Chapter 1 - The Deal

Dr John Watson dug through the earth frantically. Near deafening howls filled the air, but there were no screams - not yet. He might still have a chance of saving Sir Henry Baskerville from the fate which had befallen his uncle, Sir Charles.

He had gone to the crossroads, as the legends had said, and he had everything he needed - the yarrow, the cat bone, graveyard dirt and a photo of himself. It was his old army photo, taken back when his shoulder and leg were unscarred and his back was straight with hope and pride. Ignorant bliss indeed. He had changed a great deal since then and he could only hope that the photo would still work. Breathing heavily, he shoved the unearthed dirt back on top of the objects and stood, scanning the darkness around him and striving to ignore the horrific howls that echoed across the moors.

"Dr John Watson," a voice purred and a shadowy figure strode from the darkness. "What a pleasant surprise."

Whatever he had been expecting, it was not the woman who stood smiling pleasantly before him. Her hair was as dark as his Mary's had been fair, and her skin looked more suited to the hotter climates he had experienced in Afghanistan than to the bitter chill of Dartmoor.

"I- I have come on behalf of Sir Henry," he stammered.

"Ah yes, Henry." Her smile widened and her eyes flickered briefly to a shade of red that sent a shudder of terror through him. "Handsome young man. Excellent lips..." She licked her own, clearly revelling in the memory. "Of course a lot can change in ten years. What does Sir Henry have to tell me?"

"Call off the hound," Watson said, his voice far braver than how he felt. "Release Henry from his contract."

"An interesting proposition... but hardly an enticing one. Tell me Doctor Watson, what will I get in return?"

"I will give you anything," Watson said, boldly. "Name your price."

"Anything?" She echoed, as though she doubted it. "There is only one commodity I am interested in. So my deal is this - your soul for Sir Henry's."

"M- my soul?" Watson swallowed, nervously. He had not been expecting this. "I... I was under the impression you and Sir Henry courted, for a time. Surely you-"

She threw back her head and laughed, a loud, jarring sound when set against the wind whipping around them and the howling that was growing steadily more furious. "Please Dr Watson, if you think there is any sort of good feeling between Sir Henry and me, I can assure you it is purely a physical attraction." She took a moment to chuckle at Watson's blush, before continuing, "His family has been making deals with me for years. Started all the way back with good old Hugo Baskerville in the 1700s, but then I'm sure you know all about that."

"That- that was you?"

"Oh yes," she replied. "But back to the point, Dr Watson. Your deal." She surveyed him for a moment, and Watson shifted uncomfortably under her stare, unsure what to say next. "You know there's something I like about you. So I'll do you a favour. Your soul for Sir Henry's, with 10 years until I collect- and," she added, before he had the chance to interrupt, "something else. A resurrection, perhaps?"

Watson froze. "What... what do you mean, exactly?"

"Come now, Doctor," the demon teased, leaning in to softly murmur, "I know what you've lost..."

Watson thought of Mary, and of Holmes. He looked to the demon, cautious. "You could bring them back?"

"Only one," she answered. "There are limits, even to my generosity." Seeing his grave expression as he considered the impossibility of making such a choice, she said, "Think about it. If you take the deal you save Sir Henry, you bring back a loved one you thought lost and you have ten wonderful years together. If you don't then you'll have a lonely life, filled with the knowledge that you could have saved them, but didn't. Your choice."

There was a pause, as Watson considered this. The wind was still blowing and the Hound was still bellowing in anger - until suddenly a man's screams joined the cacophony.

"It will have to be Holmes," Watson said abruptly. "The body was never found. There will be fewer questions raised."

"Are you agreeing to my deal?"

"Yes, yes I agree - quickly!" he urged, as the Baronet let out a particularly raw yell. "Do it!"

She seized his cheeks with an unnaturally strong grip, and brought his jaw to her own in a passionate kiss. After a few seconds she withdrew from the embrace, leaving Watson stunned. It took only a few seconds for him to register that both the barking of the Hound and the tortured screams of Sir Henry had faded away.

"See you in ten years, Doctor," the demon said, walking away. "And be sure to tell Sir Henry that Beryl sends her love."

Watson opened his mouth, about to protest at her sudden exit, but she had already disappeared.