Disclaimer: Characters belong to their respectful owners
Fandom: Netflix’s Castlevania
Rating: Teen and up
Pairing(s): Alucard/Adrian Fahrenheit Ţepeş x Hector, implied Trevor Belmont x Sypha Belnades
Genres: Fanfiction, slash, fluff, humor
Characters: Alucard/Adrian Fahrenheit Ţepeş, Hector, Trevor Belmont, Sypha Belnades, little Cezar
Warnings: some strong language, implied rape/non-con and abuses, brief mention of suicide
He certainly did not hope to see a giant fucking monster loitering around on the lawn in front of the castle, not to mention a conglomerate of critters in varied stages of decomposition. His first reaction was an audible curse because why the fuck that prick allowed this place to be populated by undead creatures even though he had promised to stay awake to watch it. Had he gone snoozing somewhere again?
Trevor and Sypha came back to the castle to visit their good friend Alucard. They did not expect to meet one of Dracula’s generals here.
On sunny days, they went out into the sun.
Sometimes Alucard led him into the forest surrounding the castle and showed him which herb was fine to digest and which could kill him in a single bite. It usually took hours to fill their basket with herbs and vegetables and while doing so, Alucard would snatch something for dinner, a fat hare for instance, only for Hector to release it later, claiming it was begging him for mercy with its beady eyes and he just couldn’t bear skinning it, and then they would have to settle for a meatless meal. Alucard would complain, but only with fond exasperation and a playful elbow to Hector’s side that didn’t use a fraction of his strength. Sometimes, if they were lucky, they would find a carcass that was new and relatively whole for Hector to perform his skills, adding to the ever-expanding number roaming the castle these days. A different kind of night horde, really. Sometimes, when Alucard was in the mood, he would transform into a wolf and allow Hector to climb on his back so he could give the Devil Forgemaster a ride around the castle or into the forest, if he was particularly daring. It never failed to light up Hector’s face, even if his fingers clutched Alucard’s scruff a little too tight or his knees dug into Alucard’s sides a little too deep. He suspected Hector had never quite overcome the fear when first faced his wolf form, but it soon faded into background to give way to the thrill of having some semblance of control over a large predator. Sometimes, when the weather was warm and they were plagued with idleness, they would lie on the front lawn (no small thanks to their joined efforts), Alucard in his wolf form, baring his soft belly for Hector to rest his head on and occasionally stroke the fine fur here. They would doze, bathing in the sun until twilight and their rumbling stomachs woke them up, angrily demanding dinner.
On rainy days, they stayed indoor.
Sometimes they spent the day in Dracula’s massive library, perusing whichever book catching their interest in comfortable silence, each of them solitary in their intellectual pursuit but never alone. Alucard shouldn’t be surprised to learn Hector’s favorite genre was almost exclusively animal-related — their anatomy, behaviors and habitats. One day he even managed to dig up Alucard’s childhood pop-up book, which rendered the dhampir all teary-eyed and so, he spent the rest of the afternoon sitting in front of the hearth with Alucard’s head on his thigh while he carded his fingers through lustrous blond locks. Sometimes, when they were in energetic mood, Alucard pressed a wooden sword into Hector’s hand and taught him to fight. Although the dhampir was an excellent teacher and Hector earnestly wanted to learned — he loathed the helplessness he’d felt with Carmilla, it was just Hector was shitty at it. His lean muscles were more suited to swinging the hammer than a sword, even a mock one. Still they tried and every sparring session would eventually shift into a wrestling match Hector could somehow win, provided that Alucard reigned in his vampiric strength, and then it would morph into an entirely different kind of match, one of tender kisses and modest touches, meant for no privy eyes other than those of the castle’s undead roamers.
It was neither sunny nor rainy today. The sky was overcast and the air felt stiff and humid, deterring them from their usual outdoor activities. Rain might come later, thought Hector as he pinched some salt into the boiling pot on the stove. Instinctively he reached for the chopped cloves of garlic but stopped himself mid-act. Alucard found garlic repulsive, which might or might not be attributed to his vampire side. Hector made a mental note to ask him later. Speaking of the dhampir, Hector hoped he could make it home before it started to rain. He’d been gone for a while so his business in town would probably have finished by this time. Little Cezar whimpered and rubbed the good side of his head against Hector’s leg, his pink tongue lolling from his mouth. Hector smiled indulgently and ladled a chicken leg from the pot. Undead or alive, no dog ever refused a piece of bone to gnaw. At the sight of his treat, Cezar panted happily and circled Hector’s leg. “If you catch it, it’s yours,” Hector said, dropping the bone, which Cezar deftly caught before it hit the ground. He laughed and went back to stirring the simmering broth.
A black cat hobbled into the kitchen on three legs — one of her hind legs had been missing since Hector and Alucard found her, and he hadn’t been able to restore it or find a substitute.
“Oh hi, Lucee, you want a snack, too?” Hector cooed at her, his hand on the ladle, ready to give her the same treat.
Lucee clawed at his leg and meowed loudly. Her ears were erect, her fur bristled, and her eyes shone as bright as the flame of the stove.
“What is it, dear?” Hector asked. His brows knitted. “Someone is in the front lawn and they seem… hostile? I thought Effie was enough to scare away any curious passer-by.”
The cat clawed harder at Hector’s leg, threatening to tear the fabric. Wincing with the sting, he turned off the stove and hurried out of the kitchen. Cezar yelped and tailed after him while Lucee struggled to keep up with them.
As he rushed down the hallway connecting the kitchen to the entrance, Hector picked up more and more distressed sounds from his pets. A one-eyed crow perched on his shoulder, cawing and flapping his wings, which fed to his growing worry. Hector grabbed his wooden sword propped against the wall, cursing under his breath because his hammer was left in his forge. With the castle situated in an isolated spot, they didn’t get frequented by many visitors, only a few sporadic hunters or travelers who immediately turned their heels and fled at the sight of a monstrous-looking creature. Hector had created Effie from a gray bear carcass out of a desperate need to determine if his forging skills were still in him after those hellish months with Carmilla. He had wept like a child at the robust form almost doubling his height, with thick, matted fur and blazing eyes zeroing on him the moment they cracked open. Alucard had shaken his head but hadn’t voiced his disapproval, and so Effie had stayed.
He heard her bellow before he reached the front lawn. His feet skidded to a stop at the sight of two strangers standing some feet from Effie, whose jaws open in a snarl, baring glistening fangs and dripping saliva onto the grass. Behind her spread wings the pets were huddling together, hissing and shrieking at the pair. The man was swirling a chain in his hands while the woman was holding her hands up, the tips of her fingers glowing blue. Hector had no idea who they were but that didn’t stop his blood from running cold. He recognized the fabled weapon in the man’s hand anywhere and knew too well what it did to unholy creatures like his dear Effie. And its wielder could only be the one and only—
“Stop!” Hector screamed, launching himself in between Effie and the Belmont just as the chain lashed out.
It was fucking humid.
Fanning his hand in front of his face, Trevor complained to Sypha and received a slap to his shoulder and a curt “stop whining” instead of sympathy. He returned to sulking in his seat behind the reins and silently cursed Sypha’s inability to be ruffled by this cloying weather. Sypha who wore more layers than he did. She did not even seem to perspire whereas Trevor was sure the stench of his sweat had already reached Gresit. Must be her magic, he thought, how unfair. He hoped Alucard had something in the ice chest. He really could do with a cold drink right now.
He certainly did not hope to see a giant fucking monster loitering around on the lawn in front of the castle, not to mention a conglomerate of critters in varied stages of decomposition. His first reaction was an audible curse because why the fuck that prick allowed this place to be populated by undead creatures even though he had promised to stay awake to watch it. Had he gone snoozing somewhere again?
Besides him, Sypha took a fighting stance. “Be careful,” she whispered, “they all emit the same demonic aura as those sent to the Belmont hold before.”
Remnants of the past, huh? The day just kept getting better and better. Trevor took the Morning Star from his belt, swirling the chain in his hands. The decomposing animals were a disturbing spectacle but he doubted they were a real threat, so that left the furry bear-like thing with huge bat wings. The cursed creature opened its cavernous mouth and bellowed, startling both Trevor and Sypha. The other animals started hissing and shrieking, as if to add to the volume of the bear-thing’s bellow to scare away the intruders. Fortunately Trevor Belmont was made from tougher stuff. Steadying himself, he aimed for the center of the monster’s chest, making an educated guess about where its little black heart resided. Next to him, Sypha made a sign with the tips of her glowing fingers. Trevor released the chain and it sprang forth like a viper.
Together with the scream, a body launched into the space between them and the creature, raising some sort of instrument in their hand. The chain was knocked aside with a clang. Alert, Trevor took a step back to regard the newcomer. Male, not much older than Sypha, probably not a fanghead because the sun hadn’t toasted him to crisp yet, and what the heck was he having in his hand? Who in their right mind would bring a mock sword into a fight?
“Who the fuck are you?” Trevor asked, his eyes narrowing.
“Leave us alone, Belmont,” the man said, his voice backed by the bear-monster’s growl. He patted its front leg with his free hand. The damned thing inched closer to him.
“Not until you answer my question. Who are you and what are you doing here?”
“Trevor,” Sypha cut in, tugging at his sleeve, “he has the same magical signature as those creatures. He’s a Devil Forgemaster!”
Trevor did not miss the small twitch at the corner of the man’s lips.
“Where is Alucard?” Trevor gritted through his teeth. “Swear to God if you did something to him I’ll gut you like a fish.”
Honestly, Trevor had a lot of faith in the dhampir’s abilities; after all, Alucard had wiped the floor with him in their initial meeting, and he had been the one to stand the longest in the final battle. Trevor would rather whip himself than buy into the ludicrous notion that a scrawny necromancer who brought a wooden sword into a fight was capable of besting him. Still, necromancers proved to be a sly species and if Alucard happened to be down on his luck…
“He’s…” the man hesitated, which only served to fan the flame in Trevor’s guts. “He’s not here at the moment.”
Trevor scoffed. So far the man had only been beating around the bush. He supposed he shouldn’t be surprised to be unable to force honesty out of a necromancer’s mouth by asking nicely, so another method was in order. He raised the Morning Star and struck.
He was no match for the Belmont. That, Hector was certain.
Using the element of surprise, he’d been able to counter the first strike aimed at Effie’s heart, but that was as far as his luck stretched. The second time that famous vampire-slaying chain lashed out, he was done for sure. Sweat slicked the inside of his palm and his grip on the sword hilt started to slip. Sensing their master’s distress, Effie and the other animals made various noises. Hector shushed them with his mind in fear that they might provoke the Belmont.
Still, when asked about Alucard’s whereabouts, Hector chose an ambiguous answer. He’d picked up scraps of the story while under Carmilla’s heels, sometimes literally, and had been able to piece together the picture of his former liege’s defeat by the hands of Alucard, the Belmont and the Speaker magician. The three of them had been allies, united by a common goal at that time; once Dracula had fallen and the night horde decimated, their common goal had been no more. Hector had never asked Alucard if their alliance was still standing for fear he’d probe into something he wasn’t supposed to. Based on his own experience, even when someone called you their friend, nothing guaranteed they wouldn’t turn on you the next second.
So, he had been intentionally ambiguous, which enraged the Belmont, no doubt.
The next thing Hector knew was the chain coiling around his sword. In one swift motion the Belmont yanked the chain, pulling Hector forward for a well-aimed punch at his left jaw that made him see stars. Tasting copper in his mouth, Hector fell onto the grass, letting go off his sword. The Belmont stepped up and caught him by his collar, forcing him to look into blue eyes blazing with rage. The scar over his eye looked sharp like a blade. The fear he hadn’t felt for a while, put to sleep by the peaceful life with Alucard, clawed at Hector’s heart. The Belmont raised his fist, and Hector squeezed his eyes shut, anticipating pain. Punches were nothing, he told himself, he’d had worse.
His pets shouted and screamed. Effie looked ready to launch at the Belmont and tear him apart. “Stand back!” Hector ordered in his mind.
They whined in protest. “I said, stand back!” he barked, startling the Belmont. “All of you.”
They obeyed him, eerie blue eyes all staring at the Belmont.
“Why are you ordering them to stand back?”
“I don’t want them to get killed,” Hector replied, grimacing with the ache on his jaw. “Please don’t kill them. They’re harmless.”
The Belmont snorted but his grip on Hector’s collar loosened a fraction.
“Don’t kill him, Trevor,” the Speaker said, placing a small, delicate hand on his forearm. “We should ask questions first.”
The Belmont huffed, pushing his long bangs from his eyes with his free hand. “I’m not going to kill him, not until we learn where our friend is. But we’re going to tie him up. Do we have some ropes in the wagon?”
Alucard stopped at the edge of the town, looking at the sky. The sun was largely obscured by thick gray clouds, the harbingers of rain. Getting soaked was never on his to-do list, so as soon as he was out of sight, he transformed into a wolf, grabbed his small leather satchel between his teeth, and started dashing towards the castle’s direction. Being on four legs gave him an illusion of running faster so he went with it. Dry leaves crunched under his paws as he shortened the distance to the castle.
Alucard returned to human form when he spotted a wagon parked in front of the castle. Brushing dust and leaves off his clothes, he frowned at the strange vehicle. It was empty, the riders nowhere to be seen. He sniffed the air surrounding it. Fabric, leather, metal and sweat. He wrinkled his nose. With one last glance at the wagon, Alucard left it to stride into the front law, bracing himself to be enthusiastically greeted by the army of pets and one giant monster they kept. He still had a bit of reservation regarding that monster but so far she’d shown nothing but utter loyalty and obedience to Hector — Forgemasters truly wielded incredible powers. Since he trusted Hector, he’d learned to accept her presence in the castle. Plus, he could count on her to protect her master against common bandits and even stray vampires when he was in town.
When he saw two familiar figures at the entrance to his house, Alucard’s heart fluttered with joy. He was not a surprise enthusiast but having an unexpected visit from his only friends was a surprise he’d welcome with open arms. He was about to call them when his gaze landed on Hector, bound and kneeling on the ground, and the pleasant taste quickly soured in his mouth. His mind unwittingly conjured the memory of Hector when he’d first seen him, naked from his waist up, arms tied behind back and kicked into a kneeling position by Carmilla’s steel heel. He had to take in a deep breath to disperse the dark cloud in his head as he strode to them. The unintentionally hard tone when he opened his mouth was proof that he didn’t quite succeed.
“What’s happening here?” Alucard demanded.
Startled, both Trevor and Sypha were slow to reply. He didn’t wait for their answer and headed straight to Hector, kneeling on one knee to briefly examine his condition. He frowned at the blooming bruise on Hector’s jaw.
“Are you all right?” Alucard asked, slicing through the rope with an elongated nail.
“I’m all right. It’s just a punch.”
Unconvinced, Alucard gently tilted his chin up to have a better look and make sure nothing was out of place or broken. Behind him Trevor cleared his throat, which Alucard promptly ignored. He stood up, holding out his hand to help Hector get to his feet. “Care to explain the bruise, Belmont?”
Trevor huffed, picking up his weapon and attaching it to his belt as there was no need for it now. “Care to explain the Devil Forgemaster in your castle, Țepeș?” he asked, mimicking Alucard’s tone. One hand resting on his hip, he gestured to the assembly of undead animals. “And this circus?”
“Trevor!” Sypha scolded. “Alucard, glad to see you’re fine.”
Alucard’s expression softened as he turned to Sypha; he even graced her with a smile. “Thank you, Sypha, but what do you mean by ‘glad to see you’re fine’?”
“Uhm, I believe there’s been some miscommunication with — what’s your name?”
“Hector,” Hector supplied.
“What miscommunication?” Trevor butted in. “He’s a Devil Forgemaster and he’s their creator. All of them, including that friendly-looking huge-ass monster. You said so yourself.”
Sypha elbowed him lightly and turned to Alucard. “Can we come inside and talk?”
“I see,” Alucard said, putting down his cup of tea on the saucer after taking a sip. Hector had offered to make tea because he knew exactly where all the tea jars, teapots and teacups were stored in this massive kitchen, much to Sypha’s surprise and Trevor’s chagrin. “Well, I appreciate your concern but you can both rest assured that Hector does not mean any harm. As a matter of fact, he reserved the information about my whereabouts because he didn’t know whether to trust you.”
“Doesn’t change the fact that he’s a Forgemaster and he’d created those freaks that attacked us,” Trevor said, looking down at his steaming cup with disdain. “You have some beer in the ice chest, Alucard? Ale?”
“Only milk and apple juice, I’m afraid.”
“Thanks but no thanks.”
Sypha dropped two sugar cubes into her tea. “Trevor’s right,” she said, fixing her gaze on Hector. “I recognize his magical signature in some monsters we encountered in Gresit, too.”
Alucard looked at Hector, silently asking for permission. After a few moments, Hector nodded. Alucard’s hand searched for his hand and gave it a squeeze.
“Hector was a general of my father’s council,” Alucard said. A pause. “He forged monsters for the night horde.”
Silence blanketed them like a wet cloth, sucking off the air between the four of them. The massive kitchen suddenly became stifling despite all of its ventilation shafts and the air coming from the hallway. Hector stirred his tea with absent-minded motion while his eyes stared into his teacup as if the swirling amber liquid could offer some resolve to his inner turmoil. Alucard had been with him long enough to tell there was a storm inside him. They had gone through this very same problem during the first weeks after Hector’s arrival.
The ‘clink’ when Trevor put down his teacup broke the spell of silence. “Aren’t we looking at a murderer right here?” he said coolly. “Give me one good reason not to wrap this chain around your throat and hang you where all the good people can see.”
“Sorry, Alucard, but I’m afraid I’m with Trevor. You saw for yourself the carnage at those towns and cities.”
“Killing him will not undo the carnage. Besides, my father lied to him—”
“May I speak for myself, Alucard?” Hector cut in, his turquoise eyes looking into Alucard’s.
Alucard nodded, squeezing his hand. Hector’s skin felt cooler than his own.
“Humans have never been kind to me,” Hector began, voice calm. “I have been shunned and hated for my abilities. Have been called an abomination and nearly stoned several times. Lord Dracula was the only one who treated me with kindness and respect. So when he came to me proposing a cull, I agreed. I created soldiers for his war against humanity, monsters that ravaged towns and cities and killed citizens.”
Trevor’s hand on the table closed into fist, the knuckles going white.
“How come we didn’t see you when we entered the castle?” Sypha asked.
Hector lowered his gaze. “I betrayed Lord Dracula and for that I paid the price. By being made Carmilla’s slave.”
Trevor and Sypha said in unison, “Carmilla of Styria?”
“Yes,” Alucard replied. “You knew of her?”
Trevor gritted his teeth. “That bitch had the whole region trampled under her heels. Worse than Dracula, some might say. We were coming to you with a plan to destroy her when out of nowhere came the news that she—”
“She died,” Alucard finished for him. “I was the one who decapitated her.”
“You did?” Sypha didn’t hide her surprise. “You came to her stronghold in Styria?”
“She came here, actually. She must have thought the castle was empty, all my father’s lifework unguarded, free to ransack. Needless to say she was rather shocked to see me.”
Alucard glanced at Hector and saw his lips pale and quivering. His hand in Alucard’s trembled. The dhampir just squeezed harder.
“She dragged Hector with her, partly to cut off any hope of escape in her absence, and partly to rub it in his face that he’d left the safety of the castle for the fate of a slave.”
“From what we’ve heard and seen, I wouldn’t put it past her to do just that,” Sypha chimed in, a note of sympathy in her tone. “Such sadism.”
“After I killed Carmilla, Hector stayed,” Alucard concluded.
That wasn’t the whole story, though. Alucard hadn’t meant to keep him, and Hector hadn’t meant to stay, either. He had meant to die. Up until now, Alucard still hadn’t been able to account for the tremor in his arm when Hector, battered and bruised, collared and chained, pressed his throat against the tip of his blade with a tired murmur, “Please.” Stunned by the alluring metallic tang when the sword tip broke tender skin, Alucard stood still like he was under a spell, a spell that was broken when Hector, won over by exhaustion and malnourishment, collapsed, and only Alucard’s quick reflex was able to save him from colliding face first with the stone floor. It would be so easy to break the body in his arm, reed-thin and covered in scars, then fling it out of the castle to be a quick meal for wolves and vultures, and yet the thought made the bile rise in his throat. He sheathed his sword and carried Hector inside, careful not to jolt him too much.
Some time later, as he tucked in a washed and clothed Hector, brushing a clean lock of silver hair out of his closed eyelids, Alucard came to a decision that he would not want another suicide under this roof.
Trevor tapped his forefinger unrhythmically on the wooden surface. “So you got tricked and enslaved by Carmilla, which sucks, definitely,” he said. “Still not a good reason for me to stay my hand from ending you.”
“No, it’s not,” Hector replied. “However, my life belongs to Alucard now. If he wants me dead, I’ll gladly give up my life.”
“Nice move, Hec. Very clever of you to use Alucard as your shield.”
“I’m merely stating the fact. Alucard saved me from Carmilla and myself. Therefore I won’t give in without a fight, even if I am no match for you.”
Both Trevor and Sypha stared at Alucard while the dhampir turned to Hector, who looked back with a serene expression. Acceptance, he recognized. The same expression as when he’d agreed to stay.
“I do not want Hector dead,” Alucard finally said, holding up a hand when he saw Trevor was about to protest. “As I said before, he means no harm. He forges monster no longer. These days his powers are reserved for bringing back dead squirrels and birds.”
“I suppose the bear-thing outside was adopted?”
“Someone, or something, has to guard this place when I’m not home. There’s only one of its kind here, I assure you.”
“What if his hands itch and he starts making monsters again? Someone provokes him, or worse, an angry mob comes after him with pitchforks and torches?” Trevor taunted, earning a dark glare from Alucard.
Hector, however, remained calm. “I’ve had my fair share of angry mobs. It may surprise you, Belmont, but it has never ended in a massacre.”
“And yet you assisted Dracula in a massacre to end all massacres.”
“I will not defend my past choice, nor will I be apologetic about it. However, my intention for a cull is no more, just as Lord Dracula is no more.”
“Because you’ve seen the error of your ways?”
“Because I am tired.”
It was an answer Trevor didn’t expect; his eyes widened and his lips parted, but no rebuke was formed. Alucard seized this opportunity to speak. “Hector stays with me, so I share responsibility for what he does, and vice versa. If he ever strays, I’ll be the one to answer for his actions.”
Trevor and Sypha exchanged a look before their gazes landed on Alucard and Hector’s joined hands. “If we insist on Hector paying for his past, you’re ready to fight us as well,” Trevor said, his face schooling into a serious expression.
Alucard nodded slowly, feeling a dull weight in his chest. “If it comes to that, yes, but I sincerely hope we never have to fight each other.”
“Neither do we wish to fight you, Alucard,” Sypha said, “for we are friends.”
“That we are, Sypha.”
Trevor scoffed but he did sag infinitesimally in his chair. “Well, damn. He’s all yours, so you’d better not fuck up, or else I’ll be the first one to kick your pallid ass.”
A slight curve found its way to Alucard’s lips.
Alucard dipped his fore- and middle fingers into the small clay jar, warmed the salve in his hand and gently rubbed it into Hector’s bruise.
“Does it hurt?”
“No, it’s just a punch. I’ve got worse.”
A map of scars flashed through Alucard’s mind. Right now it was just hiding under Hector’s garments. If he undressed…
Alucard shook his head to get rid of such morbid thought. “I’m sorry about Trevor. He can be brash sometimes.”
“I can see that he genuinely cared about you. Besides, his animosity towards me is much justified.”
Alucard put the jar into his leather satchel and placed it on the nightstand. He pulled Hector’s arm so that he sat down next to him on the bed. He laced his fingers with Hector’s on the mattress, idly rubbing the calluses from years of holding the hammer.
“What you said earlier…” Alucard said.
“I meant every word. You saved me, therefore my life is yours,” Hector replied, leaning against Alucard and leeching heat from him. It should be the other way around, as being a dhampir didn’t exactly make Alucard a great source of warmth, but even his lower-than-normal temperature was higher than that of Hector, who had been easily preyed to chill since birth due to an uncommon condition.
“Hector, you know I never want you to be indebted to me or anything like that.”
“It’s not so much ‘indebted’ as ‘entrust’. I entrust my life to you, Adrian.”
“What have I done to deserve such honor?” Alucard joked, though there was not mirth in his tone.
“Everything,” Hector whispered. His breath tickled Alucard’s ear. “You gave me home, you gave me love and most of all, you gave me a purpose.”
“To live and see tomorrow.”
Alucard exhaled and kissed the top of Hector’s head. He smelled of lavender, which Alucard had dried and stuffed in his pillowcase to help with his sleep. “You gave me a purpose as well. You are the reason I stay awake.”
Hector chuckled. “Really, Adrian, you make it sound like I caused you insomnia.”
“No,” Alucard said, smiling, “I made a promise to stay and watch both the castle and the Belmont’s archive. But many times the silence engulfing this empty place became too much, and I was suffocated, couldn’t breathe, couldn’t care less about my promise. To hell with them, all I wanted was to crawl back into my coffin and sleep until this castle was forgotten by time.”
“But you didn’t,” Hector murmured, more to himself. His hand landed on Alucard’s shoulder.
“Just one more day, I thought, then I’d go to sleep. And then Carmilla came.”
“And I with her.”
“I had never been more grateful. Since your arrival, the thought of going back to slumber drifted further and further away.”
“I’m glad we found each other.”
“So am I.”
Following his words, Alucard’s lips sought Hector’s and pressed against them as if it was the most natural thing amongst the stone walls of this castle, where haunting specters of bittersweet memories lurked in every corner, and the only thing to keep them at bay was casual intimacy.
Hector let out a soft sigh as Alucard’s tongue shyly licked against the seam of his mouth. He parted his lips in welcoming the gentle invasion, ready to surrender himself to the dhampir’s restrained passion. This he could take and even respond in kind without Carmilla’s shadows ruining it for him. Carmilla had never kissed him on the lips, and she’d made it painfully clear with her hands and feet the very thought repulsed her to the core. As if that same thought hadn’t made him throw up in his mouth a little. But even if she had, Hector doubted she would have had a fraction of Alucard’s tenderness.
Alucard tugged at his lower lip, and the minute prick on his supple flesh made Hector shudder in his arms. Alucard was always careful with his fangs, sometimes too careful, but even Dracula’s mighty son could not prevent every tiny mishap, especially ones stemming from his primal instinct. “Adrian,” Hector tried to speak, pushing Alucard’s shoulder, startling him.
“Did I hurt you?”
“No, but it’s been two weeks.”
“Since the last time you fed,” Hector explained, straightening his back.
“I’m not hungry.”
“Positively peckish,” Hector said. His tone grew sterner by a notch. “We’ve agreed on this, Adrian. You feed every fortnight to preserve your wellbeing and mine. You know better than me the effect of the thirst. Your control slips, and you begin to see every living thing a potential meal. And I happen to be the only living thing in the vicinity. That time you—”
“All right, all right, I’ll feed,” Alucard conceded. “You’ll never let me hear the end of it, will you?”
With something suspiciously akin to a smirk gracing his lips, Hector undid his collar, baring his neck. He didn’t miss the way Alucard’s Adam’s apple bobbed.
Hector’s skin tasted of salt when he tentatively flicked his tongue against the pulse. The body in his arms shivered and he heard a deep inhalation. It would sting, there was no way around it, and the best he could do was be as fast as possible.
Hector’s hiss died out at the same time his blood filled Alucard’s mouth, flooding his senses with the Forgemaster’s flavor, sharply spiced by his unique brand of magic. Like heady wine on an empty stomach, Hector’s blood made his head spin, and he had to hold onto him for support. As he savored each mouthful, Alucard felt a callused hand on the back of his neck. Locked in a never-ending loop, the two of them, as he liked to think once his animalistic urges subsided, and his mind was clear again.
It was with great reluctance that Alucard removed himself from Hector’s neck. He wasn’t fully sated — never was unless he thoroughly drained him, his father had explained — but that was enough; anymore would endanger Hector.
“How do you feel?” he asked, laying Hector down on the mattress.
“Highly sensitive, slightly dizzy and mildly aroused, you know, the usual,” Hector replied, resting an arm on his forehead. His chest heaved under the cotton shirt, his breathing labored.
Alucard gingerly wrapped an arm around his waist; he was glad it was no longer so thin that he might snap it in two. “Do you need any help or…” he trailed off.
Hector looked down at Alucard’s arm and worried his lower lip as though debating with himself how to respond. Silence was stewing between them for several moments before Hector whispered “I’m sorry”.
“You don’t have to apologize, you know,” Alucard said, although his heart sank a few notches in his chest. As the same time anger flared, dying his vision a transparent red. He would likely never grasp the full extent of what Carmilla had inflicted on Hector and he wasn’t sure he wanted to, but he’d witnessed first-hand its deep-seated effects. Every time he would think a swift, clean death by decapitation had been a pardon the likes of her did not deserve.
“Can you help me get off my shirt?”
Alucard’s insides fluttered as he stammered a quick “of course” and complied with Hector’s request. The map of scars was there, as it always had been and always would be, and a mere look brought him vicarious agonies. “Should I…” he hesitated, tugging at his own shirt as a way to distract himself from the remnants of Hector’s horrors.
Hector nodded before adding, “I think some skin-to-skin contact should be fine.”
Once Alucard took off his shirt and laid it beside Hector’s, he wasted no time in gathering the Forgemaster into his embrace. Their chests touched and through the skin he could feel Hector’s steady heartbeats. He found them oddly soothing to his tingling nerves, an aftereffect of feeding.
“One step at a time.” He heard Hector mumble into the crook of his neck.
“One step at a time,” Alucard echoed in place of an unspoken prayer that one day Hector would be truly liberated from Carmilla’s ghost, from her shrill laughter and ice-cold fingers.
For now, every step counted as victory.
Noises greeted him when Hector groggily descended the stairs, one hand running along the barrister and the other rubbing his eyes.
“You think he’ll run to fetch it if I throw this stick?”
“I don’t know shit about dogs, Sypha. You try. Stop licking me, lick her instead! How can a dead dog slobber?”
“Undead, Trevor. He clearly likes you.”
Huh, that was strange, Hector thought. As far as he was concerned Alucard and himself were the only talking residents here. Who—Oh right, the guests. He’d almost forgotten their presence, not being used to having visitors in the castle. Even the townsfolks who came seeking Alucard’s medical help only stepped foot into the front lawn, provided they got past their fear of seeing Effie and the others lounging around.
The sight presented to his eyes when Hector arrived at the entrance to the kitchen had him stunned for a few seconds. Crouching on the floor were the formidable Belmont — Trevor, Hector’s memory supplied — and the Speaker magician, Sypha. Little Cezar sat before them, his tongue lolling from his mouth and his single good eye darting back and forth between the pair and capturing attention from them both. Sensing his master, he immediately stood up and yipped, wagging his stump of a tail so hard his entire lower body wiggled as he ran to Hector. He butted his head against Hector’s leg in lieu of greeting and with an indulgent smile the Forgemaster bent and scooped him up in his arms. He gave the boy a good ear scratch before putting him down. It was when he found Trevor and Sypha both staring hard at him. “Uhm… Good morning?” Hector hesitantly greeted, trying not to squirm under their collective scrutiny. Briefly he considered excusing himself and fleeing from the scene — still not accustomed to having guests in the castle, especially those who might or might not be thinking about strangling him on the spot. However, his rumbling stomach reminded Hector why he’d ventured to the kitchen in the first place.
“The hell happened to your neck?” Trevor grouched, then a few seconds later, waved his hand. “Actually, don’t answer if you’re gonna feed me the ‘mosquito bites’ bullshit. The only thing that bites here is snoring his ass off somewhere upstairs.”
Hector flushed a pretty scarlet. He brushed his fingers against the bite marks before consciously tugging the collar tighter around his neck. He really wasn’t used to having guests.
Sypha cleared her throat loudly. “Trevor, don’t you have some logs to chop outside?”
Trevor’s mouth twitched and it looked like he wanted to protest but thought better of it. “Fine,” he said under his breath and stalked out of the kitchen. Little Cezar skipped after him, to Hector’s amusement.
That left Hector and Sypha. Hector halfheartedly expected her to follow the Belmont but she appeared to have something else in mind. He swallowed, praying to whoever up there that she wouldn’t bring up the bite marks on his neck. He wasn’t prepared to answer that sort of question right now, or ever.
“Would you like some breakfast?” Hector offered, even though he fully expected Sypha to decline.
“Actually yes. What do you have?”
“Just some leftover soup from yesterday,” Hector replied, walking to the pot of soup on the stove. He turned the stove on. “You don’t mind?”
“Of course not. It was delicious and a vast improvement from what we usually have on the go. Did you cook it?”
He nodded and went to retrieve two bowls as Sypha went on. “I thought so. Alucard doesn’t strike me as the type to cook his own food. I mean, he probably grew up surrounded by professional cooks.”
“You see this?” Hector asked, pointing to a large scorched patch on the wall before him. “That was Alucard trying his hands on cooking. He almost succeeded in cooking both of us.”
Sypha’s chuckles rang like silver bells in the kitchen, which surprised Hector. Nobody besides Alucard had laughed at his attempts to joke, least of all someone he’d only met yesterday. “He does excel in skinning animals and gutting fish, just keep him away from the stove,” he added as an afterthought to save Alucard’s face.
“He once said that he could go on days without food, so cooking probably isn’t an urgent matter,” Sypha said, sinking down on one of the large chairs around the dining table. Lucee had hobbled into the kitchen at some time and was now circling the legs of her chair while meowing to get her attention. He was about to tell her to go play somewhere else when Sypha picked her up. To his surprise, the Speaker didn’t seem disgusted by Lucee’s peculiarities; she laid the cat on her laps and started stroking the midnight-black fur along the feline’s spine. Lucee closed her eyes and purred, enjoying the easy affection.
Hector decided he was pretty fond of Sypha.
She muttered a “thank you” when Hector placed a steaming bowl of soup and a spoon on the table. He chose a seat a few chairs from hers and sat down with his bowl. For several minutes there was no conversation as each of them focused on their meal. Hector threw a couple surreptitious glances at Sypha and was very much pleased to find that she had allowed Lucee to drape herself across her laps instead of shooing the cat away.
“Does she eat?” Sypha suddenly asked.
“No. Her system can’t digest any food.”
Lucee meowed in agreement.
“Does she have a name?”
“It’s Lucee. And the pup is Cezar. In fact, no creature here is nameless.”
“So the… monster in the front lawn has a name.”
Hector’s skin crawled at her choice of word despite knowing there was nothing wrong in calling something as it was. It was just he was under the impression that people like her and the Belmont despised monsters with every fiber of their being. “Her name is Effie,” he stressed. “I made her from a bear carcass. She’s tamed unless provoked. Sometimes she’s even more mild-tempered than, say, Lucee here.”
Lucee meowed loudly in protest, making Sypha giggle. A moment later, she said, “May I ask you something, Hector?”
He considered it for a few seconds, then gave a hesitant nod.
“I’ve always wondered about how your talents work. We have collected tidbits of it but have never actually encountered a Forgemaster before. There are so few of them out there that the sporadic tales we’ve come across prove to be fabricated.”
Hector’s first instinct was to be defensive. “My talents, as you call, are more often scorned and loathed than admired. Those like me are considered abominations, even by our own parents.”
His eyes flickered to the steam rising from the bowl and his eardrums rang with his parents’ screams.
Sypha scratched behind Lucee’s ears. “I think it’s a miracle that there are people who can bring life back from death. Still, it is another matter how they choose to wield that power.”
Hector was taken aback by her comment. He dropped the spoon in his bowl, bracing himself for any accusations that might come out of her pretty lips and as the same time debating with himself whether to argue or drop the matter and get out of here before things escalated. However, none came. Sypha only looked at him as if waiting for him to speak while her hand continued to run along Lucee’s back. He worried his bottom lip unconsciously until he tasted blood.
“I don’t know myself,” he began. “It’s not like there’s a guideline for being a Forgemaster. One day I woke up, saw a dead canary on the side of the road. I shooed the flies away and it suddenly occurred to me that I could bring it back.”
His words came out more sarcastic than he intended. His heart thumping in his chest, Hector studied her expression for any sign of anger.
“I see,” Sypha said. “Well, it may be bold of me to ask but would you mind if I joined you when you perform? I mean, would it be all right if I stood by and watched?”
Hector’s eyes enlarged and his lips parted while his mind tried to process what he just heard. Again, his first instinct was to doubt and search for any hidden meaning in Sypha’s words. Truth be told, he didn’t mind someone being privy to his work; back then he’d had both Godbrand and Carmilla watching him in his forge. There was no secret to guard, nor was there any dirty trick he couldn’t lay out under the light of day — it was simply his energy being channeled from his core into the lifeless body to rip apart the fabric of death.
Sypha seemed to take his silence as a sign of rejection. Quickly she stammered an apology and promised to bury the matter.
“I don’t really mind,” Hector said. “But it’s not like I come across a dead animal every day. You may have to wait for a while.”
Sypha’s face lit up as her lips stretched into a smile. Her smile seemed contagious and Hector soon found himself returning it. “Thank you,” she said, bouncing in her seat a little. Lucee looked up at her with curious eyes before hopping from her laps to the table.
A bestial roar shattered the cordial atmosphere between Hector and Sypha.
“That’s…” Sypha began.
“Effie,” Hector finished.
They stood up at the same time and ran to the entrance.
“Let go, you damned beast!”
Their feet came to a sudden halt not by the Belmont’s shout, which in itself was alarming enough, but rather by the sheer bizarreness of the situation: there, on the lawn, Effie stood on four legs, looming over the Belmont. Her mouth open, she was biting into a log of wood, dripping copious amount of saliva onto the grass. On the other end, the Belmont was holding onto the log for dear life. His tendons bulged on his forearms, bared by his rolled up sleeves. Beads of sweat rolled down the sides of his stubbly face.
A crazy tug of war between man and monster.
“What are they doing?” Sypha wondered aloud.
“I have no idea,” Hector lied, trying so hard to suppress his laughter that his body was shaking.
Sypha saw right through it and shot him a dirty look.
“Fine!” Trevor roared and conceded his defeat. “Have it all you want and choke on it.”
Nevertheless, as soon as Trevor stomped away and picked up his axe as well as another log, Effie immediately abandoned her prize and went to seek another… in the form of the log the Belmont was about to chop.
“What the fuck?” Trevor hissed. “You know what? If you want it, come get it.”
Using all his strength, he flung the log into the forest around the castle. Glowing blue eyes momentarily followed its trajectory and the monster ran after it, plowing the earth under her heavy paws. With a huff, Trevor returned to his interrupted task.
“Are you sure she was a bear and not a dog?”
Sypha turned to Hector and asked.
“Sometimes she thinks of herself as a dog,” Hector chuckled. “Oh, good morning, Alucard.”
Alucard had materialized beside the pair and was running a hand through his hair, working out a couple knots. “What did I miss?”
“Not the fun part.”
Sypha furrowed her eyebrows. “What do you mean?”
Hector’s reply was a jerk of his chin to the direction Effie had disappeared. She came out of the forest like a storm, her prize secured between her jaws. She dropped the log at the feet of Trevor, who stared at it with eyes like saucers. Smoke started rising from his head when Effie grabbed his unfinished log with a clear intention to start the game anew.
“She’s fast,” Sypha muttered.
“And determined,” Hector added.
“You can tell her to stop, can’t you?” Alucard whispered into his ears.
“Of course,” Hector confided. “Do you want me to?”
“On second thought, this is actually fun.”
On that Hector wholly agreed.
My first fanfic for the rarepair Alucard x Hector (or Hectorcard), which takes place after the second season. Constructive comments are always welcomed.