlock’s thigh, as he continued to suck the heavenly nectar. 

“Bed,” Sherlock growled, putting his hands on John's arse and lifting him up as if he were a scrawny teen rather than the muscled soldier he was. John had never felt so light as he did when Sherlock held him with ease and strength that belied his physical appearance. Sherlock sat on the bed with John astride him, making the angle for drinking perfectly. Sherlock's hands roamed over John’s naked back, making John purr between gulps. He was painfully aware that he was sitting on Sherlock’s erection and moved his arse just a bit to elicit another lewd growl from the lovely beast underneath him. 

Even though John’s body was all but dead, he had never felt so alive. His arousal was not only in his groin but also bubbling inside his whole body; his skin tingled as if teased by ripples of warm water sliding over it. Sherlock's fingernails dug into his back, the little pinpricks of pain adding even more pleasure to the experience. John closed his eyes and sucked harder, grinding on Sherlock, needing more, more, more... 

“John?”  

John wanted more blood, more Sherlock. 

“John, stop. You’ve had enough.” 

Just a bit more, yes, just a bit... 

“Captain Watson, stop!” Sherlock ordered, his strong palm closing around John’s neck and squeezing to enforce the command. 

Chapter Text

John’s eyes snapped open as the weight of his rank being thrown at him jarred him out of the feeding trance he’d fallen into. Blood was flowing freely from Sherlock’s neck and John was lucid enough to lick the wounds clean, just like he’d been told to do before. 

“I’m sorry! I got carried away!” John exclaimed in panic, pulling away to see Sherlock’s face while still staying astride him. 

“It’s fine,” Sherlock reassured him in a steady voice. His hands were on John’s shoulders, in a delicate grip this time. “It’s hard to know when to stop on your first feeding. If you’re not planning to drain the human you’re feeding on —“ 

“Never!” 

“...then you have to stop before you’re fully satiated. It’s not easy at first and you’ll have to find the balance on your own. Unfortunately, you’ll always be a bit hungry that way.” He looked at John then, his expression full of understanding and heat at the same time. “Sometimes you’ll be hungry for more than blood.” 

Sherlock moved his hands to John’s hips gently, without trapping him, but sending enough of a signal to John that he understood what John was going through. 

The practical hold John had on Sherlock's arms transformed into a more intimate one on his neck. He brushed Sherlock’s jawline with his thumbs and the man’s lips parted in response as he looked up at John. His silver eyes searched John’s gaze. 

“Are you okay?” he asked and John nodded, struggling to quell the feeling of unease that was still coursing through him. He doubted he could have hurt Sherlock in that feeding frenzy, mostly because Sherlock wouldn’t have let him. John was a beast now, unable to control himself just yet, but he could trust Sherlock to stop him in time. 

John leaned a bit closer until their foreheads met, drawing comfort from the connection. He closed his eyes and felt the tension evaporate from his body, leaving only the remaining need in him. He inhaled slowly and the moment Sherlock’s scent entered his nostrils, his cock swelled again. Just like that, his mind and body were back in the highly aroused state they had been during feeding. Instead of ripping Sherlock’s clothes off right then and there, he let his lips brush Sherlock’s in a soft caress. When Sherlock didn’t reciprocate, John pulled back to look at him. Sherlock’s hard cock was clear under John’s arse, yet the man didn’t even kiss him back. Maybe it was just an involuntary reaction and Sherlock didn’t really desire him that way... 

“I won’t use you like that,” Sherlock replied to the question John was about to ask. “You’re on a high off of feeding on me. The high of excitement, and the novelty on top of that.”  

“Maybe so, but it doesn’t change that I want... oh God, I want you.” John ground his erection into Sherlock’s abdomen. “Just mmmm” He moaned into Sherlock’s throat, where the wound had already healed closed. His body was on fire; he felt the energy from the feeding coursing through him, the arousal more intense than any he’d ever felt in his life. 

“John...” The word came out as a moan as Sherlock moved his hips up to drive his cock in between John’s clothed cheeks while his hands tightened their grip on his hips. “Let me taste you.” Sherlock’s growled words made John glad he was sitting or his knees might have given out. 

“Oh God, yes...” John had never heard himself sounding so needy, but he ceased to care about propriety now. Sherlock could taste whatever part of him he wished. 

The words were barely out of his mouth when he was hoisted to his feet and pushed against the wall. Sherlock’s show of strength and speed added fuel to the fire already burning in him. His feet touched the ground and he flattened his palms on the wall, relinquishing the power that had been given to him before.  

This time when their foreheads met, it was just for a second before Sherlock’s lips claimed his in a ferocious kiss. John welcomed Sherlock inside with a moan then hissed as his tongue scraped against a fang.  

John tasted blood.  

His own blood tasted different from Sherlock’s but it was also different from how it had tasted before he turned, when he had bitten his lip or had sucked on a cut finger. Kissing when both parties had fangs was not a complication John had been expecting, but one he wanted to explore in depth. 

Sherlock’s animalistic growl suggested he wasn’t the least bit opposed to the taste of John’s blood in his mouth. To John's utter shock, he took it a step further and pierced his own tongue deliberately on John’s fang. 

The explosion of the full-bodied taste of Sherlock’s blood mixing with his own in his mouth was indescribable. The experience felt more intimate than any hot snog he had ever taken part in. They stood bare chest to bare chest, hands roaming, tongues mingling, and John’s head was spinning from the stimuli. As if sensing that, Sherlock pulled away and met John’s gaze with a heated one of his own. Slowly, teasingly, his tongue sneaked out to lick the remnants of their mixed blood from his lips. 

John was speechless, looking at the beautiful sight of Sherlock with kiss-swollen lips and a wicked smile. A question hung between them and John nodded in confirmation again, needing Sherlock to touch him more, needing Sherlock’s hands and mouth on him. Just the prospect of it made him burn inside.  

Sherlock’s eyes zeroed in on John’s neck, but he didn’t bite, even though John desperately wanted him to. Instead, he licked a wet stripe from the crook of his shoulder to his ear, then sucked the bottom of John’s earlobe before he whispered seductively.  

“You taste divine so far. Let me explore the rest.” 

An incoherent noise left John as he shivered in anticipation. Sherlock's mouth moved to his clavicle, licking slowly then moving lower. John’s skin felt feverish, sensitive to even the faintest of touches. He felt as if he were burning from the inside out and only the cool touch of Sherlock’s fingertips could save him. Those fingertips now traced his chest as Sherlock’s tongue swirled around John’s right nipple, teasing.  

The angle allowed John to see Sherlock’s raven black hair that somehow still remained combed back, but not his face. John gasped the moment Sherlock’s tongue flicked John's nipple and sent his head flying back in pleasure, hitting the wall with a thud. At the same time, the other nipple was getting attention from Sherlock’s long, slender fingers rolling it, eliciting lewd noises from John.  

John hadn’t come half-clothed since he was a teen but he felt like he could do that now, just from having his nipples stimulated and from the view of the man doing it to him. That was nothing, however, compared to the look on Sherlock’s face when he knelt in front of John with his hands on the waistband of John’s trousers.  

“Please.” The word left John’s mouth in a hungry whisper. He had never begged for touch in his life, but he would if Sherlock stopped just now. 

Mercifully, he didn’t and John’s trousers were open and down his legs in the next few seconds. His eyes still on John, Sherlock traced John’s swollen erection through the fabric of his boxer briefs with one fingertip. John was seconds from telling his Maker that he needed his bulge taken care of or he would come untouched as he stood.  

The smirk that spread on Sherlock’s face made John think he could read minds after all. He opened his mouth and gently sucked the tip of John’s cock through the crimson fabric. John parted his lips to release a long moan, stunned by the eroticism of the moment. Squeezing his eyes shut, he grappled with his oncoming orgasm in order to delay it. Breathing deeply seemed to still work as a calming technique now that he was aware that that was its only purpose. His hearing became more prominent when he closed his eyes. After his breathing stopped, he listened to the sound of the slide of fabric along his legs, baring him fully. He could even hear the hum of blood in him, the hum of blood in Sherlock, then he heard Sherlock take a deep breath that he didn’t need... 

“Everything is so heightened...” John said through the fog of the sensations. 

“Your change is almost complete. Your senses will become more sensitive, your surroundings sharper.” 

“I can feel your fingertips scorching my thighs,” John breathed and Sherlock slid his fingers closer to John’s groin. 

John had fooled around with men before but had never considered himself willing to go this far. Sherlock awoke urges that had remained dormant for most of John’s adult life and which now roared for attention. He had no clue whether the change was due to his new state, the promise he had made himself to let go, or the proximity to his enigmatic Maker, but he was glad for it. The only thing he was certain about was that he was finally ready to embrace himself. Sherlock was different from anyone John had ever met and it wasn’t because he was a different species. He was so comfortable with his sexuality, so aware of his body and how he could use it, that he left John yearning to know him more and learn. 

“Look at me, John.” The low voice, even more sultry than before, beckoned him and John obeyed, looking down at Sherlock kneeling before him. Pale silver eyes, like two glittering moons, looked up at him with wanton need. “Don’t avert your eyes until I’m done.” 

“Okay...” John murmured simply, mesmerised, and slid his hand into the glorious raven-black waves adorning Sherlock’s head. They were incredibly soft and John took a fistful, revelling in the feel of them.  

His Maker purred at the contact, biting his lower lip in an expression of lustful intent. John was astounded at the contradiction of the man being so commanding and proud when on his knees. It made his cock harden even more, twitching for attention. The John from a few days before would have refused the offer. He would have been hesitant at being the recipient of male attention, but also fearful of being discarded right after the deed by such a beautiful man. Right now, even assuming that Sherlock would be bored with him soon, he wanted the connection for as long as he could get it, feeling the singularity of it deep inside of himself. He wanted to immerse himself in the moment and enjoy it fully. 

Sherlock traced a long, slender finger from John’s sac, along the underside of his erection, guiding it to his lips and John breathed deeply to ground himself in old reflexes. Oh God, he was going to come just from looking at all that posh gorgeousness licking his cock... 

“Mmmmm...” Sherlock moaned around the tip, his tongue flicking over the slit, tasting John’s arousal. He sucked John’s cock further into his mouth as his hand cupped John’s sac, rolling it in his fingers, playing and teasing. John bit the fist of his free hand, not wanting to embarrass himself with the needy noises threatening to leave his lips. He was awash in his newly heightened senses, and Sherlock’s mouth around his cock seemed almost too much. Even though Sherlock was going slowly, sucking gently while his eyes observed John’s reactions, the languid motions sparked fire throughout John’s entire body.  

Sherlock’s free hand moved to squeeze John’s buttock possessively and pull him closer, thrusting John’s cock deeper into the softness of his mouth, making John release a stifled moan into his fist. John felt the suction and the touch permeate his body and he knew he was dangerously close to orgasm already. The determined look on Sherlock’s face told him that he wasn’t done yet. He adjusted the angle of his head and John knew what he was about to do, as others had attempted it before with little to no success. He was big and no one could ever fully fit... 

“Sherlock! Oh fuuuuck...” John yelped the name and drew out the curse. The fist he had been biting was now banging on the wall next to his hip as he was looking to counter the intense stimulation. The sensation of the slow slide of his cock into Sherlock’s mouth was one thing, but the view of it disappearing deeper and deeper until his Maker’s lips touched his pubic bone, transcended all his previous sexual experiences. “Slow down or I’ll... oh God...” He breathed, looking down at Sherlock in disbelief, working his abdominal muscles not to come just yet. The hand that had been playing with his balls now moved a tiny bit further and John felt long, cold fingers probing behind his sac. John widened his stance as a sign of agreement and the fingers massaged in a tiny circle adding pressure to his perineum, making him moan incoherent noises. Not caring about how needy he sounded anymore, John let his voice carry as he watched Sherlock slowly pull off. His throat was working John’s cock through the unhurried motion, his fingers that were teasing the sensitive spot became more determined in their movements and John knew he was done. 

“Sherlock...” John had a strong grip on Sherlock’s hair, maybe too strong he faintly realised, and now he used it to pull him back, tugging. However, the man didn’t move any faster, just watched him with gleaming, lust-filled eyes, strengthening his hold on John’s arse. His cock was out of his Maker’s throat and just in his mouth, when John’s resolve broke and he let his body explode with pleasure. 

He was vaguely aware that he was screaming Sherlock’s name and praising him for his skill and beauty as he rode the high of his orgasm. John’s abdomen was on fire, his skin tingled with pleasure, his mind was reeling and his muscles refused to cooperate properly. He wobbled on his feet as Sherlock greedily swallowed the evidence of his orgasm until John was completely spent. He slid along the wall, barely hearing the soft pop that sounded when his cock left Sherlock's mouth. He closed his eyes and relied on the hands that slowed his descent until his bare arse hit the carpeted floor. 

“John?”  

Gentle hands on his cheeks... deep voice in his ear... 

“That was exquisite.” A chaste kiss to his cheek below his ear, over his carotid artery. “John? Let’s get you to bed.” 

He felt himself being lifted to his feet and he staggered two steps before softness enveloped him. He turned onto his back and searched with his hands before opening his eyes. The softest skin he’d ever touched had appeared under his fingertips. The skin of Sherlock's neck was covered in his own dried blood... the blood John had spilt himself. 

“Sherlock...” he whispered as he opened his eyes to see the face he’d seen the last several times he’d woken up in bed. Somewhere in the back of his mind, he hoped he would wake up like that many times more. This time, he recognized the face along with the lips that had brought him intense pleasure. “I tried to pull you away.” 

“This was your last ejaculate as your body won’t produce it anymore. I wanted to taste it.” Sherlock’s voice was a low growl, as if it were he who had just experienced the best orgasm of his life, not John. He closed his eyes and smiled as if he could still taste John’s come in his mouth. “It was magnificent.” 

“You can just do that with a human if you want to,” John rationalised, coming back to his senses somewhat, and glad that it was him that Sherlock had chosen. 

Sherlock waved his hand in dismissal. “I’m not interested.” 

“Vam... your- umm.... our kind then?” John picked himself up on his elbows to see Sherlock better. His head was still swimming and he felt as if he’d run a marathon and had passed out at the finish line. 

“Tedious,” came the off-handed reply. 

John analysed the variables and the information he had already acquired.  

“Do you have a partner?” John asked, horrified that he hadn’t thought to ask that before. Sherlock snorted in response but said nothing. “You asked me that before, so it’s a fair question.”  

“No, I have not,” Sherlock sighed with exasperation, reaching for the duvet and covering John’s naked body with it. He did it slowly, as if knowing John’s body felt as if it had been burned and needed extra sensitive care. “Sleep, John. It’s almost 6 am and we have a plane at dusk. I’ll wake you up in time.” 

“I won’t sleep for 10 hours...” John protested weakly despite his drowsiness. He wanted to offer to reciprocate the pleasure he had just experienced, but his body was too weak, his mind already succumbing to the oblivion of sleep. “Will you sleep too?” He didn’t even attempt to try and hide the hope in his voice, knowing there was only one bed in the room. 

“I don’t need sleep anymore. And neither will you in a day or so. For now, you need it more than you did when you were human.” Sherlock’s voice was soft but brooked no argument nonetheless. 

“When I was human...” John repeated in a whisper as his head seemed to sink deep into the pillow. He wasn’t human anymore...  

Surprisingly, he felt relief at the thought, as if now no one would expect him to be normal. On top of that, he wasn’t alone anymore. Not for now at least. “Stay.” The word came out far too pleading than he intended. “Will you stay with me?” He looked up at the figure above him and closed his eyes only after he felt the mattress dip next to his hip where Sherlock sat down.  

John slept soundly, REM reaching him fast and claiming him in a swirl of images. 

Blood appeared in his dream but, unlike his previous dreams, this one wasn’t a nightmare. Excitement filled him as he drank blood from a long pale neck, then licked it clean and moved to kiss the full lips of the man he’d just met a few days ago. The man who wasn’t human and neither was he, not anymore. A sense of peace washed over him and he relaxed as the weight of war, responsibilities, and loneliness lifted off of his shoulders. He felt long, slender fingers caressing his collarbone, his neck, and up to his cheek. John leaned into the touch and smiled with contentment. 

Chapter Text

“Wake up, John.” The low velvety voice pulled him out of slumber. 

“Mmmm not yet,” he mumbled like a schoolboy on a dreary Monday morning, burrowing under the duvet. 

A soft hand touched his cheek and a thumb made slow circles, calming John even more, making him lean into the comforting touch. It took him a moment, but he soon realised that he was not asleep anymore. John’s eyes flew open and he placed his own palm over the one on his cheek. “I’m awake.” The words came out in a groggy whisper as his eyes locked on Sherlock’s above him and he smiled. He could get used to waking up to the sight of Sherlock’s beautiful face and his soft touch on John's skin. Then again, soon he wouldn’t need to sleep at all.  

“You can nap on the plane if you need to. Now, let’s go.” Sherlock’s voice was matter-of-fact but his eyes were warm, filled with affection that was beyond reasoning since they had only known each other for less than two days. What was more, John had slept most of that time.  

During the short cab ride to Kandahar International Airport, John could sense the driver's humanity. The fact that he could so clearly feel the difference between a human and Sherlock’s kind, his own kind, unsettled him initially. However, he was a soldier and refused to panic over every little thing that concerned his new circumstances. Instead, he focused on what constituted the differences between the two species, mainly the heartbeat, the warmth of a human body, and the working organs that John could sense as if he were looking at an ultrasound. 

Once they drove to the middle of the tarmac and boarded a small private jet at the airport, John started questioning the expenses imposed on Sherlock by the trip. When they were situated in comfortable seats, Sherlock placated his inquisitiveness with an explanation about investments he had made over the last several decades. John’s curiosity was not nearly satisfied by that and to his delight, Sherlock elaborated on the complexities of his investments, the devaluations, his best and worst investments, and a lot more. John’s mind boggled at the history Sherlock had had a chance to live through and at his willingness to share the details of that history with him. Sleep forgotten, they ventured into social and political topics until they reached a point at which John felt free to ask more personal questions and vice versa.  

John admitted that Sherlock had been right about his enlistment due to his sister’s death and that he, indeed, would have had nothing to come back to if he were to have been invalided back to London. Despite it all, he was still slightly embarrassed and reluctant to admit out loud how grateful he was to have been saved from that horrible fate. Sherlock in turn told John about his life and how he had initially travelled the world, wanting to see as much as he could before he had settled in London again. In his early years, he had found an interest in crime-solving, which he’d continued exploring over the decades and still did. He told John about several interesting cases and the stupidity of the New Scotland Yard in their inability to solve them, making John chuckle at the theatrical exaggerations of the tales. To John’s astonishment, they talked and laughed for the duration of the 8-hour flight. 

He hadn’t felt so energised by a conversation in years, if ever, and definitely not by one that had lasted so many hours. John felt the bloom of a kinship not born out of necessity to learn from Sherlock, but from genuine friendship in the early stages of its formation. John had had friends before, but the instant connection and playful banter he had with Sherlock felt unique. 

Soon enough, John was looking through the window of the cab on their way to Sherlock’s flat in Oxford Circus. He saw the same London he had left, the same London he’d known and missed. He was changed but life around him continued as it had been. It would have continued that way, moved on, even if he had never left or if he had never come back home from Afghanistan ever again... 

They exited in front of the beautiful period building of Orwell Studios, Market Place. The wind blew Sherlock’s hair as he put the collar of his coat up and inhaled slowly. 

“Dawn won't come for another 10 hours; we have a lot of the night left. Let’s go inside,” he announced, already walking towards the door of the building. 

“You can smell it?” John asked curiously as he took his duffel bag from the boot of the cab and slung it over his shoulder.  

“I can feel it and so will you. Give yourself some time.” 

John considered that a useful skill and, marvelling at how Sherlock relied on it, he readied himself to learn as much as possible from his Maker.   

The lofty fourth-floor flat was state-of-the-art modern in décor on an open plan. The spacious sitting room with two sofas and a TV extended to a fully integrated open kitchen with white glossy cabinets along the wall. The see-through staircase hinted at another floor. John took several steps into the room and looked up to see that the second storey was a mezzanine floor, leaving the living room ceiling twice the height of a regular one. The bedroom was situated above the kitchen and was visible from the sitting room due to its positioning, and floor-to-ceiling windows graced its interior wall. 

“These are for you.” Sherlock broke through John’s mental exploration of the place by indicating one of two long, black garment bags on the sitting room sofa. “I had them delivered here a few hours ago. This company always follows my precise specifications, so I’m sure the outfit will fit you perfectly.” Sherlock lifted his hand to stop John from speaking. “You can compensate me when you’re able to. I can tell it’s making you uncomfortable. However, you managed to accept a lot more than clothes from me in the last two days, so you can endure accepting one more gift.”  

Sherlock took a step closer, placing the bag in John’s hands and giving him a look that made John nod in acquiescence. “Let me take care of you for the time being, until you're able to do it for yourself in your new life.” Sherlock’s low voice made the plea sound like a command and, even if it hurt John’s pride, he would have regretted refusing the help. Because Sherlock was right: being dependent did bother John, but once he got a grip on his new situation, he would repay Sherlock tenfold.   

Their hands brushed during the exchange of the clothing and Sherlock turned, breaking their linked gaze. “After that, you can do what your morals dictate. Pay me back, or not. I couldn't care less.” He waved one graceful hand in the air in obvious dismissal of the subject, then picked up an identical bag for himself. 

“Fine,” John acquiesced, glancing at the bag in his arms, then at the back of the man who tried to hide how much he cared about doing what he thought was right by John. Then I hope you’ll let me do the same. Take care of you in all the ways you’d let me, John thought, but voiced only a curt “Thank you.” 

“The bathrooms are upstairs if you need privacy,” Sherlock said over his shoulder as he was already shedding the clothes he was wearing.  

John was tempted to stay and watch, but instead reined in his seemingly adolescent hormones. Climbing the stairs, he noticed that heavy panels had been installed to slide over the windows to block the outside light. They were now open, letting the moonlight in, showing the old buildings situated nearby and the evening traffic on the street below, despite the late hour. 

He walked through a stunning master bedroom, past a walk-in dressing room, and into an en suite bathroom. White marble surrounded him when the light turned on as he entered.  

John splashed cold water on his face and looked in the mirror, bracing his hands on both sides of the sink. He chuckled nervously when he realised he could actually see himself in the mirror, despite having fully undergone the change. Perhaps not all lore was true after all. He should have looked tired after the flight; however, he neither showed fatigue nor felt it. Sherlock had told him he wouldn’t be needing sleep soon, and apparently, the full-day nap he had indulged in at the hotel was the last shut-eye he would need. The thought was mind-boggling, but relieving. There was so much he wanted to know, and so many more questions to ask, that he was happy to get all the extra time for it.  

Trusting Sherlock with the choice of wardrobe, John changed into a deep plum suit which he’d found in the garment bag. He would have never chosen either that colour or so fine an outfit for himself, but he had to admit that the suit, ivory shirt, and spotted ascot looked good on him. Sherlock knew just how to accentuate his build even though it was vastly different from his own. The jacket lay perfectly on his shoulders and was cut in the waist just enough to be snug but not tight. 

He looked and felt like an improved version of himself. The feeling, however, didn't come from the new clothes and not even from the prospect of eternal life. It was the thrill of walking alongside the fascinating, albeit undead, man waiting for him downstairs. After finger-combing his short but now incredibly thick hair he was ready to face his Maker. 

John didn’t stifle the gasp of awe when his eyes landed on Sherlock. In turn, he let his appreciation show on his face as he slowly scanned Sherlock from head to toe and back, feeling his mouth hanging agape. He had found Sherlock extremely attractive before now, more so than any man or woman he had ever met. However, what was before him now was the sexiest view his eyes had ever beheld. 

What drew his attention first were the strappy black stilettos that made Sherlock even taller and caused his legs to look even longer. His elegant feet lay perfectly in the shoes and Sherlock's posture suggested that he was familiar with walking in footwear of the sort, which made John admire the man even more.  

Where the black stilettos ended, elegant black slacks began that rode low on his hips, showcasing the amazing curve of his arse. The suit jacket was shorter than a man’s cut and slimmer at the waist. The whole outfit was composed of pointillistic details, from the tiny pearl earrings, the discreet touch of eyeliner, to the delicate gleam of the buttons of his jacket.  

The deep purple shirt matched John’s suit in colour, underlining their compatibility. Sherlock’s hair was parted to the side and tucked behind one ear, transforming the classic back swoop into a chic hairdo. He was the ultimate embodiment of beauty in John’s eyes, stunning him, even though he’d thought just moments before that his Maker couldn’t possibly be any more gorgeous. 

Oddly, Sherlock looked like himself but more feminine. The subtle changes worked astonishingly well with his tall and slim frame. John’s body responded to the sight of Sherlock’s curves wrapped so perfectly in silk fabric, making him shift his stance to accommodate the growing erection. 

“Wow,” John breathed, dumbfounded.  

“You look quite fetching yourself.” Sherlock reciprocated the compliment with a smirk on his face as his sharp eyes studied John’s reaction intently. 

The change in Sherlock seemed so natural, so fluid, that John felt the smile tug at his lips as he regained his senses. It wasn’t just the novelty, as Sherlock had called it, that drew John to his Maker. The depth of John’s awe at the unique combination of brains and sex appeal seemed to reach a deep part of him that he had never explored before. 

“Thank you,” John finally replied, smoothing his suit jacket. 

Sherlock took two steps towards him, his heels clicking on the wooden panels. John had to look up to meet Sherlock’s gaze as it turned serious.  

“There is something I wanted to tell you...” Sherlock paused, maybe for dramatic effect, maybe in hesitance - it was hard to tell. John was glad he didn’t need to breathe anymore because he would have been holding his breath, listening. “Sherlock can also be a girl’s name.” 

The grin that split Sherlock’s face was contagious, affecting John’s own face immediately. His body filled with light-hearted, bubbly joy, and he erupted into laughter. Sherlock joined him a second later, making John feel like a teenager about to go on a date with his best friend.  

When they finally calmed down, Sherlock was still looking at John, the crinkles at the corners of his eyes a remnant of the moment. 

“You don’t mind then?” Sherlock asked even though John thought his reaction had been pretty clear. Despite that, he wanted to answer honestly so he took a second to search inside himself for the answer. He had just managed to subdue the non-heteronormative aspect of his sexuality when Sherlock threw him into even deeper waters of the unknown for him. John was surprised at his own reaction, but setting aside ingrained rules, he truly felt respect, fascination and attraction to Sherlock rather than any negative emotion. 

“Other than me looking like a hobbit next to you in heels? Absolutely not!” John said, truthfully, knowing that the words hadn’t conveyed the intensity of his opinion. 

“Shall we, then?” Sherlock smiled, offering the crook of his arm and John slid his hand into it, feeling all the gender barriers he used to consider normal crumble. 

“Where are we going?” John inquired, perplexed, because they had just arrived and were leaving already.  

“Out. You have a lot to learn.” Sherlock patted John’s hand, pulling him closer. 

Chapter Text

They exited Sherlock’s flat and the moment they stepped outside of the building, they were swallowed by the busy Friday evening crowd. 

“Tonight, both of us need to feed,” Sherlock announced, walking gracefully in his stilettos, making John glance down to marvel at the sight. 

“We fed just yesterday. Will it always have to be so often?” John inquired with bewilderment. 

“No, not always. You’ll need less blood with age. I can feed once a fortnight if I don’t sustain any wounds in the meantime. You will have to feed every two to three days, depending on your body’s needs. Tonight, however, you need to feed because your body has just fully come through the change and you need sustenance to cement your turning. I, on the other hand, have lost a fair amount of blood due to a particularly hungry fledgeling drinking from me.” John opened his mouth to apologise, but a slender finger on his lips prevented him from doing so. The touch brought back vivid images of John feeding on Sherlock, making him want to lick the finger on his lips and then lick a lot more than that. They both stopped in the middle of the pavement, turning to face each other. The crowd of people parted around them like a river around a rock.   

Sherlock closed his eyes and stretched his long neck as if recalling John there. “Mmmmm. It was worth it a million times over.” His eyes opened and bored into John’s, sending shivers through him at the memory. “Don’t ever apologise for being who you are.” 

John nodded, his body responding anew at the sight of the column of Sherlock’s neck. He straightened his posture in an attempt to regain composure and tore his gaze away from the expanse of pale skin.  

“No killing though.” John pointed his index finger at Sherlock. 

“No killing,” his Maker promised, putting John’s hand through his arm again as they resumed walking. 

“Where do we go then?”  

“You never did answer my question about your sexual preference, although I do have quite a good idea by now. As you’ve noticed, the experience of feeding can turn quite... sexual, so the act is more pleasant to both parties when it’s performed upon a member of your preferred gender.” Sherlock tread carefully and John appreciated it, as he didn’t really know how to talk about the things he felt. 

You are what I prefer above all else, John thought but that was not an acceptable answer. “I think we can find a good club in Soho to match our preferences,” was what he finally said. 

“You’ve no idea.” The smirk on Sherlock’s face suggested there was a lot more than John was about to find out.  

He was unsure how to answer the question that Sherlock had posed about gender preference. In his prior life, he had thought he had a clear inclination and had tried to stick to that for years. Now, however, he was sure that he had been afraid of stepping out of the societal boundaries ingrained in him. Glancing at his gorgeous Maker, John realised that he had been completely oblivious to the reality that had been wide open to him while he had been clinging onto his heterosexual label. 

“This may be a weird question, umm...” John started awkwardly, scratching his neck. 

“Nonsense. Ask away.” Sherlock flicked his wrist in the air, his eyes never wavering from their path. 

“Should I refer to you as ‘she’ tonight or singular ‘they’ at all times, or… I don’t know?” John braced himself for being called an ignoramus, but he had to know - it felt important to him. 

“Ah, it matters more to some than to others. Personally, I don’t really care. I’m a ‘he’ most of the time and ‘she’ when I feel like it. At times, I am just... me.” Sherlock trailed off for a moment before continuing. “However, ‘they’ is acceptable if you’re not sure how I present at a given time.” Sherlock's manner suggested his consideration of the topic as trivial, but he hesitated and then seemed to think better of it. “That’s very considerate of you to ask, though. It’s not as much about the pronoun itself as it is about respect. I appreciate your reaction more than you would know.” John could hear the surprise and gratitude in Sherlock’s voice and he melted a bit. The incredible insight into his Maker’s personality felt precious, as she seemed to be a very private and secretive person, on the verge of seeming lonely. John was just nodding, amazed at Sherlock’s brave and open approach to who she really was.  

Drunken laughter reached them as they continued walking, making John wish they could go back to Sherlock's place and talk more, be alone together... 

“Holy shit! I thought it was a woman!” A male voice yelled right behind them. John started to turn but Sherlock tugged his arm closer to prevent him from doing so. “Look, guys, it’s a freak!” Laughter erupted, most probably from the man’s companions. John had enough. 

“What did you say?” John started after the slurring man, only half-turning, his hand still threaded through Sherlock’s arm. 

“Freak!” the boorish man repeated, looking at John while pointing his finger at Sherlock. Then he laughed like a maniac, prompting the group of drunks with him to do the same. As inebriated as they were, they weren’t drunk enough to behave like the complete arseholes they were currently being. In any case, there was no level of intoxication that would ever justify this kind of behaviour.  

“I think you’ve mistaken neighbourhoods.” John fully turned around to face the man, feeling his muscles tighten with the fight response.  

“Not worth our time, John,” Sherlock said in a surprisingly calm tone while John’s blood started to boil. 

“Yes, tell your sissy boyfriend he should take you home,” the arsehole told Sherlock. “Clearly, he can’t even afford a decent whore for the night.” John felt someone grab his arm, and automatically wrenching his other arm from Sherlock’s grip, he pulled it back in preparation to land a solid left hook on the arsehole who had insulted Sherlock. 

What happened then was so fast and unexpected, John was barely able to process it. 

Sherlock approached the leader of the pack of drunkards in a flash of movement so quick that one moment she was next to John and the next, she had her hand on the assailant’s neck, bearing him up. She marched three steps forward with him in that hold, the man’s toes barely scraping the concrete as he almost levitated in Sherlock’s grip. Sherlock slammed him against the wall and lifted his body fully off the ground.   

“Do not ever try to offend that man, let alone put your filthy paws on him.” Sherlock pronounced her words slowly and clearly, the menace wafting off of her and making the man’s eyes fill with horror. “You would be lucky if he were ever to let you kiss his shoes. Take your ignorant slurs out of this neighbourhood and out of London. If I ever see you again, I’ll make sure that in turn, you won’t be able to see anything at all for the rest of your life. Understood?” 

The arsehole nodded as much as he was able, his face turning all manner of unpleasant shades of red. Sherlock let him go then and the man gasped, his hands flying to his neck as he slid to the ground, taking big gulps of air. His “friends” were long gone, but John could sense he was well enough to call a cab and get the fuck out of London. 

Sherlock tugged his jacket down in a sharp move, then gracefully offered her arm to John again, as if absolutely nothing had happened, and as if she hadn’t just proven how to be a total bad-ass in high heels.  

Proud to be Sherlock’s companion for the night, John took the proffered arm and they continued walking. 

“Sherlock?” John turned his head to see the profile of his Maker, chin held high as she looked into the crowd before them. 

“Yes?”  

“That was fucking hot,” John admitted honestly. The chuckle that erupted from Sherlock was music to John’s ears. 

“You’re an idiot.”  

“And you are completely mad.” 

“Fair. But it was you who almost got yourself into a fight and would have exposed your identity if someone took a video or called the police.” 

John bristled, realising Sherlock was right, and the elation of the preceding moments subsided. How could he have been so stupid? Then again, he wished he had had the chance to punch that arsehole for offending Sherlock, his identity be damned. He would think of a way to explain his being alive, if the police had caught him.

“He is going to die soon, you know,” John said offhandedly, thinking about the assailant. “He has lung cancer, which has already spread throughout his organs.” 

Sherlock stopped walking and tugged John to a stop, gripping him by the arms and facing him. 

“How do you know this? Explain.” Sherlock’s eyes bore into John’s until he realised what he had just said. 

“I just know, I...” 

“Focus! Think! Tell me how?!” Sherlock’s voice conveyed urgency and excitement at once as she spun them around in place. 

“When I thought of him as he grabbed my arm, I could see his body. The images were clearer than an MRI. I saw a dark spot on his lung, darkness in his blood and bones. Immediately, I just knew what it was.” John frowned, thinking. “It was as if I had all the results that one could get from extensive tests...” John met Sherlock’s gaze and saw fascination reflected in the silver orbs. Then the corners of her eyes crinkled and she broke into a smile. 

“Excellent!” Sherlock exclaimed excitedly. “Come on; we need to test it more.” 

“Test what?” 

“Your new ability. Do keep up, John.” Sherlock spun gracefully on one stiletto and John followed. Sherlock’s elation was so infectious that it spread to John, almost wiping away the unpleasant encounter of a few moments prior. 

Chapter Text

The club they approached had black, wooden shutters over tall, pointed windows and the bricks around them were painted dark crimson. The entrance had a neon-red sign, the letters of which were crafted to look as if they were dripping blood.   

“Well, this is kind of obvious,” John remarked as he took in the heavy black ornate doors and red carpet on the entrance steps. 

“Is it, though? It’s always the darkest under the lamplight.” Sherlock paused, frowning. “Or whatever the saying is. Would you think about vampires in a vampire-themed club? Would you question whether anyone had fake or real elongated canines?”   

“You have a point there.” John shrugged in agreement, following his Maker more closely.   

Sherlock nodded at the mountain of a bouncer at the entrance as they skipped the long line of people waiting behind the velvet rope to enter. The bouncer was dressed in a black suit that had a Dracula-style collar attached to it. Sherlock put a gentle hand on John’s lower back as she raised her chin to look down at the bulky man guarding the door. “He’s with me,” she said in a tone inviting no argument and John followed her inside, like the VIP he apparently was tonight. He still felt Sherlock’s hand possessively touching his back even after it disappeared.  

John followed Sherlock through the long corridor flamboyantly decorated with patterned wallpaper and Victorian-framed mirrors, and into a room full of people. Most of them were decked out in elaborate clothing, some more Victorian, some modern, with hats, canes, and other props. Most of the clientele wore white makeup, fake fangs and fake blood... but not all of them. John was unable to hear the heartbeats over the loud music, but he could feel the life essence or something that distinguished the living from the undead. He and Sherlock were heading towards the bar through a crowd of bodies moving to the music; the atmosphere was saturated by the clubgoers, their hips gyrating, their hands groping, their lips at necks...  

“Take my hand!” Sherlock yelled over the loud music, making John focus on her voice as he tried to lower the volume of the noise overpowering his ears.  

John didn’t hesitate even for a second before he placed his hand in Sherlock’s and let himself be pulled through the crowd. Normally, he would have blushed, but the excitement of Sherlock’s hand in his didn’t bring any heat to his cheeks. He doubted he would ever feel that sensation again, and dimly wondered whether his body would react differently once he fed directly from a human.  

John felt a pang of emptiness when Sherlock’s hand disappeared from his once they reached the bar. His companion waved to the bartender, who approached faster than John would have expected, having quite a large crowd waiting to be served.  

“My usual,” Sherlock said and looked at John with one eyebrow raised in question. John replied with a shrug. “And single malt, neat. Put it on my tab, please.” She turned towards John then, to talk into his ear as John rested his elbow on the bar to scan the clubgoers. He found that he was able to lower the thud of the music on his aural membranes and let Sherlock’s lilting voice seep through the veil with ease. They were close enough for John to pick up the unique scent of her perfume that made him want to put his face in her neck and inhale, to let himself get lost in the feel and smell of Sherlock.  

“Some of the ones with a heartbeat are willing donors.” Sherlock indicated the crowd on the dance floor and individuals prancing in front of them suggestively. “You just need to plough through the ones that aren’t, as I presume unknowing donors wouldn’t be your thing.” 

“Really? They know?” John looked at Sherlock with surprise as he spoke, assuming shouting was unnecessary due to his heightened senses. Sherlock nodded at the question, her eyes scanning like a hawk looking for prey. “Yes; given the choice, I’d rather have a willing donor at all times,” John confirmed. 

Sherlock nodded again, then put her hand on John’s bicep to lean forward to speak into his ear in response. The proximity was unnecessary since they both could hear each other perfectly. Nonetheless, John found the gesture tantalising, as if Sherlock wanted to remind him that even though they were looking for someone to serve them, they had come here together. The feeling that settled in John was none other than the satisfaction of feeling claimed, and he leaned into the touch.  

“Pick one to test your new abilities first,” Sherlock suggested in a warm voice and traced just the tip of her tongue along John’s earlobe, sending a shiver all the way along John’s flank and to his toes. He had to force himself to focus as he placed his hand on Sherlock’s lean hip for balance.  

“It’s hard to focus. You’re distracting me...” John breathed, his hand sliding lower, almost cupping the gorgeous arse he wanted to- 

“Captain John Watson can focus in the direst of circumstances,” Sherlock crooned, provoking John, but also filling his head with ideas for a future vengeance tease.   

“Oh.” John recalled how he had been able to see the body and organs of the arsehole who had verbally attacked them on the street. It wasn’t until he had touched John that the doctor had been able to see clearly every detail of his disease. “I need to touch them first,” he whispered into the sweat-ridden air of the club. 

“Go.” Sherlock stepped away from him and reached for one of the drinks that had just arrived next to them on the bar. “I’ll wait here for the results of your reconnaissance.” 

Purposefully, John meandered through the crowd, gently brushing a fingertip on a forearm, upper back, anywhere that was inconspicuous in a tight crowd. He could see each individual as if through an MRI as he walked, but only after he touched them was he able to see their organs with clear, incredible detail.  

A man looking no more than thirty-five was just another heart attack from fatality. Despite having three stents and two coronary bypasses, he was already in severe cardiac failure. There was no way he could survive the next event; even the best doctors wouldn't be able to help him. John was not about to take precious minutes away from his already short lifespan; he refused to feed on anyone who wasn’t in perfect health. That way, he could make sure he would never do serious damage to anyone’s well-being. After a few more minutes of roaming and scoping out the crowd,  and John was on his way back to his striking companion who was leisurely sipping red wine. 

“The tall, dark-haired guy on your eleven,” John said as he slid his arm around Sherlock to place his palm on her lower back. “I’m not sure if he’ll be willing, but he’s as healthy as a horse.” He reached for the glass of whisky that was still waiting for him on the bar. 

Sherlock’s smirk was unmistakable and John knew that if he could, he would have blushed again knowing how clearly Sherlock could see the similarities between the human he had chosen and the undead standing next to him. God, he was so obvious... 

“You’ve chosen well.” Sherlock inclined his head in praise. “The black band with the club’s logo on his forearm means he is a donor.” Without another word, Sherlock sauntered to the man and didn’t bother to engage in a lot of small talk, but turned almost immediately to point at John. The human looked John up and down and nodded, his expression hungry and knowing. Seeing that expression, John recalled how the man at the hotel had enjoyed being fed from and how good it must have felt for him, considering the final effect.  

A moment later, Sherlock was walking back towards John with purpose, the young man walking close at her heels. Without asking this time, Sherlock reached for John’s hand and John gladly interlocked their fingers in a gesture whose familiarity made John smile to himself and released a sigh of content. 

A waiter in a classic tux and a long cape rushed past them and took the “reserved” sign off of the round table in the lounge towards which they headed. The VIP area was private, decorated in black and red Victorian décor with warm red lighting. Sherlock sat gracefully on the large crescent-shaped sofa and crossed her long legs in a sensual Basic Instinct-style move. One elegant, pale ankle above a stiletto strap was revealed in the process and John felt like a Victorian ogler, enticed by the sight of just a hint of nakedness. When John took a seat next to Sherlock, she scooted away to make space between them. Before John could protest, Sherlock patted the leather cushion with an unmistakable gesture and the young man took a seat between them. 

With a small bow, the waiter closed the heavy, red curtains, insulating them from the rest of the club. The speakers in the lounge started playing music that swallowed the sounds from the outside. John recognized a Rob Zombie song and thought the choice apt to the present mood. 

“What's your name?” Sherlock asked, her eyes focused on the human’s face, despite his alluring body on display. 

“Adam.” The young man replied, lifting his chin up with a flirty smirk and a toss of his fringe. 

He was dressed in a leather chest harness that ended with a collar at his neck. Below, he wore tight, black boy-shorts and mid-calf lace-up black boots. He was muscular without being bulky, showing off a body that he clearly took good care of. 

“Why are you doing this, Adam?” John asked, needing to know before they proceeded. He didn’t hide the concern in his voice, not caring if he was killing the mood or not. 

“I want to become one of you someday,” he replied honestly, then lifted one shoulder in a shrug. “And well, it pays for my tuition.” Adam’s face changed from a look of flirty silliness to one of sharp-eyed wit. For the first time since his change, John had been given a new perspective. What he had viewed as a stroke of luck and an offhand choice on Sherlock’s part was a dream to others. He put a pin in the thought to peruse it later. It must have been a bigger deal for Sherlock to turn him than John had previously thought. “In the meantime, I work here,” Adam continued, straightening in his seat, the leather groaning in contact with his shorts. “They pay a lot whether I pick someone up or not. I don’t really have to take my clothes off unless I want to, and the tips are great. I can pay for school and put some money aside on top of that.” He smiled then, letting the flirtatious look back into his expression. “Besides, with a clientele like you, I’m surprised I’m not the one paying.” His appreciative glance bounced between John and Sherlock on either side of him.  

“What for?” John was flattered by the attention but he was too curious to stop his questioning now. He knew his own reasons to stay undead, but everyone had their own. “I’m sorry for prying, but there has to be a bigger reason.”  

Adam’s gaze shone with unexpected intelligence when it met John’s. 

“I’m a student of mechanical engineering and I quickly realised that the big discoveries I’m waiting for, and want to be a part of, may not happen in my lifetime. I want to be fit and my mind to be at its prime for the following decades and centuries, so I can continue the work I’m planning to take part in.” The gleam in his eyes reminded John of Sherlock, who finally spoke. 

“I can understand that reasoning,” Sherlock nodded with understanding. “Are you promised to anyone?” John quickly grasped that Sherlock wasn’t talking about a hand in marriage. In all honesty, Sherlock looked as if she were willing to offer to turn the young man herself. 

“Yes,” Adam grinned with glee. “But I’m supposed to graduate first.” 

“Fair enough,” Sherlock acknowledged in a tone that closed the subject completely.  

“Your heartbeat is accelerating,” John noted, relaxing again, now that he knew Adam was aware of what he was doing 

“I...uh...” Adam blushed. Now that his confident and sexy demeanour dissipated, his true self was adorable. “I can’t wait for you to start.” He touched his fingertips to his neck and John zeroed in on the pulsing vein there. Adam looked at him as he tilted his neck to the side, letting his coquettish gaze fall back in place as his breathing came shallow and fast. 

“Mmmm, good,” Sherlock purred as her hand slid along Adam’s bare thigh before she squeezed it. “Would you mind?” 

“I wouldn’t...I won’t...” He moaned the words, shifting his hips and letting his legs fall apart a bit more. “Oh please...” 

John watched Sherlock slide to the floor and gave her a confused look. Meeting his gaze, Sherlock dragged her tongue along the flesh over where the femoral artery was in Adam’s inner thigh. John released a moan at the sight of that talented tongue, after which he licked his chosen spot on Adam’s neck. He envied the young man for having Sherlock on her knees between his parted thighs. Sherlock graced John with an omniscient look, as if reading his mind. They exchanged a smile that promised future pleasures, right before they both bit into Adam’s flesh. The human gasped loudly, tensing his muscles, then relaxing on the sofa with a moan of pleasure.  

His blood tasted different from Sherlock’s. Although it had the coppery taste, it lacked the same tangy sweetness John had felt when he’d fed from his Maker. He let the thick liquid coat his throat and fill his body with what it now needed to survive. Tiny pinpricks of pleasure travelled through his body as he felt it being tangibly revived.  

All he could hear was the music and Adam’s heartbeat as he sucked more and more. Soon, he would have to stop... 

“Enough, Captain Watson. That’s enough.” Sherlock’s voice wasn’t raised but the command was clear. It sufficed to bring John back to reality through the fog of elation, the magnificent feeling the fresh blood gave his body. He had chased the need to be fully satiated, a need that, if met, would kill his willing donor. At that thought, John snapped out of it fully and restrained himself mentally. 

Gently, but with enormous regret, he pulled his fangs out and licked the wound closed. Sherlock’s face was close to his as she lifted her body off the floor, and it was all John needed at that moment. Grabbing Sherlock by the lapels of her jacket, John pulled and closed the distance between them. He tasted Adam’s blood on Sherlock’s lips and sneaking his tongue out, he deepened the kiss. He sucked Sherlock’s tongue, careful not to pierce it, even if he really wanted to draw blood from his Maker again. Sherlock straddled him then, bringing their bodies close, feeding John’s need for more than blood with the proximity. However, John wanted Sherlock in private, not like this, not in a club... 

John broke the kiss and looked into the gaze that, as he watched, turned from crimson to silver. Speechless, he took Sherlock’s face in his hands and traced his thumbs over the sharp cheekbones then under the mesmerising eyes. 

“Okay?” Sherlock mouthed without a sound and John nodded, feeling that he had his craving under control now. 

Sherlock licked her lips which curved in a smirk as her gaze flicked to Adam. John had been so focused on having his hypnotic Maker in his lap that he had nearly forgotten about their donor. 

“It felt so good...” Adam whispered, his eyes at half-mast, his hand sliding from his chest to the waistband of his boyshorts as he exhaled, clearly reminiscing about what had just taken place. John followed the movement with his gaze to see a wet mark on the tiny piece of fabric around Adam’s hips, confirming how good it had actually felt for him. “Come here and find me anytime you want.” He looked from John to Sherlock. “Both of you.” 

“Thank you for the offer,” Sherlock said, inclining her head. Somehow, she managed to be elegant and polite while straddling John and having blood smeared on her mouth. John just nodded as he wished he could hear a confirmation from Sherlock's lips that they would come back to the club together in the future. “I’ll add your tip at the bar,” Sherlock assured him, but Adam seemed not to be interested in money tonight, or else he feigned it very well.  

“I’ve seen you in the club before,” Adam pointed to Sherlock. “But you’re always alone.” His eyes turned to John then. “I want you to know that I really enjoyed it tonight.” He pulled himself up to stand and wobbled a bit. Sherlock shot her hand out to balance Adam and stood up herself in the process. “I’m fine. It’s not the loss of blood that made me dizzy,” the young man smiled flirtatiously. His satisfied expression confirmed that he truly meant what he’d said. “I’ll have to go now and get some sleep. I have an exam tomorrow.” He stopped on his way out with his hand on the heavy red curtain. “You’re Sherlock Holmes, aren’t you?” 

“Indeed,” Sherlock replied, fixing her still perfect hair with a swoop of her hand. 

“My mentor is a big fan of your book ‘The Science of Deduction.’” 

“Hmmm,” Sherlock murmured in surprise. “What's his name?” 

“Professor James Moriarty.” 

“Never heard of him,” Sherlock replied, curiosity tinting her tone. 

“I’m sure you will soon; he’ll be famous someday. His mathematical brain is amazing,” Adam said with awe in his voice. Then he nodded a goodbye, grinned, and swiftly slid through the folds of the curtains without fully parting them. 

Sherlock narrowed her eyes as the boy sauntered away, showing off his bite marks as if they were prized possessions before the small gap in the curtains closed again. 

“That was a bizarrely ominous conclusion to a fun evening,” John noted but brushed his own comment away as unimportant. 

“The evening is not over,” Sherlock offered him a wicked smile. “Come along, John.” Sherlock extended her hand in a way that made John feel as if he were being asked to dance. He put his palm in Sherlock’s and stood up, ready to do more than dance with his amazing Maker. 

Chapter Text

Back at Sherlock’s flat, John’s feeding high still lingered, but so did the feeling of desiring just a bit more than blood to be fully satiated. John flexed his fists, trying to contain his body’s raging need for fulfilment. It intensified immensely at the flat where Sherlock’s scent was everywhere, enticing John with its mixture of honey and planed wood. John hadn’t been aware of its sharpness in the building before, but after the myriad scents in the bar, he knew he would be able to pick Sherlock’s out of a crowd.   

When Sherlock approached him now, however, the scent had undergone a bizarre change. The warmth of the smell shifted a bit more toward wood than honey, creating a uniquely new one, yet still recognizable as Sherlock. John frowned and inhaled through his nose again. 

“You smell different,” he announced with a questioning note in his tone, piqued by the peculiarity of his enhanced senses.  

“We just left a club; we’re bound to stink,” Sherlock said offhandedly, but her intense gaze proved that she was playing with John, waiting for him to continue.  

“No, it’s something else.” John closed his eyes to focus better. “When we were getting ready to leave the flat before and then throughout our walk and in the club, your scent was nectarous...” He released the breath in a long exhale. “Now, it’s woodier and less sweet...a bit hedonistic too.” The last part came as quite the revelation to him but once the word was out of his mouth, he was sure that was exactly what the scent was.  

“You amaze me, John,” Sherlock spoke the words slowly, carefully enunciating each syllable as her low voice wrapped around John like a blanket of desire.  

“What? What is it?” John opened his eyes to search his Maker’s face for answers. 

All he saw, however, was Sherlock’s sultry expression, and he immediately felt his blood rush downward. 

“You will figure it out soon.” Sherlock stepped back to whirl across the room, leaving John perplexed. How was he supposed to figure out why Sherlock's scent had changed? It couldn't be the feeding because Sherlock had smelt the same after the feeding in the Kandahar hotel. Or maybe John hadn’t been paying enough attention then? “How did you enjoy the feeding?” Sherlock asked, breaking John’s train of thought, hanging her coat on a peg, then her suit jacket on the back of a chair.  

“It was intense,” John answered honestly, recalling the overwhelming pull of the blood he had been drinking and the sexual desire building the longer he’d sucked. “But...” he hesitated before throwing all his cards on the table. 

“But?” Sherlock asked, turning to John, confused. 

“But I wish I could drink from you.” John didn’t give in to the reflex to look down, instead, he met Sherlock’s gaze as his Maker took a step closer. 

“You still can. I won’t satiate your need for blood anymore, but you can drink from me...” Sherlock placed a palm on John’s cheek and stroked it with her thumb. “...for pleasure.” 

John leaned into the touch that felt less cool than it had before, and put both of his hands over Sherlock's chest, feeling the lean muscles underneath his fingers. He stood before a decision to push her away or pull her closer, and he suddenly knew deep down inside that the decision had been made when he had taken Sherlock’s hand in the club.  

“Your collar is stained with the boy’s blood.” Sherlock traced the edge of John’s collar with her fingertips, then along the middle to the opened button. 

“I smell of him, too. And so do you.” As well as your alluring musk. John slid his hands to rest on Sherlock’s hips and pulled her closer.  

“I detest it.” Sherlock’s growl made John shiver. “I want to smell only you on my sheets. Whether you want to sleep in them or otherwise.” 

“You want me in your bed then?” John asked with more elation than surprise. 

“Don’t be daft, John. You know I do. I’ve wanted you since you opened your tired eyes and looked through my non-existent soul in that field hospital,” Sherlock answered candidly, her voice indicating that she was stating something obvious. 

The breath that John was still sometimes taking out of habit hitched at the words and he guided Sherlock's hands to wrap around his middle. 

“Good,” John whispered before he took Sherlock’s face in his palms and linked their lips together. Sherlock opened to the kiss and John could feel the sharp canines grazing his lips. He paused for a moment and Sherlock picked up on it.  

“You can’t hurt me. You can make me bleed but you can’t hurt me, John. I am still stronger than you, so you shouldn’t worry about anything, even if you want to take it further than you ever have.” Sherlock’s hands slid up and down John’s back in a familiar and calming gesture. “Let your imagination soar.” 

John processed the new information for a moment. He wanted to say the same, yet he wasn’t sure what he was ready for, despite his desire to finally let himself live after he’d already died.  

“We can go slowly or not at all, John. Tell me when to stop. I’ve been told I can be too much sometimes, too intense, too-” 

“Okay.” John nodded, stopping Sherlock’s sudden self-directed negativity. It was bizarre to see Sherlock lift a corner of the confident veil she usually wore. It left John dumbfounded.  

Wanting to assure Sherlock of the truth of his attraction, he decided to be honest as well. There was a whole list of things in his head that he wanted to do to Sherlock and to have done to him. He hoped they could start with a slow exploration of the things John had never had the courage to do. “You are intense,” John agreed, then looked up at Sherlock to make sure his message was heard. “It’s one of the things that I find so mesmerising about you.” John squeezed Sherlock’s hips in his grasp as he inhaled the mix of scents wafting off of Sherlock and her clothes. “I need that foreign smell off of you ASAP.” John started working on the buttons of Sherlock’s shirt when his Maker smiled, took the open edges of the shirt in both hands and ripped them apart, sending the buttons flying to the wooden floor. The tiny clattering sound of the buttons repeated when Sherlock did the same to John’s shirt. John followed the incessant need to feel Sherlock against him and he dove to kiss her neck and wherever he could reach, as they stumbled into the bathroom. He rolled his hips to let Sherlock know how much he enjoyed the feel of Sherlock’s bare chest against his own and Sherlock’s tongue in his mouth. The enthusiasm was reciprocated in a similar fashion and John had to force himself to break them apart.  

“Dear God, you’re gorgeous,” John breathed, holding Sherlock’s face in his palms, looking into her bewitching eyes. 

“When I present as female?” Sherlock asked inquisitively, not a trace of offence in her features.  

“No. I...I mean, yes.” John backpedalled, horror invading his brain at what he had just said. “What I’m trying to say is that it’s both... that it doesn’t matter if you’re presenting as a man or a woman. You are simply gorgeous. You. No matter the gender.” His panic subsided at the smile on Sherlock’s face. It was such an unusually open expression; John felt his heart expand a bit more at the sight. “I’m not sure what the attraction makes me. Bisexual? Or I don’t kno—” 

Sherlock stopped his tirade with one slender finger across his lips. 

“It makes you amazing, John Watson.”  

Upon hearing the honesty in Sherlock’s voice, John pinned her to the wall and kissed her properly this time, opening his mouth, letting their teeth nip a bite as he adjusted further to a new way of kissing. The lewd moan that left him echoed through the bathroom as he tasted a drop of blood from Sherlock's nicked bottom lip. He sucked, then licked the place closed before he backed off a step from Sherlock.   

“Are the clothes important?” John asked, his mind still reeling, fascinated by the unknown. He wanted to understand Sherlock more than he’d ever wanted to understand another person in his life. He also needed to ground himself with a conversation to calm his libido a bit. Right now he couldn’t think clearly, and he needed to do that before they proceeded into the carnal endeavours that John hoped would follow. 

“No.” Sherlock stepped back, respecting John’s prompt. By holding onto John’s hands, she let them stay close but also gave them space to talk. “They help me present myself the way I feel, make me comfortable in the gender I present as at a given moment. They’re a statement for me and for the world as well. I feel more feminine in make-up. The clothes are simply an expression of how I feel.” Sherlock’s gaze met John’s and the silver irises hypnotised John with their uniqueness. “And right now, you are making my cock ache with need. I’m a man craving another.”  

John let the words wash over him, making his own hunger roar before an epiphany hit him.  

“The change in your scent!” John exclaimed as he finally connected the dots. “Your scent changes with your mood and how you feel,” he continued excitedly, seeing Sherlock smile at him in return.   

“I’m impressed that you picked up on that so quickly.” Sherlock’s hand drifted up John’s chest to his neck where John’s skin broke out in goosebumps. “You’re so much more than I hoped for...” Sherlock’s face softened for a second before it was once again overtaken by fiery lust. “I want to claim you in my bed if you will let me, and I want to do it as a man.” Sherlock’s head tilted to the side as if processing a thought. “I’ve never felt more of a whole person than I do with you. You, John Watson, cast a spell on me.” Sherlock’s words were a slow purr that made John melt where he stood.  

“Yes...” That was exactly what John wanted. He wanted to be claimed... “Wait.” John lifted his hands up when thought of his inexperience hit him. “I need a moment. Let me shower and I’ll be right back. I look at you like this and oh God... I want....” He groaned and shook his head in disbelief of the beauty of his Maker. “Everything.”  

“Good. Take everything.” Sherlock spread his arms and stepped back, presenting his half-naked body.  

“But not in the shower. Not like that. Just... give me 10 minutes.”  

Sherlock nodded in understanding and left the bathroom, the sound of his heels fading as he closed the door behind himself.  

John couldn’t express how much he appreciated the space Sherlock gave him when he needed it most. After shedding the bottom half of his attire, he stepped under scalding water and surveyed the surroundings. The bottle labels were in French but he had paid enough attention at school to differentiate the soap from shampoo. He washed himself quickly but thoroughly, trying not to imagine Sherlock’s hands on his raging erection, Sherlock’s fingers washing his hole instead of his own. The white towel he took from the stainless-steel rack was incredibly soft and he wrapped it around his waist to step outside as fast as possible.  

Sherlock was leaning against the wall, tapping on his phone, looking at it, then smiling. Seeing John come out, he tossed the phone on the bed and sauntered towards him.  

“If you change your mind, I’ll be under the shower,” Sherlock purred seductively.  

“I’ll wait.” John watched his Maker walk on long, slacks-clad legs and blurted out a brand-new fantasy his mind had just concocted. “Sherlock? Could you keep the heels?”  

The grin of satisfaction on Sherlock's face confirmed his approval of the request. 

John sat on the bed and his eyes involuntarily glanced to the still glowing phone laying on the covers. It was open to an internet search of him. Mixed among the myriad pictures of him in military uniform were older photographs from his rugby days at school. He scrolled through them, reminiscing over his human life and coming to the conclusion that he had already done everything he could have done in that life. Even if he’d survived that abdominal wound, he would have come back with a severely impaired hand, therefore unable either to perform surgery or to be redeployed. That life was gone and he was ready to start a new one. He was ready for Sherlock, even if it was just for the short time it would take him to show John all he needed to know about his current existence so that he could survive on his own. Then, surely, they would part ways...  

“Are you browsing through my porn?” came a low voice tinged with amusement.  

“What? No!” John dropped the phone on the bed like it was on fire.  

“Yes, you are.” Sherlock picked up the device and turned the screen back to John to show him the same pictures he had just been looking at.   

“Har har.” John mocked before the words died in his throat as Sherlock let the black silk robe that covered him slide off his shoulders and onto the floor. He wore his birthday suit and the heels only. John was glad his heart didn’t beat anymore because it would have vacated his chest with incessant thudding by now. Sherlock’s hair was still wet, the water dripping on his slender shoulders, encouraging John to slowly lick every drop. His pale chest was lean but muscled, and his legs seemed so incredibly long and sexy in the strappy black stilettos. Sherlock’s cock was still growing but already stood heavy and proud, making John’s mouth water with the lust to taste it. John had no doubt that the view before him was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen in his life.  

“Don’t sell yourself short, soldier.” Sherlock placed the phone on a set of books on the sleek black nightstand and straddled John’s lap. “Because I call it like I see it.”  

With a moan, John tossed his head back as Sherlock’s mouth sucked kisses onto his neck. John slid his hands along Sherlock’s back to place them on his hips, then more boldly, on his pert, naked arse.  

“Tell me what you desire.” Sherlock’s mellifluous voice sent shivers along John’s flank.   

“You...”

Chapter Text

“You. I want you,” John breathed as he looked up to meet the piercing gaze of his Maker. 

“You’ll have to be more specific than that.” Sherlock’s silver irises were tinted red, similarly to the time when he had finished feeding at the club. However, the need he portrayed now was intense but not frenzied, and matching the urge John felt within himself. Sherlock ground his arse on John's cock, still trapped under the towel, as if to express the specifics of what he wanted as well.

“I’ve always wondered but... I’ve never been like that with a man,” John admitted, his mind still hindered by past hesitations over what was appropriate to say and do in front of Sherlock. His voice didn’t waver; he was ready for whatever happened next. 

“How about, I’ll go slowly and you tell me when to stop?” Sherlock said in all seriousness as he placed his hand on John’s cheek. The touch didn’t seem cold anymore, probably because John’s own body had lost its natural warmth when he completed the change. He turned his head to kiss the inside of Sherlock’s palm, marvelling at the ease with which the gesture came to him.

“That would work.” John released a short laugh, tinged with anticipation more than nervousness. “I sound like an inexperienced teenager.”

“Exploring your sexuality is just as serious and important in your thirties as it is in your teens,” Sherlock concluded in a voice suggesting that he accepted what John was saying and would act accordingly.

John nodded, feeling as if he stood on the precipice of a new beginning. New life, new me, he thought before he took a confident leap off the edge, leaving all his past inhibitions to burn into ash behind him. His hands slid closer to the crease between Sherlock's buttocks and a low sound left his throat at the feel of the firm muscle under his palms.

Sherlock growled in approval and John captured his mouth to feel the vibrations through Sherlock’s lips. He was becoming more accustomed to kissing with fangs, and he gave into it with abandon. The water from Sherlock’s curls dripped on John’s face as Sherlock’s tongue danced sensuously, and his arse continued grinding.

John was already on fire and Sherlock must have felt it as he broke their lips apart to kiss John’s jaw, clavicle, and down along John’s chest. Gracefully, he slid to his knees and parted the towel, revealing John’s heavy erection. Looking up with those amazing eyes, he licked his lips before kissing John’s inner thighs, one by one. A shiver ran through John and he clutched the sheets to prevent himself from gripping Sherlock’s hair and guiding him where he wanted that talented mouth most. 

“I don’t know if I’m-” John started saying, unsure whether he was disease-free, but was stopped by Sherlock’s playful nip on his thigh.

“You can’t get sick remember?” Sherlock assured, making John recall their previous conversation.

In a clever play of delicious torment, Sherlock ignored the needy erection bobbing for attention and caressed John’s thighs instead. John’s seal of approval came in the form of parting his legs. The heated look Sherlock gave him made him forget all inhibitions and throw away all past shame.

Sherlock's kisses and nips moved closer to John’s groin until he felt Sherlock’s strong hands lift his legs off the floor. John found himself lying on the bed with his legs splayed in the air. The pause in Sherlock’s kisses hung in the air like a question. John decided he had enough of not reaching for what he wanted. Enough of settling. He needed more than that, and Sherlock kept telling him that he was worth more than that. 

“I want your tongue, Sherlock.” His growl was half plea and half command. “Show me how it's done.”

In lieu of a response, Sherlock licked John’s sac with the flat of his tongue before moving on to John’s perineum. The string of curses that left John’s lips seemed to encourage Sherlock as he applied more pressure with his tongue, then kissed the spot eagerly. 

John gripped the sheets, trying not to writhe, not to move away from the pleasurable ministrations of his Maker. It was quite the lesson in restraint as his whole body was overtaken by the intense experience.

Sherlock’s tongue moved around John’s hole, teasing at first, before he licked over it, causing John to wail in pleasure at the unearthly sensations. They were just getting started and John already knew the night of his life was before him.

Sherlock alternated the movements of his tongue when it came to speed and technique as his hands spread John’s cheeks with a tight grip that added fuel to the fire of his body. John tried to stay aware enough to pay attention to what Sherlock was doing so he could reciprocate later, but it was difficult as his entire mind was focused on the intensity of the experience, and the strong emotions he could feel flowing between himself and his Maker. As if a tether linked them, he could sense the arousal in Sherlock as well. It was more than smelling it, more than hearing Sherlock’s low growls; deep inside himself, he had a profound knowledge of an indescribable connection. 

“Ohhhhh Sherlock…” John moaned, grabbing the back of his own thighs in a shameless display of giving his body over. 

Sherlock licked slowly at first, his tongue flat and languid in its slide, then the tip started teasing around John’s entrance in wide circles before nearing to delve inside just a bit. 

“Is it always this intense?” John’s throaty moan made Sherlock stop and chuckle. John felt the vibrations go through him before Sherlock’s face appeared between his legs.

“It’s always good. However, this time your senses are heightened, all of them, and so are your pleasure receptors. Since you’re fully turned, you can modify what you feel; block pain and enhance pleasure.” 

“I want to learn but not now. It feels so good…”

Still holding John’s gaze, Sherlock slid his tongue from John’s balls along the underside of his cock.

“Too good, ahhhhh…” John’s cock twitched on his abdomen, precome making the tip of it wet with need. 

“Mmmmm” Sherlock purred and sucked the tip of John’s cock into his mouth. John’s head hit the mattress and he closed his eyes, forcing himself to breathe. Apparently, it wasn’t the air that helped him calm down and delay an upcoming orgasm, but the process itself. He felt Sherlock’s mouth slide slowly lower, until it encompassed his cock in its entirety. John managed to look down his body to see the slow motion of his cock leaving Sherlock’s throat, then his mouth as he moved his head up. 

“Fuuuck…” John dragged the word as it was the only thing he was capable of saying while engrossed in the view and feel of his Maker. “I won’t be able to pull back again and I want to taste you too.” John started to pull himself up on his elbows but Sherlock pushed him back.

John followed the prompt and they scrambled until John lay centred on the bed. Just when John was about to protest and ask for a taste again, Sherlock climbed astride him to position his cock at John’s lips. 

John opened his mouth eagerly, his hands flying to Sherlock’s arse to pull him closer. In a flash of movement, John found his arms pinned above his head, one strong hand holding them by the wrists. John voiced his approval by moaning around the tip of Sherlock’s cock as it was held by Sherlock’s other hand.

With a torturously languid slide, Sherlock was feeding John his cock, making him salivate around the impressive erection as he sucked with eagerness. In that position he was unable to move his head more than an inch up, his hands were trapped and his legs lay uselessly on the bed. He felt trapped, overpowered, and dominated, all of which he’d never been in the bedroom. 

John closed his eyes and, through a haze of intense arousal, he felt a calmness wash over him. He was enjoying it more than he’d ever thought he would. The low moan coming from Sherlock motivated John to suck harder, to give Sherlock as much pleasure as possible. He wanted to learn, to practice, to make Sherlock proud of him, both as his Maker and lover. 

The angle didn’t allow John to accept Sherlock’s cock far, but he was also grateful as he wasn’t sure how he’d react if it hit the back of his throat. Sherlock’s thrusts were shallow but decisive, making John work to suck properly. Finding the balance between sucking too hard, not hard enough, and keeping his fangs away was a bit more arduous than he’d imagined it would be. The noises Sherlock made, however, indicated that his slow fucking of John’s mouth brought him pleasure. 

John was quite proud of himself and eager to try more. The moment he thought about it, Sherlock pulled out, as if attuned to each minute shift in John’s thought. John licked his lips and saw Sherlock moving further along his body. 

Sherlock’s right stiletto appeared in John’s field of vision to his left on the pillow. The view of the graceful ankle made John want to lick it, worship it, then move up to the calf and further. 

Sherlock let go of John’s hands, wordlessly giving him the freedom to push him away or pull him closer as he stood directly above John’s head on the bed. 

Encased between the long legs, John placed his palms on Sherlock’s ankles, just where the straps of the footwear ended. He used the new freedom of movement to kiss Sherlock’s ankle, just as he’d wanted to do a moment before. His tongue snaked out to slide along the upper strap before he used his fangs to graze the milky-white skin of the calf.

“John…” Sherlock growled as he placed his palms on the wall with a thump.  

It was absolutely life-changing for John to be able to follow his wildest impulses and be met with nothing less than approval and encouragement. After one last indulgent lick, he looked up. Sherlock’s cock swung heavy and proud, and his smooth balls made John’s mouth water.

Sherlock looked pointedly at him and a wicked smile lifted one corner of his lips before he gracefully squatted directly above John’s face. John opened his mouth wide to accept the weight of Sherlock’s sac and swirled his tongue over the thin, soft skin. The newness of the experience spiked John’s excitement even more. The gratified sounds that came from his Maker meant that, so far, John was doing well and that gave him a burst of joy. 

He moved his hands from Sherlock’s ankles to his arse and pressed slightly, just as he tried to reach behind Sherlock’s sac with his tongue. When Sherlock’s hips moved just an inch forward, John was allowed access to the most intimate part of Sherlock’s body, a place that he wanted to taste with frantic desperation. 

He recalled what Sherlock had done to him earlier and he started with a set of broad licks before teasing the entrance proper. Encouraged by a low growl of pleasure from the man above him, John gripped Sherlock’s arse harder and laved at his hole with an abandon he hadn’t known himself capable of. 

Sherlock’s low growls gradually turned into wanton mewling noises. It was the most beautiful music John’s ears had ever heard. Swaying his hips, Sherlock let John lick in long stripes before he slowly slid along John’s body.

“John…” Sherlock moaned against John’s lips before he kissed him frantically for a few heady seconds. “Your mouth and your tongue are exquisite.”

John grinned with pride and playfully flicked his tongue over Sherlock’s lips. He was rewarded with another kiss and a moment of delicious frottage as their cocks slid against one another, trapped between their bodies. 

Breaking apart, Sherlock reached for a small bottle of lube from the bedside table. John wasn’t sure what to expect now, but he wanted it, whatever it was; he needed it with his body and mind. 

Straddling John’s chest, Sherlock poured some lube on his hand and reached behind himself. 

“Oh fuck, Sherlock…” John whispered and reached to squeeze his own cock just under the glans as his body reacted to the sight before him. 

Sherlock’s gaze was focused on John’s face and his lips parted when his index finger disappeared into the hole John had been licking moments before. Never in his wildest fantasies had John imagined himself being so aroused, or being privy to an incredibly intimate show put on exclusively for him by the most beautiful person he’d ever seen.

Sherlock mouthed John’s name as he slid another finger inside himself, then began moving them around. 

“I want you inside me, John.” Sherlock’s baritone delivered the words with a lewdness that made John only capable of nodding in agreement. “You are my fledgeling and I am your Maker. We will forever be connected, but tonight, I want us to be connected by more than blood.”

Sherlock removed his fingers and positioned himself above John’s cock. It dripped with precome, ready to be ridden by the gorgeous undead. John held his cock in place as Sherlock poured some lube on it, then watched with awe as the tip disappeared into Sherlock. It was a tight fit, which was probably why no woman had ever wanted to try this with John. Now, he was glad of that; he wanted this experience to belong to Sherlock forever.

They groaned in unison, which caused them to smile at each other for a moment before their expressions returned to lust-filled pleasure. Sherlock lowered himself inch by inch, then moved up and inched down again. After applying more lube to John’s shaft, he proceeded until he was finally fully impaled.

John’s head swam at the tight squeeze of Sherlock’s body around him. He wasn’t cognizant enough to register the words coming from his mouth, nor Sherlock’s. They vaguely resembled a chant centred around each other's names.

John took hold of Sherlock's hips as the man moved with a fluidity akin to a dance. Sherlock’s abdominal muscles worked as he undulated, and his strong thighs didn’t strain when he lifted himself up just to lower himself back on John’s cock again and again, making John’s body burn with the heat of the sun he would never look upon again. 

Sherlock must have remembered John’s question about drinking from him as he leaned over John, cradled John’s head in his palm, and guided his mouth to his neck. John looked at the pale expanse of flesh for just a moment before he sank his fangs into it. They both gasped in pleasure as crimson liquid spilt between them, John’s mouth latching onto the thick trickle. 

Sherlock’s hips kept moving, his tight tunnel gripping John’s cock in a merciless vice as John became drunk on the decadent taste of Sherlock’s blood on his tongue. After a few more indulgent sips, John closed the wound with a swipe of his tongue over it. The bite, the taste of blood, and the feel of Sherlock’s pleasure at the act was transcendent, but John refused to take too much when he didn’t really need it for sustenance. It wasn’t difficult to stop drinking this time, as he wasn’t in need of blood and he was also being overwhelmed and satiated by Sherlock’s body wreaking havoc on his libido. 

Sherlock sat up and continued his relentless movement, his hands caressing John’s chest before moving up to his own. In a blatant show of sexual prowess, Sherlock threw his head back, slid his hands up his chest to pinch his nipples, then along his long neck and into his hair. John took Sherlock’s impressive cock in his hand and pumped, just as he’d done to his own cock many times before. 

When Sherlock’s eyes flew open to meet John’s, their irises were flooded with crimson and refulgent with lust. Through their newfound bond, John felt Sherlock was as close to orgasm as he was. The movements of his hand on Sherlock’s cock became more frantic, just as Sherlock’s hips moved faster in a hedonistic pursuit of pleasure. 

“Come for me, John,” Sherlock growled as he leaned to cradle John’s face in his palms and touch his forehead to John’s.

“Yes, Sherlock!” John yelled, as an earth-shattering orgasm took over his body.

He felt the release as if he were being lowered into a pool of pleasure, starting with his toes, thighs, abdomen, chest, until his brain seemed to be full of orgasmic explosion and Sherlock. They were one and the same for that exquisite moment; he felt as if he could soar outside of his body, mere flesh being unable to hold what he felt inside. 

Calming down, he wrapped his arms around Sherlock who collapsed on top of him, his face in the crook of John’s neck. In an unexpected act of affection, he felt Sherlock kiss the skin over John’s jugular vein. For some indiscernible reason, the gesture made him feel closer to his Maker than the life-changing sexual encounter they were both still coming down from.

With mind-boggling grace, Sherlock rolled off of John to lay next to him, detaching their bodies in the process. Looking down his body, John saw spurts of thick, clear liquid tinted with blood, staining his abdomen. Alarmed that he might have hurt Sherlock in any way, he sat up, his fingers flying to touch the bloody stains.

“It’s normal, John. Nothing to worry about. The product of your orgasm looks the same now.” Sherlock replied to the unasked question, his eyes watching John’s reaction. He started to get up, assuming a mask of indifference that worried John. 

“Where are you going?” John voiced his concern. Had he done something wrong?

“Leaving you to rest,” Sherlock replied dryly. His back was to John as he untied his stilettos and slipped them off. 

“Stay.” The word surprised John as much as it did Sherlock as his movements abruptly ceased. 

Slowly, Sherlock turned to face John with a frown marring his features. 

“Will you stay in bed with me?” It was what John wanted the most right now. The frown smoothed, and without a verbal reply, Sherlock climbed back onto the bed to lay flat with his hand at his sides.

John took the sheet they had kicked off to the ground in their passion, and covered them both, not caring about the mess. Sherlock seemed to be less at ease with casual touch than he was with actual sex. John had a gloomy suspicion that his Maker was not used to the affection John was willing to shower him with. Maybe there were areas in which John had more experience than Sherlock. 

He reached for Sherlock's hand under the sheet and was met by an answering squeeze. Emboldened, John turned to his Maker and wrapped an arm about the lean and sticky torso. Soon enough, they lay with limbs intertwined as if they were one. Even in that position, John felt a sense of distance wafting off of Sherlock. As if once the connection that had been building between them since they’d met had finally reached a conclusion, Sherlock was ready to move on. John promised himself to ask about the abrupt shift in attitude openly, just as he’d been asking questions about his new state of being. Now, however, he wanted to enjoy the post-coital bliss a moment longer. 

John was unable to recall having been more content in his life than he was right at that moment.

Chapter Text

A few moments of stiffness passed before Sherlock relaxed and wrapped himself around John like a sticky octopus. Having discovered a chink in Sherlock’s armour in his partiality to post-coital cuddling, John relished the way Sherlock’s face fit in the crook of his neck. Sherlock’s stillness would have been eerie if John hadn't been aware of the needlessness of breathing. As he lay now, he was thankful for it because it meant Sherlock could stay where he was, the weight of his body a source of comfort to John. The absurdity of the thought struck him and he released a short laugh.     

“What is it?” Sherlock mumbled into John’s neck.

“I was just thinking of the little convenient things that come with becoming undead.” John moved the arm Sherlock lay upon just enough to be able to slide his hand into Sherlock's curls. Marvelling at the softness, he took a whiff of the scents mixed in the room. What he now recognized as his own scent was mixed with Sherlock’s; they were intensified, creating a heady smell of sex, desire, and satisfaction.

Sherlock turned his head to look at John before he spoke, his tone grave in spite of the nakedness of their embrace.

“You can’t father children. You’re aware of that by now, I hope.”

“Yes, I know.” Apart from the logistics of John becoming an Undead, there had been the moment when Sherlock had told him about his last ejaculate, the significance of which he had been reminded of when he’d seen the results of Sherlock’s orgasm. “I've never even dreamt of having children. Now that the opportunity has passed, I'd rather not dwell on it.” John shrugged, even though the thought warranted so much more than that. 

Sherlock nodded in understanding as John ruminated upon the impossibility of having children even before Sherlock had come into his life. His college years had been spent at school and had been peppered with meaningless sexual encounters, during which he had always made sure to use protection. Becoming a doctor had filled the dark hole in his existence of meaningless, solitary wandering. Being in the army had helped him feel even more needed, had fueled his apparent compulsion for adrenaline and had fed his self-destructive streak as well. He could admit all that to himself now, after analysing his past through the prism of his new existence. He had Sherlock to thank for that. Whatever his life would become from now on, he hoped Sherlock would remain a part of it while he looked for a new path for himself. “I could still help people,” he said, twisting a lock of Sherlock’s hair around his finger to watch it bounce. 

“You’re a doctor at heart. You can’t help it.” Sherlock uttered the words as he moved to prop his head on his hand, looking directly at John with a knowing gaze, as if he could see inside John and his moral compass. 

“I guess not.” John looked at his newfound friend as he contemplated his future.

“With your skills, you could easily feed in a hospital, knowing who is dying,” Sherlock suggested, but his tone implied he didn’t believe that such a route would be suitable for John even as he was saying it.

“No, you know I can’t kill. Not like that. Even if I’m not technically alive myself, it’s against my personal stance.”

As if that were the answer Sherlock had expected, he nodded before continuing. 

“The Yard could use someone like you.”

“New Scotland Yard? You told me that you help them, but what would they need me for?” John sat up on the bed, intrigued by the idea. 

“You could see into people’s bodies before they're open, before autopsy. Can you imagine how that would speed the investigation process?” The twinkle in Sherlock’s eye made John envision the tableau of them solving crimes together for years, decades, centuries...

“Hmm.” 

“I work only after dark, obviously, and so would you.” Sherlock clearly believed John was capable of more than he himself ever thought. John wouldn’t want to barge into Sherlock’s life, but the proposition did sound very compelling.

“I could do the same in a hospital, but for the living.” John felt compelled to consider all his options before making a decision. “Help the ones no one else can help. When I worked at Bart’s, there were many instances in which someone was sick, and, after doing all the tests, we still had no idea what was wrong with them. I could be a doctor again. A useful doctor.” John could hear the hope swell in his own voice as his excitement grew.

“You’d be great at it, too.” Sherlock’s genuine smile and honest faith warmed John’s heart.

It was a bizarre notion, but he felt tethered to this man by more than blood or destiny. The ease with which they had surmounted the difficult task of John’s turning had bound them in what had initially felt only like friendship, and the subsequent mind-blowing sex had propelled them into another territory altogether.

John didn’t want to expose his hopes too quickly, but he wouldn’t say no if Sherlock were to request that he stay with him just a bit longer. They could then see how their life would work out, but if their foundation were laid so quickly on such trying circumstances, how well could they build a life together? 

John guided Sherlock to lay back on him again. He buried his face in Sherlock's hair and closed his eyes for a moment. If someone had told him a month ago that vampires existed and that he would become one, he would have laughed in their face. What was more astounding than the preternatural turn of events was the fact that he was considering, or more like hoping, to spend his life with a man. That he would befriend, have sex with,  and feel… feel… John couldn't admit it even to himself, but he knew, he recognized his yearning for Sherlock. He had to tread carefully to protect his heart from being broken.

Sherlock fell silent again and John, looking around for a watch, glanced at Sherlock’s phone on the nightstand. The lock screen glowed with the time, but John found the time to be less interesting than the title of the book on which the phone lay. The battered paperback caught his eye and he picked it up, believing that one could tell a lot about a person by their bookshelf. 

The book was well-loved, and must have been read many times if one were to go by the cracked spine, yellowed pages, dog-eared corners, and notes scribbled in the margins with a pencil. As John turned the pages, he could see several passages underlined as well. He closed it to look at the back cover and read the blurb: A groundbreaking work of science fiction, The Left Hand of Darkness tells the story of a lone human emissary to Winter, an alien world whose inhabitants can choose—and change—their gender.

“You should read it. You might even like it,” Sherlock said into John’s neck without lifting his gaze to see which book John had picked from the stack. 

“Ursula K. Le Guin,” John read the name from the front cover. “I’ve heard of her, but I’ve never felt drawn to science-fiction. I’m more of an adventure reader.”

“That’s why I said you’d like this one; it is an adventure story as well.” Sherlock lifted his head and laid it on John’s pec. “I read it when it came out in March 1969, and it was quite the experience. It was very unique, especially for that time.” 

Prompted by the statement, John imagined Sherlock in late 60s fashion, dressed in colourful clothes, but with his hair as it was now, curly and past his ears. He’d bet that Sherlock could pull that look off and be just as stunning as he’d been every single second John had known him. John smiled to himself. He looked at the book in his hand and opened a random page with an underlined quotation:

The Gethenians do not see one another as men or women. This is almost impossible for our imaginations to accept, ” John started reading aloud this time and looked at Sherlock for clarification.

“The Gethenians are the alien species living on the planet of Gethen,” Sherlock explained and nodded at John to continue reading the book.

“(...) there is no division of humanity into strong and weak halves, protected/ protective. One is respected and judged only as a human being. ” John finished another underlined quote and closed the book. “What a concept,” he concluded with awe, glancing at Sherlock as he understood why this particular novel was his favourite.

“Indeed.” 

Sherlock rolled away from John and lay his head back on the pillow, looking at the ceiling. In the process of putting his hands behind his head, he showcased his whole body, making John notice for the first time a badly healed scar under his ribs on his right side. John found himself tracing the line with his fingertips as the quotes he’d read aloud echoed in his head. Duality meant something for him as well, not to the same degree it did to Sherlock, but it was a monumental point for him to acknowledge nonetheless. 

“I can sense your turmoil. Are you contemplating your bisexuality again?” Sherlock asked, arching his midriff slightly towards John’s touch. 

“Am I so easy to read?” John focused on the scar to avoid looking at his Maker, lest his face should give more evidence of his thoughts.

“Not quite, but I can get the gist of what you’re feeling right now.” He took John’s hand from his ribs and held it in both of his as he sat up. John looked up then to see that Sherlock's magnificent eyes were full of empathy. “You can love more than one gender and I can identify as more than one gender. Discard the labels, or embrace the new ones, but be who you really are.” Sherlock’s gaze emanated the gravity of the conversation. “It took me decades to accept myself. Don’t think it was easy, but it was worth it.”

John could only nod, trying to feel all of Sherlock through their new bond to metaphysically touch the determination he witnessed in his Maker’s stare. He wished someone had said the words he’d just heard from Sherlock a long time ago so that he could have maybe lived his life as freely as he felt now. Then again, all his past decisions had led him to this moment, so he would never regret a single forthcoming second. The unique connection he had with Sherlock felt like something he had been missing and anticipating for his whole life. Just thinking that way scared him. The John Watson of the past had always been cautious, unwilling to jump into a relationship too quickly. Looking at Sherlock now, he knew he was gone past the point of no return. 

“I felt you,” John said, then realised he wasn’t being clear enough. “I could sense how you felt.” John touched his chest with his free hand to point to the epicentre of his emotion, even though Sherlock’s energy had been present in his whole body at the moment of their ultimate connection. “I can't sense you now,” he admitted, as he tried to figure out how to re-establish the connection they’d lost.

“The sexual act heightened our bond as we experienced it together. You can block it or distort it with ease, except when I really want you to feel it.” Sherlock dropped John’s hand and moved to prop his back against the headboard. 

“When you said that we will always be connected, I didn’t realise-”

“I’m shielding myself from you now, so you don’t have to worry about that. I learned to block my Maker quite quickly, and I’m sure you can do the same without me needing to do it for you.” There was hurt and a note of anger in Sherlock’s voice. John was unsure whether it was for him or for Sherlock's Maker, but the return to aloofness worried him.

“That's not what I meant. It was overwhelming but… good.” The cerebral sensations had been intense, but John had also experienced the uncanny feeling of being emotionally open, not needing to verbally communicate what he wanted. It was freeing and he hoped to explore it more and to more deeply know his Maker. “I'd like to know how-”

“What is it that you want to know? I’ve told you everything by now.” Sherlock's mood had turned dark quickly and John couldn't place what was wrong. 

“I still don't know anything about you,” John answered sincerely, risking being pushed away even though he knew it would hurt.

“Why would you want to know things about me?” Sherlock frowned and John's heart broke at the sound of the honest bewilderment in Sherlock's voice. As if there hadn't been anyone interested in his personal story before.

“You know about my sister,  my military career, all that.” John shrugged, lifting one shoulder and letting it drop, giving Sherlock a solid reason to reciprocate with personal information. “I think friends should know about each other.”

“Since when are we friends?” Sherlock scoffed as he crossed his arms, looking quite bemused. His indifference to what had transpired between them both hurt and angered John.

“Why are you like this all of a sudden?” John had had enough pussyfooting around Sherlock’s foul mood. 

“Like what?” Sherlock feigned ignorance.

“I don’t know what I said to anger you, but snapping at me won’t fix it. If you just want me to leave, you can say it without being an arsehole about it,” John fired, gathering the sheets to cover himself to his waist. After the intimacy having evaporated from the room, he didn’t feel like remaining completely naked.

Sherlock fell silent for a moment and even if John couldn’t sense his emotions, he could feel the prickliness dissolve from his features. John recognized when someone was building walls to protect themself, as he’d been known to do exactly the same. 

“Fine,” Sherlock sighed, “what is it that you want to know about me?” He gave John an expectant look. 

Does that mean you want me to stay? Is this a weird apology? Did you sense how I feel about you? Myriad questions swam in John’s head, yet none of them came out.

“How did you get this?” He finally asked, tentatively reaching towards the scar on Sherlock's ribs. 

“It’s a long story. You don’t want to hear it.” 

“Try me,” John challenged with a smirk. “Also, wasn’t it you who told me that I’m basically immortal now?” John sassed in an effort to brighten the mood. 

When Sherlock rolled his eyes, John knew he’d succeeded. 

Chapter Text

Sherlock realised with bewilderment that John had the uncanny ability to turn him back from the brink of sadness and anger and to serenity with his sheer presence. It was possible that Sherlock didn’t have full control over their metaphysical link as he’d previously assumed, and that John could calm him without knowing what he was doing. 

Even after John’s line of questioning, he was unable to stay angry for long. It was hard to believe that John really wanted to know about Sherlock’s past, but if it were his wish, he deserved to know, especially after what they’d experienced together. John had a whole new life in front of him now, so if he wanted to learn one more thing before he set off into the world, Sherlock was willing to indulge him. He had nothing left to give to his fledgeling. Sherlock wasn’t a fool, and he was perfectly aware that John would want to explore his newfound freedom. Even if Sherlock had learned to accept himself, he didn’t expect anyone else to accept him fully, much less stay with him for longer than necessary. John had been given immortality and he was free to go, no longer bound by government, military duties, or taxes to remain trapped in a life with a single path.

“Let me clean up,” Sherlock said, sliding off the bed. He wanted to give John space for an out, so that if he wanted to go he had the time to decide or get ready while Sherlock was in the bathroom.

“Ok. I’ll go second.” John nodded, clutching the sheet as if Sherlock hadn’t seen everything that was underneath it just moments before. 

The remnants of John’s orgasm were sparse and Sherlock managed to wash himself quickly and return to the bedroom. Walking barefoot, he picked up his dressing gown off the floor and slid it on with a soft whoosh of silk. 

John had a bundle of clothes in his hands already and walked to the bathroom, clearly trying not to look at the space where Sherlock’s dressing gown parted. His lust had not been fully satiated. John Watson’s libido was just the tip of the iceberg of qualities that Sherlock was learning to adore a lot more than he cared to admit.

It had proven to be extremely hard to keep his feelings at bay when it came to the soldier who had become such an important part of his life within just a few days. Being so careless with his emotions had probably been the biggest mistake he’d made with John, but it was a mistake he would never regret. 

John had surprised Sherlock the night they met, and had kept doing so over and over. His wit and bravery were astounding, yet it was his empathy that had finally penetrated the walls Sherlock had been so careful to keep up. He’d known John’s interest in him was genuine when they had intercourse; he’d been able to sense it clearly. However, the logical assumption was that once they were done, John would want to move on. He had had the use of Sherlock's powers and of his body, so he should have been on his way by now. Against all odds, however, John had not only stayed in bed, but he’d also insisted on further conversation. Sherlock had blocked the flow of information along the preternatural thread that connected them in order to spare John the turmoil that travelled through his mind, and so that the feelings that only intensified when their connection bloomed wouldn’t betray Sherlock by becoming known to John.

He’d thought he’d been ready to say goodbye to his fledgeling after the feeding at the club. He’d been dead wrong, and he had realised it only after John revealed his vulnerable side when it came to his sexuality. It was then that Sherlock had decided that one sexual act would not make his attraction to John more intense, but rather should make it easier to part ways, that it would serve as a final goodbye, a token by which to remember each other. It was a rare occurrence for him to be so wrong twice in one day.

If John were still hesitant to leave, hearing Sherlock's story would surely be the element that would push him over the edge. Sherlock prided himself on being a rational creature and it would be better for John to leave now than torment Sherlock with his delicious presence longer, and eventually leave anyway. He’d been used to a lonely existence for over a century, yet somehow the thought of a life without John Watson pained him.

John came out of the bathroom with his face wet as if he’d been splashing it with water. He wore a plain white vest that was a part of the set of clothes Sherlock had acquired for him and snug black boxer briefs. His strong arms and powerful thighs looked delicious as he walked in a sure, military strut. He’d been at the peak of his physical prowess when he’d been shot and the process of turning had only enhanced the features he must have worked hard to hone. Sherlock’s eyes travelled to the spot where a once-fatal wound was now almost perfectly healed with only a small mark remaining. 

“Scars tell a story. Yours does, and so does mine,” Sherlock started saying when John joined him, sitting on top of the duvet. “The worst scars, however, are those you can’t see. The scars hidden in one’s head and one’s heart.” John’s face was a mixture of sadness and interest. “I was stabbed once.” Sherlock touched the scar that lay where the last rib on his right side ended.

“Will you tell me the whole story?” John prompted after Sherlock fell quiet for a full minute.

“1887 was not a fortuitous year for me,” Sherlock resumed, knowing retelling the story would be akin to opening old wounds. “My parents left my older brother and me for the winter in our mansion under the supervision of our uncle. They had to attend some international affair, and I only learned a decade later which one.” He waved his hand, belittling the turmoil he’d felt the day his parents announced their trip. How he had thrown a fit and locked himself in his room, refusing to eat. “In case something happened to them, all their wealth would go to my brother and me. Mycroft was prepared for it, having been given economics and maths lessons since he was a small child. He’d been the family’s prodigy, while I was the chaotic genius wasting time on ludicrous experiments.” 

Sherlock remembered his father’s wrath when he’d burned the oriental rug in the study, and how his microscope had been confiscated after he had devastated Mummy’s tulip bed in search of bees. “Only weeks into their absence, we received a telegram informing us of our parents' demise.” Sherlock paused, recalling the anguish the news had brought him, the emotional pain that had made him catatonic for days. By contrast, the look on Mycroft’s face when he’d found out was pain mixed with determination. He’d promised Sherlock that he’d take care of them both as well as the estate, and, naive boy that he had been, Sherlock had foolishly believed they would be fine. Sherlock shifted on the bed to sit cross-legged and held onto his ankles. “Mycroft died of pneumonia a month later. My uncle seized the opportunity to announce that both Holmes boys had succumbed to the sickness and perished.”

“What?” John’s gasp of incredulity reminded Sherlock that it was the first time the story of his childhood horrors had left his mouth. He had ever seen another person react with horror to the painful experiences he had been through.

“I was supposed to have been killed, but the servants tasked with the dreadful order couldn’t do it and instead chose to abandon me in central London.”

“Sherlock, I’m so-

“I ended up sleeping on the street.” Sherlock didn’t let John finish. Once the story started flowing from his lips, he wanted to push through to the end. John’s sympathy would make continuing too hard. “A group of homeless children demanded that I give them coin when they saw my fine clothes. Since I had none, they took what was on my back and stabbed me.” He could still remember what they looked like, could recall with perfect clarity the dirty and scared faces of the poor teenage boys. “I woke up bandaged and in a bed - the most uncomfortable bed I’d ever slept on, but it was far better than cobblestones. The man who found me nursed me back to health. He gave me food and shelter, promising employment once I got well.”

“He didn’t keep his promise, did he?” John asked, leaning forward, engrossed in the story.

“Oh, he did,” Sherlock scoffed. “I learned within a week that he was the owner of a male brothel.”

“Please tell me that-” John’s choked voice made it hard for Sherlock to continue, but he had to interrupt him or he wouldn't be able to finish.

“Whatever you want to ask John, I’m fairly certain my answer would be ‘yes’,” Sherlock replied as dryly as he could muster, willing his voice not to break. “I was 16 at the time, but I looked a lot younger. I had fair skin and soft hands, unlike most of the children of the street.” He was unable to look at John as he recalled the horrific events of that time of his life. Instead, he focused on his fledgeling’s fists clenching and unclenching on the sheets. The fact that John was so distraught brought him comfort and gave him the courage to continue.

He had tried running away many times, but the treatment he’d received after he’d been caught had taught him to seek other ways to endure his fate. Quickly enough, he’d deduced what the clientele wanted from him and who liked what, leading to his being desired by the wealthiest of men. Even if that had meant their tastes went beyond what a regular brothel would offer, Sherlock had had to be treated with more care as marred merchandise was bad for business. Especially highly valued merchandise. In time, he’d found pleasure in experimenting with his clothing choices, which had enraptured his clientele immensely. He’d been taken to fancy restaurants and to the theatre, as he had been one of the very few who had known how to present himself and behave in high society. 

“Years passed and along with them, my teenage years and boyish appearance. Thankfully, I was still allowed to help with the books to secure my place in the hierarchy of the establishment. I did the bookkeeping almost from the beginning, after noticing the issues the other boys had when the clients refused to pay, claiming they were in credit. That gave me a sense of freedom and between that and reading any book I could get my hands on, the night work ceased seeming so horrible.”

He’d grown used to the lifestyle and had done everything to forget his home and family. The memories and longing had brought him nothing but suffering, so he’d chosen to focus on bettering his life instead.

“A newcomer to London took a shine to me and offered to buy me.” Sherlock ignored John’s gasp and ploughed through. “I found the idea ridiculous as I didn’t consider myself a slave, but apparently that’s what I was. To be fair though, the owner of the brothel did drive a good bargain before he settled on a steep price for me.”

The Count had kept him in his lavish darkened rooms. The bedroom activities had become more and more elaborate as time passed, and often included the Count drinking blood from Sherlock. For months, or what had felt like months, he’d been entertaining his new master during the night hours and had been chained to the bed during daylight. The Count’s intelligence and strength made him realise quickly that trying to escape would be a foolish move. Instead, he’d bet on gaining the Count’s trust. The time they’d spent varied between sex, discussing books, philosophy, and playing chess. He’d told Sherlock that he was too deliciously intelligent to be drunk from too quickly, as such a vintage should be savoured.

“I didn’t understand the meaning of his fixation on drinking my blood, but I had seen weirder things before, so I paid no heed to it. Only after he gave me his blood did I feel the change in myself and realised something beyond my knowledge was happening.”

“He didn’t explain it to you?” John’s voice had a strained quality to it but Sherlock couldn’t make himself look up just yet. He focused on the leather-bound volumes on his bedroom bookshelf instead.

“I was fully turned when he suddenly disappeared, leaving me chained to the bed. Since I had days to ponder the change in myself, I recognized the need I felt inside as the same the Count felt before he fed on me once I was past my third dose of his blood. The staff of the extravagant hotel that found me days later were not fortunate enough to survive after they released me from my bonds.” The carnage he’d left behind haunted him for years and he shook his head to rid himself of the image before he continued. “A few weeks later, I learned that he didn't leave me but was killed by a bunch of humans hell-bent on revenge.”

Sherlock shrugged with a nonchalance he didn’t feel as he remembered the promise he had made to himself that he would never do what was done to him to anyone else. He’d broken that promise, but at least he’d tried his best to make John’s turning more informed than his own had been. 

Finally, Sherlock raised his eyes to look at his fledgeling whose face was blotched, eyes red and cheeks streaked with fresh crimson tears. Sherlock had made peace with his past, so even if retelling his life’s story still hurt, he had no more tears to shed for it. John’s reaction, however, was another case entirely. 

“Can I…?” John choked out the words as he opened his arms but didn’t move otherwise, waiting for Sherlock's reaction. 

Without a word, Sherlock scooted over and moulded himself into John’s body, basking in the solace that he hadn’t experienced since he’d been escorted from home that night over a hundred years ago. He wasn’t sure if it were John holding him or the other way round, but he tightened his embrace when he felt John’s shoulders shake. It was only then that his own resolve broke and he let himself feel the past injustices he had suffered, and the road he had had to take that had finally led him to John. 

Chapter Text

They stayed in the embrace until John stopped shaking and Sherlock composed himself enough to continue. John’s reaction broke through Sherlock’s defences and he was now aware of the havoc John’s forthcoming departure would wreak on him. By sheer force of will, he managed to keep their link closed to prevent John from experiencing Sherlock’s feelings. The block went both ways. John’s reaction was a clear manifestation of his empathy, but his plans for the future still remained a mystery. 

“It’s all in the past now, John,” Sherlock assured him, knowing part of the statement was a lie. His past was a scar he had to look at from time to time to keep himself grounded and to let himself live fully. He had been hurt in the past, but he had survived and thrived; that was what mattered most. 

“I can’t believe you lived through all that and didn’t try to end your life, when I…” John shook his head, making his stubble scratch Sherlock’s cheek. 

“Who said I didn’t?” Sherlock held onto John even tighter when John tried to pull away. “I was punished for every attempt, so I stopped.” 

“You had better reasons…”

“No, John. No reason for self-destruction is a good one. I know that now, but don’t think I came to that realization overnight.” 

This time, Sherlock let John pull away and their gazes met. The pain and understanding on John’s face were like a fist squeezing Sherlock’s heart. How was it possible for someone so attuned to Sherlock to exist? And that connection had been clear even before their bond had bloomed. “I’m sorry I made you say all that. I really appreciate you telling me, though…” John reached for Sherlock’s hand and squeezed it as his words wrapped around Sherlock like a blanket. 

“It was time someone heard it.” Sherlock squeezed back. “On a lighter note, my past has helped me become who I am today.” He shrugged and offered a smile as he truly did feel lighter after telling his lengthy story and receiving John’s support.

John’s lips lifted as well and his eyes sparkled with the thirst for knowledge that Sherlock had gotten used to by now. With the atmosphere lightened a bit, Sherlock continued.

“It was years later when I realised why I liked what you’d call women’s clothing. I’d always enjoyed wearing dresses when at the brothel, but only after I was completely free and immortal could I take the time to process that notion. It had nothing to do with my past, nor with the establishment. The freedom to dress how I wanted showed me that I could be myself, albeit a different self when I feel this way. I can showcase how I feel inside using the medium of clothing.” 

“Do you wear lingerie, too?” John’s eyes went wide when the words left his lips. “I’m sorry, that was inappropriate. Forget I said anything.” His face turned a pretty shade of pink, quickly reminding Sherlock of the way he had looked spread on the bed just an hour ago. He found the notion of anything being inappropriate between them anymore to be simply ludicrous. 

“What did you think I wore tonight?” Sherlock smiled slyly. Sadly, he hadn’t given John a chance to see the suspender belt and stockings he’d worn under the slacks. If he’d known John would enjoy the sight, he’d have played the evening differently. 

“Oh…” John said, leaving his lips parted in a gorgeous expression of fascination. He shook his head as if to clear it and the dazed look turned into questioning one again. “Why me? Why did you turn me? Of all the people in the world, of all the people in that hospital for that matter?” 

Sherlock was sitting on his heels, with his legs tucked under. John’s parted legs were enveloping him in a physical crescent of trust as Sherlock placed his hands on John’s bare ankles. The contact assuaged Sherlock’s previous hesitance at revealing his hand when it came to the reason for John’s turning.  

“I’ve been travelling the world since my turning. At times, I was drifting for months, but I always came back to London. A few weeks before we met, when I was in Egypt, I felt a pull like I’ve never felt before. It was an inner feeling, a call to a certain direction.” Sherlock touched his chest, recalling the bizarre sensation. “I followed it, travelling to Afghanistan, not knowing what I was looking for. I deemed it entirely possible that it could have been my Maker calling for me, even though I was convinced he’s been dead for decades. Searching for the source of that unknown calling, I ran into people who knew about my kind, but were not a part of the inner circle. I was captured and handed over.” Sherlock had never seen this part of his story as dire, as there had been worse things that had happened to him. “They called themselves researchers and scientists, when in reality they were barbarians with medical degrees who were happy to see a live specimen. Long story short, I found myself recovering from injuries that I couldn’t have foreseen after I arrived in the country. I broke free from my captors within days. I needed a lot of sustenance but did not have the strength to endure an 8-hour flight home or to charm my way through a group of strangers to give me their blood. Your field hospital was the third one I had visited. I knew I needed just a bit more blood to fully recover. I decided to ignore the preternatural pull that had brought me there, and booked a plane to London for the following night...” Sherlock fell silent, looking towards the window. He would have never met John if he'd left as he had planned to or even chosen a different hospital.

“What changed your mind? What happened?” John leaned forward to place his hands on Sherlock’s knees, prompting him to continue. Sherlock caressed John’s ankles with his thumbs when he met his gaze and shook his head slightly at the reason he was about to reveal.

“When you opened your eyes, I knew that I had found what I’d been looking for. The pull ceased, the incessant hum inside me stopped. And I knew you had to come with me.” He’d never believed in destiny; he preferred to believe that he could carve out his own future, but the events that had led him to John, and everything that came after, seemed like they were meant to happen. 

“What does it mean?” John asked and Sherlock knew he couldn’t voice his belief out loud. 

“I don’t know. I’ve never seen or heard about that happening, and it was not in the field of study of our kind that I’ve delved into. It’s just not my area. Don’t worry, I don’t think it means you have to stay with me. Maybe you were just meant to be turned.” Sherlock patted John’s calf as a gesture of finality to the story, and stood up. “You know everything now, John. You’re free to go and enjoy yourself. I’ll have your paperwork ready by tomorrow.” He smiled sadly, as he tightened the sash of his dressing gown. It was worth having his heartbeat for John and then shatter at their parting, than to have had it never beat at all. 

Sherlock heard John get off the bed before he felt a hand on his biceps, urging him to turn. John stood in a sure soldier’s stance, with his chin up and determination in his eyes. 

“You promised to make me a whole man again, and you have,” John said with sincerity in his voice. Sherlock nodded in acknowledgement, glad to hear he’d succeeded in his task. “With you, I truly feel more myself than I’ve ever done.” He held Sherlock’s gaze, his cobalt-blue eyes shining. “I’ve never felt so whole in my life.” He placed a gentle hand on Sherlock’s cheek and shook his head before he scoffed. “Why would I ever leave you?”

“I thought you’d want to travel...” Sherlock started but was interrupted. 

“I want to see Venice. Then I’ll be back in London,” John confessed, taking two steps back. Sherlock nodded in understanding, preparing for a goodbye. 

“We could meet again then, or…” John extended his hand towards Sherlock, “...or you could come with me?” John’s hope was clear in his question and Sherlock felt warmth envelop him at the sound. “I've been alone long enough to know I don't want to be figuring out this new life by myself. Will you accompany me?” 

“I thought you’d never ask.” Sherlock placed his hand in John’s and pulled him closer. 

It had been 2:21 am when Sherlock had given John his blood for the first time; he could remember it clearly. He glanced at his watch, which showed the time to be 2:20 am. Placing his palm over John’s sternum, he leaned in and inhaled the intoxicating scent of his companion. Looking at his watch over John’s shoulder, he whispered words that he had never spoken to anyone before as he mentally unlocked the preternatural link between them and let his feelings for John show in full splendour. 

Sherlock grinned, feeling the happiest he’d ever felt in his life as John’s heartbeat was delayed by a full second after he’d registered the words and emotions that hit him through their connection.

 

Epilogue

After arranging John’s paperwork and investing the money he had saved and transferring the rest to an account in the care of “a relative of the same name”, John and Sherlock were ready to embark on their trip to Venice.

Before they left the house, Sherlock noticed a letter in the tray by the door. It was addressed to him in perfect swirly handwriting. He tore it open to see a short note penned on a leaf of embossed paper. 

“I’ve heard so much about you from the dear Count. I have the uncanny feeling we’ve already met. Alas, I’m still looking forward to the pleasure of our official introduction.”

M.”