Alucard wrapped his arms around his gut, actually breathing in a wheezing gasp. The entire room smelled sharply of blood, of food wasted and rotting. Forbidden to drink, he could only writhe on the floor, gnashing his fangs and raking his claws over the walls, floor, and his own flesh. Abraham was starving him, seeing just how long he could push his captive before the beast would break. Not only was he starving, he was also taunted. The human pouring blood over the floor, and then commanding him not to feed but to sit in horrible agony as his stomach and throat spasmed in starvation.
He couldn't sit still, and had not managed to sleep in the three days since Abraham's last visit. The cursed scar over his chest still burned and itched, and would grow worse when he fought against Abraham's commands. Try as he might he could not drink the spilled blood, could not snap the vile collar from his throat and tear the iron door from its hinges.
Folding in on himself, Alucard could hear the grinding metal as his fingers sank into the door, ready to sheer it from his path. He wasn't able to completely understand that it was the sounds of his cage door opening. Abraham stepped into the room, and the man's fresh scent snatched the vampire out of his imagination.
Alucard raised his head, teeth bared at his Master, but he could not fight the quaking of his limbs. Ever since Abraham had gained control over the vampire Dracula, their meetings had brought nothing but pain and misery. His hate for the man knew no limits now. While Abraham did not have complete understanding of the seal, of the power he controlled, he certainly knew how to make his prisoner scream.
The whip was tied loosely to the human's hip, his hands holding a pair of large jars each filled with blood. The scent of fresh food overpowered the old, moldering smell, and Alucard could feel his jaw flexing, saliva flooding his mouth. Abraham's expression was hard, as if he were about to perform a task he knew was absolutely required but had no desire at all, like putting down a rabid family dog.
"Feeling obedient tonight, vampire?"
Just the mere sound of the man's voice sent a violent tremor through his shoulders. Oh how he wanted to rend the man's flesh to ribbons. Knowledge of what would happen flung to the side, Alucard released a deep, enraged snarl. Dropping his hands, fingers curled to bare his claws, the vampire lunged. Abraham always stood within reach now, tauntingly close, able to touch and be touched without a care for his safety. As with every other occurrence of this nature, Abraham did not move but kept his expression dead when the creature attacked.
Alucard barely made three feet before the pain hit him. Intense, unimaginable agony grasped his starved body. It flayed every nerve ending, ground his insides into dust and wrapped his mind in white hot torment. Abraham never moved, watching as his vampire collapsed unable to complete the lunge as if his body was suddenly too heavy. The creature writhed, the unholy scream echoing from the walls. He could not even begin to imagine the sheer agony Alucard was put through every time he attempted to attack, and still the vampire persisted. Abraham knew the pain of attempted attack on the Master would elevate each time Alucard tried. It would hold him under longer, and become more brutal until it reached a point the vampire would remember and would back down instead of lunging.
Finally, the pain ebbed away, leaving Alucard in the throes of violent trembling in a heap at Abraham's feet. When the creature did not make any move to sit up, Abraham turned to place the jars on a small table against the wall.
"You realize you make this so much worse than it has to be," Abraham sighed, turning and striding back to his captive who had still not moved.
Alucard did not offer any response, though did begin to move. As Abraham paused before him, one hand sliding to his hip to remove the whip. It was time to begin.
"Stand up," Abraham ordered. It was the same, every time he visited now. Training a vampire was something he could not even begin to imagine. However, Abraham believed he could use the same techniques as most animal tamers used. Repetition and reinforcement.
While Abraham knew he had complete control over the monster, he did not know how to use that control. The magic he had used did not give him instructions. He had happened by chance on how to make the vampire hurt. He knew, could feel, that he had the ability to make, to force, the vampire to obey his commands. For now, the only thing Abraham could do was train him through mundane means, with only the pain as reinforcement.
"I cannot," Alucard's broken voice rasped, as if sandpaper lined his throat. "I have not the strength to."
Abraham was tempted to believe the vampire. However, the prince of lies had tried to pull similar acts before. Abraham had to learn very quickly that if he wished to have any success at all, he would have to set aside his humanity and his mercy. With Alucard he could not afford either.
The vampire had not been fed in weeks, and had endured a great amount of torment through those weeks. Yet, Abraham still refused to feed the creature, bringing blood with him on several occasions but each time he would either leave with it or pour it across the stones and command Alucard to not drink. Just another torture, another way to push the demon closer to the ultimate point of breaking.
"Is that so?" Abraham asked, tilting his head to the side as he slowly unwound the whip. "I can imagine you're starting to really feel your weakness now. However, I think there's still enough left in you to obey."
Alucard began to raise his head, pressing palms into the stone in an attempt to shift his body, but it was too late. The whip whistled as it traveled through the air, a grim message of what was to come and what could not be avoided. Woven silver bit into the vampire's back, leaving a dark trail across the demon's flesh. His spine arched, a strangled cry bursting from his throat, almost too quiet to give anyone listening a real idea of what the demon felt.
"Stand up," Abraham ordered again, watching Alucard roll to his side, body trembling harshly once again.
"You bastard," Alucard hissed, a line of saliva dripping from his lips, glowing eyes staring hard at Abraham's boots. "I cannot!"
The whip snapped forward again, biting hard across the vampire's shoulders. This time, Abraham did not give the vampire another chance to obey, but continued.
He continued to rain blows onto his captive, each snap of his wrist bringing increasingly ragged screams and cries from the vampire. Alucard no longer tried to crawl away, but covered his head with his arms and curled in on himself, exposing the protruding bones of his back but protecting everything else.
Suddenly, Abraham stopped, taking a single step back from the creature and twisting his wrist to let the lash hiss across the stones and settle threateningly behind him.
This time, Alucard rolled to his stomach, ragged panting and groaning accenting each movement. Abraham's lips twitched a bare moment, a smirk threatening to break the mask of emotionlessness he had adopted each time he visited now.
It was an obvious struggle, either that or the vampire was trying very hard to act and make his new Master feel sorry for him and feed him. Abraham did not care at this point, did not let himself feel any sort of pity for the beast. As long as the monster tried to stand, he waited, muscles in his arm tense and ready to resume the whipping if Alucard suddenly felt he could no longer comply with the order.
Alucard pushed himself to his knees, then rose in a shaking stand. The chain connecting to the thick band of metal around the vampire's throat rattled with the movement. He stood, hunched with his arms wrapping slowly around his gut and head low, but he stood.
"Good boy," Abraham praised. "Seems you did indeed have the strength. Now, kneel."
The orders were always the same. He wanted to repeat the simple ones he had chosen until Alucard obeyed without any sort of hesitation or increased hostility. Clearly, the creature did not approve of having to sink back to his knees after all the effort standing had just required. Alucard grit his teeth, fangs grinding against each other as he slowly sank to the floor, careful to not lose his balance.
Resting on his knees was more comfortable, and the ease in his trembling muscles was enough to overcome the humiliation of kneeling to his new Master. Head still low, Alucard glared at the ground, saliva dripping in strings from his flexing maw. Abraham always brought fresh blood, letting the unhindered scent clog his senses and make his stomach roll in knotting starvation. That, coupled with the scent of life so close, a heart beating and pumping so much blood through hot veins, was enough to drive him mad in his state.
He knew what came next, and was already letting his body lean forward in preparation.
"Down," Abraham monotoned.
Alucard was too weak for resistance. He wouldn't be able to stand another of those beatings, not in his current state. His body leaned forward, letting his upper half lower slowly toward the stones. A sharp seizing caught his muscles, throat closing as his starvation wracked his body with uncontrollable spasms, but he hid it well, only the twitching of his body visible. Pressing his forehead to the floor, he let his thin frame relax, resting easily half curled with arms still wrapped around his gut, squeezing in attempt to make the pain of hunger lessen.
He hated this, but there was little he could do at this point. His resistance only earned him agony and punishment. At first, when all of this began, he would watch the jars of blood, salivating and snapping at Abraham as if he were a dangling sweet treat. Now, he ignored the food, knowing Abraham was only taunting him with its presence. He was trying to present a distraction, to teach him to focus on his Master's commands through even the most desirable of distractions.
"Very well done," Abraham nodded, looking down at the creature. This was, perhaps, the quickest he had obeyed for weeks. The final order to put his face to the floor had nearly always required a snap of the whip over his back to make the vampire follow through. "Stand up." Repetition. He had to continue until the creature seamlessly obeyed. However long that took, he would see it happen.
With a groan, Alucard let a hand fall to the ground, claws scraping into the stone as he tried to push himself up with shaking limbs. Abraham waited, watching the vampire struggle to stand. Losing his balance, Alucard fell to the side, pale tongue laying across the stones, jaw hanging open and ivory fangs gleaming in the light of the lamps as he panted. The moment he stopped trying Abraham let the whip slither forward.
For the first time, Alucard lifted a hand, a defensive gesture as he stared wide eyed at the man who stood over him. That alone gave Abraham pause, his eyes narrowing while his hand tightened on the whip's handle.
"Stand up," he repeated, a small mercy. He only repeated his commands once, and after that he would not repeat them again during the session.
"I cannot," Alucard's wheezing voice pressed. "No more. No more pain, please. I cannot stand." His eyes jumped to the jars, pleading when the gaze returned to Abraham's. "Just a swallow, or I'll be no good to you."
Abraham paused, that was a word he had not heard the demon speak as of yet. Please. Chest swelling with victory, Abraham fought the urge to grin. He needed the demon to see the empty mask baring down on him. He was so close.
"You will obey, or you will accept the consequences of your resistance and once you are done screaming, you will obey. Your choice."
Most of Alucard's face was hidden behind a veil of tangled hair, but he could see those glowing points of his eyes shifting. Fear enveloped the creature, and yet he was still calculating. The vampire knew he would not be able to stall again, and dropped a his hand back to the ground, forcing energy into his starved, trembling limbs. The new silver wounds across his back burned terribly, he could feel the poison of silver snaking through his veins and knew the black infected appearance the lash marks would have. What a tortured sight he must be.
Working his throat, trying to swallow, Alucard rolled and made another attempt to stand, barely managing to keep his balance once he was on his feet. He kept his back hunched, feet far apart to lower his center of gravity and make the ordeal a bit easier. He was getting dizzy now. How much longer would Abraham keep this up without feeding him?
"Kneel." The orders were always the same, they never changed. Alucard swayed, stomach rolling and clenching tight as he dropped to his knees, head low as his hair hung in a wild veil around him.
"Down." He relaxed the muscles across his back and torso, dropping his upper body to the floor, forehead pressed into the stone. He was too hungry and beaten to care anymore. As long as the pain stopped, that was a small mercy for now.
"Stand." The hardest one, but Alucard did not fight it again, did not try to plead or whimper his way out of this. Abraham was correct, now that he had the power from the seal, there was no escape for the vampire. It was only a matter a time, and how agonizing the road was entirely up to Alucard.
He went through the movements once more, standing, then falling to his knees at the command. He never once looked back at Abraham, keeping his eyes down and focused entirely on keeping his movements under control. The third command did not come, but he heard Abraham moving. This was new.
Raising his head slightly, Alucard watched as the human stepped behind him, and a weight suddenly resting atop his crest, nestling into his hair. The placid manner he had adopted to just make it through this session vanished in the blink of a moment, and Alucard twisted around. Abraham did not remove his hand, keeping a grip on the creature's hair as it twisted in a frightening display of dagger teeth designed to rip and rend the flesh of the living. His eyes were boiling coals of rage, and for the second time that night, Alucard lunged to attack.
Abraham drew back slowly, watching as the vampire was again ensnared by the seal's punishment. He felt proud, even as the creature writhed and screamed in a dry rattle, tangling his limbs in the long chain attaching his throat to the wall. This was the most obedient Alucard had been since he'd first brought the monster into the estate. Never had he not had to constantly encourage Alucard to obey the three simple orders. It had led Abraham to attempt something new, touching the vampire. True, he had brushed his hands across the scared flesh of Alucard's chest, rested his palms on the demon as if some great hunter would over a slain lion when the creature had been chained to a slab of stone and ensnared in magic Abraham only half understood. But this was different. The creature was not restrained. It was a symbol of his control, placing his hands fearlessly on the monster. There was something so primal about laying one's hands upon an apex predator.
Turning, Abraham retrieved one of the jars, crouching as he watched Alucard's continued agony. A full minute longer than earlier. Eventually, the creature would learn not to attack, he would have to calm and become tamer or he would be driven into madness by the sheer level of pain being doled out with every snap of his teeth. Abraham knew he would have to push the creature this session. Alucard was on the edge, and the more he pushed, the further the creature would fall. He held no illusions he could break the monster, but he could certainly train him.
The vampire curled in on himself, claws sinking into the brand over his chest. He had already tried ripping the flesh and muscle away weeks ago, hoping the sigil would vanish with it with no such luck. Every time he healed with the same scars. The pain was too intense, it was too much, greater than before, like there had been another click on the dial in his mind. Everything inside him felt as if it had been turned to dust and the shell of his being scalded in holy water then left to dry in the sunlight at full noon. Coherency was long gone, and he realized his mind was begging the force that punished him, mentally begging for the pain to end.
The pain would never abruptly end, but fade away, aftershocks spasming along his muscles and twitching his frame as he lay panting heavily. Breathing was pointless, but his body seemed to need the comfort of air, like the gasping was just another reaction to pain. Alucard did not move, but lay still and hoped Abraham would leave him be.
"You are doing so much better," Abraham commented. He did not give Alucard much time to recover. "Kneel."
While Alucard did not immediately obey, Abraham gave him the precious few moments to compose himself. Alucard began to move, slowly shifting his limbs once he was able to control them. Untangling himself from the chain, jaw clenching as dry heaves spasmed across his gut and throat, Alucard pulled himself into a halfhearted kneeling position, palms pressed into the floor with his head hanging low.
"Why are you doing this?" the creature hissed in a broken, sobbing wheeze. Abraham suspected if the vampire had any spare blood left, it would have been streaming in tears across his face.
"We have already had this discussion," Abraham replied, rolling his wrist to make the thick liquid within swirl.
Alucard lifted his head, red eyes settling upon the jar so close, his pupils narrowing into vertical slits. Hope rose in his heaving chest, daring to raise one thin arm and reach toward the jar. He chose not to reply, not when it appeared that Abraham was so close to feeding him. His sharp words brought him more torment than needed.
"No," Abraham commanded, tilting his head back as he watched Alucard's reach freeze. "Hands behind your back, cross your wrists."
This was a new order, one they had not practiced for weeks. Alucard wasn't numb to it yet, wouldn't obey without an immense amount of prompting. His meal was so close. The vampire grit his teeth, jagged fangs and shark's teeth gnashing briefly. Several seconds passed as he hesitated, then as Abraham began to stand, he moved to obey.
Shifting his position, Alucard angled his long arms behind his back, crossing his thin wrists and waiting. While his head was bowed, his eyes were angled through the curtain of inky black tresses to watch the jar.
Abraham watched the vampire's rather surprising obedience. He'd not needed the whip or the seal's pain. Starvation was a wonderful reinforcement all on its own, however, it was such a long term stimulus. It took time for Alucard to become hungry enough, and then once fed, the clock was reset.
"Do not move," Abraham commanded, deciding to make this a very challenging little session.
Stepping behind the vampire's kneeling form, he knelt, holding the jar in one hand. "Tilt your head back and open your mouth."
"I'm not a damned baby bird," Alucard snarled, voice quiet and rasping, and Abraham could see the muscles beneath the lash wounded flesh tense dangerously.
"You're not hungry enough yet, apparently," Abraham's tone was almost depressed, and he pulled back. A grin spread over his face this time, now that he was out of the creature's range of sight. Alucard had instantly tossed his head back, jaw falling open to display a savage array of fangs. Long tongue, nearly twelve inches and pointed at the tip, curled and writhed as it hung from between his lower fangs.
Abraham waited for several moments, watching Alucard remain in position, panting softly as his body quivered in both need and the faint ghosting pulses of aftershock from the seal's latest punishment. After nearly three minutes, Abraham returned, crouching directly behind the kneeling vampire. Curving one hand around, he took hold of the chain connecting to the creature's collar, letting his clothed body brush against Alucard's naked, wounded flesh.
There was a hiss, and the creature's muscles flinched, but he did not move. A soft pressure, very slight but still there, on the chain in his hand. Abraham tightened his grip, giving a sharp tug and shake to the vampire's thin frame. Remind it who was in control.
"Stay still. You may drink what I give you."
Alucard despised being touched by Abraham, hated the human being so close. This hatred overshadowed the burning irritation of Abraham's rough clothing brushing against the lash wounds. His hunger, however, and the prospect of getting anything at this point, allowed him to at least ignore the close proximity for now.
Once the vampire had calmed a bit, Abraham began to tilt the jar, spilling a thin stream of fresh pig's blood into the demon's eagerly waiting maw. The moment blood splashed onto the creature's tongue, Alucard spasmed violently, a loud, keening moan rising from his throat, nearly sexual in nature.
"Calm yourself," Abraham commanded, feeling the demon tense and shudder against him as he continued to allow him to feed. He watched Alucard's throat work, drinking quickly while his mouth stretched wider, almost inhumanly.
The soft moans and whimpers did not quiet, though Alucard seemed completely focused on enjoying the first meal he had been allowed for months. Keeping the creature distracted, Abraham released the chain, brushing his free hand's fingers over the sigil burned into Alucard's chest. This was the first time he'd been able to touch it without the vampire trying to tear his arm from his shoulder since the binding. Then, the vampire had been brutally chained down, unable to move any muscle an inch.
Alucard seemed to either not notice, or feel his meal was more important than the exploring fingers of his new Master, tongue curling upward while he continued to drink. Abraham tilted the jar further, keeping the thin stream steady while he trailed his fingers across the sigil. He could feel power within the mark, not just the power of the vampire but of the magic that bound him. It would answer his demands for Alucard's pain, bind Alucard to obey some orders while the creature could defy others, and yet more secrets he still could not understand.
As his fingers brushed the bottom of the sigil, Abraham paused, feeling over the creature's well exposed, protruding ribs. His fingers trailed past the seal, fingers trailing along withered, starved muscle. Even as he did so, Abraham could feel a strange sensation within the creature as fresh blood was fed into his veins. His muscles began to grow from their atrophied, emaciated state, and a quick glance confirmed the lash marks were slowly knitting together over Alucard's back.
A smirk tugged at Abraham's lips, sapphire eyes watching his captive carefully. His fingers continued their decent, brushing at the base of the demon's genitals. Alucard's throat stopped working then, the deep purrs and sexual moans quieting. Abraham raised his gaze, smirking when he saw the vampire's eyes narrowed and perfectly aware, drawn from the euphoria of feeding by his Master's very bold exploration.
Time for the test. Abraham's hand dropped quite suddenly, wrapping his fingers tightly around the vampire's penis. The reaction was very expected. Alucard twisted without a sound, no snarl or hiss at all, and sank the elongated canine fangs of his left side into Abraham's shoulder. That, certainly, was not expected. The seal didn't catch him in time, the creature's mind probably did not even register what he was doing until it was already done. A loophole in the magic.
Abraham could feel ice cold nails buried in the muscle of his shoulder, and the strange sensations vampire toxin created. Releasing a loud grunt, Abraham snatched his free hand back. As suddenly as he had bitten, Alucard released, throwing himself away from the man as a feral, inhuman screech of agony erupted from his lungs. Cursing, Abraham quickly stood, dropping the nearly empty jar and pressing a hand to the wound. How had the vampire been able to bite? The magic should have prevented any sort of attack against his Master.
That would have to be left for later as Abraham rushed from the room. A vampire bite was death to anyone unfortunate enough to not know what to do. He would need to clean the area and inject himself with a combating anti-venom of his own making. Abraham had only been bitten twice in his experience as a hunter, but they were younger creatures and not demons as Dracula was. Already the wound was burning, beginning to itch as the anti-coagulants did their work to keep his blood from clotting and prime for the feeding predator.
Abraham settled himself into one of the study areas he had set up in one of the upper floors of the manor's sub tertian levels. Here, most of his equipment lay hidden from the rest of the estate, and here he housed plenty of the serums needed to fight off the vampire toxin. The burning had stopped, and now Abraham devoted himself to cleaning the wound thoroughly. A vampire's toxin was bad enough, but the bacteria within their mouths would kill if the venom did not. Infection alone was enough.
Once the threat of imminent death was behind him, Abraham realized he had rushed from the room without locking the cell. Then rage began to boil within his chest. He'd left his whip behind, but that was a physical means Abraham had adopted from before the binding, when he'd wanted to punish the vampire.
Closing his eyes, Abraham felt the seal within his mind. Once he had a firm grasp, he crushed it beneath his will, smothering the dark magic in a very intense desire for the vampire to be punished.
Alucard had been as surprised as his Master that his bite had connected. His own rage had clouded his mind, pushing away euphoric feeding in favor of driving away the being that dared touch him in such a way. The Helsing's strong blood had touched his tongue, enveloping his senses in human blood, not the animal swill he had been fed through his entire stay in this prison.
The realization that he had been able to bite his Master came only a bare fraction of a second before the pain hit him with the force of a mountain. The blood upon his tongue was suddenly acidic, burning as if he had swallowed sacred mercury. The agony of attempting to attack the Master, as blinding as it was even as it escalated with each attack, was absolutely nothing compared to the horrific suffering of having actually managed an attack.
Alucard felt his throat tighten, cutting off breathing and preventing any screams. Eyes wide, he could see nothing but a bright white empty space, too bright for his sensitive eyes, and every inch of his body, inside and out, began screaming in agony. Bones popped and ground as the vampire's body contorted with pain. His mind had no real understanding of what was happening to his physical body, wrapped entirely in a smothering blanket of suffering. This was insanity, complete and true. Every muscle and fiber spasmed as he was continually injected with liquid silver, marrow flushed from his bones by the holiest of water, and his entire nervous system exposed completely to the unfiltered, radioactive rays of noonday sun.
He shrieked within his mind, unaware of the quiet, choked sound his body struggled to make. His form contorted and spasmed over the floor, limbs tearing into anything they could reach. When the sigil finally released him, Alucard lay completely numb to any outside stimuli knowing only the pulsing of fading pain. Conscious thought began to slowly fade back into his mind, with the understanding that he had sank his teeth into the human hunter, tasted the man's blood and perhaps doomed him to death.
Alucard shifted, rolling onto his back when the pain became manageable. His eyes closed as a rasping chuckle rose in his throat.
"I have you now, bastard," the demon's accented hiss whispered through the empty cell. It was a strained sound, his voice, worn from starvation and screaming.
The fresh blood sang through his veins, pig shit that it was. It fed strength into his starved body, gave him the ability to recover quicker than he had in the past few days.
Alucard rolled his head back, panting slowly, feeling all the hurts and injuries slowly knit together. Victory bloomed through his core. Even with the pain, with the paralyzing fear that now gripped his gut at the mere though of undergoing such an experience again, Alucard was pleased with himself.
There was a voice, Abraham's, suddenly within his mind. It shooed away all other thought, the deep pride at having attacked the human. The voice echoed through the sigil's link with his Master.
"You will pay for that."
Pain surged through him yet again, butchering his already well abused form. It was intense, made all the more so by the raw, abused nerves. His back arched, nearly bringing him off the floor.
"Enough! Please!" he screamed the words, unknowing that he had spoken at all. His voice cracked, shattering against the stones until it broke completely.
Abraham maintained the pressure for several minutes, unable to hear from the upper floors but he could feel the creature's writhing agony. The vampire felt a haze beginning to form in his mind, and realized he was losing consciousness. Moments before blissful nothingness took him, the pain released, leaving him much less mirthful upon the floor. He curled into a ball, feeling the brand on his chest burning harshly as if it had just been seared there by demon fire only moments ago.
This was his life now. Dully, the vampire realized there was no escape from this torture. Abraham was not even in the cell, was nowhere near and had brought him that much pain by mere desire. Alucard did not try to make himself any more comfortable, didn't crawl into his favored corner but lay where he had fallen, eyes half open as he watched the blurred shape of the door. How long would he lay alone this time?