Disclaimer: Sherlock Holmes belong to Sir ACD and in this reincarnation Moffat, Gatiss and the BBC. We own nothing and are only writing this for fun.

Warning: Vamp!Lock, supernatural themes, some violence, supernatural themes and love between two men. This chapter, Irene Adler, John's jealous and the boys continue to be emotionally constipated idiots.

Love isn't brains children, it's blood.

Part Seven.

"Did she return to the country just for this or did she never really leave?" John didn't know the politics or habits of succubi, all he knew was that Irene Adler was a queen bitch and he was not looking forward to meeting her again. At least this time he wouldn't have to keep a lid on his hunter powers, small favors.

John maneuvered the sleek car with its tinted windows through the streets at Sherlock's instructions, the vampire sitting in the seat next to him.

"I believe she was in Ireland, attempting to seduce one of Dagda's sons. Left here," Sherlock drummed his fingers, face set in irritable lines. He was no more pleased to need The Woman's assistance than John was over having see her, especially not at the moment with everything
so...raw.

"Ireland just keeps dropping in appeal for me, thank goodness for Kieran." John turned left onto a street filled with nearly palace like buildings; of course Irene wouldn't be in a hotel or normal flats.

"Hm. The restaurant is at the end of this block." He'd poked and prodded and annoyed the living daylights out of John to wear something more suited to a five star restaurant but he hadn't wanted the maître-d to try and force John back out. He didn't want to be separated from the hunter for an instant. He felt ridiculous about it but he was almost afraid. He knew he could protect himself against a physical attack but his emotional shields were still damaged right now and that was the biggest danger.

He pulled up outside the restaurant and prodded Sherlock to leave the car so he could hand the keys over to the valet. Sherlock was of course looking absolutely beautiful in his dark suit and silk shirt. John felt like a clown in his suit but he had promised Sherlock to stay with him and he would have done it either way. John was determined to Show Sherlock that he would never leave, always be there and that Sherlock was loved. "The Crimson Bite, fitting name." He gave Sherlock an amused glance.

"It caters to select clientele," he smirked, "Mostly vampires but they're set for any non-humans." he lead the way inside and went up to the maitre'd speaking to him in French and getting some bowing and scraping before they were directed back toward a private dining room.

It was like being back in Afghanistan, walking behind enemy lines. John could feel the looks drilling into his back as they walked through the restaurant. He had a feeling most patrons there would rather slit his throat then let him walk away. It only made his heart beat faster and put a slight bounce in his step. And entering the private dining room, there she was, looking every inch the queen and John felt his hackles rise.

Sherlock had the satisfaction of seeing the anticipation and confidence she was exuding slip just a hair upon spotting John. He also noticed a very swift close down of succubi pheromones and feelers. She'd been more than ready to latch on and suck whatever she could out of him tonight.

"Oh I wasn't aware we'd be having another party. Hello Dr. Watson." Irene covered her fear well, though her heart was beating out a Latin rhythm in her chest. She was not, despite popular belief, a royal succubus or even a noble one. She was simply a very talented common succubus, a hunter; especially one of John Watson's caliber would make mincemeat out of her in seconds.

"Miss. Adler," John bowed his head slightly at her before walking to the table. John held out a chair for Sherlock, partly because he wanted to, wanted to take care of Sherlock and partly because he knew it would throw Irene off. "I must admit it's a surprise to see you again. You're looking lovely as always." John sniffed the air. "Trying on a new perfume? I must admit it doesn't agree with me, I find it stifling and overwhelming...You should be careful with it." He met her eyes.

Sherlock slid a look over at John but sat regardless. Not only would it make Adler think twice about trying to feed on even his ambient energy but it would keep her manipulations at bay. He'd never seen nor felt a succubus cut off every last bit of what made her more than human faster than Adler did in that moment. "Indeed you should be Miss Adler. I'm afraid we're here on business."

She sat down in her own chair, poised to take literal flight if Dr. Watson twitched in her direction. "Are you Mr. Holmes. Well, I fail to see what sort of business you might be summoning me to engage in with you. It appears you have my niche well in hand."

"James Moriarty. What do you know?"

"He blew his brains out of course. Everyone in the Underground knows that."

"True, we're not doubting the bullet in the skull part, after all Sherlock was an eyewitness to that happening." John kept his voice low and pleasant, he didn't have a reason to raise it and sometimes kindness made more of an impact that threats, do he would love to really threaten Irene Adler. "It's the dying part we're questioning and since you were his pocketed succubi you would know where he would go to heal and what his plans really were."

John leaned forward, elbows on the pristine white linen tablecloth. "How about James Murray, what can you tell us about him?"

She leaned back, managing to make it look casual rather than the attempt to get further away from him that it was. "I know that you don't want to go anywhere near him. Jimmy set up a lot of protections for his dear little brother, not all of them human."

Sherlock tilted his head, "He was aware of the Underground?"

"Very. He had a couple of shifters in his direct employ but he did a great deal of outsourcing. Witches, warlocks, junkie vamps, Unseelie, if it has a dark side, Jim had one do a job at some point."

John didn't get it, the Underground wasn't all that eager to work for a human and money usually didn't matter all that much for them so why were they working for Moriarty? "Why would they work for him? Why would you? You have money and power, working with Moriarty did nothing good for you...Just put you on my radar." He gave the succubi a slow smile.

Her hand, curled around a wine glass, clenched a bit before she tsked, "Really now Dr. Watson. It's simple. Mr. Holmes has already figured it out after all."

"Well Sherlock's always been the brains. I'm more than happy being the strength protecting that brain. Besides I asked you, I'm sure Sherlock will tell me later." John kept his voice even and his body language relaxed.

Sherlock reached over and squeezed John's knee as Adler's jaw set. He didn't want her refusing to help and just leaving out of intimidation. "Moriarty's safehouse. Where is it?"

"Call off the guard dog and I'll tell you." She took a sip of her wine.

"Miss. Adler, I'm as off as I can get. If I was out to get you...believe me you would know it." John smiled again. "I'm just here with my Sherlock, enjoying a drink with a beautiful woman."

"And the entire Underground knows how well a Watson handles their drink." She jerked in surprise when it was Sherlock who responded to that, with a dark hiss and clear display of fangs.

"No. Games. Unless you'd like me to arrange for my brother to speak to Lilith about you."

John sent Sherlock a look from the corner of his eye and placed his hand over Sherlock's where it rested on his knee. "I'd listen to Sherlock if I were you Miss. Adler. Mycroft is really not happy with you and Lilith and he do have monthly meetings, the only reason you haven't been up for discussion yet is Sherlock, you owe your life to him and you know it."

Her lips compressed into a thin line, "Jim had, has, a lot of safe houses. The closest is near Stonehenge."

"Thank you, see that wasn't so hard was it and doesn't it feel good doing the right thing? You'll be wearing a cape of justice before long." John couldn't even pretend to be polite to the succubi in front of him any longer. He didn't like her, never would.

"Go to hell Dr. Watson. You may not like the way I live my life but you've no right to judge it considering how you handle your own." She had one particularly excellent talent and that was speed, she was out of her chair and at the open window in a blink, "In a relationship with a vampire so emotionally damaged that the right flick in the right place will bring him crashing down and take you with him? You're a fool. People as broken as Sherlock Holmes aren't fit for anything but to be used, they certainly aren't fit to be loved." That said she was gone, flying out the window and into the night. Leaving behind a larger tear in Sherlock's armor.

"Bitch!" John's voice was filled with loathing and he wished he could have gotten his hands on her and snapped that slender little neck. No one had a right to talk about Sherlock that way, no one. He kept his hand on top of Sherlock's, he wouldn't allow the other to pull away. "She'll get what's coming to her and you'll still be brilliant long after she's gone."

But brilliance was not stability. He hated it but Adler was right. He wasn't fit to be loved and would only bring John down with him when he finally collapsed in on himself. It was a measure of how selfish he was that he didn't push John away. "I don't doubt that she'll soon find herself in mortal peril. She's not particularly powerful among her kind, especially not now."

"Sherlock..." John's voice lowered and he turned to catch the vampire's eye. "I'm here because I want to be. I choose to be by your side and trust you with everything I am because I know how incredible you are, not only brilliant but amazing and kind as well. That's why I'm here with you, why I'll always be with you...I choose to be."

Sherlock was saved from answering by his phone chiming, a demand from his brother for an update. For once he wasn't irritated because he had no idea how he could have or should have answered John's statement.

'Look for a place near the Stonehenge vortex you fat bastard.'

'On it, Moriarty knows the Stonehenge clouds our instincts, damn rat. Also, Greg didn't shoot me. -M'

'Does he know about bloodbonding yet?'

'Are you ready to tell John everything? - M'

'Piss. Off. And there is still time for Lestrade to shoot you.' He put his phone away, bad temper written on his face. He'd like to go down to St. Bart's morgue and pick up a body part or two to experiment on so he could put everything else aside for a time. "I suppose we'd best be getting back."

"I suppose so." John fished out his wallet and paid for the wine. There wasn't much to say right now but he was glad he had said what he had. He meant it, every word and he would continue to tell Sherlock until he believed it.

Back in the car Sherlock fidgeted and twitched as notes began filtering through his mind. He pulled out a pad and pen from the glove compartment and began scribbling the continued composition down. His fingers nearly itched to get to his violin and just get all of this out, get it into the air and out of his head, heart, and soul so it didn't have to hurt as much.

John drove them back to Mycroft's compound quickly. He didn't believe anyone could see Sherlock through the tinted windows but there was no need taking chances. Driving into the underground garage he returned the car to Thomas and planned to go through some medical journals or spending his evening watching garbage telly.

Sherlock was out of the car as soon as the engine had been turned off and, with a short wave at Thomas and a barely there, selfish touch on John's arm, he was off and rushing to the suite and his violin. A music stand had been delivered and he put the Taedia composition up, tucking his violin under his chin and immediately beginning to work through the notes echoing in his mind.

After having changed out of the dreaded suit in the bathroom, John walked out and sat down on the couch with a few medical journals in his lap. As always Sherlock's playing was beautiful but there was something haunting and painful in his notes this time and it made John's heart clench. Gods he wanted to make it better for Sherlock but he still didn't know how. For now he hoped that him being there would help, at least some.

Slow, bleeding notes were nearly wrenched from his fingers but soon gave way to a frantic, panic of notes, an outrunning of demons, that fell into a spiral of dark, low tones, loneliness and guilt. By the time he'd played out the new pieces of Taedia that had been born in his mind during the ride here, he was breathing hard and his hands were actually shaking.

John put away the journals and watched Sherlock with furrowed brow. He got off the couch and walked over to where Sherlock was playing, standing behind him and wrapping his arms around Sherlock's too slender waist and resting his forehead between Sherlock's shoulder blades.

He jolted, not expecting contact at all, but didn't try to pull away. "John?"

"Just let me hold you, please." John didn't move, just kept his arms around him and his brow resting against his back.

Sherlock closed his eyes, hands carefully setting his violin and bow down before marking the new part then he stood quiescent in the circle of John's arms. John had never held him before, the night they'd been reunited he'd held John, so this was something different. When was the last time he'd ever been held? When Lestrade was helping him through the withdrawal? He'd not exactly been coherent then. What was he supposed to do when someone held him?

John could feel how tense Sherlock was, like the string of his bow. "It's okay Sherlock; you don't have to do anything." He squeezed his arms a little around Sherlock's waist and shifted so his cheek was resting against the taller man's back. He pressed himself against Sherlock, trying to give him warmth, comfort and security as best he could.

Slowly, very, very slowly, the shaking of his hands stilled and he relaxed. The music had provided the catharsis he'd needed but had left him vulnerable and open. John guarded his back, as he always did. It made him want to cry, something he'd not done since Mycroft had refused to take him with him upon assumption of the title of Master Vampire. He wouldn't, he'd kept himself from tears for centuries and he wasn't going to change that now even if he knew John wouldn't turn his back on him and leave if he did.

John didn't know how long he stood there, time didn't matter. He just held on to Sherlock, holding on and keeping him safe for as long as Sherlock would allow it. This was all about Sherlock, all about making him see that John wasn't going anywhere, he would always be there no matter what and he would always, always love Sherlock, just for who he was.

It's comfort and a feeling of home just being held like this by John. It stills something in him, in his chaotic mind and even more chaotic heart. He's not thinking at the moment nor is he drowning in emotions he'd tried for centuries to make believe he didn't have. For now, for a moment, he just is.

Of course it doesn't last, that's why they're called moments, because they end. And this one ended with a knock on the door.

With a deep sigh and a sudden urge to hurt whomever was on the other side of the door severely, John reluctantly let go of Sherlock and walked across the room to open the door.

"Evening John." Greg stood casually in front of the army doctor, as if he hadn't been dealt a bleeding lip the last time he'd seen him.

Okay so he couldn't hurt Greg, not again, no matter how much he wanted to. He still hadn't forgiven the other man for losing faith in Sherlock, for not sticking up for him when it mattered the most. John grunted at Greg in greeting and held the door open for him walking back to his medical journals without a word.

Sherlock looked over at the DI as he approached, "Lestrade."

"Sherlock. You look decent for someone we buried."

"Is this an attempt at a guilt trip Detective Inspector?"

"Maybe," Greg paused a beat or two then pulled Sherlock into a hug, "Crazy arse bastard. Do not do something like this again."

Sherlock was frozen, completely uncomprehending. The 'insults' didn't sting because of the affection that was almost tangible in them. "I do not intend to." He stepped back, relieved when Lestrade didn't hold tight and let him. "Thank you, for the call."

Greg shrugged, "You didn't take the bloody hint and go out for dinner though did you." It was pure exasperation, "Stubborn, always breaking the rules."

"It was an exceptional situation. Otherwise there would have been no need to break the rules."

John listened to the two men talk but he stayed silent. He was glad that Sherlock had Greg, that Greg had taken care of Sherlock over the years but he still felt like being pissy so he was.

"Mycroft tell you about James Murray?"

"What, King's College?" Sherlock gave a quirk of his head.

"Yeah."

"Of course he did. We decided it was more logical for one of his minions to interview him. However that may need to be postponed considering..."

"Considering what?"

"A source, informed us that Moriarty had other non-humans working with him and that there are numerous protections on his brother."

"Shifters among other non-humans." So much for John staying quiet. "Even a minion should move with caution, if someone should interview Jamie Murray it should be a hunter, meaning it should be me, since I'm here and available and you might find another quite hard to persuade to work for you...Well give my sister enough booze and she'll do anything but that's beside the point."

"Bad idea," Greg shook his head, "Whoever's on guard duty of Murray is probably on the lookout for you John. You'd be caught and abducted to God knows where before you can say Bob's your Uncle and really, can we not have you kidnapped? Bad things tend to happen."

"Frankly Greg, I don't give shite what you think. You have no idea what I'm capable of and I really don't think you want to know." John stayed on the couch but there was a bite in his voice.

The DI shrugged, catching sight of Sherlock's shoulders starting to tense, "Do as you like, I reserve the right to say I told you so. I'll see you later Sherlock, I've got a night shift." He waved and left the suite to the silence of those inside it.

John looked at the closed door and then at Sherlock. "You know I'm right even if you don't agree with me you know I'm right. They may be looking out for me but they won't know what I can do. It's the logical course of action, logic you've taught me."

"We don't know if they're aware of your abilities or not." It wasn't an argument, simply a statement of fact as he made his way to sit in a chair by the window. "The Woman knew of your family she may have shared that information. Again, too many unclear variables." He brought his hands up in their steeple formation, "I don't know if we even need to speak with the brother anymore. The Woman gave up a safe house."

Picking at his nails, John looked up at Sherlock. "I just want you to be able to stop hiding. You hate it, you hate everything about it and you shouldn't have to do it. It's bloody wrong and if I can do something to help than I will, regardless of what anyone tells me."

"My freedom is not worth your life John. I would greatly prefer if we face a minimal about of damage."

"I want minimal damage too but don't you see?" John kept Sherlock's gaze. "To me, your freedom and happiness is worth everything." After his conversation with Thomas, John was done hiding; he wanted Sherlock to know just how he felt about him.

What Sherlock heard in John's tone made his heart stutter then start beating faster and he jerked to his feet, "I'm going to get something from the kitchen. We didn't eat at the restaurant." He was out the door before John would have had time to process what he'd said. He couldn't. He was beginning to suspect that John might feel more for him than friendship but he couldn't let him. If he kept John from saying it out loud they could ignore it, brush it under the rug, and nothing would have to change. He couldn't let John admit what he was feeling out loud to him. He couldn't saddle John with what he was. He was poison and the last thing he wanted was to be the poison that killed John.

John fell backwards on the couch with vibrant curses. What the fuck was he going to do to make Sherlock see that he was serious, to make Sherlock stop running?

Hettie took one look at him as he entered the kitchen and pulled him into a chair and going after a chilled bag of blood. She placed it in front of him and pressed a kiss to his curly hair. "Oh dear boy, what am I going to do with you? Come on, tell Hettie everything."

He bit into the corner of the bag, "It's nothing that won't sort itself out given time." In time John would forget about feelings for him and find one of those insipid girlfriends who could put up with him taking so much of John's time. In time John would settle down and have a family of little hunter children with blond hair and their mother's eyes and it would rip Sherlock apart even as he went through the motions of being happy for John. But it was better that way, safer for John.

Hettie looked at him with knowing eyes and sat down at the other side of the table. Sherlock hadn't spoken out loud but he didn't need to, Hettie had known him since he was born. "What if he does then Sherlock? What if he does get tired of waiting and trying and settles? What if there's an accident, anything can happen you know. John could die without ever knowing that you love him back."

His hand shook on the bag, "Better for him not to know. The people I love get only death and pain by caring for me Hettie." That was truth, even Thomas and Hettie had suffered when the former council leader had taken exception to a teenage Sherlock airing his dirty laundry. They'd protected him, and lost the chance for a child in the process. "If I were less selfish I'd leave altogether."

"Do that and I will hunt you down and rip your ears off." Hettie's eyes flashed. "There are no guarantees in life Sherlock, not even ones as long as ours. This death and pain thing is pure bullshit. I'm a better person for loving you, so is Thomas and Mycroft...though he has issues of his own. You take what you are given and you hold on to it with both hands for as long as you can. Do you know why Thomas and I haven't bloodbonded fully? It's because I'm still afraid that he's going to wake up one day and realize he's settled, that he could have so much more. I know he's worth more than me but that won't keep me away from him, won't keep me from loving him for as long as he'll let me. Don't ruin your life Sherlock, please don't."

He shook his head, "You're different Hettie. You're normal; you understand normal emotions and the ways to talk to people. Thomas never settled when you mated and he'll never stop loving you. I'm not normal Hettie and I never have been. I can't be." And he refused to ruin John's life by trying to live his.

"Oh sweetheart, who cares about normal? You care, you feel deeper than most people and that why it's hurting so much. I'm not as normal as you think I am. You have no idea the mess I was when my Thomas found me, what I'd been through and you won't know because that's between him and me but it took a lot of time, a lot of patience and love for me to trust him and love him." Hettie looked down at the tabletop. "No one is perfect, we all have problems but everyone deserves love...You more than most and you have a good man loving you. Every time you push him away you hurt him, the it's better for him that's bull. It's not only your own heart you are breaking."

He stood up, shaking his head, "Thank you for the blood. If it's not any trouble would you send John some dinner up?" He wasn't going to argue with her any further but he was right and wouldn't hear anything further. She was normal, thought normally, reacted to whatever trauma she'd had in her life normally, she felt normally and if there was one thing he had come to know from a very early age, it was that he was anything but normal. Sally Donovan was right, he was a freak, even for a vampire.

"Of course, I'm not going to let Johnny starve just because you are a stubborn git." Hettie sighed and got up too, taking hold of Sherlock's arm so she could pull his head down and kiss his cheek gently. "I love you Sherlock Holmes, have since the day you were born and will continue to do so until my last breath. I love you."

He didn't answer verbally, just squeezed her elbow gently and escaped out the kitchen door to walk around the trees on the property.

Thomas came out from where he'd hidden in the shadows and went over to his mate, wrapping his arms around her, "Silly woman."

"You knew that when you married me. It's a woman's prerogative to be silly." Hettie, placed her hands over his on her waist and leaned back against him.

He kissed the top of her head, "One day ya're gonna wake up an' realize that I'm no' goin' anywhere. I c'n wait, got eternity." He sighed, "Himself though doesna now does he? Idiot fool."

"I hope Dr. Watson will be able to get through to him...Lord knows I haven't and I've tried for centuries. I wish we could do something...I hate our little boy hurting like this." Hettie had long since claimed both Mycroft and Sherlock as her own. God knew that the people birthing them didn't deserve such lovely boys. She turned in Thomas embrace and wrapped her arms around him. "I love you my Tommie, in case I haven't told you today."

"I love ya too my Hettie, my pretty lass," he gave her a squeeze, "If the lad's doctor could corner him for long enough ta talk it oot we might have some hope."

"If that is what it takes and if Mikey doesn't meddle soon I will lock them up myself and sit on the key until they are happily mated." There was a tone of stubborn steel in her voice.

"Aye tha's my Steel Rose." He kissed her ear.

She kissed him back, making things a little more heated before wiggling out of his hold. "As much as I love a good snog with my handsome highlander I have a hunter doctor to feed."

"I'll just hold the rest for ya til bedtime then." He tugged gently on a lock of her hair.

"You do that love." She beamed at him and ran her fingertips over his cheek. "One stubborn boy not thinking he deserves love and one who's starving himself, whatever are we going to do?"

"Be sneaky," he winked at her, "Speakin of our starvin lad, I'd best be givin' him tha report on tha auto tune ups. Mayhap scold him a bit."

"Good man, meet you in our quarters later." She gave him another quick peck before going to prepare a tray of food for Dr. Watson.

To be continued…