Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Dark Dimenstion AU: Okay. So let me explain something to you about this. The Dark Dimension is this really cool place in a book series called The Vampire Diaries. But, you may notice that this is not a crossover fic. This is for two reasons. 1) You don't need to know a single thing about the books to understand this fic. All the knowledge you'll need comes from Sherlock; and 2) I'm not even using the location exactly how it is in the books, just using the basic idea of it and tweaking it for my uses. But I still want it to be known that the original idea of the Dark Dimension is owned by the author of The Vampire Diaries, L.J. Smith, and any of the other creators there may or may not be.
Okay, sorry that was really long, I just don't want any confusion—or worse, copyright issues.
So anyway, rated M for eventual smutty smut and violence. A general TRIGGER WARNING for torture and molestation/rape, since it's going to happen, but probably not to any intense degree and not graphically.
John had no idea why he allowed his sister to plan this road trip. She decided she wanted to go to school in California, first off, and then when John finished his sixth former years, her "treat" to him was to let him tag along on her cross-country road trip of America. So he'd spent the last two months getting dragged all around fucking creation with his sister that he wasn't even that close with. It was actually kind of fun though, at first.
Until it all went to hell, of course. Literally. But I'm getting ahead of myself. That comes later.
John didn't like America so far. First of all, the weather was horrible in most places (in the eastern half of the country, that is. The west was actually kind of a paradise because it was so nice, especially in California, but as Harry went to school in California, they spent little time there). He always thought the rain in England was bad enough, but in the American South or the Eastern Seaboard, it was humid, which was far worse. It felt like he'd rolled around in sweets for hours at all times because he was so sticky, and he sweated even when it was cold. And the people were strange too, both stand-offish and too familiar at the same time. And there was nothing worse than any American accent. No matter where he visited this summer—they went from West to East, visiting LA, San Francisco, Seattle, Las Vegas, Austin, Chicago, Philadelphia, Orlando, New York, and Boston so far—they all had very different accents, but all of them were equally hideous in their own way. And when they went to all these places, Harry hardly spent any time in the actual cities either. She'd go somewhere near the city and then disappear for a day, allowing John to roam.
But somehow, John was still having a good time. Maybe just the fact that they were just hopping in a car—whose stupid steering wheel was on the wrong side—and going wherever the wind took them. There wasn't even really a plan, which meant sometimes they went up and down coasts in no particular order, taking double the time they needed to. They were in Boston when Harry decided she wanted to see Virginia. John didn't get it, but apparently she was fascinated with Civil War monuments. Made no sense to him, but he was pretty much letting her call the shots. He got a responsibility-free summer in another country, he wasn't going to complain too much (out loud).
But then they got to this little town in Virginia called Fell's Church and John really didn't understand why they had come. First of all, it was another humid place, and he was fucking done with this humidity shit. Bring the pouring rain, whatever, but the scorching hot humidity really needed to stop. And the town was also tiny. Boring. There was nothing there.
"What the hell, Harry? Is there even a monument here?"
She was quiet for a while. "Okay, I need to tell you something," she finally said. John was worried immediately.
"Okay…" he said tentatively.
"I came to America for a reason."
He blinked. "For university?" he asked, his voice patronising.
She rolled her eyes. "Okay, yes, that, but America specifically. Because I could've chosen anywhere."
"Because of your Civil War monuments obsession?"
The eyes rolled again. "No. That was just a cover."
John should have known. The fascination was just so strange. "Then what did you come here for?"
She took a breath. "Okay, so have you ever heard of ley lines?"
He was quiet for a moment. "No."
"Okay, well they're the alignments of certain historical or geographical locations in relation to each other. Basically, people study where these significant places are and how they relate to other places in the area."
"Okay…" John muttered, but he was actually lost.
"Some people believe that ley lines can have spiritual or magical qualities. I've been fascinated with them since secondary school, so I just started looking for them all over Britain. But I never found anything interesting. And then I heard of some of the ley lines in America, and how strange things have happened on them. So I started to go to school here."
"So… you came to America to find ghosts on lines in the ground?" he asked to sum up.
"… That's kind of it, I guess. But there's more to it than that. Supposedly, there are some places where many ley lines intersect, and it makes really strange things happen. Can even open portals to other universes."
His sister was completely mad. Alright. But he kept listening, because it was a bit interesting anyhow.
"So I've been going on this road trip visiting some of the places with intersecting ley lines, seeing if there would be any supernatural activity. So far, nothing. But then I heard of this place, Fell's Church. According to some websites, there are so many ley lines crossing here that there have been actual vampires, werewolves, witches, and kitsune living there like normal people. Because ley lines attract supernatural, spiritual, and magical beings."
Completely mental. She's lost it, thought John.
"So we're here because I want to ask around, see if anything strange has happened in the past fifty years or so that any of the townspeople would have noticed."
John was still just staring at her. Then, "So you think that vampires live in this town. And that there might be a portal to another dimension, and that magic exists?"
She rolled her eyes. "Yeah, this is why I didn't tell you. Maybe you should open your mind a little bit, John."
"The moment I see magic of any kind, I'll believe you. Until then…"
"Well you don't have to believe me. But that's the reason we're here. So you can explore for the day, and I'm going to ask around."
"So when you disappear for a day or two in all these cities, it's to interview random people?"
She nodded. "You wouldn't believe how willing Americans are to blabber about their lives to strangers."
He smirked. "Well, okay, do what you want, I guess."
They agreed to meet back at the car in four hours and Harry got out and started walking down the street aimlessly. John decided to go the other direction and look for something to do.
It turned out, there was nothing to do. Fell's Church was exactly as boring as it looked. Beautiful, sure, but completely uneventful. How Harry could ever believe vampires or werewolves or whatever would settle down in a boring place like this, he'd never understand.
Not that they existed at all. But still.
There were people on the streets in some places, mostly people around his age, maybe younger. Tanned and straight teethed, like most Americans were.
He was passing by a random little boarding house when it happened. He heard arguing from these weird voices. Well, they weren't weird, he guessed. They were American, yeah, but… they were so… attractive. That may sound strange, but these voices were beautiful—but also intriguingly chilling. So much so that he stopped in his tracks to listen without really even understanding why.
"We don't have enough young ones to choose from," hissed one man, his voice deeper than John thought possible.
"Who cares? The young ones are expensive anyway, most people don't bother," another male voice said, the voice strangely high in comparison to the other man.
"Yes, but Holmes requested a 'selection of human youth', and two is not a 'selection'."
"These are for the Holmes family?" came the sharp reply.
"The orders come from Mycroft."
There was a silent pause that John could read without seeing the men. They were petrified.
"Then how can we get more young ones? This town is too damn small, people notice disappearances, especially children. The kitsune hate when we are inconspicuous, and you don't want to get thrown into prison, right?"
John could almost feel the scowl of the other person at the mention of prison.
Then there was this strange noise… that John could have sworn was sniffing.
"Well," said the lower-pitched voice. "I smell a fresh young man just on the other side of this gate here. One I've never smelled. Must be a visitor."
The other gave a cackle that made chills go up and down John's spine. He knew now that he needed to leave, and fast, but he couldn't bring himself to move.
And before he could regain his motor abilities, the two figures jumped over the gate in one lithe, inhuman leap. One was tall and lanky, the other muscular and short, but somehow they both looked similar. Their faces twisted into the same cruel sneers. Both inexplicably attractive.
Both making John's survival instincts that he hadn't even known he possessed scream that he needed to run away.
And he was about to obey them too when the tall one came forward, speaking in the low voice (which surprised John, since he figured it would be the bulky one to have the low voice). "You will stay where you are."
Somehow, the ring of command in the voice resonated in John as he looked him in the deep black eyes, and he literally felt incapable of moving. In fact, he tried and nothing happened. Like he didn't have control over his limbs.
"Oh, he's a pretty one," said the bulkier man in a disgustingly suggestive voice as he looked John up and down hungrily.
"Holmes doesn't use his slaves that way, Vercon."
"I know, but Holmes will only take one of the young ones we have. He might pick one of the other two. And if he does, someone else might get… use of this one."
John's eyes widened, because his face was the only part of his body he seemed able to control. They weren't actually implying… What the hell was going on? When had he fallen asleep and started to have a horrid nightmare based on those weird stories Harry was telling?
"Who the bloody hell are you? What do you want from me?" he managed to ask, the rest of him still motionless.
They looked surprised. "He's a Brit!" said the bulky one. "That's some damn good luck!"
"Holmes will love it."
Then, before John had much more time to think, the skinny one swung John over his shoulder like he weighed absolutely nothing and gracefully hopped back over the fence—yes, he was definitely dreaming, because what this person did wasn't even physically possible… for a human, at least.
He got thrown on the ground.
"Alright, knock him out," said the lanky one. "We don't want him to see how to get in or out."
And the other one descended on him and with a quick, sharp pain the in head, everything went black.
When John awoke, the first thing he noticed was that he was still in this weird dream. He'd hoped he'd wake up.
But the thing he noticed immediately after that was that the light wherever they were was strange. Like someone had red filters over all the bulbs. He was on the floor, on something hard and gritty like gravel, but it all looked various shades of red and pink and russet. So did the legs of the two men in front of him, who were obviously the same two from before. But they certainly hadn't been pink before.
But that was when he let his eyes glance around a little more and he realised… they were outside. Meaning that there couldn't be filtered light.
But then why was everything tinted red?
The next thing he noticed was that his hands were fastened in front of him painfully in something metal… he was able to look down enough at his pinkish skin to see pinkish shackles.
"Welcome to the City of Darkness," said the low voice. "You're the last to wake up, Vercon hit you over the head far too hard. It smelled delicious."
John thought he'd heard wrong. What about hitting someone over the head smelled good?
"Our blood healed you up nice and good though," replied Vercon. "You're ready for the auction."
John was led away and into a building. Here, the shades were drawn and candles were lit so the lighting wasn't red. There were two other young people in the room, and then one other man behind a desk.
John automatically labeled him as a wealthy aristocrat. Or a politician. Or both. He was wearing an impeccable Victorian style suit and had an amazingly patronising scowl on his face. But then it turned into an equally patronising smile when John was put on his knees by the two other boys, shirtless and forlorn. One was no older than twelve.
"This is better," said the man behind the desk. "He's a bit older, and looks strong too."
"Yes, my Lord, we thought you might enjoy him," said the lanky one. "And here's something else, my Lord." He elbowed his partner.
"You there!" cried Vercon. "Speak!" John knew he was the one being spoken to, but he didn't want to obey. He was starting to get the nasty feeling that he wasn't dreaming… which meant judging by conversation he'd heard and the manacles encasing his wrists, he was being sold as a slave—possibly a sex slave, depending on who bought him. Which meant he sure as hell wasn't going to be cooperative.
So he obstinately held up his chin and said nothing.
"You filthy—" started Vercon, advancing with an arm up to apparently hit John, but the man behind the desk stood and the other one stopped in his tracks.
"Stubborn, are you?" asked the other man, and John was surprised to hear a familiar accent. London. That was why they liked John's accent for this buyer. "I could easily whip that out of you," he said with a smirk. John swallowed thickly. "Now, if you don't want to see me get mean, I suggest you do as he says."
"I think he wants to prove I'm from England," said John.
The man's eyebrow tweaked up, and he looked at the slave traders.
"Interesting. You found him in Virginia?"
"Yeah," said Vercon. "Dunno what he was doing there."
The aristocrat bent down and looked John in the eyes, and then asked slowly, deliberately, "What were you doing there?"
The answer came out before he had decided whether to answer. "I've been in America for two months with my sister. She's been looking for ley lines that cross and make a portal to another world, and I'm starting to get a really bad feeling that she was right and I'm in some other place now."
John wouldn't have chosen to say so much if the words had come out of his own accord.
The man was silent, looking at John curiously.
"He seems rather clever, for a human," he said, saying the last word like he really meant 'rat'. He looked back to John. "My name is Mycroft Holmes, Lord of the Third District of the Dark Dimension. Do you know what I am?"
John wanted to say a lot of things. "Why should I know, I don't even know you", "What you are? What's that supposed to mean?"
But John had been paying attention to both his sister and the slavers, and as Lord Holmes had so keenly pointed out, John wasn't stupid.
"You're some type of monster. A demon or a vampire or something."
He smirked. "Monster. I like that. I'm a vampire, yes. And you don't know the ways of our world, do you?"
John thought it was a rhetorical question, but Lord Holmes gave a glare that made John stammer out unwillingly, "No, my Lord."
"I thought not. This place, one of the four domains of the world, is the third layer down. At the top is the Celestial Court. What your people call Heaven. Then there is Earth. Below where you now sit is the Underworld, what your people may call Hell. But here, the Dark Dimension, is kind of like limbo between your world and the Underworld. It was created by God in order to separate so-called 'monsters' from humans, and so here vampires, kitsune, and demons reign, sometimes joined by other things like phantoms and werewolves. But sometimes, humans wander into our midst, or are brought here. And let me tell you what we think of humans, boy. They are the unpaid help, or they are dinner. There is no further use for them. So you should understand that now you are property. Nobody will care about your wellbeing, other than that you are healthy enough to work. If you act up or complain or refuse to comply, one of a few things will happen. I may Compel you to do my bidding—it's an ability vampires have to make people do things against their will, which is how I've gotten you to answer my questions—if I'm in a very good mood. If it's a normal day, you shall be flayed publically, then healed with vampire blood, and then flayed again to the edge of death until you learn to comply. And if I had a particularly unpleasant event happen that day, I'll immediately suck all the blood out of you, which I hear is quite unpleasant if you are an unwilling participant. So I suggest very highly that you don't keep to your stubborn ways. You won't last long."
Somehow, the words were made even more frightening by Lord Holmes' matter-of-fact way of saying them. John took them to heart immediately. Not that he'd be totally obedient, but that he'd be careful not to display disobedience.
He didn't pay much attention as Lord Holmes talked to the slavers, but he did hear that Holmes was 'happy with the selection' and that he wanted to 'take his prize immediately'.
John still hardly knew what was going on, but a few things were readily apparent. One, he was in some other world where monsters ruled and humans were nothing but slaves or food. Two, he was about to be sold to a possible sadist and had no means of escape.
And three, he wasn't asleep. This was real. Which meant he was royally screwed.