This story has Alpha/Beta/Omega Dynamics- Google that for a full explanation if you need it. The Omega has heats, and there will be a lot of aggression and dominance coming from the Alphas. Betas are basically neutral. The vampire twist in this particular story is an element I added via prompting from friends.
Warnings: vampires so there's mentions of blood-drinking. There will be more of that in Chapter 2. Sex and knotting, eventually. Basically filthy smut. Plenty of mentions of it to start. And chapter 2 will have some violence, though not very explicit.
Thanks for the beta'ing from EmceeFrodis!
The moon rose overhead, full and heavy with promise, and Molly ran.
The stars of the summer sky had vanished into blackness, leaving her nothing to navigate by but the trees and the land below. And on most nights, that was enough for Molly, who loved nothing more than to stretch her legs and sprint through the forests behind her mother's keep. Her nose would lead the way, and her eyes would spot even the smallest creatures slinking through the darkness. She would crawl and she would leap and she would hunt.
But tonight, she was the hunted. And her sensitive nose was lost. The scent of her own heat overwhelmed Molly and she couldn't find her way in familiar woods. The thin gown she wore offered no protection from the sharp branches that slapped and cut her as she ran past. She could only pray that her luck would hold out, and that the one she desired would find her.
And not the one with black eyes and black heart. The one who had driven the situation to this desperate point so quickly, and brought chaos on the territory.
She would fix it somehow. She wasn't a warrior, but her mother had taught her how to choose the right people. She was learned. She would find a way. But for now all she could do was run. Use her knowledge and summon her courage.
But the ache in her traitorous body was interfering…telling her to lie down in the grass and to shed her shift. To stroke herself and feel the gathering wetness between her thighs, the scorching heat that was driving her mad and making her want to sing and scream at the same time. To give in and wait for an Alpha to claim her, to take her right in the grass, knotting her on her knees, uncaring who from the Coven witnessed so long as he made the sickening, burning need go away…
Molly pushed onward, ignoring her confused nose and stumbling through the trees, until she heard a horn and then a half-dozen shouts echoing through the air. She paused for a moment, panic tearing through her. Her eyes widened.
A half-hour already?!
She had covered so little ground, and she was already weakening with the need. She'd thought she would be nearer to the lake and the barns by the time the horn sounded.
Whoever found her and claimed her first would take her, bond her, and lead the Coven with her. Too much was at stake. Molly forced herself to jog again, ignoring the flush of her body.
The barbaric contest shouldn't be as alarming as it was, she reasoned as she ran. After all, the hunt had been her idea.
Standing in an alcove with a book, Molly was agitated. Her mother had said they might be discussing the possibility of finding an Alpha for her in another clan, but so far all she had done at the meeting with the other clan Alphas was nitpick over trade funds. And she didn't know who was more tedious: the upstarts from the west or the old-blood from the east.
After years of settling for crumbs of power, a minor clan from the western coast quietly accumulated followers and influence. They had always been poor and ignored, the Moriarty kin, and so their rise from the mudlands was startling.
The eastern Holmes clan, on the other hand, had always been of the First Order of Vampyr. They were said to be descended from the founder of the Coven herself. Indeed, four hundred years before, one of theirs had ruled the Coven, and to look at their current leader Mycroft, one would think he still did.
The look of disdain on his pale face appeared to be permanent while he debated the Coven policies with Molly's mother and the man from the Moriarty clan.
Their leader was surprisingly young, with not a hint of silver hair in his dark hair. His body was short and slight, almost delicate, but waves of Alpha presence flowed from him nonetheless. His gaze drifted over to Molly as her mother droned on about the trade wars, and he smirked.
She shivered as his nearly black eyes drank her in. He didn't blink or look away, despite Molly's discomfort. He simply stared until she felt everyone else in the room fade away.
Unusually annoyed, she stared back.
How rude, Molly thought. Alpha or not, he has poor manners for a grand meeting. Was he trying to hypnotize me as though I were no more than human?
After a long minute, the man smiled broadly, pointed canines showing, and turned back to her mother.
Molly squirmed and looked down at her book. Too often Alphas assumed she would be weak because of her Omega body. She didn't see the point in arguing with fools who underestimated her because she didn't want to shout. Better to flow like a river around a boulder than to try and dislodge the rock, she reasoned.
I understand what I am even if they don't, she reassured herself, watching the Alphas convene. It was a daily speech Molly gave herself in the mirror lately. They will respect me when my time comes to lead.
She sighed and resumed skimming her book. She had been attempting to better familiarize herself with the healing herbs in the nearby forest for medical use, but the tome's writing style left much to be desired.
The meeting of the three leaders would no doubt go on for hours. They were obviously all Alphas and none of them would compromise easily.
"He's not here about the trade." A deep baritone voice was close to her ear. "He's here to collect you."
Molly jumped and dropped the book.
She turned and found a young man of her own age. He was dressed far more casually than the other men in the room, ignoring formality and wearing only loose cotton trousers instead of the tighter breeches typically worn in the high meetings. His dark brown curls looked uncombed, and his catlike blue-green eyes seemed amused by the proceedings. He towered over her, and despite his youthful slimness, radiated as much Alpha energy as the dark man at the table.
Goosebumps rose on Molly's arms. Her mouth went dry.
"Collect me?" She shook her hand. "No that's not- that's not how it works when pairings are arranged. I get to choose. We're the leaders."
"Your mother is the leader." He shrugged. "But Moriarty is smarter than your mother. And he's found a way to get what he wants. Despite his claims to your mother, he already has the trade routes so he didn't need to come here. He came for something else of value; what else is there, but you and the leadership? A simple deduction."
Molly stared. "Who are you?"
He crossed his arms and leaned against the alcove wall. "Sherlock Holmes. The boring prat over there is my elder brother. Who no doubt has already worked out as well what Moriarty is up to-"
As if on cue, Mycroft turned around and pinned his younger brother and Molly with thoughtful looks. He caught Sherlock's eye, and there was an unspoken battle of Alpha wills.
Sherlock stared back at him, and when Molly turned to look, she saw his fangs had extended, and golden spots flared in the blue-green irises. She felt a rise in power beside her, and thanked the gods that her heat was still weeks away or she'd be on her knees before this one with that much strength emanating from him.
My goddess, what it must be like on their home territory, these two in a shared keep, she thought. Mycroft rolled his eyes and turned back to the meeting. Sherlock's fangs receded and he glanced at Molly's pink cheeks. She ducked her head, too aware of the direction of her thoughts.
She had been considering how Sherlock Holmes was beautiful in the odd way that his brother lacked. They shared a certain coldness, but whereas Mycroft's had put her off, Sherlock's iciness drew her in. He roused her curiosity. She was trying to find a way to ask the young man more about himself, without seeming obvious about it, when the meeting became interesting again.
At the table, Moriarty laughed and produced a scroll. He spoke quietly and gestured to the paper for a few minutes.
Mycroft's face was impassive, but Molly saw her mother's lined face grow progressively redder until it was practically purple.
And then she pushed the chair back and stood.
Marisa Hooper hissed at Moriarty, fangs threatening, and the man stood. He shrugged and laughed. He slid the scroll across the table and Molly heard him speak in his lilting western accent.
"Keep it; I have my own copy. But the terms are clear. I like you, so I'll give you two hours to make your decision." With a sunny smile, he waved farewell to Mycroft Holmes.
Moriarty hopped off his chair and strolled from the table toward the door. As he passed Molly, he stopped and his uncanny eyes captured her again.
"Be seeing you soon, love." He whistled as he walked out of the room.
"So the game is begun," Sherlock murmured. He picked Molly's book up from the floor and slid it back into her hands. "McGillicuddy's Flora Et Fauna. Impressive library you have here." With that, he slipped out the door behind the alcove.
"Yes, according to the rules, the leader is supposed to be an Alpha-Omega bonded pair from the Great Clans…alright. That's fine, we've been talking about it. I'm ready to be bonded. When it's time for me to lead, we'll be a pair." Molly stayed calm. It would be fine, wouldn't it?
But the tense faces of her mother and the other elders told her it wasn't.
"No. The leadership is always supposed to be a pairing- the Alpha and the Omega, symbiosis, balance. Your mother has been ruling alone since your father's passing. And we simply…were not enforcing the rules, as you weren't inclined to rush," Lestrade explained gently. She'd known the leader of the southern clan since she was a child. "With your mother still strong. However that grace period has come to an end with Moriarty forcing the issue. I'm sorry, Molly."
"But that doesn't explain why he thinks I have to bond with him!" she shouted. Molly clapped her hand over her mouth. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't shout at you. I don't understand and I feel like you've kept something from me, mother."
Marisa crossed her arms and paced furiously. "Your father privately made a bargain with the Moriartys some ten years ago for an alliance between our clans. At the time, we thought we would have more children, and he needed to secure their allegiance very badly. It was never intended that they should have a claim on my heir," my mother said grimly. "It's in poor taste of them to enforce the contract given your father's death but it is technically still binding by our laws." The disgust on her mother's face was apparent.
"And if I said no, what would happen? A Coven leader who won't enforce the law loses the title," Molly said dully. She bit her lip and stared out the window. She would not cry. Not in front of the elders. She was not weak, despite what some people thought.
"If your mother doesn't enforce the contract, she loses the leadership of the vampires, and there will be another election, and current sentiment among our kind favors Moriarty. If you bond with Moriarty as he demands, he will ascend to the co-leadership naturally. He has played his hand very well. If your father had not been so successful at keeping the deal of the alliance secret ten years ago, I would have been able to maneuver around this." Mycroft Holmes smiled tightly at her mother. "As it is, now we will have to react, instead of act."
"Ten years ago, the Holmeses were at our throats as well." Marisa Hooper bared her teeth at him.
"So if there's an election now, Moriarty will win."
Mycroft nodded at Molly. "Yes. And he would be an unscrupulous leader. He's taken control of the trade routes by eliminating his competitors and slaughtering humans en masse. It does the future of Vampyr no favors if he raises the ire of humans. Our survival rests on maintaining balance in all things."
"So we can't let him be the leader of the Coven. I can't bond with him. Right then. We'll have to have a hunt."
Marisa stopped pacing. "What?"
Lestrade looked puzzled. "Sorry- you want to go hunting now? Let the maid bring you a cup, love, we're a bit busy."
"I don't think that's what she means." For the first time since they'd entered the room, some emotion began to show on Mycroft Holmes' face. A light shone in his icy eyes. Molly thought it might have been amusement. Or intrigue?
"The old ways." Molly rushed out the words. Courage, she thought. You're your mother's daughter. "The Omega hunt. I'll run, and the Alpha who finds me and bonds with me will be the co-leader. It's not a perfect plan, but it's a loophole. It's still legal, isn't it? I read about it." She looked desperately around the room.
Mycroft smiled faintly. "Yes it is. Not even Moriarty can deny the old ways. It's always the Omega's choice. If she wants to run, and demand that the Alpha earn her, she is entitled to it. Of course Moriarty may win the hunt." He folded his hands on his lap.
"A hunt," Marisa repeated. She ran a hand through her long hair, the same honey-brown as her daughter's. "I haven't seen one in fifteen years. People have died in hunts, you understand. Not the Omegas, Alpha instinct will protect you, but the Alphas sometimes kill each other to claim the prize. You will have to be prepared for that. Are there any other unbonded Alphas who would even be contenders?"
"Maybe a half-dozen or so." Lestrade rubbed his chin in thought. "More if we put out word, depending on how long we have until Molly's, ah, cycle. It's not a bad plan. Good thinking, Molly. Really."
She smiled. "I know it's a risk, but some chance is better than none. We'd have about two weeks to put out word, by the way," she added, acknowledging the awkwardness of addressing her heat openly. Lestrade disguised his laugh as a cough.
"It's acceptable to me. And you, Hooper?"
Marisa's face was grim. "Of course it's acceptable to you, Holmes. You have an unbonded Alpha brother. Perfect timing to make a play for leadership of the Coven again for your clan."
"The thought hadn't even crossed my mind," Mycroft replied. He smiled pleasantly, and this time Molly was certain she saw a spark of glee in his eyes.
"We may be Vampyr, but we're better than that." Sherlock slammed the book he'd been reading onto the table. "You're always saying our species has evolved beyond this point."
Mycroft tipped his head. "Yes, but the run is a chance at thwarting Moriarty."
"And taking back a bit of power for the Holmeses." Sherlock pinned his brother with a look. "I'm not interested in politics. I'm a scientist."
"Power is best held by those who don't crave it. Besides, it's time you found your own home." Mycroft's annoyance was obvious and Sherlock felt a ripple of satisfaction. Most would never see beneath the placid surface of his elder brother's cool façade but he knew all his tells. Mycroft was itching for a chance at the leadership and if he had to throw his brother into the hunt and risk his life, he would do it.
"Fine, I'll leave the estate. I can live anywhere." Sherlock stood. "We're due to depart this keep tomorrow. I'll pack as soon as we arrive back home."
"That won't be necessary. It would make Mummy unhappy. I can… tolerate you in my house for a few more years. You're young yet. However, consider the advantages. Forget about power. Consider the Hooper estate. The library, the rooms, the gardens. The forests that span for miles that would all be your territory as dominant Alpha of the region. And your Omega. The girl- yes, I saw you, brother. You can attempt to deny your needs, as you have been. But the monk's life is not for you. You were chatting away with the Hooper girl and I could smell your interest from across the room."
Sherlock sneered but every rebuttal he summoned, he discarded knowing Mycroft would see through it. That was the downside of knowing Mycroft so well: Mycroft knew him just as well in return. He had wandered into the meeting hall out of boredom, and been drawn toward the alcove by the sweet scent of an unfamiliar Omega female.
When he found Molly Hooper standing there with a book he knew well, he watched her for a time, while basking in her honeyed musk. He deduced her intentions in reading the section on medicinal herbs- she cared about the people she led. Taking in blood didn't cure all their ills, though none she was reading about were suitable for emergency purposes so it was merely research. Not a personal medical problem. She was practical and thoughtful then, despite what he'd heard about Marisa Hooper's Omega daughter being a meek slip of a girl who would never be able to hold power.
She played with her hair idly as she observed his brother, and he approved of her obvious distaste for Mycroft. Her brown eyes noticed so much, as sharp as any vampire's, but sensitive in their understanding. She smiled and frowned and chewed on her bottom lip as she reacted. She hid nothing in the quiver of her lips and the twitch of her nose. He thought she might be clever at interpreting scientific data if someone took the time to educate her properly.
Someone like you?
He pushed the thought away.
He also saw her take in the proceedings without realizing that James Moriarty had come to make her his. And he doubted Marisa Hooper would live long after a shift in power at Moriarty's hands. It wasn't just Molly's freedom but her mother's life that was at stake.
He found himself speaking to Molly before he realized what he was doing. She gazed up at him, surprised but without fear, and wrapped in her overwhelming warm and homey scent, he finally understood the fuss about Omegas. He smelled her attraction to him, and knew that if they had been alone, he would have pressed her against the wall, sunk his teeth into her neck, and had her right there. Lifted her skirt, licked her throat, and swallowed down her taste until she begged him to breed her. He'd have been no more than the rutting Alpha everyone always assured him he was, deep down.
Goddamn Mycroft for picking up on that.
"He will hunt her, Sherlock. And he will claim her, and fuck her, and break her. And bring ruin on many. You may not care to lead, but you are needed. You are the only Alpha strong enough to take Moriarty down, and take her."
Molly paced restlessly in her rooms for days, waiting for the run. She felt the heat building inside her, pushing at her skin until she felt ready to burst. The irritation of it set her fangs on edge, and nausea had her sending away meals after only a few bites. She merely sipped at a cup of blood to keep from fainting for lack of nourishment. Her skin grew whiter and her cinnamon-brown eyes shone against the ivory of her flesh. All but the softest gowns chafed, and she took countless cool baths. She felt the churning in her gut, the knowledge that her body was readying itself to be bred, and the awareness led her to lurid dreams, both the waking and sleeping varieties.
On the last day of her confinement, as she had demanded, they brought Molly a basket of flowers, long-stemmed and brightly colored varieties. She spent her remaining solitary hours weaving the blossoms into a garland.
"A necklace?" Her mother arched an eyebrow at her creation. "Decoration to look pretty for your Alpha?"
"No." She set aside the flowers, and fetched an old leather-bound book from the shelf. "I may not be the biggest or scariest vampire of our kin, but my hours with books haven't been in vain." She pointed to the passage in the forgotten book of laws, and her mother bent down to skim it.
She straightened up and laughed. "My girl. Always my clever Molly. Well, choose the one you want, and the path you want tonight. And we will make it out of these woods." She hugged Molly, smoothed her hair over her back and bade her farewell. There were still preparations to be made. She chatted with the guards about the plans for security that evening.
With shaking hands, Molly picked the up the almost finished wreath of flowers. The heat-fever was taking hold, and her head was swimming. Her fingers moved unsteadily as she wove rosebuds and lilacs into the garland, willing her plan to work.
The hunt was an incredible risk. Moriarty might still win, but with her favor granted, she could give one contender more of a fighting chance.
And she had just the contender in mind.
The moon rose overhead, and finally, her time had come.
The heat pooled in her lower body and drenched her thighs. Molly writhed on her bed, crying and moaning for the last hour until they came for her.
Beta servants, humans from the village, guided her from the bed, and helped her into the loose shift, the only gown Molly could stand touching her. Even the mild, almost neutral scents of her handmaidens were more than she could stand and she felt faint again.
Something colorful caught her eye as the maids led her to the door. The soft petals brushed her fingertips and she grabbed the wreath, remembering in her delirium that it might be the only thing that kept her from the arms of the enemy.
Molly tripped down the path, supported by a pair of young women with unthreatening scents and pleasing faces. Clad only in a flimsy white dress suitable for sleeping in, Sherlock knew it would take no more than an ounce of his strength to tear it from her. The onlookers cleared the way for them as they passed, the Betas cheering them on merrily and the Alphas muttering with envy. The Omegas in the crowd shared looks of understanding and concern for the girl making her way to the forest.
Clutched in her hand was a vivid ring of flowers.
Sherlock's nostrils flared as she approached the row of Alphas, and the overwhelming Omega aroma of her flooded the air. His cock thickened, and his fangs sharpened. He tongued the sensitive points of his teeth, and his mouth watered.
Around him, the Alphas shifted and rearranged themselves in their breeches, growling and calling out to the Omega.
Only Sherlock and Moriarty among them remained silent, waiting.
The man from the western clan smiled politely, his hands clasped together in front. He inclined his head graciously toward Molly, and only the slight appearance of fang between his lips betrayed his lust.
As Sherlock observed more closely, he noted the tightness in the other man's hands and the periodic shifting of his weight from one foot to the other. Moriarty moved slowly, like a coiled snake waiting to strike. He would wait patiently for the Omega prey to run before moving into action but when he did, his attack would be surgical and devastating. But however controlled he appeared, the man was still affected by Molly's potency, and that could make him careless.
Moriarty's head swung to the right and pinned Sherlock with a stare.
"Nice night for it, eh?" He smiled merrily. His eyes went blank. The moonlight above fell on his face, casting long shadows, and for a moment, Moriarty appeared to be no more than a grinning skull. But as quickly as the visual struck Sherlock, it vanished and Moriarty turned back toward the women standing at the line of Alphas.
Sherlock tensed. Molly held the flower garland as though it bore significance. Something tickled the back of his mind, but he couldn't summon the information. The particular species of flora in the garland didn't have a meaning in that shape. He frowned, searching his memory.
Marisa Hooper stepped forward and raised her arms to the sky, and every soul present held their breath.
"The terms are clear. You were briefed. She runs. No one follows until the horn is sounded. You will chase; you will undoubtedly fight. No weapons other than your own hands and fangs, but beyond that, a fight may continue as long as necessary. Winner claims the Omega, and they will remain at the hut in the forest for the remainder of her heat. Molly knows the way; she'll only lead the winner, her bonded mate, there. There is one more detail."
Molly hurried forward, hoping she could get the words out. She felt parched and naked, with the eyes of the entire Coven on her.
"…favor…giving my favor…" She coughed, her throat too dry to speak.
One of the Beta maids rushed in with a cup of blood, and she accepted gratefully. The Alphas stirred restlessly, and the tensions rose. They eyed one another, ready to spring. Molly gulped down the blood.
"The laws, our old ways. It is." She cleared her throat. I am my mother's daughter. I am strong enough to lead. "I will run and my mate will earn his position by my side, as your leader."
Directly in front of her, Moriarty's black eyes gleamed. Molly shuddered and looked away.
"Another tradition," she trailed off. The heat burned in her gut, and the arousal rose again, surrounded by so many virile Alphas. The scents were intoxicating. She wanted to lie down in the grass and open her thighs for them. For him.
"Another tradition, lost but still in our laws, in our books. I am claiming the right of the wreath." She held it aloft. "I will bestow my favor on one contender, and he will have five minutes head-start on the other Alphas."
Pandemonium broke out among the Alphas.
Marisa Hooper jumped into the fray and cracked two Alphas skulls together. Two of the loudest and most aggressive voices crying out. The men fell to the ground, unconscious but breathing. The panting and enraged men around them paused in their outrage to take in the sight of their leader standing among them, and the two Alphas removed that quickly.
"There will be no more...discussion of the matter. It is law." Marisa's fangs were long and her eyes glittered. "These two Alphas will not be running. Will the rest of you?"
The Alphas, one by one, dropped their eyes and stood down, falling back into a line.
Sherlock stood on the edge of the trees, breathless in admiration of Marisa's power.
And Molly's maneuver…the wreath. What sort of books had she been reading in the Hooper Library?
He very much wanted to speak with her and find out.
Sherlock found Molly's flushed face in the darkness and smiled.
She staggered down the line of Alphas. Molly had been bred with manners as the daughter of a leader, and even in the madness of heat fever, mustered enough kindness to feign considering each contender as she passed.
But there was only ever the one.
She took smaller steps near the end, her heart pounding. Moriarty's façade of civility vanished as the moon rose higher and her heat suffused the air around them. As she passed him, she felt his black eyes blazing at her. First with hunger, and then with rage, as she stepped past him.
And dropped the ring of flowers over Sherlock's head, letting it rest around his neck.
She tried to summon words, but she was dry again. Molly could only meet his eyes and hope he understood. In the alcove, he had seen so much without her even speaking...
Sherlock nodded firmly, his eyes gleaming as he stroked the petals of the wreath.
"I'll see you shortly."
This is a two-parter. The Second and Final Part will be up hopefully within a week.