The Holmes family, a family for which I am patriarch, lord and master, is a strange one. Strange in that - despite its elusiveness and indifference to the outside world and, indeed, Sherlock's life - it has produced possibly the most extraordinary man that I have ever met. He is no doubt the most impossible one. I cannot imagine meeting anyone who could be quite so remarkable.
He is a solitary man, a man who once seemed without a heart, which is certainly saying something coming from a man once called the 'Ice Man'. He has always seemed impossible to me, ever since I was a child. So graceful and beautiful that even I, who sees him as a brother, cannot not deny that beauty. He has never seemed to share that notion, however. He cannot see what, arguably, most people who cross his path are struck with like a bolt of lightening. He does not see the flirtatious smiles sent his way by pretty girls - and boys, for that matter. Nor does he notice the instant respect and interest his aristocratic features earn him. All that he can see when he looks in the mirror is the same repulsive face that he was born with. Objectively, he can see that the physical imperfections are gone, but the mental scars will never leave him.
When I see him, however, I see the man who returned to my life not long ago. A man who looks as if he were crafted instead of born. Can I even call him a man? He seems to be akin to a god in many respects. His features are too sharp and defined to be born of a mortal woman, and his eyes sparkling with terrible knowledge. A woman once for me that his top lip looked sharp enough to cut, but that she would gladly bleed a thousand rivers for just one kiss. I cannot say that I fail to see what she means. He is a work of art, born of science and passion. It has simply taken many hard, painful years, filled with arduous work and research to make him into the masterpiece we see today.
For when I say that he looks as if he were crafted, the truth is that this was indeed the case; he was born at the hand of a mortal god - Victor Frankenstein. There was only one thing the scientist could not grant the creature that finally drove him to his graves for his misdeeds. A soul. That spark of life was dull and lacking, as it would no doubt be in any artificial creature, and there was only one man who could ever breathe real life into the beast. I knew that man was who we had waited for—who Sherlock had waited to find for nearly two hundred years—the second I saw him. We both saw through the plain and ordinary façade, right to the extraordinary man beneath the woollen jumper. He was the one who could grant a soul when not even the genius creator could. But then Victor had never been the most feeling of men. I suppose it is a trait passed down our family, since neither Sherlock nor I can boast a great amount of emotion or compassion. It is a source of great frustration for both of our partners.
But I am getting ahead of myself. I feel far more free to speak here in my private notes. In everyday life, I guard my secrets close to my chest, as my family taught me — hold your cards tight and only play them when it is to your advantage, I was told. Never play a card in the heart suit though. They are to be locked away at all times.
Perhaps I should tell you about my family. I doubt you will know much otherwise. Shame has made us secretive. You may know a small amount about them from their philanthropy, the charities they are patrons to and the businesses they own. Perhaps you've passed the magnificent - if slightly dilapidated by our usual standards - manor in countryside or the much larger estate in the Oxford, where I go on my summer retreats. You may even know of the Holmes, née Frankenstein, Manor in Geneva. One thing you will certainly know about is 221B in Baker Street, or else you wouldn't be here. However, I doubt you know much more about us than that. Most of the papers detailing our existence and dark past were tracked down and burnt long ago. In fact, this is probably the only record on paper of Sherlock's story. With him gone—at least for now—the duty falls to me to write some form of history. He will most likely burn it when, or rather if, he returns. It was after all him who destroyed all the original copies detailing his existence.
But for now this is the only record. Everything else is gone. All to hide the "shameful" business that was Sherlock's involvement in our lives.
It all started in Ingolstadt, Germany, during the year of 1818. At the time, we were not the Holmes family. Instead, we lived under our true family name, the name of our ancestors going back for hundreds of years — a tradition killed by that horrible business. This name was Frankenstein, but it was those sired by Alphonse Frankenstein and his line that would carry the surname Holmes instead. Alphonse was an intelligent and caring man, if not entirely understanding of his eldest son and the work he was doing. In total, there were three sons and a niece in his household by Lake Geneva: Victor, Elizabeth, William and Ernest., I shall allow you to decipher which one was the niece and which of them were the sons.
Victor was the eldest, and he later married the niece in a union that would end in sorrow. William, the second youngest, died far before his time and not from the common childhood illnesses of the times. He died, instead, at the hand of what most would call a monster. I once shared that very same sentiment, after hearing the bedtime horror stories told by my guardian. I was always terrified by the tales, I believed whole-heartedly that the creature was a terrible monster to be hated and shunned. Then I came to know the monster and how young William truly died. Now I feel only sympathy for the one who killed him.
Only Ernest, whose anonymity arguably saving his life, survived to carry on the family name. Although, I suppose he did the exact opposite. He renounced the family name to save face, after Victor had brought shame upon it. Victor was driven mad, you see. He carried out experiments, which some would call ungodly, in the name of science; the chief of which created a creature that would drive him to the brink of insanity and push him off into the black abyss. Although, some people claim that Victor created neither monster nor bride. Rather, they believe that it was a hallucination and that Victor killed young William, the beautiful girl in Scotland, and his wife in that same insanity. It would certainly take a mad man to walk through blizzards and Hell in search of a creature that no-else believed in, only to drop dead in the process.
It was these acts of insanity that brought shame to the Frankenstein name, and when their father died of grief and Ernest took his title, it was with a heavy heart that he returned to the world as a Holmes, ensuring that his descendants would be respected once more. It was a painful decision for such a young man to have to make, cutting away the one thing that tied him to his departed siblings. Often, he felt as if the weight of the world were on his shoulders. Not long after, he married and had many children, one of whom would be involved in a scandal that would eventually lead to my branch of the family tree, but that is a story for another time.
All you need to know is that, many years later, I am writing this to you. Not much has changed since then; we still own our estates in Geneva and the little run-down manor house where Victor studied whilst in England. We also own the large estate bought by Ernest, when he moved to England to escape his family's reputation. I am the last remaining tie to the Frankenstein lineage except for one, who is arguably the true possessor of my titles and estate.
I know that many do not count Victor's creature as his son, or even a man, but he was after all created by Victor. His heart beat for Victor's, the creature loved Victor as a father, he was the scientist's pride and was Victor's son in all but genetics— he would have inherited the family fortune and titles if it had been a more conventional conception. Victor might not have acknowledged it but that creature was his child to care for, though he sorely neglected the former duty. Victor should see him now — as the immortal wonder he has become, who is still going strong and growing more perfect with every passing day. Perhaps the reluctant father would weep with joy and pride; maybe now he would see that he has created a real man and not the shadow that he had first looked upon. He might be proud for the wrong reasons, proud of his own accomplishments and genius rather than those of the creature, but at least he would be proud, as any father would and should be.
So there is an heir to the estate far more deserving than I: the child of the eldest son. However, Sherlock renounced his title as Victor's creature and son long ago, when he adopted the name he chose for himself. He granted himself the luxury that Victor Frankenstein had never seen fit to give him, even at the end of his life, and Sherlock took his family's new surname. I suppose he wanted the family to accept him, but most of them never did until me. I embraced him as my brother and signed every paper saying such. Now he is safe to live his life in peace and will never have to leave the side of the Holmes again. So while he might hate me and my interference, he will never turn me away. After all that waiting, he is finally part of Victor's family.
Well, until he jumps ship and joins the Watsons.
AN. This chapter was marvellously edited by Linebreaker, I've already learnt a lot and we've only done this chapter so far!