The air was supposed to be lighter, cleaner, but they knew the aftermath of that appalling occurrence was anything but easy to get over. The road, bumpy and longer than they remembered, still had the occasional puddle of blood or chewed bones laying about. With the hordes losing strength with each passing hour, the viscera and death looked more disturbing than before.
Without Dracula’s energy to keep the demons strong, they were easy to slay; a crack of the whip, a flame raised or a move of a long sword was enough.
The clouds above began to darken, sliding closer to each other, hiding the sky. Trevor looked up, assessing the weather. The wind swept his locks back, bringing the smell of rain – alongside a faint smell of iron - with it and the brunette thought about finding a shelter for them to run away from the storm and spend the night.
If he remembered correctly, a few miles ahead, there was a run-down inn. The hordes were cleared when they passed by it and, now with their strength weakened, the people could have dealt with the monsters themselves.
The idea of a soft-as-they-could-find bed, warm heather and a slightly greasy broth filled his mind and he sighed dreamily, walking behind his two companions. The wind reached within his coat and he pulled it to his chest, shivering. He thought about the bed and closed his eyes, whining internally with the thought of laying his head on a pillow, made of straw or whatever.
Trevor could almost feel the soft pillow under his head, but only met hard cold ground when his face made contact with it.
“I said: watch your step, Belmont.” Alucard got fond of calling Trevor by his family name when he did something stupid, like the situation he found himself.
“Thank you for you input.” He moaned, supporting his weight in his arm as he looked behind. A tree root lifted from the ground, high enough to make a wagon waver or to an idiot to trip.
“Did you get hurt?” Sypha stopped near him, tilting her head to the side. Her red hair forming lovely curls around her jaw because of the grease and dirt on it.
“I think I’m fin-” he felt his foot lighter and chilly. Something was wrong.
He sat up in a bolt and, ignoring the dirt and blood on his boot, reached for the leather, pulling the upper part to reveal his old wool sock. Trevor groaned and sighed deeply, resting his forehead on his knee.
“Everything I needed.” He mumbled before a thunder caught their attention. The trio looked up as the clouds darkened more and the rain smell became stronger.
“We need to find shelter soon.” Sypha said as she helped Trevor get up, and he groaned at the discomfort over his damaged boot.
“There’s a farmhouse.” Alucard’s voice reached their ears as he pointed to a small edification on the side of the road “Maybe we can find something in your size.” He looked down at the other’s feet “Maybe.”
Sypha looked at Trevor’s feet and chuckled, putting a hand in front of her mouth. Trevor followed their gazes, looking at his boots and frowned. He would have to wait until they reached a village to have it repaired. If they had the luck to find anyone alive, that is.
“I don’t think we will.”
“What?” he looked at his companions, trying to understand what they were talking about but the affronted look Alucard was sporting towards a giggling Sypha made it click “How old are you?”
Sypha tried to hold back her laugh and Alucard sighed, putting a hand on his nape, under the long golden hair. Trevor could see the curve of a smile, the beginning of a laugh and rolled his eyes, crossing his arms in front of his chest.
“I killed Dracula with two children.” He sighed and Sypha laughed aloud, curving her body back and putting her hands on her belly “It’s not true what they say, okay?” he could feel a blush rising from his neck.
“Maybe the family had a daughter!” Sypha held her robes and started walking by Alucard’s side, laughing with him.
Trevor’s face was red; the blush had reached his cheeks and gone up to his ears. He looked down, changing the weight between his feet to give them a better look. He never had trouble with finding shoes and his balance was spectacular – it had to do with him being a monster slayer.
But even if he was ashamed with their assumptions, the laughter was welcomed. They had walked miles from Dracula’s castle talking only the necessaire and saving up the last of their energy not to collapse on the dirty road.
“I don’t have small feet!” he groaned, walking after them with a limp, trying not to let his sock get too wet.
The farmhouse was of a decent size. A few stairs led to the front door and Trevor sat down on the first one, taking off the torn boot and crossed his legs, assessing his sock.
“I’ll take a look around before we enter.” Sypha informed and Trevor nodded, looking up at them “You can stay there.” She motioned her hand and her lips stretched on a grin “Your delicate feet don’t have to worry.”
“Shut up…,” he groaned, putting a hand on his forehead and she laughed.
“Be careful.” Alucard asked and she nodded before rounding the house.
Trevor leaned back on the stairs behind him and sighed, looking at his boot by his side. He glanced back at the dhampir and tilted his head, adjusting the fur around his shoulders.
“How much food do we have?”
Alucard took the bag from his shoulders and looked inside, thinking. They loathed the situation they were in when inside the castle, but the idea of hunger was unbearable. Each one grabbed a bag and filled it with whatever type of food they could find inside those walls.
“Enough for a few days.” His golden eyes focused on the dried meats and other supplies inside the bag “At least a week if we ration correctly.”
Trevor nodded and looked behind, glancing at the door and the windows. Alucard put the bag by his side on the stair and walked to their right, stopping by a thick cloth with a few blood drops on it. He pulled the fabric, uncovering logs.
He grabbed one in his hands, analyzing it and frowned.
“These are surprisingly dry.” He looked at Trevor “We can have heat and a nice dinner.” He put the log back on the pile and looked up, watching the clouds sliding on the sky “We should go inside. Trevor, help me taking some of these.” He called and looked up at the other, as he didn’t answer “Trevor?”
Trevor had his eyes cast on the threshold, boot long forgotten by his side. Alucard walked to him and followed his gaze, noticing the trail of blood on the floor and on the wood.
“We should get inside and see if something’s still there.” He turned his face, putting on his boot again and got up.
They climbed the few stairs and stopped in front of the ajar door. They looked through the small windows, unable to see if there was any movement inside. Trevor went in first, better at fights in narrow places and close quarters. They walked slowly, looking around almost back to back, eyes trailing from the ceiling to the floor and in the dark corners.
Both men relaxed after finding nothing, but soon went on alert as they heard a crash coming from one of the furthest rooms. They forgot dinner room and kitchen behind, walking along the hallway to the bedrooms. The doors were wide open and the smell of blood and death filled the air.
Trevor was annoyed with his boot, trying not to trip on it. Alucard walked slowly, almost sliding behind Trevor, aware of their entire surroundings, focused on the room that caught their attention, but stopped.
His eyes had landed inside the room to their left. He gave a step forward, but stopped again, not certain if he wanted to go inside, so close to this intimate part of someone else’s life that was so violently ripped from them.
The brunette continued to walk towards the room at the end of the hallway. There was faint light coming from there and a shadow passed by. Trevor took a deep silent breath and peeked inside, seeing only Sypha hunched over on the floor.
“Sypha?” he called and she turned her head, eyes sad “What happened? How did you get inside?” he frowned.
“There’s a back door.” She explained and turned her head back, continuing to do what she was doing “A rat scared me and I dropped a bottle.”
Trevor looked around. The room seemed to be of a couple, with a large bed on the center, a wardrobe to the right, a dresser near the door with trinkets on top of it and a chest against the bed’s end. He walked to Sypha and watched as she collected the broken glass, careful not to cut her fingers.
“They have an extensive collection of oils.” She began and the floorboards behind them creaked. Trevor looked behind and saw Alucard at the door. His eyes were also sad – but he always had those “I think they extracted them from the flowers and trees.” She got up and sighed, putting the glass on top of the dresser.
“It wasn’t demons that killed them.” Alucard said with certainty and Trevor’s eyes focused on him before turning to Sypha. She had her eyes casted down on the trinkets and Trevor looked back at the dhampir “There’s only blood in the doorstep. They were attacked for their supplies.”
Sypha turned around, eyes cast on the shards in her palm.
“They burned the family in the backyard.”
They sat on the rug in the living room, their bags and coats on the old couch and the rain falling outside.
Alucard had his sleeves folded as he cleaned his long sword, hair braided over one shoulder. Trevor stretched his legs to let his feet near the hearth, toes getting deliciously warm. His damp socks on the rails of the screen, drying. He still couldn’t believe he had damaged his boot by tripping on a tree root.
He let his head fall backwards and took a deep sigh, listening to the cackling fire.
The prophecy weighted on the back of his head now that they had finished the job. Unless Sypha – and Alucard – were hiding something from him, the tale ended there and they could part their ways any moment.
Trevor feared that moment would come. He got used to having a team, people to whom he could go back to and be safe with, even if his ancestors would burst a vein if they knew he sided with a dhampir. Trevor scoffed and glanced at the fire before looking at Sypha by his side.
“What?” she glanced at him, but went back to her task. The slim fingers of her left hand held the robe as the other worked swiftly with the needle she found in the sewing kit in the wardrobe.
She had taken off her outer robe, staying with the thinner dress she wore under it. Trevor felt the pull her bodylines had over his eyes, but he remembered his mother telling him how to behave with women. He could be a drunkard, good-for-nothing, excommunicated Belmont, but he was still a born and raised nobleman. The small population of good nobleman that were still around. Like, five.
“I was thinking.” He leaned back, laying on the rug, elbows supporting his weight. Trevor felt Alucard’s heavy eyes on him for a moment, before he glanced at him and the blond averted his gaze back to the sword.
“Thinking about what?” she asked, snapping the thread before pulling the fabric to see if it would hold.
He decided on being sincere. He had traveled across the country, fought and bled with them. Slept under the open sky, cold and, sometimes, wet. Ate thin rabbits and starved for days by their side. Killed beasts and helped commit patricide. Why would he lie to them at the end of the road?
“Us?” Sypha and Alucard asked in unison. The speaker looked over her robe and Alucard raised an eyebrow.
Alucard sheathed the sword and put it aside, turning his body to the other two. His golden hair bright with the hearth light.
Trevor felt captivated by his beauty in that moment, just like he felt after their first encounter. He had a reason to have his back to the other the first time they met. Looking at Sypha wouldn’t help either. Her big blue eyes and copper hair made his chest warm and he would look at her until she noticed and scowled back.
Trevor didn’t look at them, trying not to feel his heart and stomach fuse together and sink to the back of his abdomen. Was that disgust or just confusion in their voices? The courage to be honest disappeared as he folded his legs, sitting up.
“Just, you know, what will happen now.”
“I can infer… You don’t know the rest of the prophecy.” Alucard said after a moment of silence. Trevor turned his head to him and raised an eyebrow, arms crossed against his chest “Speaker.” He turned his golden eyes to the redhead, whose cheeks heated up when both men looked at her.
“Well…” she began, putting down the robe and her thin fingers brushed back her bangs. Alucard and Trevor’s eyes were caught in the hard lines climbing from her biceps to the smooth ones in her covered wrist and messy copper hair “It basically says that… The hunter and the scholar will… Well.” She coughed, clearly embarrassed, but still trying to hide it “Stay together. Let’s put like that.”
Alucard rolled his eyes and an amused grin appeared on his thin lips. Trevor frowned and looked forward, a slight pout pulling on his lips.
Sypha turned her head to the window, watching the fat drops against the glass and the trees bending outside with the wind force. She was glad they could find somewhere to stay as the sky fell down, but the memories, the stains and the misplaced things in the house made she think that, maybe, it wasn’t worth it.
“Well, that’s an answer from her.” Trevor said after a moment glaring into the fire “Now, what about you?” he turned his head, blue eyes meeting golden ones “Will you stay? Or will you leave?”
Alucard found the questions crude.
The way his eyes were harsh, but the bright blue carried so much depth and hurt. The way he asked was cruel and the dhampir found himself down casting his eyes. He didn’t have somewhere to go, neither of them did, but he had served his “purpose” in this quest and thought that he would go back to sleep as he had planned at the beginning. He could go back to his coffin and wait until someone else came and woke him up, as he knew would happen.
He lifted his eyes to his companions. Trevor with the disheveled brown hair and scruffy beard, the permanent pout in his full lips and brownish skin that glistened under the fire. Sypha; copper hair untamed like the fire she careful held against her fingers and eyes bright with hope.
His heart tugged and he frowned, squeezing the carpet between his long fingers. The echoes of his footsteps inside that cold chamber filled his mind and he felt nothing.
“Give me a moment to think about it.”
Trevor raised an eyebrow and clicked his tongue.
“Better than nothing, I guess.” He sighed and got up; stretching his back with a painful sigh, “I think we should eat something and go to sleep.”
Sypha scoffed, putting her hands on her hips as her eyes followed Trevor around the room.
“Also bathe. You stink, Belmont.”
“I stink? You’re the one under that hot robe all week and I’m the one stinking?” he turned on his heels, putting a hand over his chest.
“You use a giant cloak! With fur!” she retorted.
Alucard tilted his head, watching his humans bickering and chuckled.
“We should see if they even have a bath, first.”