The bar was busy. Prohibition was in full swing, but alcohol was readily available, if you knew where to look. And Sherlock Holmes did. Alcohol took the edge of his cravings, lessened the need to feed. Sherlock was not the Holmes brother known for control. That was why he was in America. His notoriety had yet to reach across the pond.
He prowled around the edges of the room, dodging dancers, the lights dim. At the back of the room, a singer with ebony skin clung to a microphone, her voice travelling over the din. Sherlock much preferred the easy-going 20s to the strict morals of Victorian England. So many tasty treats, drunk on adrenalin, the alcohol in their veins intoxicating.
He spotted a couple sitting by the side, drinks in hands, cheeks rosy with laughter. He had his arm possessively draped around her shoulder. His smile was genuine, hers was forced. He could smell her apprehension from across the room. He grinned, showing white, human teeth. Perfect.
Sherlock kept his eye on the couple as he made his way to the bar. He preferred his cocktails mixed with fresh blood, but it was too public here. As he leant against the bar, elbows resting on the wood in a tableau of nonchalant gentleman, his ears caught the wisps of a conversation that made him straighten with interest.
“See, Stefan? Life couldn’t get much better than this, could it? Blood straight from the vein, willing victims, ready for you to feast upon them. Chicago”
The voice was rough but cultured, dark but elegant, and it caught Sherlock’s attention right away.
“Not willing as such, dear brother.”
A female voice, seductive but Sherlock caught a hint of petulance within it.
He didn’t turn to look. Ever since arriving in the United States, he’d been careful to keep a low profile. The last thing he needed was Mycroft coming after him.
“Rebekah, darling, why don’t you be a good girl and let Stefan and I have a moment alone.”
Sherlock could sense that it wasn’t a question. Rebekah huffed, but he could hear her footsteps as she left the unnamed male and Stefan alone. He caught sight of her, leaving an alcove to his left. His eyes followed her, the blonde hair curled around her shoulders, the silvery dress that sparkled in its wake.
“So, Klaus.” That must be Stefan. His voice was tinged with a darkness that Sherlock recognised as bloodlust. “What must a Salvatore do to get a girl around here?”
Sherlock stiffened as his brilliant mind connected the dots.
The name Salvatore was not common. And having a brother like Mycroft meant Sherlock was kept up to date with vampire lore, even in America. He grinned to himself. What a coincidence, to end up in the same speakeasy as the infamous Stefan Salvatore. A vampire not much older than himself, Stefan was known for being a ripper, unable or unwilling to control the hunger.
Another wave of synapses connecting, and Sherlock’s eyes narrowed even more. Klaus, Rebekah…together…in Chicago…
He let out a small sigh of resignation. Although a confrontation with Stefan, or his equally off-the-rails brother, Damon, would have been a welcome distraction from his own problems, a showdown with not one, but two, Originals would not help his low profile.
He downed his drink and stood up. Dinner would have to be found somewhere else. As he turned towards the exit, he caught a glimpse of the two vampires. He could tell right away which was which. Klaus held himself with the arrogance and confidence of someone who has survived centuries of running. Stefan had his arm fixed around the wrist of the girl sat next to him, her glazed eyes suggestive of compulsion, blood trickling from a wound in her arm. The smell of the blood called Sherlock’s darker side, but he was done here.
He missed the Original’s eyes glance at him as he walked away from them. Klaus’ senses were honed from the years spent avoiding their father, and he could smell the younger vampire’s restlessness. But Sherlock soon disappeared into the night. The two never formally met.
A Salvatore and two Originals, Sherlock mused as he walked out into the street, lit with gas lamps to overcome the gathering darkness. Whatever next?
What next came sooner than he expected. He wasn’t far from the bar when his skin tingled, the tell-tale sensation of being followed that he knew from Mycroft’s not-so-subtle surveillance. This was a person who wanted him to know he was being followed.
It was creeping towards autumn, the last dregs of summer’s warmth fading, and the passers-by grew less as Sherlock continued into the less-than-delightful parts of the city. He was content to let his stalker continue their game for the moment. When the streets around him emptied, he side-stepped into an alleyway and stood, listening.
But not Stefan, Klaus or Rebekah. The scent was different. He struggled to place the smell – perfumed death was the best he could describe it as. A few moments went by. He could hear the click clack of heels on the cobbles as his follower stepped around the corner of the alley.
She took his breath away. Dressed in a simple black dress, she was stunning. Her hair curled around her shoulders like an obsidian waterfall. Her red lips curled up in a sultry smirk as she sauntered towards him, stopping just inside his personal space.
He waited for her to break the silence. He didn’t have to wait long.
“What’s a handsome vampire such as yourself doing in shady Chicago?” She let her hand, perfectly manicured fingernails painted a deep red, wander up his arm, along the pressed dinner-jacket he’d stolen off of one of his victims.
He let her.
“What business is that of yours?”
She cocked her head, looking him up and down. “British. How…delectable.”
Her hand reached is shoulder and she let her nails rest on the exposed skin of his neck, the sharp points digging in ever so slightly.
He bit his lip in an attempt to stop the shudder her touch elicited in him. “Who are you?”
Even before he was turned, his skills in deduction and observation were second only to Mycroft, but she was a mystery to him. Only one other woman had managed to outsmart his senses. But this woman was definitely not Irene Adler.
She looked up at him through thick lashes. “What business is that of yours?” The echo of his own words, said in that sensuous voice, was almost enough for his brain to shut down in that way only sex could.
But he kept a hold, however tenuous, on his mind. “You’ve been following me ever since I left The Bloody Baron. I want to know why.”
Her fingertips continued their exploration, leaving little red lines that disappeared almost as soon as they appeared along his throat. “I saw you listening to Klaus and Stefan.”
Sherlock’s cogs turned as sparks flew in his brain.
The woman took carried on speaking, and Sherlock didn’t miss the way Klaus’ name caught on her tongue. “I want information. They are both of greatest importance to me, and I need to stay one step ahead of their movements.”
“What makes you think I know anything? And why would I tell you?”
She brought her other hand up to cup his cheek. Her fingers would have felt cold to a mortal, but Sherlock’s skin was ice anyway. “I don’t. But I will find out.” She had to stand on her tiptoes as she whispered the last bit in his ear.
Before he could respond, he felt her lips on his. The kiss was brief, chaste, and it served only to strengthen his resolve to be careful around this woman. She was clearly not a novice at seduction.
She stepped back, taking in the smear of lipstick on the corner of his mouth, and smirked. “I – “
She didn’t get a chance to finish, as Sherlock surged forward, backing her against the rough brick off the alley wall. He towered over her lithe frame, hands planted firmly on either side of her head. He bent down to nip at her ear. “Two can play at this game, miss.” He took her lips in a bruising kiss, and felt her respond in kind, biting his lower lip not quite hard enough to draw blood.
As they drew apart, she giggled. “Who knew a Holmes brother would be such fun?”
As quick as a vixen, she reversed their position, easily pinning the younger, weaker vampire against the wall. “Katherine Pierce, at your service.” She gave a mocking curtsey and was gone.
Sherlock was left alone, a bruise already fading where her hand had clenched around his wrist, attempting to collect his thoughts.
That wasn’t the last time he saw Katherine in Chicago. She was only slightly surprised when he turned up at her hotel room the next night. Her strength and quick-wit was equally matched against his intelligence and passion, which made for some interesting fun both in the streets and the sheets.
Sherlock was not proud of his twentieth century persona, and vowed never to give in to Katherine or anyone like her again. He hadn’t seen her since 1922, but she had made her presence in England known in 2001. She had baited him, leaving messages with the bodies, sometimes a note – My dear Sherlock, catch me if you can, K – or a single red rose. He had never managed to catch her. But this new murder was not her. Of that he was certain.
He may not have kept in contact with Katherine, but that was not the last time he saw Stefan. They were not friends, but Stefan’s ripper period happened to coincide with Sherlock’s darkest period, and when they had both recovered, they found it mutually beneficial to keep each other posted as to events which impacted vampires everywhere.
I regret to say that events have only escalated since my last letter. But I can safely tell you this: Katherine is gone. The Other Side has been destroyed. Your brother knows of this, I am sure. He has a witch at his disposal, does he not? I thought you should know. I understand she made quite an impression on you.
Be careful. England isn’t so far away as to not be affected by the backlash of the Other Side’s destruction.