Disclaimer : Characters belong to their respectful owners
Fandoms : Dracula (2013), Penny Dreadful (2014)
Rating : M
Pairing : Dracula/Alexander Grayson x Dorian Gray
Genres : fanfiction, crossover, humor, probably a little OOC
Characters : Dracula/Alexander Grayson, Dorian Gray, Renfield, original character
Summary : It was pretty simple: Dracula’s habitual feeding was seen by a mortal young man (a very handsome one but it was not the matter!), so in order to protect his secrets, naturally the monarch of vampires had to kill him. Then, for some mysterious reason, the same young man showed up at his demonstration ball, alive, well and would very much like to remind the vampire how he had mercilessly ‘broken’ his heart only nights before.
I. Alexander Grayson
Renfield could not help a troubled frown when he saw his employer, Mr. Alexander Grayson, with his face wet and his hair a dripping mess, stagger (yes, stagger) into Carfax Manor and flop down rather ungracefully on one of the sofas in the living room. As soon as he laid his back down, he immediately closed his eyes, not even bothering to change into proper nightwear or taking off his shoes and socks. Judging by the way he had carried himself into the room and the telltale blush on his usually pale cheeks, Renfield was quite certain that his employer was fairly positively drunk as a skunk (which happened to be Grayson’s most hated animal in the world – just never remind him of that little accident back in America if you still value your veins). He would come to such conclusion provided he did not know any better; except he did, and he did know his boss was only human in appearance. Alexander Grayson was, to most humans’ dismay, a bloodsucker, and bloodsuckers, by and large, did not get drunk.
Or did they?
Neither did they snore, Renfield mentally sighed. For all the years he had been in his boss’s service, he had not once heard Grayson snore; his sleeps, though brief and sporadic, were quiet as death. Once upon a time he had mistaken Grayson’s death sleep to be real death and put his new boss, not without excessive amount of man-tear, into a coffin. He was already half-done with the funeral’s preparations when a furious Alexander Grayson leapt from the coffin and scared the shit out of him. Never put me in a coffin again, his boss had roared and until today, the words still echoed in the former law student’s mind.
As he scooped up his boss’s smaller body, Renfield got a better inspection of Grayson’s clothes, and grimaced. He had chosen an elegant dark grey suit for the night (why such fancy clothes for a hunt Renfield could never fathom) and now the outfit was ruined beyond help. His coat and white shirt were stained with maroon-colored blotches he did not doubt to be somebody’s, or a few somebodies’, blood. He could not help wondering if Grayson’s crapulence had anything to do with the ruin of his clothes. His boss was a rather messy eater – their years of living together had proven – but just not this messy; as matter of fact, he was secretly quite vain – please do not tell him that Renfield had accidentally caught him combing his hair and fixing his tie to perfection in front of the bathroom mirror for an amount of time other men would deem inappropriate. Had his victims put up a lot of fight or had Grayson decided to let himself go for a night? Anyway, he considered giving Grayson a change of clothes and disposed the coat and shirt, lest the maid was scared to an untimely death. Either two articles of clothes or a maid had to go, and Renfield would rather the former. He found Ella’s apple crumb cakes quite agreeable to his taste buds. Never mind the sugar though.
Once he had helped Grayson dry his hair, wash his face and change into comfortable nightclothes, he gently placed his boss, who remained quite dead as a log throughout the whole time, on his bed and thoroughly wrapped him in all the thick blankets available. Before leaving Grayson to his bloody sweet dream, he checked the window curtains again to make sure no sunlight was allowed in the chamber. He was very fond of his boss and undoubtedly, a healthy, alive and generous Alexander Grayson who paid well was far better than a crisply barbecued one, courtesy of the glorious sun.
Passing the fireplace, Renfield threw Grayson’s soiled clothes into the flame and retired to his own room. He was much eager to hear his boss’s story of this… curious condition the next morning.
Alexander Grayson woke up with an excruciating pain vibrating in his skull that he had not experienced for so many decades that he mostly forgot how horrendous a migraine could be. One thing that he learnt today was migraines forgave none, men or bloodsuckers alike.
In addition, his throat was scorched and he felt a thirst painfully. No, not the searing thirst that demanded hot blood, this was the kind of nagging thirst that yearned for a shot of iced whiskey. He licked his parched lips. Maybe several shots. Speaking of whiskey, he did vaguely remember having an exquisite taste of alcohol last night, just not from the usual glass and bottle. It was strong, too strong – perhaps the strongest he had ever had the privilege to taste in years – that it had made his head reel and his mind muddled. But, was it truly alcohol that he had filled his mouth with? Hell, his memory of the whole event and how he had successfully dragged his body home in such inebriated condition (and by successfully he meant without having either lost his way or attracted unwanted attention) was very much similar to the damnable smog that blanketed over London.
Aside from headache and thirst, he had a slight suffocation too, courtesy of the mountain of blankets undoubtedly dear Renfield had wrapped him in. He very much appreciated the man’s consideration and thoughtfulness, but perhaps Renfield had forgotten that it was in the middle of summer and if oxygen deprivation could not kill a bloodsucker, the unbearable heat surely could. Had the man really had to wrap him so tightly that he could barely move his limbs?
By the time Alexander had been able to dug himself out of his fabric cocoon (without calling for help or destroying his bed, thank you) and descended the stairs, his trusted right-hand man was sitting comfortably on a sofa and treating himself to the afternoon tea and apple crumb cake he so favored. In just his bed robe and slippers, he slipped noiselessly into the opposite seat, which was strategically placed in the shadows. He instantly grabbed the bottle of whiskey and poured himself a glass.
A perk of being a vampire was that he could drain the entire bottle if he wished to without having to worry about the alcohol’s effect on his empty stomach.
“Good afternoon, sir,” Renfield greeted, putting down his newspaper.
He nodded in acknowledgement and drained the glass in one gulp. The cool burning liquid sort of soothed his sorely dry throat.
“I’m afraid you have missed the appointment with Doctor Helsing. He came to check this morning.”
Alexander snorted, “If he’s made any progress in creating the serum then I’m interested in calling him back…”
“He hasn’t, it appears, sir.”
“… then never mind him. He probably just wanted to stick his needle in me for his own pleasure,” he muttered under his breath.
Having finished his first glass Alexander reached out for another, apparently missing the odd look written all over Renfield’s face. Someone just did not realize how much innuendo he had managed to throw in one single statement.
Oh well, never mind.
“How are you feeling, sir?”
“My head hurts terribly and my throat feels dreadfully parched. Not to mention lethargy is spreading through every marrow of my bones.”
“You sound a lot like you’re suffering from a hangover, sir,” Renfield remarked, taking a sip of his steaming tea. “Suppose bloodsuckers could get drunk.”
“I had only a small glass of whiskey last night for pretence’s sake. Though I admit it does feel like a hangover, which I haven’t had for two hundred years.”
“What did you drink last night, sir, aside from the whiskey, to make you stagger back home like a stone-drunk man?”
Alexander stroked his chin and his handsome sharp face sported a pensive look. Renfield took the time to savor a bite of the apple crumb cake on his plate. Heavenly, the taste, and he sighed with satisfaction.
“Human blood,” Alexander spoke at last. Or so he thought.
Only now did his mind begin to collect the scattered bits of last night’s events.
For a man of his look and wealth, finding a quality prey was easy enough. A common pub was his favorite hunting ground: there were simply too many mortals in and out every minute that hardly anyone would notice when one or two went missing. A discrete touch on the forearm, a knowing wink and generous tip for just a small glass of whiskey were enough a bait. Hardly any real effort was spent before he had the pretty waitress, soft and pliant, in his arms and pressed against the wall in some filthy, deserted alleyway. Her breath came in short pants and she shivered with what he took to be pleasure when his ungloved, cool fingertip gently traced the blue veins in her neck, feeling her excited pulses. Exactly the kind of foreplay she had expected from a noble-looking gentleman. She sighed lengthily, tickling his cheek with her warm, human breath before he sank his fangs into her flesh. He drank greedily not only to quench his unholy thirst but also to satisfy his unyielding lust to kill, to destroy a life at its apex of youth. Her soft body tensed instantly in reaction to sudden assault of pain and her pleasure-induced shiver transformed to tremor as she was prompted to come to her senses. She clawed and kicked at him, but her resistance only further provoked his thirst for conquest and domination and thus, his fangs tore apart her swan’s neck. Crimson colored her neck, her head fell back, her eyes rolled in her head, and her fight ceased almost immediately as if a cigarette stubbed in the ash tray. He sucked in the last few drops and let go off her, allowing her lifeless body to drop unceremoniously on the damp, dirty ground. Just like that, another life ended. He did not bother to look at his handiwork, having little to no respect for the essence he had stolen for himself. He leaned against the wall, his chest heaving heavily like an athlete who had just finished a marathon. His senses flared with the young woman’s vitality; sounds and scents swam in, giving him an illusion that he was spread in every nook and cranny of this damnable city, hearing and smelling everything at the same time. It was pleasure and torment going hand in hand, for though he was basked in ecstasy, he was exposed to all the hellish noises and disgusting odors London could offer in abundance. The sting of smog was unbearable, the churning of machines in factories torturous and the revolting stench from the open trench only a few feet from where he stood almost made him throw up blood. In an ideal world he would have his prey in a nice, clean place, scented with fresh flowers and perfume, and open for all the mortals to witness instead of lurking in a trash-filled alleyway and having a quickie every time the thirst hit him.
The swoon subsided at last and he was too pleased to leave this place and returned to his nice, cozy lair. Something caught his senses and he stopped in his track, smelling, listening. His eyes went bright as a cat’s when he caught the scent of jasmine in the wind and the drums of a living heart. Close, so close. He felt anger boiling in him at the thought of a mortal catching him in his most open moment. He spun on his heels, cutting the distance between him and the voyeur in mere flash. His vice-like fingers closed around a slender neck.
A pair of amber-colored eyes stared at him, surprised but undaunted. A young mortal. A boy merely out of adolescence. The scent was coming from him so strong that Alexander could feel his every fiber react to it. Like a wordless invitation. To what? To indulgence. Decadence. Seduction. What? Seduce him, could this boy? His mind, perhaps not but his body was definitely leaning towards the blue veins beneath tender skin, pulsating with life and youth, life and youth that he would soon rob, leaving but a dry corpse soiled by the shit and piss under his boots.
The boy kept staring at him with that defiance shining brightly in his eyes. Fearless and mildly amused. Intrigued. Thrilled. Eager. What else could he decipher from that seemingly simple look? Smugness. Challenge. Temptation. The Cupid’s bow of lips parted and curved ever slightly. What are you waiting for? The stranger who has me in your hands.
Alexander did not like the boy’s look one bit. No one had ever looked at him in that way. The peasants held their heads low and their eyes lower, not daring to look past his knees; the enemies glared at him, cursing him to go burn in the Seven Hells as he impaled them, and the Order of the Dragon’s knights looked at him with contempt and a fear carefully subdued and hidden far beneath a haughty facade, he who was an abomination crafted by their devious hands. But never had a person challenged him and enticed him at the same time with only a look. And his body, despite his will, was answering the silent beckon in those beautiful amber irises. Eyes like these would be the death of him some day. How ugly a déjà vu. A warning. He bared his pointed incisors and watched the boy’s eyes widen. Not if he killed the boy right here, right now. He bit down hard, and filled his mouth with the boy’s blood.
His own eyes widened after the first taste. It was bizarre, unlike any he had drunk before, and he had drunk countless mortals. Were he not taking it right from the veins, he would seriously doubt this warm and thick liquid was even blood. It had none of the salt and copper taste like the mortals’ he had fed; it was sweet – the nauseous sweetness of overripe grapes that started turning to wine. Too sweet that his tongue and throat burnt. The flavor of decadence, if decadence could be tasted. His mind protested against taking any other drop into his system. Noxious, it screamed, but his body refused to obey and directed his teeth to sink deeper into the soft flesh, drawing more of the poisonous nectar. The voice of his reason was feeble and thus held no match against his overwhelming instinct. He knew even before the match began that his rationality never had a chance against his lust, especially when such exquisite blood was fueling it so.
The body in his arms was pliable even when the pain his fangs induced began to trample pleasure. He heard a moan floating somewhere in his muddled mind and felt the weight in his embrace sank, and then an arm draping on his hard shoulders. As amorous as a pair of lovers, he briefly thought, provided that one of them was not trying to drain the other’s life. The scent of jasmine grew sharper, almost unbearable, as did the thumping of the boy’s heart. Like its master, it showed no fear and its unusually steady rhythm panicked him. His instinct told him something was not right – this boy was not right – and he had better finish him off before… before what he did not know yet. He drank deeper in long, harsh gulps that would soon make the heart succumb to the silence of death, his teeth ripping off chunks of flesh. A moan again, loud enough for him to not think it a mere imagination. But that was all he got: the blood did not cease flowing and the heart did not falter; it was as though he was drinking from a river, with its endless waves and ripples caused by winds. He felt sick with all the sweet blood he had taken, his head swirling and drowning in a whirlpool of fading pleasure and fast-building anxiety.
In one swift movement Alexander’s arm impaled the boy, bursting out of his body through his back. His victim stared at him with huge eyes; they were shining, the dim, tainted light from the lamppost failing to dull the amber-colored flame that seemed to sear through his soul. His hand in the young mortal’s chest moved, finding the heart and fondling it. The Cupid’s bow of lips bled; a string of ruby beads damped his shirt cuff. He could feel its warmth on the surface of his skin. The heart in his palm throbbed.
Alexander withdrew his arm from the chest, taking the heart in his hand, and bathed himself in a splash of blood. Normally he would avoid such a barbaric and completely superfluous ritual – it could draw unwanted attention from the mortals with his blood-soaked clothes, but with this particular mortal, he felt the need to do so, perhaps as a guarantee since he had been driven to panic with his ceaseless blood flow. Without his support, the young mortal sank to the ground and collapsed. He licked a few drops from the heart before discarding it on the lifeless body. At last its deafening thumps had vanished.
It took all his mental strength to not drop down next to the body and closed his eyes until eternity. His head retained just enough rationality to dictate his body to his manor’s directions but his mind was not sober enough to get rid of his bloody garment lest some nocturnal souls spotted him and grew suspicious. In that wretched trance-like state he walked back home…
The next thing he knew was the suffocating heat of the blanket cocoon and a head-splitting migraine…
“So, you fed, you were seen, you drank the man’s blood…”
“… gouged out his heart,” Alexander added, massaging his temples with his fingers.
“… and returned with a massive inebriation.”
Despite all the rich and illustrious descriptions Alexander had given, this was Renfield’s brief summary.
“What about your wet face and hair?” Renfield arched an eyebrow quizzically, which was mirrored in Alexander’s expression. “When you came in through the door, your face and hair were dripping with water,” he explained.
“I… must have had dipped my head in the fountain at the front. I can’t remember why.”
With great sympathy, Renfield just nodded his head and decided to push the matter of Grayson’s embarrassing state aside and focused on more practical matters. There were a lot of things a besotted man could do which he would be mortified when sober, didn’t Renfield know it?
“This young man’s blood intoxicated you. Has this ever happened before?”
Alexander shook his head. His glass was empty so he reached out for the whiskey bottle. “Never before have I encountered such a bizarre taste. It didn’t taste like animal blood either.”
“You’ve had animal blood? You can digest it?”
“Rodents and bats in time of desperation, but it aggravates my strength. Imagine eating nothing but stale bread for a week.”
“Should we call and inform Doctor Van Helsing?”
Alexander’s eyebrows knitted. He was silent and immobile for a while, his newly refilled glass in his hand seemingly forgotten. “No,” he said in grim tone, “as a matter of fact, I would like to keep this a clandestine business from him.”
His employer had little trust for the doctor, Renfield understood, for he did share the same doubt and distrust toward Van Helsing. Based on mutual vengeance, their alliance was shaky at best.
“As you wish, sir.”
His hand reached for the newspaper on the tea table and unfolded it to a particular page. “By the way, sir, you did say you fed on two: a young woman and a young man…”
“Then it’s quite strange, because today’s newspaper reported only one death.” He showed the page to his employer, who immediately looked at the article. A deep crease began etching between his dark eyebrows. Were he human, Renfield would advocate against this habit of his employer since this seemingly harmless crease came easily but was difficult to be persuaded away and he would regret it by the time he had reach forty.
“He dressed fancifully and wore perfume, which suggested a man of wealth and status,” Alexander said. “A gruesome murder of such a man would cause a ruckus, unless…”
“The Order of the Dragon,” Renfield finished for him.
“The Order of the Dragon,” he echoed. A dark look crossed his face. “Probably a brother’s son. I imagine they would try to cover his death, especially when there are signs it involved supernatural force.”
“And your next move, sir?”
“We wait, Renfield. The death should alert them, and prompt them to action. Thus we wait. In the mean time…”
Alexander suddenly reclined on the sofa, one hand clutching his head and, Renfield dared a thought, making a crow’s nest of his usually coifed raven hair. “Can something be done about this monstrous migraine? It’s driving me insane.”
A neat hole was punched through the sofa, courtesy of Alexander’s fist and inhuman strength. Renfield blinked a few times, feeling both amused and sympathetic for his boss. That was one reason why he never allowed himself to get horribly drunk. Grayson was not the least exaggerating; this could indeed drive a man insane, or an immortal, and anyone unfortunate enough to be around him. “I suggest a hot bath may soothe it, sir,” said Renfield, “and a prairie oyster.”
A puzzled look spread across Alexander’s face.
“A common treatment for hangover, sir. You can have human foods and drinks so I assume it may work.” He pointed to the flask of whiskey that was almost empty. “And no more drinking of that.”
Alexander responded with a half-groan, half-growl before he sluggishly tore himself from the sofa and ascended the stairs. “Tell Ella to bring me the…”. His hands hovered in the air.
“The prairie oyster, sir.”
“Whatever it is, bring it to my room.”
Looking at his boss, Renfield decided that he should try to find some morphine should the hot bath and the drink proved to be useless, provided that morphine worked for bloodsuckers.
But first, he had to make a call to the furniture shop.