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Trevor picks food out of his teeth with a pocketknife, and ignores the disappointed look from Sypha entirely.

“You’re aware that I never agreed to this, right?”

“And you’re aware that I couldn’t care less,” Sypha responds, which is fair.

Trevor makes a long winded sigh and leans back against the wooden board in the carriage. The passenger-side wheel hits a bump, and Trevor nearly slits through his lip with the knife.

It’s warmer now, almost growing on hot. The trees have leaves again, and you can see the cobblestone path beneath the clop of the horses’ hooves.

Unfortunately, it’s a path well known. Trevor pockets the knife.

“This is so stupid,” Trevor huffs. “What if he says no?”

“Then it’s too late, because he already told me yes,” Sypha smiles.

“What? When?”

“Just last week. He said he would be honored.

Trevor turns to start shuffling through the back of the carriage, “Bullshit. Where is it? Proof – I need –” he pauses. “Who the fuck delivers letters in Wallachia?”

“Oh my dear Trevor,” Sypha grins, “Always so simple minded.  Letters are a thing of the past.” She tightens her grip on the reins, and Trevor sighs.  

“Ugh, magicians.”

“I don’t know what you’re all uppity about. It’s just one summer.”

“Just one –” Trevor sputters, “We barely made it a week. You expect us to survive three months together? You’ve really lost your goddamn mind. Downright delusional.”

She elbows him, and scowls.

“Quit it! He’s our friend.”

“He’s your friend. And I don’t know why I have to play babysitter while you get to go on your little Speaker parade.”

Trevor knew it was kind of dickish before he said it, but he’s already neck deep anyways. Sypha narrows her eyes, and snaps the reins, jerking them to a stop. Trevor nearly flies over the top off the carriage.

She turns in the driver’s seat, and grabs Trevor by the scruff of his shirt. Her eyes are a blue hot fury, and whatever else Trevor had to say dies with the snap of his teeth.

“You listen to me,” she says, accent especially thick. “I am going to have a lovely summer preaching the countryside with my family. And you are going to spend time with Alucard. He sits by day and night defending your home-“

“Hey-“

“-so I don’t want to hear any complaints. You’re going to stay put, you will not drink, and you will keep out of trouble.”

Oh. So that’s it. 

Trevor sighs, defeated.

 “I’m not the babysitter, am I?”

Sypha stretches into a big, evil grin.

“No. You are not.”

 

~

 

Trevor feels much like a child when they arrive. Arms crossed, heels dug into the dirt.

The outside hasn’t changed much in a year. Dracula’s castle still looms with an eerie spirit about it; as if it emanates all the unspoken horrors that once happened inside. The whole place is likely cursed down to the floorboards.

Great. 

Alucard is already waiting for them; hair beating with the breeze, hands behind his back, ramrod straight and polite as can be. Trevor can’t even look at him.

The horses haven’t even stopped before Sypha is jumping the side of the carriage, arms outstretched.

“Alucard!”

“Oh, Sypha.” Alucard hugs her tightly, and because Trevor is responsible, he takes the time to park the carriage.

“I’ve missed you so!”

“And I, you.” Alucard pulls back, and looks up as Trevor heaves himself down the carriage step. His knapsack hits the ground with a steady thud. Alucard glances up. “Belmont. I see you’ve arrived safely.”

“Unfortunately for you,” Trevor says, stretching his arms above his head. Alucard rolls his eyes where Sypha cannot see.

He turns to her, “Please, come in. Let me serve you tea.”

“Oh,” Sypha sighs, and places a hand on his cheek, “I am so sorry. I really can’t. I’m supposed to meet my Grandfather in Targoviste by sundown.”

Alucard frowns, and his hands fall politely to her shoulders. “The caravan leaves so soon?”

Sypha nods, “Well. We were supposed to arrive three nights ago, but we ran into, um…”

“Hellspawn,” Trevor approaches, arms crossed. “A real set of bastards. Almost took my eye.”

Alucard blinks, and for a moment he actually appears concerned.

“This close to the castle?”

“Only a few miles north,” Trevor nods. Sypha is glaring holes into the side of his face, so Trevor sighs, and sticks out a hand. “Good to see you.”

Alucard hesitates, appearing stiff. But he shakes Trevor’s hand, and his fingers are…warm.

 “I am pleased you have agreed to spend the season here. The castle is more than spacious.”

Hm. Sypha putting more words in his mouth, as usual. Trevor gives Sypha an unamused look, but she plays it off with a familiar air of naivety.  

“You’re very kind to offer your home.”

Trevor sighs, “Yeah…thanks.”

The wind blows, and Alucard catches his hair behind his ear. It’s annoying, how it still whips around his face in the same tortuous way that Trevor used to hate. It’s longer, if only.

Alucard turns to Sypha, “You really can’t stay for tea?”

“Sadly not.” She hugs him again, “I’ll be back before the trees turn red. Please look after him.”

“The only thing here capable of killing me is boredom,” Trevor grunts.

“It’ll be good for you,” Spyha turns, and wraps her arms around his shoulders. Trevor sets a hand at her upper back and manages a smile.

“As always, you think you know me better than myself.”

“That’s because I do,” Sypha says, pulling back. She kisses the corner of his cheek, and mumbles something beneath her breath, almost too soft for words.

You will see.

“Huh?”

“Enjoy yourselves!” She steps back, climbing back up on the carriage. “Don’t kill each other.”

They both make the same short, noncommittal noise. They stop abruptly, and look to each other with an almost laugh. Sypha outwardly giggles, and snaps the reins, settling into the seat.

“Before the leaves turn red!”

“Bring mead from Italy, or don’t come back at all!” Trevor teases. She waves him off and cracks the reins once more. The horses start into a trot, and Trevor waits until he can’t see the wheels on the carriage anymore.

She takes something with her. Something in his chest that Trevor can’t physically name.

Alucard stands at his side, hair ruffled once more by the wind. Trevor doesn’t know what to say. The birds have come back, which is more than a year ago, when the demons overran the rivers and coated the airstreams in the sky.

Alucard clears his throat, bringing his hands out from behind his back.

“Let me help you with your bags.”

“I got it,” Trevor bends down, but Alucard stops him.

“I insist.”

Trevor breathes out heavy, patience going with it.

“Sypha is gone. You don’t have to act nice.”

Alucard grabs his bag effortlessly, face cold and unamused.

“I see this year has passed you quickly.”

Trevor steps after him, “And what does that mean?”

“You haven’t changed,” Alucard says. Almost, as if disappointed. Trevor opens his mouth, but Alucard steps quicker, “Come. I’ll show you to your room.”

 

~

 

It’s misleading. The big, shadowy gloom and doom exterior of Dracula’s castle.

“Wow,” Trevor says.

Alucard shrugs one arm, “I’ve stayed busy.”

Gone is the dark, sickly feeling. Gone are black walls and shadows so dark you can hardly see one foot in front of the other.

Its light, and airy. Windows open, light streaming in on still-broken staircases. The walls still have scorch marks, claws in the wallpaper and ash in the carpet, but it feels different. Weird, but different.

Trevor follows him down winding hallways. They pass cast-iron chandeliers and boarded up rooms twice over.

“This should suffice,” Alucard says, and sets his bag at the foot of the bed.

The room is more than he needs. A bed and a dresser and a mirror along one wall. There’s an adjoining room for bathing, and big glass windows. Trevor sets his morning star on the dresser with a loud clatter.

“Thanks.” Trevor grunts, in dismissal.

Alucard pauses in the doorway. He thumbs barely at the edge of his sleeve, hesitation and uncertainly clinging to him unnaturally like a cat to water. Trevor’s hackles raise to his shoulders. It’s wrong.

Alucard isn’t like other vampires. But.

One battle of valiant comradery isn’t enough to undo years and years and generations and millennias of 

Vampire Vampire Vampire

 

Trevor tenses, staring from across the room, almost waiting for the sword to fly out of the silver sheath at Alucard’s hip. Trevor’s hand hovers over his own whip, by his thigh.

Alucard breaks the silence first. His eyes are an unnatural yellow-white, a wolf-like glow in the shade of the doorway.

“I know you didn’t want to come. I will not stop you from leaving.”

Trevor blinks, and starts, “I-“

“However, the kitchen is on the second floor. There is a common-room on the third. The castle has running water, so please make use of it.” Alucard turns up his nose, “You reek.”

His boots click down the hall. Trevor is left to scoff at his shadow.

 

~

 

He’s suspicious of the bed. Trevor checks the posts, and the mattress, and pats beneath the springs. No tricks, no monsters. He lies down stiff, and sleeps better than the last six-months of his life. The bed swallows you up and barely spits you out, and Trevor sleeps in longer than he ever has.

The sun is already midsky when he rises. He takes that bath, but not because Alucard told him to.

This place is still not right. Too – weird. There’s spickets that spit hot water, like the bath is above a well. The room lights as he enters, and doors open without his prompting.

Fucking magic.

He keeps to himself. Trevor has absolutely zero reason to seek out Alucard, so he doesn’t.

He assumes they’re pretty clear on the stay out of my way, and I’ll stay out of yours – style armistice they’re at. (Well, if Alucard’s attitude yesterday was anything to go by.) Trevor has no clue what Alucard gets up to all day, and he frankly doesn’t care.

Trevor finds the kitchen by wandering through the halls.

Second floor my ass, this place has more doors than all of west Wallachia.

The floor is a bit cobbly and uneven, and there’s still the remains of a broken table brushed into the corner. More in-tact tables line the walls. The chairs are sculped out of gold, plush fabric and richer finishings than anyone can afford these days. It’s all a bit gaudy – and a little tackish – but not unfit for a castle, he supposes.

Trevor rummages through the pantry and finds shelves of meat dried on racks. There’s a cooling box in the corner with cold, raw fish – which is a little odd, so Trevor keeps away from it. Apples hang from a basket by the ceiling, and Trevor helps himself. It’s a better dinner than he’s had.

 He spends the evening meandering through the halls. The center-staircase railing is still busted up one side, but there’s some patch marks in the floor, where some holes might’ve been. He finds a library, not as large as the Belmont collection beneath the ground, but still impressive to someone, probably. (Sypha).

Trevor doesn’t have much interest for books – but when he finds the armory, he grins wicked. The walls are hung with silver tipped flails and maces the size of Trevor’s head. A black blade hangs on the wall, mounted like a deer-head.

There’s a lance that looks familiar. It’s small, the grip almost too petite for any grown adult. He lifts the blade by the hilt and hums, catching the silver by the firelight.

A noise scuffles behind him. Trevor turns on a pinpoint, outstretching the blade (like that toothpick will help him any).

There’s nothing there. The torch flickers a little, but the doorway is unnervingly still.

Trevor snuffs, and rubs at his nose. He drops the sword back in its sheath and leaves it on the table.

 

~

 

With boredom eating at his toes, Trevor finds himself up before the sun.

It’s all the week’s sleep, likely. His body is stocked full.

Trevor wanders down to the kitchen, mostly because it is of the few places he feels most comfortable. It always smells good, and there’s open windows that let in fresh air. The sun is rising, bringing the heat; Trevor finds the pantry restocked with loafs of bread, so he breaks off some, and sits by the window.

He’s surprised to see Alucard stride in. His white shirt is stretched around his collar, almost hanging off one shoulder. He’s dressed in trousers and knee boots, but there’s a disheveled look to him that Trevor hasn’t seen before.

Well, it’s a bit of a shock to see him at all – Trevor had begun to wonder if he was even here.

“Oh,” Alucard stares. “You’ve risen early.” His face is blank, but his eyes are bright and blazing, burning right through him. It’s too weird.  

Trevor looks away. “Mm.”

“I will be quick,” Alucard says, and opens a cabinet.

“Hey, it’s your home,” Trevor waves. “Just warn me if you pull any men out of the pantry.”

Alucard rolls his eyes, and reaches for the breadshelf, tearing off a piece for himself.

“I am capable of eating human food.”

Trevor lifts a brow, “Really?”

“Yes.” Alucard takes a bite, and Trevor’s eyes are drawn to his fangs like a rattle on a snake. He won’t rattle. But Trevor is on edge anyways.

“You can’t live on bread alone.” Its accusatory.

“No.” Alucard looks to his hands, tearing another portion of bread. “If it eases you, I sustain mostly on pig’s blood.”

“Well, it’s nice to know I’m not on the menu.”

“You never were,” Alucard floats off, back through the doorway and down the hall. “I don’t eat garbage.”

Trevor shouts obscenities after him – and Alucard’s foul laugh rings down the corridor.

 

~

 

The sun is out today. Trevor isn’t much for the whole romantic, nature poetry nonsense, but it’s sort of nice. He walks down the broken cobblestone road that leads out from the old Belmont estate. It’s weird, how much it’s grown to be kinda, like uh, how he remembered it. With less hellfire, and a couple more pear trees.

He passes the broken bridge, and the old stump that still bears the marks of his childhood target practice, and —

To his downright surprise, there’s a new settlement at the riverbank.

The homes are new; fresh nails in the woodworks, and less scorch marks on the shackling. It’s not much. There’s a water well in the square, a pub with fresh paint, and a bakery on the corner. A child runs by in the square, and it’s too jarring to begin to comprehend.

“Passin’ through, stranger?” A man lifts his hat. He’s grey and wrinkled and covered in soot.  

Trevor jerks his chin in a nod, and looks back across the town. “This used to be ash.”

“T’was, not long ago,” The old man nods, slumping back up to sit at the lip of the well. “We’ve been nomadic through the years. Outrunning the night creatures.” He coughs a bit, and drinks from a flask. “And the church.”

Trevor lifts his brows to his forehead, but doesn’t ask questions.

Laugher echoes from the bar, and it calls to him like a siren – oh does it. Trevor doesn’t bother to resist.

It’s quite lively – moreso than any bar in the last three years. Funny how the apocalypse will drive out business. There’s a woman behind the bar with a corset and curls and lips blood red. He’s not much in the mood, but at least she’s something to look at.

Trevor orders two drinks, and stops at three. Sypha isn’t here, but he thinks of her disappointment and calls it a night.

Summer isn’t the season for drinking. You’re left hot and sticky, and Trevor sheds his waistcoat before he even makes it back through the castle door.

Fuck the stairs, fuck the stairs. Trevor treads into the study, and slumps into the couch, forehead pressed into his arm.

“I see you found the pub.”

Trevor is a little drunk, and too hot to act surprised.

“Mmm.” He pauses a moment to gather himself, and looks up. Alucard is in a red-cushioned chair, book in hand, and he has the fire going as if it’s not the middle of first fuckin’ summer. He looks utterly repulsed by Trevor’s presence. Trevor wipes his brow, and considers laying on the cold cobblestone floor. “You didn’t tell me about no bar.”

“I thought it inevitable. As always, a horsefly will find the garbage,” Alucard says, and sets his book down into his lap.

Trevor hisses through his teeth, “Fuck off. Where’d the people come from?”

Alucard gives a flat once-over of Trevor’s state, and closes the book entirely. “They’re a protestant town. They are under the assumption that I will protect them from outside foes.”

“And?”

“They are essentially correct,” Alucard sighs.

Protestants, huh?

“Fuck the church,” Trevor hums, and slinks back into the couch. The room swells a bit black, and Trevor closes his eyes to the flicker of the fire. Alucard shifts in his chair, but doesn’t leave.

It’s quiet, other than the crackle of the fire.

  

~

 

God, it’s been a long time since he’s had drinking sickness. Three ales? Trevor is out of practice.

It’s all Sypha’s fault. Forcing him to drink water and shit.

He wakes where he fell asleep; sprawled half over the study settee, drooled all over one arm. The adjacent chair is empty, and the fire is out.

He doesn’t see Alucard today. (Not that he’s looking for him, but) Trevor is a bit curious of where he runs off to all day. Likely asleep in his sick little coffin.

Trevor snorts to himself, and heaves up to sit at his bedroom windowsill. The day has passed slowly, for Trevor is unaccustomed to spending such long amounts of time in a single place.

Sypha left eleven nights ago — she’s likely having fun, killing monsters and repeating the stories of their last six months of travel.

Trevor isn’t sure if he misses the traveling. At least it’s better than a big, empty castle.

Weird. It’s been a long time since he felt lonely, too.

 

~

 

It rains, and when it stops, Trevor thinks it a good time to go out and practice on the old trees.

Mud makes him slow. Trevor cracks his whip against the leaves, aiming for the same carved circle dead center in the bark. It’s humid, and he sweats through his shirt, but the burn feels good.

As per usual, Alucard seems to materialize out of near nothing.

He’s in another stretched-out shirt. There’s no holes, no stains, but the sleeves are rolled to his forearms, and his hair is tied back high on his head. Alucard doesn’t speak; but he watches, hands folded, face pulled into that indifferent glare.

Trevor ignores him. His whip cracks a bit too low, splashing mud across his own neck, and Alucard gives him that look – the one he always gives, like Trevor is the absolute scum of the earth and he can’t bear to share the same air. The stare claws into the back of his neck, eats like acid and burns like fire. Trevor grinds his teeth, and waits for a peace that doesn’t come.

The whip snaps off a branch. Alucard lets out an annoyed sigh.

Trevor turns on his heel and snaps, “Can I help you?”

“No,” Alucard answers curtly. He doesn’t move.

Trevor rolls his eyes, and continues to practice. His boots slosh a little in the mud, but he adjusts his gait, and keeps at it.

“Then fuck off,” Trevor grunts.

Alucard looks taken back.

“Crude as always.”

“Yep, ‘as fuckin’ always’, eat shit, fuck a whore, go back to your coffin and die, I don’t care which.”

“You are a guest in my home, and yet-“  

“I’m not in your home.” Trevor throws out his arms. “I’m outside it. So fuck you.” Trevor flips him off twice.

Alucard puffs up like a cat, eyes darkening, an aura of anger swirling hot. A year might have passed, but Trevor hasn’t forgotten the feeling of fangs at his neck.

“What is your problem?”

My problem? Whenever I’m minding my own business you come around and look at me like that,” Trevor throws out his hand in a gesture.

“Excuse me for not being ‘pals’ with the executioner of my own race,” Alucard hisses. “Would you like some tea? Oh, excuse me-“

“At least my daddy didn’t wipe out half the Earth!” Trevor snaps, and Alucard seems to recoil. Trevor doesn’t stop, stepping up to hiss in his face, “I kill murderers. What’s your deal?”

Alucard’s gaze is so heavy, it’s tangible. Weighted, sinking into the mud.

“That was low, Belmont. Even for you.”

“Then it’s a good thing I’m a bottom-feeder,” Trevor grins humorlessly. He tucks away his whip, and stomps off. “I’m not doing this today, or ever. Goodbye.”

Alucard doesn’t follow him, which is good. It wouldn’t be fun for Sypha to bury two friends, come the autumn month.

 

~

 

He doesn’t sleep that night. He’s still boiling mad; a lot at Alucard, and a little at himself.

Trevor gives him zero reason to be such a dickhead. One day he hopes for the strength to break his stupid nose. But um, maybe uh. Well.

He’s still thinking about the hurt look on Alucard’s face, and it doesn’t feel great knowing he put there. His stomach won’t settle, and there’s a tightness in his chest he can’t ignore. Alucard looked...pained.

Trevor has become soft.

He tosses once more in the sheets, before he finally heaves himself upwards. He sighs, running his hands down his face. His hands still smell like the bar of soap from the bathing room, and Trevor breathes it in, trying to instill some kind of peace in his mind.

A rap comes from the door — three steady knocks. Trevor blinks, and pushes back his hair. The light from the moon isn’t bright enough to light up the floor, so Trevor reaches for a torch, yet it lights without his hand. Right. Magic.

Trevor swings his legs over the side of the bed. There’s no one else it could possibly be.

“Come in.”

Alucard opens the door, and steps inside. It creaks behind him as it closes. His face is safe behind its mask of sharp lines and straight lips, eyes once again tracing Trevor head to toe. Trevor is too tired to fight.

“We’re not doing this again,” Trevor sighs.

“I’ve come to apologize,” Alucard says.

Oh.

“Oh.” Trevor squints. “You woke me up to say sorry?”

Alucard rolls his eyes, and crosses his arms. “I could hear you breathing, you were not asleep.”

“Okay, creepy. What else can you hear?”

“Can you be quiet?” Alucard hisses. “I’m trying to apologize.”  

“Is that what this is?”  

“I didn’t mean to offend you.” Alucard snaps, barreling over him.

Trevor snorts, “Which time?”

“With the…”

“Staring?”

“It wasn’t-“ A pause. A sigh.“…Yes.”

“Hm,” Trevor crosses his arms. He’s still without a shirt, but he has no dignity to uphold anyways. “Okay.”

Alucard looks as if he’s pulling teeth, but he still says. “Belmont, I am sorry.”

Trevor sighs. Alucard is here, trying to make nice, but the room still crackles with an edge that holds you by the throat. Trevor rubs along the scruff on his chin, and sighs again.

He pats the spot next to him. Alucard blinks, as if he grew a second head, and Trevor slaps the spot even harder.

“Come on. I think we need to um. Talk.”

Alucard groans. Trevor makes a noise of agreement.

“I’m uh…” Trevor starts, as Alucard slowly sits. “I’m sorry too?”

Alucard lifts a fine brow, “Are you?”

“Shut up. Fuck, I don’t know. You just – you piss me off.”

“It is…hard for me,” Alucard says. “I wish to trust you. But I am reminded of the skulls in your basement. We are fated enemies.”

“I didn’t put those skulls there,” Trevor snaps. Alucard tenses – and fuck this is hard – “Jesus, okay. And I know it’s not your fault the world almost ended. There, I said it.”

“Yes?” Alucard prompts.

“Yeah.” Trevor scrubs his scar. “I know uh, if you were gonna’ bite me you would’ve already done it by now.” Alucard rolls his eyes at the thought, and Trevor elbows him. “Shut up! It makes me nervous.”

“Does it?” Alucard runs his tongue along the back of his fangs, almost like an afterthought. “Some find it attractive.”

His tongue slides back behind his lips, and Trevor really doesn’t like the way that makes him feel.

“Don’t do that,” Trevor huffs. “We can’t be friends if you do that.”

Alucard laughs, and its not bad. It’s not a bad laugh. His hair hangs down his shoulders, and his eyes squint a little when he smiles. Unfortunately, he is always good-looking. Even in the ugly hours of the morning, when Trevor doesn’t want him to be.

“I think, we could come to an agreement. We are not our ancestors.” He smiles a little sadly. “It is what my mother always tried to tell me.”

Trevor cracks a grin, “I think I can agree to that.” He offers his hand, “Asshole.”

“Moron,” Alucard nods, and shakes his hand.

 

~

 

Alucard is already in the kitchen when Trevor wakes for breakfast. It definitely confirms that Alucard has been actively avoiding him.  

He has what looks like porridge steaming in a bowl. There’s a scone at his hand, and a goblet of red liquid at his left.

Trevor scuffles in. He awkwardly takes a potato from the basket, and starts to slice it with his knife. Alucard silently eats at the head of the table.

Because Trevor has no idea how to break the silence, he takes a look at Alucard’s bowl and says, “Mm, nothing quite like oats and blood in the morning.”

Alucard chokes into a laugh, which is the most undignified Trevor has seen him yet. He sits a few seats over at the table, and smiles as Alucard coughs into a handkerchief.

“Jackass,” Alucard manages. “That was on purpose.”

“No, but it was funny,” Trevor says. He pops a slice in his mouth, and gestures to the goblet of blood. “Where’s that from?”

“The butcher.”

“The butcher?”

“In Transylvania.”

Trevor blinks, “Is that what they’re calling themselves now?”

“Yes,” Alucard takes a drink, so politely the red doesn’t even stain his lip.

“Hmm. It’s not good when they name themselves. It creates hope.”

“It creates stability.”

Stability. It’s not a word in Trevor’s vocabulary.

“Must be nice.”

“I am to visit today,” Alucard says. “We’re nearly out of bread.”

“My fault, sorry,” Trevor chews.

“You should come.”

Trever pauses. He really doesn’t have a reason to say no. He tells Alucard as such.

“Dress light,” Alucard says shortly. “It will be warm today.”

 

Christ, is that an understatement. Trevor wipes his forehead with the collar of his shirt, and rolls his sleeves to his elbows. Alucard only glances his way once, before staring forward, his pace a brisk walk. Trevor actively focuses on the road, and doesn’t comment. He’s trying this nice thing, okay.   

Alucard looks like a dog in the sun, nose upright, eyes slightly closed to soak in the light. His hair is near white under the sunlight, and his skin glows just the same.

Trevor kicks at a rock in the road, and watches it bounce into the trees.

“Can you feel it?”

Alucard hums in question.

“The sun,” Trevor clarifies.

“I cannot feel the cold,” Alucard says. “But I can feel warmth. I should be allergic to it – but my human blood…it makes it feel…” he pauses to say. “Pleasant. Though I can burn like any other.”

“Huh.” Trevor sniffs. “Is that why you sit by the fire in first summer like a heathen?

Alucard laughs, “It’s nice.”

“You’re mad.”

They pass the bridge, and the stump. Buildings come into view; you can smell smoke from their cooking fires, and hear the chatter from the square.

Alucard steps one foot on cobbled road, and heads turn his way.

“Alucard!” The children run, nearly tripping over their shoes. “You’ve come back!”

He nods once, “I said as such.”

A young girl tugs on his sleeve, “Have you brought me a flower?”

Alucard’s mask shifts, a display of tender sadness. “Not today.”

“Oh,” she sags.

Alucard pats at his breast pocket, then at his pants, “Hm? Oh – but wait –“ he reaches for her ear, and pulls out a yellow daisy, “It seems I have.”

She gasps, yanking it from him, and turning on her heel, “Oh thank you!” She runs to her friends, “Look! Look!”

“Wow! Let me see-“

“No! It’s mine!”

Alucard stands back to his full height, and Trevor gives him a look.

“Gross.”

“Yes,” Alucard agrees, bushing off his knees. “But they are kind here.”

He continues walking, and Trevor follows slightly behind, not quite sure what the hell just happened.

Women pull water from the well. Trevor can smell the bakery has they get closer. Alucard opens the door, and it chimes as they step through.

“Alucard!” The baker turns, cheeks doused in flour. “It’s wonderful to see you again.”

“Hello Nicolae,” Alucard nods.

“The usual?”

“Whatever you have.”

The baker tips his hat, “’Ave you brought a friend?”

“Trevor,” he greets.

“A Belmont!” The baker gasps, grabbing Trevor’s hand over the table, “Oh, we’ve heard the stories. It’s a pleasure!”

“Oh,” Trevor blinks.

“They love your library, the people do,” The baker says, as he pulls out the loaves, and sets them in a basket.  “We thank you for letting us see it.”

“Um,” Trevor shrugs. “Yeah. I didn’t have much use for it.” He jabs his thumb towards Alucard, “This guy watches over it for me.”

“He watches over us all,” the baker says, accepting the coin from Alucard with a grateful nod. “Three years ago, I never thought I’d bake again. It was all about makin’ it to tomorrow, yes?”

Trevor nods, wordlessly. Alucard collects the basket with a soft, reserved smile.

“Thank you Nicolae.”

“My pleasure. Be sure to stop n’ see Ana, she’s got more pigs for ya’.”

Alucard nods a thank you, and allows Trevor to step back outside the bakery before following. The door shuts, and Trevor pulls his hands from his pockets, crossing his arms.

“They know you’re a vampire?”

“I assume it’s quite obvious,” Alucard says. Trevor’s gaze snaps from his teeth, back up to his eyes. Alucard continues, bread basket now tucked under his arm. “It’s not worth hiding anyways. I live in Dracula’s castle.”

Trevor cracks a laugh, “Oh, yeah. Maybe that’s the giveaway.”

Alucard elbows him as they walk, and it’s so human that it makes Trevor laugh more. It’s hotter than the last layer of hell, but there are worse things.

 

~

 

The nights are warm, but yet – here he is, sitting floorside with tea of all thingsstaring dead straight at a crackling fire.

Trevor mulls over the thought of visiting the Belmont estate downstairs. But he hasn’t much use for it. He can’t read.

It’ll only make him feel weird anyways.

He doesn’t hear Alucard approaching, but he knows he’s there.

“You can only sneak up on me so many times,” Trevor says, not turning around.

“There are night creatures in the forest,” Alucard says. “Out north, in the brush.”

Trevor does turn, “Oh, finally.”

Alucard’s lips do not smile, but his eyes do. “I figured as such. Come quick, I don’t like when they reach the river.”

Trevor grabs his morning star from his room, and a few blessed knives he usually keeps strapped to his thigh.

Alucard runs fast, but Trevor is not slow either. He keeps at his heels, following him off the path and into the forest. It’s dark, but the moon is a bright blue, and Trevor can see just enough as Alucard jumps, and shifts into a white wolf.

Trevor can smell the demons before he sees them; like rotting flesh and burnt hair.

A hand comes swiping through the trees, and Trevor dodges it, whipping his chains and wrapping it around the arm. He takes it off clean and jumps, boot smashing dead-center in the nose of a night creature.

Alucard is teeth deep in a bat demon, ripping out the throat and jumping to the next – and Trevor grins – because oh, he has missed this.

He terrifies a demon, keeps light on his feet and avoids the muddy spots in the ground. The explosions light up the forest in flashes, enough for Trevor to briefly identify what he’s fighting.

A tail sideswipes him, and he tucks and rolls in the brush. A wolf jumps past him, then a sword, and soon that tail is dead on the floor.

More come from the trees, and Trevor is ready for it.

“On your right!” Alucard shouts, piercing a demon heart. His sword lights with blue fire, and it’s enough to see again.

“I see it,” Trevor calls, and wraps his chain on a high tree branch, using it to kick off and swing high to nail it in the neck. It doesn’t explode, so he hits again, again –

“Get down!” Alucard yells, and the creature’s mouth opens with red fire.

Trevor pats the flames out of his sleeves, “Goddamnit.”

It looks like a lizard, overgrown and slimy. It breathes fire once more, and they both roll out of it’s reach. A second demon comes barreling out of the trees, comedically knocking Alucard off his feet. Trevor breathes in to laugh, but the lizard throws him shoulder first into the nearest tree.

“Christ alive – that’s enough,” Trevor coughs, wrapping his morning star back around his wrist, and running straight for it.

The lizard opens their mouth; Trevor lodges the star right down their throat.

Alucard runs his way, “Wait, Belmont-“

“I got it!” Trevor jerks the chain; the demon pauses, chokes, and then bubbles up like a balloon. It detonates into a complete shower of green guts, raining down like a biblical flood.

Trevor pauses, and watches as his weapon drops to the ground in a pool of green.

“Ah,” Trevor says. “I see.”

Alucard has completely frozen in place, shoulders raised, sword halfway in the air. He’s utterly drenched in green.

Trevor takes one look at him, and nearly dies laughing.

“I hate you,” Alucard says, but Trevor laughs harder. He braces a hand against the tree and wheezes,

“You look like a wet dog!”

Alucard narrows his eyes, “You want a wet dog, do you?”

Trevor stops, “Wait-“

Alucard shifts into a dead run, a green wolf wet in fury, and Trevor takes off towards the castle.

“Fuck, get away from me!”

But paws drop him into the dirt, and suddenly the back of his shirt is soaked green.

“Oh, gross,” Trevor rolls. He winces as Alucard hovers above him and shakes like a dog. “Oh, gross!!!!”

Alucard shifts laughing, still wet and sticky, but now cracking with a smile. A real one.

Trevor feels winded where he lays.

Alucard’s laugh slows, but his smile stays. He outstretches a hand and sighs, almost fondly, “Come. This will be a nightmare to wash when it dries.”

Trevor doesn’t need his help, but his tongue is bone dry. He takes Alucard’s hand and is pulled to his feet effortlessly.

 

~

 

Alucard is right. The goop is a fucking pain to wash out. He dunks his hair six times in the bath water and still has to scrub.

Living here has built this new expectation of being clean – a luxury he won’t always have.

But luxury or not, this shit is nasty.

He finds Alucard sitting in the study, book in hand, damp hair tied up high on his head. He’s not reading, but staring off somewhere, lost in thought.

“Tired already?” Trevor teases.

“It’s not that,” Alucard says.  

“Hm?”

Alucard exhales. He hesitates before saying, “The demons are growing braver. They know they will be killed here, but they come anyways.” Alucard pauses, and thumbs along the edge of the book. “Those demons were Hector’s work.”

Trevor kicks up on the couch, and throws an arm over the back of it. “Hector? Who’s that.”

“My father’s forgemaster. The one who was resurrecting the demon army.”

“Mm. That’s not good.”

“No. Carmilla is building an army and sending out scouts to do her dirty work.”

“The vampire mistress. You think she’s trying to take the castle?”

Alucard sighs, “I know she is. This castle wields an unimaginable power…even if Sphya broke it.”

Trevor snorts.

Alucard continues, “To have this place…amongst vampire elites, it’s to be king. I can’t let her reach it.”

Trevor hums. “So you’re king now, huh?”

“A king has subjects,” Alucard says. The fire pops, and it lights up the side of his face. He looks sad now, thoughtful, very different than in the forest. “No vampire will follow me.”

There’s something left unsaid. Trevor decides not to push.

He gestures to a box sitting at Alucard’s side table, “Is that a chess board?”

Alucard blinks, “Yes.”

“Do you play?”

“Do you?”

“I did a long time ago,” Trevor says. “My father taught me.”

Alucard gives a flat look, “You know chess, but you cannot read.”

“Shut up and set the board, asshole.”

“You’re going to lose.”

“Not without a fight,” Trevor stands, and barely catches the closed-lipped smile from Alucard.

 

~

 

Trevor has zero recollection of walking back to his bed last night, but he wakes up there anyways.

The sun smacks him awake through the window, and it’s high enough to remind him just how late he stayed up.

He finds an apple for breakfast, but there is no Alucard to be seen. He takes a big bite, and decides to look for him.

Trevor isn’t fond of the big mechanical rooms and the dungeon style hallways that lay below, but he hunts through them anyhow. He doesn’t find him downstairs, or upstairs, or on any stair, really.

He passes patch marks on the floor; spots where Alucard filled up holes in a rush. He runs his hand along splintered railing, and stops when he reaches a room boarded up with metal slabs.

It is Alucard’s old bedroom. The place where Dracula died.

It looks completely impenetrable. Metal and wood nailed in an ugly, frantic manner.

A sick feeling washes over him, so he keeps looking.

Seriously – did this guy just leave? Is he in Transylvania? Trevor must know, it’s now a matter of principle.

He walks outside. He’s three feet down the path when he hears a very sudden, very loud thud from across the courtyard. Trevor stops mid stride, and squints. He waits, and it happens again, another thud. It echoes, as if in a chamber.

Trevor cautiously moves towards the estate, suspicious until he hears the noise again. Is Alucard really in the Belmont library?

Trevor approaches the stone stairs, where the seal once lay. He hasn’t been here since those days they spent spearching. Since the day they killed Dracula.

“Alucard?” He calls. It bounces around, but there’s no answer. Only more heavy banging.

He rounds the corner, ready to call again, but he stops with a heavy inhale.

The spiral staircase is exactly as it was. Grand and carpeted, railing sculpted and smoothed and brand new. The destruction from the demons is almost indistinguishable, if only for the two different wood grains that run along the stairs.

Trevor takes them two at a time, gazing at the repaired walkways, and the upright shelves. All the books are back in place. The ash is swept away.

“Alucard!” Trevor calls, louder this time.

The noise stops.

His voice resonates, “Belmont?”

Trevor follows the sound, reaching the bottom of the library. He sees Alucard peak around the corner. His hands are covered in mortar, and there is a pile of bricks at his knee. His pants are dusty, his boots muddy, and his shirt is stretched and rolled up to his arms. A hammer is left at his side, and fresh metal where new brackets have been set in.

Trevor sputters, “What are you doing?”

Alucard looks at him as if he’s stupid.

“Fixing the hole in the wall.”

“Did you do all this?” Trevor gestures, to where there was once a demon-sized crater in the ground.

“No,” Alucard deadpans. “It was the fairies.”

“Why?!”

Another long, impatient look.

“Because it was broken? Honestly Belmont, did you seek me out for this?”

Trevor starts and stops three separate sentences. He looks back up again, at where the walkway was exploded into a hundred pieces.

“You make no fucking sense,” Trevor breathes. “I hate you.”

“Sure,” Alucard says, and continues to lay brick in the wall.

“No,” Trevor steps over the pile, and pulls Alucard by his collar, “Stop – why-“

“I already told you why!”

He yanks, and Alucard allows him to. Trevor can’t breathe, his chest hurts and aches and it burns.

“Why?” He swallows. “Your own house. It’s still.” He blinks. “It’s still broken. Is this what you’ve been doing all year?” He shakes him, “Have you no respect for your own house?”

Alucard narrows his eyes. He grabs Trevor’s hand by the wrist and pulls, but doesn’t let go. His grip is eerily strong.

“You entrusted me with the protection of your childhood home. I thought it a bigger priority.”

He lets go of Trevor’s wrist. Trevor pulls it back with a yank.

His throat feels tight. So he sniffs, and scratches at the scar under his eye. Alucard gives him a long look, and turns back to the hole in the wall. A silence pings, and Trevor feels particularly stunned.

“Thank you,” he says.  

Alucard turns back around, but Trevor is already gone.

 

~

 

“Okay.” Trevor claps his hands together. “What can I do?”

Alucard stares, blank mask on, a pile of wood in hand. Summer bugs scream in the trees, almost overshadowing Alucard’s eloquently said,

 “Huh?”

“Don’t act stupid. For the castle – what do you need help with?”

“Oh,” Alucard continues to walk, “Nothing. It’s not your concern.”

“Well I’m making it my concern. You fixed up my house, I’ll help fix up yours.”

“That’s not necessary.”

“I’m telling you, it is.”

“This is your time to rest.”

“Yeah, and I’m resting.”  Trevor rolls up his sleeves, and Alucard stops walking. He gives another long, dead look. Trevor sighs, “Come on. I’d rather do this than sit around all day.”

Alucard exhales, “Fine then. Grab a wood pile and follow me, we’re going to work on rebuilding the posts in the stairway.”

Trevor nods, and takes what he can from the pile. Alucard walks briskly, and Trevor follows at his heel.

He doesn’t seem ecstatic about having Trevor around, but that only makes Trevor want to stay.

It’s not fun work, but it makes him feel a little better knowing that Alucard won’t be living in a half-trashed home for too much longer.  Trevor is tasked with cutting down posts and sculpting them into shape, while Alucard works on upheaving the half-burnt floorboards, and nailing in new ones.

Trevor sits at the bottom of the stairs, knife in hand, and carves each post to the best of his ability. It won’t be fine Persian sculpture, but it’ll hold a railing, at least.

He glances up to Alucard every so often. His hair is pulled back halfway, but strands still hang in his face. His arms are solid, heaving up floorboards with just his hands. His shirt collar is loose, and it hangs low when he bends, and Trevor has to look away.

He scrapes the wood with his knife once, twice.

He looks back.

Alucard is biting his lip in concentration. The fangs don’t pierce his skin, but they leave little indents. He’s not flushed with labor, or sweating through his shirt, but there’s a concentration about him that is oddly endearing. Alucard is masculine in his own way, a combination of beauty and sleek handsomeness that is frustrating in the worst of times. He shouldn’t think as such.

Well, Trevor thinks, it’s not his fault for having eyes.

He finishes the post and sets it aside, and bites his lip when Alucard says,

“That looks nice.”

 

~

 

“Check.”

“No it’s not.”

“Yes it is-“ Trevor points. “Learn to count.”

Alucard huffs after learning that ha, yes, Trevor is actually right for once. He moves his bishop in the path of Trevor’s knight.

“Your strategy is infuriating. You have no reason to your plays.”

“And yet,” Trevor says, taking his bishop, “I can give you a run for your money. Check.”

Alucard takes his knight with his queen. Eh, it was worth the risk anyways. They have the fire going, as fucking usual, but it’s hard to break the habit now that they’ve started it. It gives good light, and there’s something nice about the noise, even if Trevor has to take off a layer to stand the heat.

“I should have known,” Alucard mumbles.

“Known what?”

“You play as you fight.”

“I’ll take that as a compliment,” Trevor says, fiddling around with one of the white pawns he took earlier.

“You should. You fight well.”

“Wow, two in one day. Be still my beating heart.”

Alucard rolls his eyes, but doesn’t rise to the bait. He simply makes his move, and settles back in his chair. He has one leg crossed over the other, an elbow braced on the armrest, and Trevor feels overwhelmed, suddenly over-attentive to everything about Alucard. His fingers, his eyelashes, the slight point to his ears.

“Belmont.”

“I’m thinking, Jesus.”

“No,” Alucard stands, and waits, listening for something. Oh.

“Shit,” Trevor rises. “More already?”

“East.” Alucard’s sword flies to his hip. “I can smell them.”

“Lead the way, Fido.”

Alucard glares, but does so anyways, which only serves to make Trevor smile.

They run out into the brush. Swing swords and whips and chains, and work well at the other’s back. It’s as if, Trevor can sense Alucard’s next move before he does it; ducking or swinging or catching a demon before it can sweep Alucard off his feet.

It runs on the edge of creepy, but it’s kinda cool, in its own way (and definitely fun in a million others). Alucard helps to launch Trevor mid air, so Trevor can pop a winged demon with his whip. He lands on two feet, and searches for more. It’s quiet, nothing but corpses at their feet.

“Look,” Alucard gestures, “No guts this time.”

A demon comes barreling out of the sky, breathing a sickly acid that nearly burns all the clothes off his back, and Alucard has to kill it, because Trevor is laughing too hard to stand.

 

~

 

Second summer begins, and they’ve created a type of rhythm. Trevor meets him for breakfast, sometimes, and they spend the day repairing the stairs. When the sun starts to set, they play chess. And after chess, they go their separate ways.

Today they’ve walked to town. Trevor goes along because he can’t come up with a reason not to. 

He wont admit to liking the townsfolk.

“Mostly chicken blood today,” Ana says. “I’m sorry. I’m still waiting on some pigs from Al and Diana, they’ve promised me a few by next week.”

“Chicken blood is fine,” Alucard says, giving her coin. She hands over multiple vials, and Alucard places them in the bag slung over his shoulder.

They exit the shop, and Trevor hums.

“Chicken blood isn’t fine, is it?”

“It will get me by,” Alucard says. “It doesn’t have much nutrition, but I’ll be okay without a solid meal for a while.”

“What if you took mine?” Trevor wonders.

Alucard nearly trips, holy fuck.

“You what?”

“Uh…my blood?”

“Why would I do that?” Alucard sputters.

“I don’t know! If it was an emergency or something!”

“I wouldn’t. I would never. I-I don’t--”

“I’m just saying,” Trevor crosses his arms, face hot. “If you had to, I’d let you.”

Alucard stares at him for a long, long time. Trevor scowls dead ahead and keeps walking. The shock seems to drain away, because Alucard slowly speaks.

“Thank you. But I have not had human blood since I was a child. I don’t know what kind of reaction my body would have.”

“Hmm,” Trevor strokes his chin. “Maybe you’d be super strong.”  Strangely, the idea doesn’t physically repulse him as it used to. Maybe it’s the routine of seeing Alucard politely drink blood from a goblet like wine.

“Even if that were so, I would not do it.”

“A vampire with morals. Where can we get more of you?”

He’s pretty sure Alucard isn’t capable of blushing, but he does bite his lip a bit too hard. He doesn’t reply. Trevor hums, and brushes his elbow against Alucard’s.

“Hey, would you ever let me ride on your back as a wolf?”

“No.”

“Even if I asked nicely?”

“Especially if you asked nicely.”

 

~

 

The smell of burning flesh wafts up through the castle, and Trevor forgoes the stairs in favor of jumping down them completely.

He follows the smell through the second floor, weapon in hand, until he bolts into the kitchen and stops dead in his tracks.

“What are you doing?” 

“…Cooking,” Alucard responds, but he sounds unsure.

There’s a cast iron stove hanging in the fireplace, and it smells horrendous.

“What is that,” Trevor points.

“…Soup.”

“I don’t know what you’ve done to it, but that’s not soup.”

Trevor grabs a rag, and uses it to lift the top of the lid. Oh, god.

“I know,” Alucard sighs. “It was my mother’s recipe. Or, what I could remember of it.”

“Well, first of all your flame is too high,” Trevor kicks some dirt into the fire, and turns it to a simmer. “You’re burning the bottom.” He reaches for a ladle and grabs a spoonful. He makes the sign of the cross one handed across his chest, and startles a laugh out of Alucard. He sips it and chokes, “Christ alive.”

“I know,” Alucard grits.

“No, its…” Trevor clears his throat. “Lets thicken it up. Do you have any parsnips? And rosemary?”

Alucard waits, as if to see if Trevor is serious or not. But he moves towards the pantry shelf and says, “I believe so.”

He digs around in the back, and pulls out one parsnip and a jar of old rosemary. It’ll do.

Trevor stirs them in. He finds salt at the front of the shelf, and dumps half that shit in there.

Alucard looks dumbfounded.

“Since when could you cook?”

“I’ve been places, Alucard. Just because I don’t do something doesn’t mean I don’t know how to.”

“Dully noted,” Alucard says. He takes the spoonful Trevor offers him, and blinks at the taste. “It’s good.”

Trevor grins, and sets the lid back on. “It’ll be great in an hour. Slightly burnt, but what can you do?” He shrugs.

Alucard steps forwards, and he’s smiling, teeth and all. He sets the ladle on the rest by Trevor’s hip, and leans in.

“Sometimes you amaze me, Belmont,” Alucard says.

The air sucks out of Trevor’s lungs all at once, and he’s left gasping like a fish on land. He swallows so hard he can taste rocks in his throat, and he doesn’t know why.

Alucard’s mask has slipped. He’s staring (as he always does), but Trevor can see it all. White and yellow and gold in his eyes, his face pulled into a genuine look of amazement.

Time slows. A crackle of something buzzes in the room, and Trevor can almost taste the distance between them. Alucard’s gaze drops down to Trevor’s lips so quickly, he almost misses it.

Alucard seems to catch himself, because he steps away quick, face sliding back into it’s long lines and porcelain composure.

“I find this all a bit embarrassing,” Alucard says. “The soup was meant for you.”

Double whammy, right to the throat.

Trevor recovers faster this time, managing a short laugh as he turns to lean up against the wooden counter.

“So the great Alucard can’t cook. My day has been made.”

Alucard grins something evil.

“Care to read me a book?”

“Oh you-“ Trevor swipes for his shirt, but Alucard dodges, snickering, and Trevor chases him down the hall and out the front door.

 

~

 

“I think it looks good.”

“I agree,” Alucard says.

It was a full week’s worth of work, but the center castle staircase is finally repaired on all three floors. There’s a railing now, and Trevor’s posts don’t look too bad. Alucard paid some women in the town to remake the curtains for the windows, but once those are in you won’t really notice a difference.

“Thank you,” Alucard says. “This would have taken much longer alone.”

Trevor shrugs.

It’s midafternoon, but the clouds block much of the sun today. Still, the outdoor light makes this place look less gloomy. Trevor says so.

Alucard nods, “It is as I remember it. What you saw…” He frowns, “My father was not the same, and neither was the castle. It reflected his heartache.” 

Trevor hesitates. He cautiously sets a hand on Alucard’s shoulder, because he doesn’t know what else to do. Alucard tenses under his touch; and then relaxes, staring up at the staircase, lost in thought.

It must hurt. To stand in your childhood home and be reminded of what happened here.

Alucard lifts a hand, moving to cover Trevor’s hand. He stops before their fingers touch, jerking upright.

“Do you hear that?”

“No,” Trevor steps back. “But I know what that means.”

 

Trevor follows him out into the trees. There’s a horde already clawing into a travel caravan; Alucard jumps first to defend them, as Trevor starts to attack the demons on the ground.

“Go!” Alucard shouts to the caravan, sword in hand. It glows a blue fire, and he slices through the torso of a bird demon. The people run, abandoning their carriage.

“It’s daylight!” Trevor huffs, snapping his chain and breaking the mask off a creature.

“I am aware.”

Trevor suddenly ducks, making room for the sword that goes flying above his head and into the eyesocket of a demon. It screams and squeals, and Trevor finishes it off.

They fight, but it’s easy. More come, more fall, and the longer it takes, the more on edge Trevor feels.

“This isn’t right,” Trevor says, back sliding up against Alucard’s. They brace against each other, defending from an onslaught on both sides, then separating to kill their foes.

“You feel it too.” Alucard rips out a throat with his nails, and wrings off the blood. Trevor turns back to fight the next one, but there is none.

The wind blows through the trees. It ruffles through Alucard’s hair. 

“Huh. Was that it?”

A scream echoes through the trees. Loud, and then louder, then a chorus.

Their heads snap simultaneously, each looking to the other.

“Transylvania.”

They run.

“It was a trap!” Alucard shouts, shifting into a dog and running faster.

“No shit!” Trevor yells, and for once, isn’t upset when Alucard uses his superior speed to disappear.

When he reaches the town, two buildings are on fire. Demons have overrun the square. People are running, but are unsure of where to run to. Alucard is taking on six demons at once, ripping out hearts, but not without struggle.

Trevor stops a sprinting man by the shoulder, shouting, “Grab all your salt! Gather yourselves in the river and draw a line on each end. Anyone who can fight – grab a weapon and stand guard at the front!”

They run; the baker, the butcher, the bartender, the children and the women and the men who work out in the farms. But there are dead bodies, and Trevor can’t stand to look at them.

These are larger demons. The elite ones, with bigger, stronger abilities. They’re a bitch to kill, and a bigger pain in the ass.

Trevor hits a demon twice before he gets the arm off it. His morning star gets knocked from his hand, and he uses his boot to crack in the nose. He buys enough time to grab his weapon, but he’s already knocked onto a house roof, thrown about and tossed like a ragdoll.

He curses. He can see Alucard floating from here, sword flying to protect himself on all ends as he uses his forearms to guard against an onslaught of fire.

Trevor takes a running jump off the roof and shouts, “On your left!”

Alucard moves, and Trevor pops a demon in the mouth, the silver bubbling up its skin and making it weak. Alucard slices it through, and it dies.

The new tailor shop crumbles under the body of a demon. Trevor sweats hot, swallows dirt and presses through. He’s weakening, and there’s a pain his side, but he manages to kill another before he searches for Alucard.

“You will lose,” The demon says, blue light bleeding from it’s mouth. “She will come for you.”

“Then she will die,” Alucard spits, sword raised. The light demon lunges; Alucard blocks with his sword, and a second creature materializes at Alucard’s back.

“Watch out!” Trevor calls. He jerks forward to wrap his chain around the demon’s wing. It’s strong, and it catches him off balance. Trevor gets utterly smashed into the ground. His head cracks hard against the cobblestone, and he cries out from the instant pain.

A distant shout: “Belmont!”

Trevor groans when claws grab him by the neck and lift him off his feet. He chokes, grabbing for the arm of the creature. It feels horrible, furry and sticky and revolting. His vision goes funny.

“This is the Belmont,” It gurgles.

“Kill it.”

Alucard shouts no! and Trevor drops to the ground, the demon’s arm included. His head smacks once more, and he chokes as he lands on his shoulder. Weight falls on him, and Trevor prepares to fight, but.

 It’s Alucard, arms bracketing his sides, sword floating above his head. He’s crouched above him, one leg stretched out, hovering to protect him like Trevor is something precious.

Alucard bears his fangs and hisses, his full body blocking the heat when more fire rains their way.

The demon swipes at him. Alucard rips out his eyes, and bites out his throat. The light demon opens her mouth, blue fire beginning to build, but it dies and smoulders, when Alucard shoves his hand through her stomach.

“Fucking hell,” Trevor groans, wincing to roll on his back. Fuck, his head. There’s blood all the way down his neck.

“Belmont.” Alucard is there, suddenly, right in his face. He presses a hand to the side of his head, cradling him. “Are you okay?”

“You’re crazy,” Trevor mumbles. “Where’d that come from?”

“Hold still!” Alucard hisses. He feels around Trevor’s head, and Trevor winces when fingers brush against the wound on his temple. Alucard presses gently, and Trevor shouts.

“Ow! Damnit!”

Alucard sounds relieved, “It is just broken skin. Your skull is intact.”

“Well great. Can we go now?”

Alucard looks at their surroundings. There are no more creatures, and the fire is smoldering. The townsfolk have come out of the river, soaking and shivering, but still alive.

“Yes. But slowly. Slowly!” Alucard helps him up, cradling the back of his head. “I should carry you.”

“Absolutely fucking not.”

“You cannot walk like this.”

“Well I’m gonna’.” Trevor huffs. He stops. He grins. “Unless.”

“No.”

“Fine. I guess I’m walking home.”

Alucard sighs.

When he begrudgingly shifts into a wolf, Trevor thinks the conk on the head was definitely worth it.

 

~

 

Alucard hurries him into the study like a mother hen. He points with a very stern stay, and returns with a wrap of tools, a bucket of water, and a rag.

“Ugh. This isn’t necessary.”

“You are soaked in blood,” Alucard points. “It’s entirely necessary.”

He reaches for Trevor’s head, and Trevor smacks his hand away.

“It’ll heal! I just need a nap.”

“It will not. You need stitches.”

“You said it was fine.”

“I said your skull was not cracked.

“Exactly, so –“

“Trevor!” Alucard barks, shocking him quiet. “Please. My mother was a doctor.”

Trevor swallows. Alucard is gazing forward, face way too serious, so Trevor sighs. He spreads his legs enough for Alucard to bring up a chair and sit between them.

“Thank you,” Alucard says.

He lays out his tools in his lap and brings the bucket of water to his side.

“Please sit as still as you can.”

“Whatever.”

“This will hurt.”

“It already hurts.”

Alucard begins to clean the wound with water. Trevor bites his cheek through the pain, and winces only once.

“Sorry,” Alucard mumbles. His face is the perfect picture of concentration, brows drawn together and lip line tight. The rag soon turns red, but most of the bleeding has stopped. Alucard seems unphased.

He pulls out a small jar of liquid off-white, and shows it to Trevor. “This is a numbing salve. It will lessen the pain of the stitches.”

“Just get it over with,” Trevor grits. Alucard carefully slicks his fingers, and runs it along the wound. Trevor curses under his breath, and Alucard braces a hand at his chin to keep him still.

Alucard is so close, they’re well-nigh breathing the same air. Trevor tries to hold his breath, but he lets it all out at the sight of the needle. 

“Close your eyes if you must.”

“I’m fine,” he grunts.

Alucard watches his face and waits. When Trevor has relaxed, he brings the needle out of his sight, and holds his jaw once more.

His hands aren’t cold. They’re not warm, but they’re not…ghastly. It still surprises him.

Alucard works quickly, and Trevor only feels a slight pinch. Alucard gently wipes the blood as it bleeds. He leans in a little closer, and Trevor can’t look away. His throat is there – right there, pale and perfect and unbitten. Trevor swallows loudly.

Alucard momentarily meets his gaze, and then it all comes rushing back; the cracking energy from that day in the kitchen. The air leaves his lungs and his tongue sticks against his teeth and his hands twitch for things he can’t have.

Alucard looks back to his temple, fingers shifting his grip on Trevor’s jaw. His thumb braces against his cheek, fingers beneath his ears, and Trevor involuntarily shivers.

He hears Alucard’s breath catch.

“There,” Alucard mumbles. He snips the suture and studies his work. “You will live.”

Trevor deadpans, “What a relief.”

Alucard pulls out a bandage and begins to cover the wound. Alucard gently tucks Trevor’s hair behind his ear, and it’s so soft, so feather light that Trevor can’t believe he watched his man rip out a hellspawn’s throat less than an hour ago.

Alucard soothes over the bandage with his thumb. Trevor meets his eye.

They haven’t moved yet. Alucard, still with his hand against Trevor’s face. Trevor, with his thighs braced on either side of Alucard’s knees.

“Can I ask you something?” Trevor whispers.

The room feels like a bubble.

Alucard nods, “Yes.”

“Why do you always stare at me?”

Alucard gently traces the line of Trevor’s cheek with the tops of his fingers. He folds another strand behind Trevor’s ear, and says,

“Because you are beautiful, and I can hardly stand it.”

Trevor is so floored, he almost laughs. His voice comes out strangled and not his own.

“I think that’s my line.”

“It is not,” Alucard says. “It is mine.”

He stares, eyes glowing, face alight, and Trevor thinks oh. Oh. This whole time. Trevor had it all wrong.

Alucard leans forward, slowly, as not to scare away this moment. He presses his lips velvet soft to the side of Trevor’s good temple and says, “Goodnight.”

He stands, gathering his tools and his bucket, and he leaves.

 

~

 

Alucard is not seen for two days. It’s not really the surprise of the century.

 Trevor needed the time to sort himself out anyways. There’s too many thoughts in his head; too many questions he doesn’t have answers to. He thinks about making the walk over to the town bar, but forgoes it for an early night’s sleep.

A plate of bread is waiting outside his door in the morning, but the castle remains empty.

Trevor’s headache fades by the third day, and that’s when he goes off looking for Alucard.

“Asshole,” he whispers. He’s met with another empty hall, and shouts, “You can’t hide from me forever!”

He checks the estate, the engine room – even the coffin buried deep in the basement. This is all starting to feel very familiar. Annoyance bubbles in him, and an unsettling feeling eats at his mind.

How could he just leave. Jackass. 

Trevor stops walking. He doesn’t remember turning down this hallway.

It’s different, taller, with fine gold molding near the ceiling. The doorways are higher and grander, and it’s pin silent here. You can’t even hear the birds.

“Alucard?” He calls.

Nothing. Great. Alucard is gone, and Trevor is lost in hell.

He chooses a door at random, hoping it’ll lead him back out to the central staircase. It’s heavy, and he has to use his shoulder. He stumbles when it swigs open, and then freezes.

The ceilings are enormous, and the floor is a swirly marble. There’s a stage, where a band would play. It’s painted in white and gold and pink; weightless colors with big windows to let in the sun. It’s a ballroom.

It’s so sickeningly familiar to the ballroom in his old estate, that Trevor suddenly can’t breathe.

He remembers. He remembers everything. The parties his father would host. Live music and merry dancing and laughter so loud you could hear it from the river.

He remembers dancing on his mother’s toes. He remembers a time before he lost everything.

The world tips upside down. Trevor swallows around the lump in his throat, and gazes numbly at the vast, lonely ballroom.

There’s not a soul in here. But he can hear the music. He can feel the laughter. 

“Hold my hand like this,” she says.

Trevor lifts his arms up slowly, until they hang in the air.

“Trevor,” she laughs. “Follow me. Front, right, left.”

His feet drag. Front, right, left. Trevor closes his eyes.

“Now turn – turn – turn! Yes darling-“

Up and back, a spin, a swing.

“You can step on my toes. It’s okay.”

Trevor’s boots squeak against the floor. His hands float in the air, his feet carry him into a turn, and his eyes snap open when fingers squeeze into his.

Alucard wraps his other arm around his waist and spins them, keeping with the rhythm Trevor has built. His heart jackknifes into his ribs.

“Alucard!”

“I knew you were raised noble,” Alucard says.

“Where the hell did you go?!” Trevor snaps. He tries to pull out of his grip, face burning, but Alucard holds him strong and continues to pull them into a silent waltz.

“A hunt,” he says. “There were more demons approaching. I left to burn their bodies so they could not be resurrected.”

“And you went alone?!”

“You are in no state for battle.”

Trevor stomps on his foot, and gets no reaction from Alucard. “Fucker – you could’ve told me.”

Alucard slows them to a stop. He frowns.

“I needed the time to think.”

Trevor jerks out of his arms, ready to fight, but it bleeds out of him at the sight of Alucard’s face. There’s a pain in his eyes that reflects his own, and Trevor stops with a sigh.

“What happened?”

“Hm?”

“You know. The other night.”

“I’m sorry if I offended you.” Alucard stiffens. “But you did not see yourself. There was so much blood and I…” He drops off. “Anyways. I apologize.”

“You didn’t.”

“What?”

“Offend me.” Trevor swallows. Alucard looks through him. Trevor goes quiet.

Alucard exhales, and runs a hand through his hair. He steps back a little, mumbling, “Damn. What are we doing?”

“I don’t know,” Trevor says. “But I really can’t stop thinking about you.”

Alucard’s eyes snap to him. Trevor stands his ground.

He slowly reaches back into Trevor’s space, hand coming up to trace beneath the bandage on his temple. “Really?”

“Yeah,” he breathes. “So If you’re pulling that vampire seduction voodoo crap, I don’t appreciate it.”

Alucard cracks a smile, “I haven’t the slightest idea what you’re on about.” His thumb catches the corner of Trevor’s lips. It feels utterly electric. Dangerous and wrong and perfectly safe.

What are they doing? Trevor has no idea.

Trevor’s hands fall not quite to Alucard’s hips, but they hook in the leather of his belt. He laughs lightly.

“Isn’t this a sin against God?”

“My existence is a sin against God,” Alucard says, and holds him by the neck as he kisses him.

Trevor’s world is pulled out from under him.

Alucard kisses with such a real, physical tenderness. A concoction of passion and genuine desire. His fangs stay behind his lips, but Trevor can still feel them as they kiss, and it makes the hair on his arms stand on end. He kisses back, and Alucard breathes into him, and they move together.

Alucard could crush his windpipe like a plum, and it’s far from terrifying. God, what has Trevor become.

They pull apart and look at each other with the same bewildered expression of holy fuck that was kind of awesome – and dive back simultaneously, Trevor pushing up his shirt and digging into the skin of his hips, Alucard tipping his head and controlling their kisses.

It sounds especially loud, in this big empty ballroom.

Trevor dips his tongue into Alucard’s mouth. Alucard bumps back.

“Careful,” Alucard pants – and it’s the first time Trevor has ever heard him out of breath. “I could cut you.”

Trevor hums. He brings a hand to Alucard’s lips. He dips his thumb into the corner of his mouth, and presses gently along the fangs there. He pushes a little, just to feel how sharp they are. It really could cut him. 

“Stay very still,” Trevor says. Alucard blinks in a silent agreement. Trevor holds his hand beneath Alucard’s jaw and kisses him, tongue slowly slipping beyond his teeth. He minds the fangs and traces his tongue, getting a long, final taste before pulling back. Alucard looks beside himself with thin restraint. Trevor tastes his own bottom lip. It’s different than kissing a woman. He likes it.

“Spyha really won’t believe this.”

Alucard smiles, and traces along the bare side of Trevor’s neck.

“Something tells me she might.”

 

~

 

It’s all a bit ridiculous, isn’t it.

He’s never loved before. He’s not even sure if he liked any of the women he slept with.

Time never slowed long enough for things like that. It was all about tomorrow, and maybe summing the will to live for the day after.

Trevor isn’t sure what this thing is, between them. But it sucks the breath out of his chest, and fills his head up like a furnace, and he was never one to tread cautiously anyways. So fuck it.

Alucard resumes work on the castle. Trevor watches, because Alucard doesn’t deem him fit for labor yet. He says the stitches can be cut in another day’s time.

They play chess that evening. Trevor feels like a child, smiling when their ankles hook under the table. Alucard takes his knight, and Trevor kicks at his shin, and they both laugh.

Neither of them are quite focused. Their moves are sloppy, and they talk more than they strategize.

“It concerns me,” Trevor says.

“Transylvania?”

“Yeah. They’re too naïve.”

“They’re optimistic,” Alucard shrugs. He moves his queen, and takes Trevor’s bishop. Trevor curses.

He stares at the black bishop piece, now on Alucard’s side of the board. Trevor blinks.

It goes quiet.

Alucard frowns, “What’s wrong?”

Trevor stands abruptly, nearly shifting the pieces on the board.

“Do you think you could help me with something?”

 

~

 

Trevor hops up on the lip of the well and cups his hands around his mouth. He shouts deep,

“All right, listen up!”

Alucard drops an armful of weapons to the ground. Half the castle armory clatters, maces and axes and swords falling into a heap.

The townsfolk stop where they are, some buying fruit, others in half step. Heads peak out of their homes. In only a month, the numbers have doubled.

“Everyone take one,” Trevor orders. “Hide it beneath your floorboards, shove it under your bed, I don’t care. Put it where you can grab it quickly.”

Everyone looks to each other in question. Murmuring begins to build in the square. Trevor tightens his fists, but Alucard speaks up before he can be quick to anger.

“There will be instances where I will not be able to protect you. You are aware that this man is a Belmont, there is none other more capable of teaching you how to defend yourselves.”

“But…” A woman speaks. “The church says it a sin to kill demons.”

“Then your only other choice is to die,” Trevor replies. The woman’s eyes widen.

A man steps forward first, and slowly selects a sword from the pile. He examines the glint in the sun. He says, “God has abandoned us. We must be our own saviors.”

“That’s the spirit,” Trevor grins.

More hesitantly reach for weapons. None know how to hold them; they’re awkward and heavy, but even the pregnant women take knives, and hold them at their chests.

Trevor picks up a leftover throwing star, and tosses it in his hand. “These are silver. They’ll kill a demon better than any steel.”

“We will teach you how to use each weapon once,” Alucard says. “Then it is your responsibility to practice, and to teach your kin.”

“But first,” Trevor grins, “A lesson in the importance of salt.”

 

~

 

“Ow ow ow ow-“

“Sit still, will you?”

“It hurts!”

“Only because you keep moving.”

“I’m not, you keep digging your sharp little f-ow!”

Alucard huffs. He grabs Trevor by the waist and hauls him up into his lap on the couch. Trevor squirms, babbling, “Hey! What do you think you’re-“

“Sit. Still,” Alucard tells him. His eyes start to turn a reddish hue. Trevor sits still.

Alucard adjusts him in his lap and raises his scissors to Trevor’s temple.

“This is healing nicely,” Alucard says, carefully snipping one of the stitches. Trevor resists a wince. “But you will have one hell of a scar.”

“Hm.”

Alucard gently brushes his hair out of the way, and snips another suture. He grabs a fresh bandage and wraps it over the agitated wound. When he’s finished, he leans up and brushes his lips against the edge of the bandage.

“All done.”

Trevor smirks down at him, and Alucard lifts an eyebrow. Trevor teases,

“You’re soft.”

It ruffles him. Alucard sticks up his nose.

“Would you rather I leave you to bleed?”

“I’d rather you kiss me,” Trevor says.

Alucard hums thoughtfully. Trevor slips his hands into his hair, and Alucard tips his head, meeting Trevor’s mouth when he leans in half way. He’s not fully on the couch, but Alucard tightens his hold on his waist as reassurance, so Trevor stops thinking entirely.

He’s not sure when he learned to let his guard down so much. It happened so slowly, Trevor can’t pinpoint an exact moment in time.

Long fingers untuck his shirt, and slip up his back. Alucard’s nails scrape into his skin, and Trevor bites down on his bottom lip as reprimand. Alucard inhales harshly.

“Can you feel this?”

“Yes,” Alucard purrs. His nails trace the muscle in his lower back.

“Well how convenient for you.”

“I can choose not to feel pain during battle. Like flexing a muscle.”

 Trevor makes a long hmmmm sound, and kisses him again. It’s a little careless; Trevor licks along his teeth and gets nicked for it, but the sound Alucard makes is fucking worth it.

Alucard’s hands drag around to squeeze at his thighs. Trevor yanks on blonde hair, and opens his eyes to watch Alucard shiver.

The kisses are good. Trevor could do this for a long, long time. He could die like this, actually. All intellectual thought goes to mush, and the rest of his body goes hyper-sensitive.

Alucard drags a palm between his legs, and Trevor groans on a reflex. Alucard pulls out of the kiss to watch his face. He looks very pleased. He traces Trevor with his fingers, almost teasing how hard he is, and Trevor looks away.

“Have you done this before?” Alucard asks.

Trevor punches his arm.

“I’m not a fuckin’ virgin.”

“I know that,” Alucard rolls his eyes. He undoes Trevor’s belt with one hand, and yanks it out of the loops. “With a man, I mean.”

“Um. No.”

Alucard pauses. He looks up, “Really?”

Trevor fights the heat in his face. He grits through his teeth.

“Yes. What of it?”

Alucard hums. He sets his hands at Trevor’s hips and tugs with no real effort, “Slide forward.” There’s a softness about it that suggests that Trevor doesn’t really have to. But he does – and his heart jerks when he rubs up against something equally hard.

Fingers tuck his hair out of his face. It makes his chest squeeze every time.

“See?” Alucard pulls him by the hip with his left hand, rocking them together, drawing a noise from Trevor’s throat. “I’m the same as you.”

“You don’t have to be so gentle with me,” Trevor snaps. He grips the back of the couch and grinds, and instant-gratification has him biting back another sound. Alucard’s head rolls back on his shoulders, and he meets him on the next thrust and fuck, Trevor throbs.

“Is that what you want?” Alucard mulls. He pulls his head back up, and this time his eyes are narrowed, full of concentrated danger. He surprises Trevor with his strength, jerking him to rub up against his crotch, nose dipping to run his teeth along the line of Trevor’s neck. “Is this it? Do you want me to be rough with you?”

Oh, god. His fangs trace his throat for the briefest moment, but Trevor is suddenly way, way closer to the edge than he was a moment ago. He goes hot all over, and he swallows around cotton.

Alucard pulls a safe distance away from his throat, and presses a kiss to the high spot on his neck. Trevor rolls from it, squeezing a hand into his shoulder and grinding like a dog in heat.

He feels sticky in his clothes, and he’s vibrating under his skin, but it’s quick and slow and it’s something they can’t waste a moment of. Especially not on something stupid like clothes.

Alucard is everywhere. Under his shirt and against his jaw and beneath his thighs. Trevor can’t think; he’s left to inhale, but never gets enough air. He feels Alucard twitch beneath him, hot from the radiation of Trevor’s body heat – but fuck, fuck, Trevor bumps the good side of his forehead against Alucard’s and moans.

“Oh my god,” Alucard breathes, watching him – always fucking watching. Half lidded eyes and long lashes and white gold. Trevor feels wrong against him. Callouses against smooth skin, dirt on a wedding gown — like he’s tainting something so beautiful.

It builds so fast, all Trevor can do is hold on. His head slips against Alucard’s, burying his face in his hair, gasping and trembling and never having removed his pants.

A vulgar sound comes from Alucard, and it sends him into aftershocks all over again. Alucard is breathing heavy beneath him, and his fingers are digging too hard into his thighs – so Trevor shoves a hand between his legs, and gets to watch the surprised look on his face when he comes.

 

~

 

“What the hell. Why is your tub so big?”

“It is the same size as yours.”

“Bull-fuckin’ shit. You could fit a family in there.”  

Or two full-grown men, which is frankly ridiculous. But Trevor is eager to have these pants off, so he peels them to the floor and rips off his socks. He knows Alucard is watching him, so he takes off his shirt with overexaggerated slowness. Alucard rolls his eyes.

Trevor sloshes into the bath, and Alucard sighs, unbuckling own trousers.

“I liked these.”

“Not sorry,” Trevor says. He sinks up to his nose and groans. He’s not sure he’s ever had a bath this hot.

Alucard respectfully hangs his shirt up on a wall hook, but kicks his pants along the floor with Trevor’s. Once more, Trevor is reminded that Alucard has a really, really good body. His shoulders are wide and his skin is flawless, beyond the red scar along his chest. Trevor has seen a lot of naked men, (too many), but he’s never found them so attractive.

He’s never found anyone so attractive, really. It’s horrible.

Alucard steps in on the opposite end of the tub, and their knees knock together. Trevor thinks he could definitely get hard again.

Alucard looks amused. He opens his arms.

“Well?”

Well what? You expect me to cuddle?”

“Perhaps.”

“Ha, nice try.”

“Fine then,” Alucard says, shifting up on his knees. The water level falls, and then sloshes over the end of the tub when Alucard throws his weight onto Trevor’s torso. It presses a laugh out of him.

“What are you doing?”

“Annoying you,” Alucard says. His hair is half damp, and he fits his head against Trevor’s. His arm slings around the back of his neck, and soon they’re so tangled, he’s not sure how they’ll ever get up.

“Jackass,” Trevor says. Their noses brush. Alucard hums.

The water is up to their chests, and their feet crowd at the end of the tub. Alucard relaxes against him, and it’s more intimate than anything they’ve done. His heartrate doubles – and Alucard can hear it – but Trevor is powerless to stop it.

He feels so out of place; Alucard at home in his princely bathroom, while Trevor sits with ugly scabs and broken blisters. He swallows his pride, and grabs for Alucard’s hand. Alucard squeezes back right away, and Trevor can instantly feel the difference between them. Callouses and smooth, manicured nails.

Alucard sloppily kisses his ear. Trevor smiles.

“What are you smiling about?”

“Nothing.” He snorts.  “It’s just. You’re going to destroy the dreams of so many women.”

“They’ll get over it.”

“Wow, harsh.”

Alucard shifts a little, and bends his arm to play with the damp strands of Trevor’s hair.

“I have never had the company of a woman.”

“Seriously?”

“I discovered myself at a young age. It was one of the few things I was ever sure of.”

Trevor lets that sink in.

“Wow. Did your mother know?”

“Yes. We were already an enemy of the church. It mattered little to her.”

The bathroom goes quiet. Water drips over the edge of the tub. Trevor runs his thumb along Alucard’s.

 “I don’t think I liked any of the people I slept with.”

“Mm?”

“Yeah. Half the time I was too drunk out of my mind to even get it up.”

Alucard hums. His free hand drops under the water to spread over Trevor’s navel. He drops his head and sighs.

“Your body is so beautiful. It’s too bad you treat it like shit.”

“Hey! I don’t drink like that anymore.”

“You could stand to be a little less careless.” Alucard feels over the bandage. It’s gotten a little damp from the water. It’ll probably need to be re-wrapped.

“Great. I’m taking life advice from a vampire.”

“Dhampir.”

“Huh?”

“I’m not a vampire. I’m a dhampir.”

“No you’re not,” Trevor says. Alucard sits back a little to look him in the eye and argue, but Trevor scoops a hand in the water, and splashes Alucard across the face. “Now you’re a damp-ir.”

Alucard blinks. He then laughs in a oh you are so dead – kind of way, and most of the water ends up over the edge of the tub.

 

~

 

Trevor sleeps in his own room. He still thinks it’d be awkward otherwise. He’s pretty sure Alucard doesn’t actually sleep in a coffin, but he’s too late in the game to ask.

It’s not so hot out today. Which means it’s a good time to drag people out of their homes and teach them how to hold a goddamn sword.

“It’s not a violin,” Trevor grabs it, and sets it back in Tristan’s- no, Peter. Peter’s hand. Tristan is the blonde one, right. He can’t hold a sword either, fuck.

Anyone that had time to spare is lined up to practice against the trees. Unfortunately, the trees are mostly unscathed.

“You-“ He points. “Asher. It’s an axe. You can’t hold it at the hilt, you’ll swing back and cave in your skull.”

“It’s just too heavy,” Asher sighs. Trevor watches Peter continue to hack at the tree in big choppy swigs. He waves his hand.

“Alright, stop. You two, switch. We’re starting over.”

“But I think I’m getting the hang of it!”

“You’re really not.”

They begrudgingly switch weapons, and readjust their gait; and hey, Trevor’s pretty good, because they actually start to hit the marks on the tree.

Trevor steps back to see who else needs help. Ana is lethal with a knife, which should be a given. Bain isn’t bad with the club. He’s a beefy guy from hauling grain all day. Krea and Cedric still need help, but they’re doing better than last week –

Trevor’s heart sinks into his stomach, and his train of thought comes to a staggering halt.

He knows these people. He knows their names and their lives and their families. He cares.

“Okay, that’s enough,” Trevor calls, above the slight tremor in his voice. “Go have lunch.”

The townsfolk look relieved. They lower their weapons, and gather together, moving the chatter out of the forest and towards the town.

A few waver, “Belmont? Are you coming?”

“Yeah, my wife is making lamb skewers!”

“I’ll be there in a moment,” Trevor says. They seem to accept that answer, and filter out one by one.

Trevor sits on a fallen log, and scrubs his hand through his hair. He takes a deep breath.

“Shit.”

“That bad, huh?”

Someone sits next to him. Trevor already knows it’s Alucard.

“And where have you been?” He asks without looking up.

“I ate an early breakfast and um, traveled to the seaport to pick up that quartz. Had to work out a deal with some pirates from India.”

“To patch up the fourth floor?”

“Mhm.”  Alucard sets a hand at the back of his neck. “What’s wrong?”

“They’re all going to die, Alucard.”

“Don’t speak like that.”

Trevor’s eyes waver, and he stares between his feet, elbows on his knees, hands in his hair.

“They’re next. They’re next, and you know it’s true.”

“That is why you are helping them,” Alucard says. “Don’t be so pessimistic. Humans are annoyingly resilient.”

Trevor cracks a sad smile.

“It’ll be on me if they die.”

“It will be on both of us.”

“Wow. You’re just as bad at pep-talks as I am.”

Alucard pats his upper back and stands, saying, “Stop acting as if you are alone. Come on, those skewers smell bloody amazing.”

Yeah, alright.  

 

~

 

Trevor ties his wrap around his waist, and fastens his shoulder holsters. He holds a slice of bread by his teeth as he laces his boots, and then shoves the rest of the bread in his mouth as he exits the front castle door. 

He gets three paces, and stops. 

There's a man lying dead on the front step. His limbs are twisted, and his head is nearly sliced off his neck. There are are pin pricks in his throat. Trevor looks away. 

Footsteps approach behind him. Trevor balls up his fists and presses them into his eyes. 

"Oh," Alucard breathes, "Jean, no."

He obviously did not die here. There is a blood trail splattered up the cobblestone path. Jean was dropped here like a dead bird. 

"She's sending you a message," Trevor says. 

Alucard's hair puffs with the wind, and his eyes bleed on the edge of red. He bares his teeth.

"Message received." 

 

~

 

"What are you doing?"  Trevor shouts. 

Alucard jumps down from the rafters. There is an enormous cog balanced on his shoulder, and he drops it to the basement floor. He holds up a book with his free hand. 

"Attempting to repair the castle's engine." He frowns at the book, "My father did not leave much information behind. Curse his handwriting." 

"Why?" Trevor looks up, to the endless ceiling and the enormous, half-melted cogs. "Are you going to teleport it?" 

"No. The castle has defense mechanisms that were damaged when Sypha melted the core. If I can somewhat repair the engine, we might be able to stand a chance against Carmilla's army." 

"Defense mechanisms, huh?" Trevor kicks at a lip in the metal grating, where it melted upwards. "Science or magic?"

"A bit of both."

"What can I do?" 

Alucard looks not quite at him — and Trevor realizes that he's staring at his newly healing scar. Alucard seems to deem him fit enough, because he points high up on the rafters and says, "Can you use a hammer?" 

Trevor steals the hammer off Alucard's hip, and flings his whip up to the high beams. He begins to climb, but a hand slips around his waist, and carries him to the top. Trevor huffs.

"I fuckin’ had that." 

"Don't fall," Alucard says, and immediately falls, dropping to the ground and heaving up a giant cog. 

It takes an absurd amount of teamwork; Alucard steadying the beams from below, Trevor climbing up and down to hammer in the bolts. He wishes Sypha was here to weld the seams — it'd all go a bit quicker otherwise. 

Honestly, Trevor hasn't the slightest idea what he's doing. He has a feeling that Alucard doesn't either; but it's better than sitting around all day, waiting for the inevitable. By that evening they have one of the cogs back in and turning, which has to count for something. Alucard is tense, and Trevor doesn't blame him. When he closes his eyes, he can still see Jean's body lying on their front lawn. 

 

~

 

For all the time they spend together, it doesn’t feel as such. While the castle might be brighter and livelier than before, it still emits a desertedness that is more prominent when you’re alone.

Trevor pulls the lid of the cast-iron cauldron with a rag, and throws in a bit more coriander. Alucard brought it back from the seaport, so Trever thought he should make something with it. Better than to let it go to waste.

Alucard sits up on the dining table. He’s not posh and upright with manners, but a bit more relaxed. He’s in a shirt he regularly sleeps in, as well as less form-fitting trousers. Trevor likes when he pulls his hair up in a high ponytail. He rarely gets to see his pointy ears.

It’s been silent; Trevor chopping up old vegetables, Alucard nose first in a book.

Trevor dumps in pig meat, and closes the lid. It smells better already.

Alucard sets his book face down on his thigh and huffs, “Honestly, where did you learn to cook?”

Trevor chews on the inside of his cheek. He clicks his tongue, and shrugs.

“My mother.”

He has Alucard’s full attention.

“Was she a talented chef?”

“God no,” Trevor laughs. “That’s why I had to do it.”

Alucard lips twitch into a smile.

“Trial and error?”

“Nah. I’d ask the old widows in town. They’re always looking for someone to share recipes with.”

It was a lifetime ago. He was young and naïve and running from shoes too big to fill.

Alucard gazes through him. Trevor is slowly learning his unspoken language; Alucard is thinking.

Trevor steps between his thighs, and Alucard’s hands curl at the back of his neck like a habit.

“What is it?”

“You have lived a life so different from mine,” he says. “Yet, it is so uncannily similar. I don’t know what it means.”

"You think too much," Trevor says. 

"I can do little else.” His face sobers. "Trevor, if Carmilla takes the castle, she'll have sovereignty over every vampire East of the Atlantic Ocean." 

“Are vampires really so loyal?”

“They’re not given a choice. Obey the Count, or die. Carmilla will finish what my father started.”

“You have the castle. Why can’t you just summon an army of vampires?”

“I’ve told you, I’m a dhampir. I’m an insult to their kind.” Alucard traces the curve of Trevor’s round, human ear, almost longingly. “I have considered…”

“What?”

“There are other dhampir’s out there. Likely in hiding.”

“You could build your own council,” Trevor blinks.

“Precisely. But it requires travel, and,” Alucard looks up. “I cannot leave this place.”

Trevor feels struck by the throat. In this moment, Alucard looks so impossibly sad, and so impossibly young. Trevor has seen the family portrait hanging in the study. Alucard is the spitting image of both his mother, and his father. Never quite one or the other, never quite fitting in. Two separate worlds that won’t accept him.

Trevor swallows, and it builds a pit in his stomach. In a struck moment of tenderness, it’s he who reaches up to push the curls out of Alucard’s face.

“You didn’t ask for any of this,” Trevor says.

“You should leave.” Alucard stands off the table, using his height to tower over him. “When Carmilla comes–“

Nope-“ Trevor slaps a hand over his mouth. “I’m going to pretend I didn’t hear that.”

Alucard peels his hand away by the wrist, “It’s a suicide mission.”

“I’m not going anywhere.”

“It’s not your concern!”

“You’ve made it my concern!” Trevor shouts, jabbing his finger in the center of Alucard’s chest. “You made me like you. You kissed me. I’m staying.

Alucard sighs. He sets his hands at Trevor’s hips, and presses their foreheads together.

“I figured as such.”

“You have no faith.” Trevor tips his head and kisses his mouth. “I think we’ve taken on worse.”

Trevor briefly moves to kiss a spot on his neck, and Alucard sighs again, a bit more airily. The fire crackles behind them.

He sinks to his knees. Alucard balks.

“Trevor –”

“Shut up,” Trevor says, fingers undoing the clasps on his pants. “Just shut up.” He pauses. “Or don’t.” Trevor looks up through his lashes. “Tell me what to do.”

Alucard physically swallows. His hand falls to trace Trevor’s bottom lip with his thumb. Trevor parts his lips.

“Fuck. Okay.”  

Trevor shoves Alucard’s trousers to his thighs and pushes him up against the lip of the dinning room table. Alucard traces the shape of himself along Trevor’s cheek, and murmurs low encouragements, almost swallowed up by the sound of the fire.

 

~

 

A half-week passes them quickly. Trevor continues to meet with the townspeople, and Alucard traps himself in his father’s library to better understand how to repair the castle’s engine.

The days are at their longest, and Trevor realizes that they’ve come into third summer already.

That evening he resigns himself to the study after dinner. He hasn’t seen Alucard today, but he knows if he waits, he’ll come.

Sure enough, fingers slip into his hair over the back of the couch, and begin to massage his scalp with sharp nails.

Breath floats across his ear,

“Boo.”  

“Scary,” Trevor deadpans. He makes room, and Alucard comes to crawl against him. “How’s it going?”

“I need to melt down and re-mold some fittings,” Alucard says. “But I think I might have it turning again by the end of the week.”

“Mmm.” Trevor turns his nose into Alucard’s hair. “You bathed.”

“Well, yes.”

Trevor slides a hand long Alucard’s thigh and yawns, dropping his head back on the lip of the couch.

“Did you eat?”

“Yes.”

“Show me,” Trevor says, so Alucard opens his mouth. His fangs are sharp and protrude more than normal. His eyes glow more of an orange color.

“Pigs blood,” Alucard says.

“Good.” Trevor jabs his side, “You were looking pretty thin.”

“Oh ha-ha.”

The fire pops. The room feels pleasantly warm.

“Would you be interested in a game tonight?”

“Sure,” Trevor says. “I’m always down to wipe the floor with you.”

“We are-“

The fire flashes bright. It draws both their attention. Alucard stares a moment longer, and continues, “We are currently tied.”

“Not for long-“

The fire flashes even brighter. They stop.

Trevor sits up and squints. The fire warps a little. It flickers and shifts more into a circular shape.

“Is that…” It looks like a face.

The fire crackles, almost a sound.

“Rrrrrrrrrrr-“

Alucard bolts to his feet.

“Sypha!”

More features shift in the fire. The face twitches left, and right. There are no eyes, but Trevor knows it’s her.

“RrRrrn!”

“Sypha?” They jump to kneel near the fireplace.

“Sypha, are you okay?”

Her face twitches in the fire, barely holding its shape. Her mouth opens slowly, and with great effort.

Her eyes snap open.

“RUN!”  She shouts.

A loud bang echoes from the front door. Alucard and Trevor share the same long, heart-wrenching look.

Something explodes, and it shakes the walls. Debris rains from the ceiling.

“She’s here,” Trevor whispers.

“How?” Alucard breathes. “I never heard them coming.”

Another bang. They take off running.

Alucard’s sword flies to his hip, and Trevor grabs his morning star whip along the way. Their boots skid along carpet, and they dash towards the front door.

It swings open to reveal an army. Demons and armored vampires all lined up in a row, helmets and swords and sharp teeth.

They stand behind what looks to be like a silver shield. They hammer on air, their weapons bouncing backwards as they attack it.

“It’s the castle,” Alucard says. “It’s…it reactivated the shield.”

“You did it,” Trevor breathes.

The shield begins to crack.

“Not for long.” Alucard turns to him. He takes Trevor’s hand and squeezes it, looking at him seriously. “Trevor, you can still go.”

“Shut up,” He kisses him hard and quick. “You’re so annoying.”

“Alucard!”

It’s her. Carmilla sits on a tall white horse. Her lips are blood red, and her gown drags nearly to the ground.

“Give up darling,” She smiles. “We don’t have to fight.”

“I find that unlikely.”

 “We want the same thing! Peace. Unity. Humans were made for cages, Alucard.”

“Fuck off and die,” Alucard spits, which draws a smile from Trevor.

“Have it your way,” She sighs. “Break the shield!”

Demons claw and crawl and bite at the castle’s shield. It begins to crack, like splintered wood.

“You take the left, I take the right,” Trevor says.

Alucard’s sword pulls from it’s sheath and hovers at his shoulder.

“Don’t die.”

The shield breaks, Alucard transforms, and Trevor draws out his short-sword.

 

~

 


His left arm is bleeding profusely. Trevor rips off the end of his shirt, and ties up a bandage with his teeth before another solider tries to stick him with any more swords.

Bodies coat the forest floor. Trees are splintered and knocked clean off; there’s demon guts and vampire heads and the smell of burning hair.

Trevor dodges a mace. He wraps his chain around his arm and keeps it close, popping it forward a short length, until he can nail the vampire in the cheek. It terrifies, and Trevor moves onto the next. His left arm isn’t good for much more than a meat shield now. If he loses it, then so be it. It’s better than dying.

He can hear Alucard’s sword off in the distance. He’s never seen Alucard bleed, not even in the fight with Dracula, but he has wounds down his shoulders, and his coat is shredded at the hem.

Trevor doesn’t have much time between foes. Whenever he takes down one, six more appear. Fuck, he wishes Sypha was here.

Three demons come hauling ass out of the trees. Trevor flings his star, steps on the chain and whips it sideways, clocking three across the head at once. It triggers an explosion, and Trevor gets heat from the kickback.

“Goddamnit,” he groans, rolling. A sword stabs for his chest; he rolls again, and staggers to his feet, using the tip of the star to catch the end of a vampire’s sword. “Can you just fuck off?!”  Trevor twists the sword out of his hand, and roundkicks him in the nose. A silver sword pierces his heart.

“Trevor,” Alucard calls.

They slide back to back. More pile in.

“Are you okay?”

“I’ll be honest,” Trevor pants. “It’s not the best day I’ve had.”

They jump apart, and fall back together.

“Where is Carmilla?”

“I don’t know, I can’t fuckin-“ Trevor stabs a demon in the heart, “-see shit anymore. There’s too many.”

A lance stabs towards Trevor’s torso. He dodges, but it slices a line across his side. He hisses.

Alucard turns and jumps, ferally ripping out the soldier’s throat with his teeth. Trevor drops to a knee and tries to catch his breath.

“Fuck, fuck.”

“Go,” Alucard blocks a hit with his saber. “I can handle this.”

“No you fuckin’ cant so shut up.”

“Trevor please!”

A demon breathes fire, and they jump out of it’s path. Alucard gets knocked off his feet. Trevor gets slammed into a tree.

Fuck, fuck. Trevor’s vision swims. He sees the castle behind them, distantly swaying. It’s a sea of demons. Trevor sees them in the skies, on the ground; some march towards the entrance. No. No they haven’t lost yet.

Trevor tries to stand, but the falters at the pain. He grits his teeth, and focuses on Alucard; he’s still fighting, drawing the attention away from Trevor. He has to stand, he has to —

Screams ring from the trees. Trevor inhales.

It’s loud. They must’ve already reached the town. Trevor swallows, the feeling of loss settling in his stomach.

The screams continue; but they’re getting…closer. And louder. And they sound less like horror, and more like.

A war cry.

Out of the trees come the town; pitchforks and swords and axes raised. The butcher, the baker, the bartender. The women and men of the fields. The old priest, with buckets in arm.

Trevor knows that god isn’t real. But he still feels the urge to thank him.

The citizens come running like an army of their own. They keep together, stabbing at demons in unison. The priest runs to the river with the women, and they begin to bless buckets of water.

A hand extends his way.

“Get up!” Peter pulls him. “There’s more coming!”

Trevor squeezes his hand, and takes off running. There!

“Alucard!” He calls. He pops a demon behind him, and throws a knife into the forehead of another vampire. “Alucard I see her!”

The war turns. Alucard teleports and Trevor follows behind. Demons and vampires alike start to fall; Alucard catches Carmilla by the point of his sword.

“Stop!”

She turns, unphased by the sword at her neck.

“You won’t kill me,” she smiles. “You know I’m right, sweetheart.”

Trevor wraps his chain around his wrist, and prepares to stop her escape.

“You will see no mercy today.”

“Then you’ll die like your father,” she says, and runs forward with her fangs beared. Alucard jumps, equally matched. Carmilla’s soldiers jerk to protect her; Trevor kills them in one hit. He makes a path for Alucrad, keeping the demons off as he claws at her arms, and meets her punch for punch.

She clocks him across the face. Alucard claws for her throat.

Carmilla is quick; she slices down the front of his chest, and Alucard falls to the ground. He can’t keep her still enough to kill. She dodges his sword, and his fists. Trevor wants so desperately to help, but more demons keep coming-

A mace caves in the face of a creature. Another sword takes down a vampire.

“We’ve got this!” Asher shouts. “Help Alucard!”

Trevor jumps without hesitation. He wraps his chain around Carmilla’s ankle, and burns the silver into her skin. She shouts as she hits the ground. Trevor pulls back the chain, and wraps it around her chest, pinning her arms to her sides.

“Alucard-“

He stands, wiping the blood from his face. Carmilla screams and writhes and kicks, hissing and clawing as her skin slowly burns.

“You half-breed bastard! I should have killed you as a child and saved your father all the trouble!-“

Alucard steps up to her, and rips her head from her shoulders. Her body twitches and kicks, and then flops dead on the ground.

The battle comes to a complete standstill. The soldiers stop as if told on command. The demons pause, looking to the other.

Alucard drops her head on the ground. His hands are red.

It’s so quiet, you can hear the trees rustle.

They did it.

“Yeah!!!” Trevor shouts, and the townspeople echo, raising their weapons and calling their victory.

Alucard steps forwards. His eyes are watery, and his mask is broken, and he clings to Trevor like he needs him. Trevor hugs him back. They’re bloody and beaten but they’re alive. Trevor holds him tight, and kisses his hair. Alucard trembles, and stains his shirt with bloodied hands.

They separate, when they realize all eyes are on them.

The vampire soldiers kneel in unison.

“Our lord.”

Their heads bow. Trevor and Alucard blink in baffled unison.

“Are you fuckin’ serious?” Trevor whispers. He stands in front of Alucard, to shield him almost unconsciously.

 The demons begin to wander off, some taking to skies, but the vampires continue to kneel.

We are the puppeteers army,” they say. “We always serve a master.”

“I don’t want an army,” Alucard states. Trevor elbows him.

“We serve the true Count,” they say. “We are loyal until we die.”

Trevor curls a hand over the side of his mouth, and mumbles, “Or until you die.”

Alucard crosses his arms. He lifts a brow.

“Hm. Then prove your loyalty. Live your life by animal blood, or kill yourself where you stand.”

Trevor gawks, but Alucard is completely serious. It’s vile, but – an army like this shouldn’t fall into the wrong hands, either.

Not a soul moves. The soldiers bow in unison, “As it is said by our Lord, it shall be done.”

 

~

 

They gather the bodies, and burn them. They hold a specific funeral for the few townspeople that were killed. It’s been a long time since they’ve had the luxury of having a funeral.

Alucard and Trevor express their undying gratitude for Transylvania’s help, but the town is in good spirits. 

“We thank you,” Nicholae says. “We would not be here without you.”

 

Alucard has already healed by the time they reach the castle, but his eyes are dark with exhaustion. Trevor is sore all the way down to his bones. When they finally step inside the castle, Trevor thinks he could fall dead where he stands.

Alucard gathers him in his arms again. Trevor hugs him back.

“I need to check your wounds,” Alucard muffles in his shoulder.

“Most are scrapes.”

“Come to my room.”

Trevor follows him up the stairs. He realizes that he’s never been in here.

His bedroom is normal; a bed, a few pictures on the wall, and he realizes that it’s the room next to that giant bathroom. No coffin. 

Trevor sits on the bed and groans. Alucard kneels at his feet, and lifts his shirt. He breathes a sad sigh.

Trevor’s stomach is purple with bruising. There are a few nicks, from the times he was caught by a sword, but none deep enough for stitches. Alucard leans up and forward, and presses a kiss to his stomach.

“I am grateful for your skill.” He turns, to rest his cheek on Trevor’s thigh. “You did what few other men could.”

Trevor sets a hand in his hair. Alucard closes his eyes, breathes in. He rumbles.

“I need to bandage your arm. You should bathe and wash out your wounds.”

“Can we do it tomorrow?” Trevor asks. Alucard stares, and Trevor reaches for his waist as he stands,  begging, “Please?”

Alucard nods. He looks as exhausted as Trevor feels.

Alucard cleans Trevor’s wounds quickly with a rag. He scrubs enough just so the blood won’t be itchy in the morning. Alucard disappears into the bathroom, and Trevor has just enough brain power to shed down to his underwear, and flop back on Alucard’s bed. His entire body thrums with a nagging ache.

Alucard returns, and Trevor sighs.

“Can I stay?”

The mattress dips as Alucard climbs along side him.

“I was going to beg you to,” he says.

Trevor finds enough energy to sling up his good arm, and haul Alucard down for a sort-of kiss. It’s sloppy and sleepy, but Alucard needs to know. He needs to know how grateful he is that he didn’t die today.

I’m proud of you.

Alucard lies alongside him, minding his arm. It’s too warm for blankets, and that’s okay. Trevor jabs his face in Alucard’s chest and sleeps better than he ever has.

 

~

 

He wakes to sun in his face. Trevor squints, and rolls on his stomach to get away from it. He groans from the pain in his arm. Fuck, it all hits him at once.

A hand pets down his bare back.

“Good morning.”

“Mmmm.”

“How are you feeling?”

Bad.”

Alucard snorts, and dips his fingers into Trevor’s shoulder blades. Trevor turns his head to look at him. They’re on the same pillow, and Alucard’s hair is spread long the sheets like some kind of prince. Well.

“What’s that sound?” Trevor mumbles.

“The soldiers. They’ve moved in. I put them to work fixing up the castle because I didn’t know what else to tell them.”

Trevor breaks into a laugh, turning his face to smile into the pillow.

Alucard presses a kiss to his shoulder. Trevor can feel his teeth.

“I’m glad you’re okay,” Alucard whispers. “Each time I’d look to you, I thought that would be the last.”

Trevor snorts. “I’m tougher than that.”

“I know,” Alucard trails along his spine, and pets into his lower back. “But this life likes to take things from me.”

Trevor heaves himself up on his good arm, and kisses him. Alucard feels up his bicep, and then stops.

“I need to look at this.”

Trevor groans.

“Come on,” Alucard pulls at him gently. “A bath will serve us well.”

Trevor flips him off, and doesn’t move. Alucard makes an annoyed sound.

“I’m picking you up in three.”

“Mm.”

“Two.”

“Go away.”

“One.”

Fine! Fine fine fine- stop! Put me down!”

 

~

 

They spend the morning in the bath. Alucard tends to his arm afterwards, which didn’t need stitches, but he wrapped up extra tight just in case. Trevor is glad; the less he has Alucard mother-henning him all day, the better.

It’s weird to see life brought into the castle. He’s weary of the soldiers, but they stand guard in the doorways, and march through the halls with a familiarity that feels kinda good.

Well, as long as they’re not out killing innocents. Speaking of.

He grabs a nearby vampire by the shoulder, and stops her mid-stalk.

“Hey. Can I ask you something.”

“Yes sir,” she bows.

“What happened to the demons?”

“They have no master,” she says. “So it is likely that they are free.”

Trevor frowns, “Are they going to attack people?”

“It is possible. They will act as animals, feeding on prey and reproducing naturally.”

Hm. It’s not good news. But it’s progress.

“Thank you,” he says. The soldier nods, and walks off.

 

It feels odd to try and relax. The adrenaline still burns in him, and it likely won't fade for a while. He's a bit sluggish from his injuries, but not enough to prevent him from immediately wrapping his arms around Alucard the moment he finds him in the library. 

He peeks over the back of Alucard’s shoulder. 

"What are you doing?" 

"Studying my father's notes," Alucard says. He sets a book back on the shelf. 

"Why?" 

"What do you mean why?  Because I want to." 

"It's been a long week." Trevor presses his forehead into the back of his neck. "I think you can give it a rest." 

Alucard smiles, and turns in his arms, "And what would you have me do instead?"

"Get the vampires out of my room, for one." 

Alucard laughs. His hands slip around, and squeeze his butt. 

"They are cleaning." 

"Well tell them not to." 

"Did you know that you have an excellent ass?" Alucard asks rather seriously. He squeezes again. "Terrific." 

"I hate you," Trevor kisses him. The room goes quiet as Alucard softly kisses him back. Trevor pulls back when he realizes that it isn't completely silent. He blinks. 

"Is that music?" 

Alucard hums. 

"Seriously? Where's it coming from?" 

"Transylvania, I believe." 

"Wow, and we can hear it from here?" Trevor pulls back a little. 

"It sounds like a party. Would you like to go see?" 

"Sure," Trevor grins. "It's been a while since I've heard some good music." 

Alucard pulls on his jacket, and grabs for his hand. Trevor takes it, and walks with him. The night air is cool and humid, and for once, sundown doesn't bring a feeling of dread. 

They can see the torches before they reach the town. The music gets louder and louder; banjos and flutes and cellos. People clap and sing, and you can see them dancing around the light of a big bondfire. They've dragged in tree stumps for sitting, and the children gather together and laugh. 

They step into the square, and are met with cheering. 

A man raises his glass of ale and shouts, "Aye! To the Belmont and the Count!" 

A chorus of cheers; "Aye aye!" 

The dancing continues. Trevor smiles. 

"Glad to see you," Ana squeezes Alucard's arm in passing. "There's plenty of beer to go around." 

"Thank you." 

The song changes, and they start into a merry folk dance. Trevor and Alucard stay back to watch. Not out of pride, but because it's more fun to watch them have fun. 

"It feels like a different world," Trevor says beneath the music. Alucard nods. 

"Belmont!" Nicolae reaches for his hand. "Come eat, come eat. We have pastries!" 

"Oh," Trevor follows. "Okay." 

He reaches for a basket of rolls, and they're sweet. He's surprised at the rich taste of sugar. They offer him beer, but Trevor declines. Men and women dance together, wrists pressed at the bone, kicking their feet and spinning in circles. 

The song ends, and it turns to something slower. It's a waltz. 

Some leave the dance floor. Couples stay; young teenagers and married folks alike. 

A hand slides around his waist. 

"I think I owe you a real dance," Alucard says. Trevor grins. 

"Very smooth." 

"Do you accept?" 

Trevor leads him to the circle as an answer. Alucard threads their right fingers together, and grabs for his waist with his left hand. Alucard holds him so dearly, Trevor feels his face goes red; but they wait for the beat of the music, and then step in tandem. 

Up, right, left. They turn, Alucard leading, Trevor ignoring anyone with the guts to stare. They move so perfectly; they spin, fingers threading, boots scuffling along the stone. They dance in sync with the other couples, and for once, Trevor forgets about everything. 

It comes time for the lift; and with all the other men, Alucard grabs him by the waist and turns them, setting him back on the ground effortlessly. There's hoots and hollers from the people, and Trevor starts to laugh. Alucard snickers with him. 

Trevor slides his hand down to the curve of Alucard's lower back.  He can see Alucard's face so clearly in the firelight; he knows what the curve of his lip tastes like, he knows the softness of his hair, and the feel of the scar on his chest. 

But he doesn't know everything. 

"You owe me," Trevor breathes quiet, so no one else can hear. 

"Oh?" Alucard smiles. 

"Yes." Trevor steps back, then forward, and dances slower with the pace of the waltz. "For the fact that you have yet to bend me over the couch and fuck me silly." 

Alucard inhales so sharply, Trevor can see the turn in his eyes; the slight dilation of his pupils, and the way he holds Trevor just a little more possessively. His voice drops. 

"Is that something you desire?"

"It's something I covet," Trevor purrs. "I want to know you in the ways others have." 

"It won't be like others," Alucard says. His expression shifts somber. "There won't be any after you. You might move on, but I will never have anyone but you." 

Trevor’s throat feels tight. It's not like he needed the validation, but his eyes start to burn. 

There's no going back from this. Trevor looks him in the eye. 

"I know." 

 

~

 

Alucard kisses him into the bed. Into it, hands pressing down on his shoulders, lips coaxing his open despite the prick of his teeth. Trevor welcomes it; he pushes up Alucard's shirt and digs his fingers into muscle, pulling hard so he'll feel it - so he'll know. 

Alucard skims his neck, kisses over his ear, licks into his collarbone, straddles his thigh and hovers over him in a way that drives Trevor mad. 

He touches all the skin he can reach. Shoulders, arms, he pulls on blonde hair and drinks the moan from him. Trevor's skin burns, he's so hard it hurts; he squirms beneath him, gasping when Alucard grinds down his thigh. 

Alucard speaks into the skin of his throat, raw with unhinged restraint. 

"I'm going to take you," he hisses, "and you're going to be mine." 

Trevor can't get his own shirt off fast enough. Alucard nearly tears the pants off him. Trevor is left shamelessly naked, and Alucard throws off his shirt before kissing him again, deep and long and wet. 

Fingers wrap around his cock. Trevor gasps. His heart thuds through his throat. He's nervous. 

"I'm going to take care of you," Alucard swipes a thumb across the head, and pumps him once. "It won't hurt." 

"I don't care if it hurts," Trevor grips him rough by the back of his neck. "I don't care." 

Alucard sits away with visible effort. He fumbles for lubricant off on his side table and coats his fingers quickly, but carefully. When he sits back on his heels, he stops. 

"Fuck. Look at you," Alucard pets up the inside of his thigh with his dry hand. "God." 

"Are you really going to make me fuckin' lay here?" Trevor snaps. Alucard looks at him fondly, and slides up closer. He squeezes his cock once, and leans over to press a kiss to his stomach. 

"Roll over." 

Trevor does. He feels weight against the back of his thighs; then long fingers between his legs, and Trevor grinds his teeth against the feeling. 

"You're okay," Alucard whispers. His voice sounds a little broken. He adds a second finger, and Trevor gasps from it. There is a burn - and Alucard waits. He kisses lower back patiently. 

Then — fuck. Trevor was not at all prepared for him to move. He draws out his fingers and presses them back in and Trevor is so surprised he shouts. Alucard braces a hand at his good shoulder and holds him down, saying that's it, that's it —

Trevor smacks his forehead into the mattress and groans; Alucard holds him still, and Trevor fuckin' yells. He's leaking, for fucks sake; it's white hot up and down his spine, and he can't get enough air. He could come like this.

"Okay okay okay-"  he begs, "Alucard, we're running out of time here, please-" 

His fingers draw out, and Trevor nearly bites through his lip. 

"Relax," Alucard says, but doesn't sound relaxed at all. He slides up against his back, and it's wrong, its all wrong, it burns in a way that shouldn't be so utterly incredible. Alucard snaps in once, and Trevor actually cries out. 

"Fuck!" 

"Wait, wait," Alucard pulls back. "Roll over - shit, please, I have to see you. I must." 

Trevor has never moved so fast in his life. He lifts his hips up and Alucard catches him by the thighs and holy hell, Alucard looks as wrecked as he feels. His hair is a wild mess, now completely naked, shaking with desperation, lips bitten red. 

Alucard slides up and in him. Trevor hooks a hand behind his neck, and lets go. 

He doesn't care if the soldiers hear. He doesn't care if the townspeople hear. Alucard presses his face to Trevor's neck and snaps up his hips and builds a pace so wild, Trevor starts to go mad from how good it feels. 

This is how sex is supposed to be. This is what they talk about in all that poetry. 

Alucard breathes against his neck, begging, "Oh, Trevor-" and it's the most amazing sound he's ever heard. Alucard fills him up full; he feels it in his stomach, in the twist of his ribs. He bites his tongue, just so he can listen to broken sounds Alucard makes. 

It builds; white hot and overwhelming. Trevor digs his hands into muscle and begs. 

Faster, please - 

And Alucard obeys, kissing him spit slick and desperate. Trevor tries to meet him thrust for thrust, and comes hard, head snapping back against the pillows. 

He triggers Alucard not a second later. Teeth skim his shoulder and bite, not hard enough to break skin, but Trevor shouts from the insane pleasure that jackknifes down his spine. He can't get close enough, he can't - 

Alucard draws his knees up and covers him, kissing him, pulling them together so that maybe, if they try hard enough, they'll fuse into one. 

 

~

 

They're clean enough to lay under the sheets. Trevor stares at the ceiling for a long time, trying to come back down to Wallachia. 

Alucard lays on his side, head on Trevor's good shoulder, fingers tracing over his chest. 

Trevor feels hollowed out and empty. Like he's missing something now. He's grateful for Alucard's weight against him, because otherwise he might feel panicked. 

"Are you okay?" Alucard asks. 

"I didn't know it was supposed to be like that," Trevor says. 

"Me neither." 

"But you said you-" 

"It was never like that," Alucard says quickly. He dips his fingers into Trevor's collar bone. "Never." 

Trevor rolls on his side to face Alucard. A long arm slings across his side, and draws him close. Their legs tangle in the sheets. 

"May I tell you something?" Alucard asks. 

Trevor pulls his blonde hair up and over his shoulder, revealing a pointed ear. 

"Yes." 

"I love you." 

His heart plummets to his stomach, and soars into his chest all at once. He's never felt happier. He's never felt sadder. Trevor visibly swallows, and balls his fist up against Alucard's chest. 

Trevor's panic must reflect in his eyes, because Alucard says softly, 

"You don't have to say anything." 

"I don't want to love you," Trevor says. 

Alucard nods sadly, "Okay.”

"No — " Trevor draws a hand up in his hair, to the short strands at Alucard's neck. "I can't. I can't." 

"Why?" 

Trevor closes his eyes. "As soon as you love something, this life will take it from you."  He feels his voice tremble, and he forces it straight. "I have to hate you. Then maybe I can keep you." 

Fingers skim his shoulder. Trevor opens his eyes; and Alucard looks a little teary. Alucard leans forward to kiss the scar beneath his eye. 

"Then hate me," he says. "And only I will know what it means." 

 

~

 

Trevor is not sure how his life changed so much in the course of one summer. But, he supposes, that's how life has always been. 

He's just not used to it being such a good thing. 

Sure enough, when the first leaf turns red, the sound of horses echoes down the cobblestone path. Trevor and Alucard both sprint to front castle door, and are there to greet Sypha as she comes jumping out of the carriage. 

"Oh!" She cries out, slinging an arm around them both, face buried in their shoulders. "I'm so glad you're okay. Oh, oh." 

"Sypha." Trevor squeezes her, and smiles when she pulls out of their arms. "We got your message." 

"I saw the soldiers stationed at the path and I didn't know..." Sypha places a hand against her chest. It's so nice to hear her sweet voice again. Alucard looks to Trevor, and back to Sypha, smiling. 

"We have so much to tell you." 

"As do I!" She steps back. "There was-" she pauses. Sypha looks between them. She blinks, before she shoves her hands up in the air and shouts, "I knew it!" 

"Goddamn it," Trevor punches Alucard in the arm. "You gave us away." 

"Me? I didn't do anything!" 

"Yes you did, you looked at me!" 

"I always look at you!" 

"I'm so happy," Sypha sighs, hugging them once more. "I am the best matchmaker in Europe." 

"Matchmaker?" 

"I told you," Alucard huffs. 

"I can't wait to see the castle," Sypha steps past them, and right through the door. Trevor gives Alucard an exasperated look. Alucard breaks into another toothy smile. 

 

They untie the horses, and Alucard finally gets to make Sypha that tea. She brought mead from Italy, which Trevor drinks alongside them. They talk into the late hours, Sypha explaining the extent of her travels. 

"The world is changing," she says. "The church is losing power. We have to act now, or we might lose our chance to speak the truth." 

"Agreed," Trevor says. 

"I'm relieved you were able to defeat Carmilla." 

"It would've been a lot easier with you by our side." 

"The night creatures are still rampant," Sypha says. "But without a master, we might be able to drive them out once and for all." 

"The soldiers tell me there is a colony congregating in Serbia," Alucard says. "If you go soon, you might be able to intercept before breeding season." 

Trevor feels himself sober instantly. His stomach pits, and falls to the floor. He manages a calm, 

"So you're staying again, huh?" 

"Why?!" Sypha cries. "Your castle is protected by your army." 

"I can't," Alucard looks away. "My duty is here." 

Trevor nods, slowly. He swallows to keep his voice level. "Okay." 

Sypha jabs his arm, "Trevor! You of all people - you're just going to let him stay?" 

"This is his home," Trevor shrugs. "As much as I want him to come, I can't make him leave." 

Even if it'll break his heart. Alucard gives him a long, sad look. Trevor won't fight him, this time. 

Sypha sighs. She runs a hand through her hair. "Fine, we will not think of it." She smiles, "Now, you two. I must know everything! I want the super long, super mushy version." 

"No," Trevor says, as Alucard starts with a long, "Well, you see-" 

 

~

 

He can't look him in the eye. 

Their bags are loaded in the carriage. Morning has come, and they have two weeks to reach Serbia before the congregation. Trevor feels cold. 

He's eager to travel again. Eager to aid Sypha in her desire to change the world. 

But is it worth what he's leaving behind?

Sypha tends to the horses behind him. Alucard stands ahead of him. 

"I will see you next year," Alucard says. 

"Yeah." 

Hands raise to his face. Trevor meets his eye. Alucard looks pained. 

"Not a day will pass that I won't think of you." 

Trevor feels anger, annoyance, sadness - it churns in his stomach. 

"Then come with us." 

"I'm sorry," Alucard says. "I belong here." 

Trevor sighs. He sets a hand at Alucard's waist, and leans in for a short kiss. 

"In a year, then." 

Sypha heaves herself into the carriage. Alucard runs a thumb along the scar on his temple and says, 

"I love you." 

"I hate you," Trevor smiles. He steps away, and climbs up into the carriage. 

"A year will pass quickly!" Sypha waves. "Keep yourself out of trouble. Send a message should you ever need us." 

"Stay safe," Alucard says. Trevor waves from the carriage. Alucard flips him off. 

Trevor laughs as he pulls away, but it only feeds the twist in his chest. The horses's hooves clatter against the cobblestone. Sypha takes the reins, and when they're out of earshot, Trevor presses his face into his hands, and lets out a long breath. 

The birds pass overhead, going north for winter. The trees are turning brown and red, and some of the leaves have already begun to fall. 

Sypha pets his arm, "You can stay, if you want." 

"No," Trevor sits up. "This is what we started. I'm finishing it with you." 

Sypha smiles sadly, and stares ahead. 

The carriage bumps on the path. The heartache doesn't leave, and Trevor assumes it won't. 

It's his own fault. This is his own doing. He knew he would leave, he knew Alucard would stay, and yet he fell for it anyways. For a romance in summer, for a chance to live a life of fantasy. It shouldn't hurt as bad as it does, and yet. He's not sure he'll ever feel this way about anyone else. 

Trevor closes his eyes and attempts to rest. The path winds and turns, and they begin the climb into the valleys. Sypha is quiet beside him. 

Footsteps come running behind them. They are inhumanly fast. 

"Wait!" 

Trevor turns in the carriage, and Sypha pulls them to a stop. 

"Wait!" 

Alucard comes sprinting down the road, a bag over his shoulder, coat flopping around in the wind. His hair is buckwild, and his sword clatters against his side. 

"What happened?" Sypha gasps. 

Trevor looks to the bag, heartbeat thrumming in his throat. He hops off the carriage to meet him. 

"Did we forget something?" 

"Yes," Alucard smiles. "Me."