Characters created by Angela Sommer Bodenburg. This story is based off the continuity of the 80s TV series rather than the books.

Return of the Little Vampire

"Hello, Anton."

Anton stood, frozen in his dressing gown in his bedroom doorway.

Rudiger was sitting cross-legged in the armchair, waiting for him. The little vampire looked exactly the same as when Anton had last seen him, more than two decades earlier. Well, of course he did.

Anton wished he could say the same for himself. "How... how did you find me?" he managed to ask.

Rudiger smiled that smile of his, that part-mischievous, part-sinister, part-smug smile. "We have our ways," he noted with some satisfaction.

"I'm surprised you recognise me," Anton admitted. Rudiger may have looked exactly the same as he did twenty odd years ago, but Anton was now in his mid-thirties – short, stubby, not much to look at. A bit like his life, in point of fact.

"It wasn't easy," Rudiger acknowledged. "You look dreadful."

"Thank you," Anton retorted. He was more amused than offended by the remark, though; it seemed Rudiger's lack of tact hadn't changed in the intervening decades any more than his appearance.

"You're welcome," Rudiger beamed.

"What... what are you doing here?" Anton asked. A chill ran down his spine suddenly. "Are you here to bite me?"

"No, I'm not here to bite you," Rudiger said exasperatedly, jumping off the chair, a movement so sudden it made Anton take an involuntary step back. "Why do you always think that?"

"I don't know," Anton said, rather lamely. "So what do you want?"

Rudiger grinned that grin again. "What, I can't look up an old friend?"" He began walking around the apartment, looking at and touching everything, Anton wincing as his little hands casually brushed over his collection of antique and priceless Civil War figurines. Aside from those, though, and the framed photographs of his parents on top of the television, there was very little in the way of personal touches. "I like your place," Rudiger commented.

"Thank you," Anton said.

"It reminds me of a crypt," Rudiger nodded approvingly. "Grim and gloomy."

Anton didn't quite know what to say to that.

Rudiger looked at him suddenly, those unearthly eyes boring into him. It unnerved him in a way it never really had when he was a child. "Are you not pleased to see me then?" he challenged.

"I... I'm just surprised, that's all," Anton admitted. "It's been a long time."

"I suppose," Rudiger said vaguely. "Doesn't really seem all that long to me. Least not until I look at you, anyway."

"I'm sorry about..." Anton trailed off.

Rudiger continued his wandering around the apartment, not that there was much left to see. "About?"

"Not saying goodbye," Anton said finally.

Rudiger nodded. "I wondered about that."

Anton mentally kicked himself. His childhood friendship with the little vampire had been the most important thing in his young life. Unfortunately, he hadn't stayed that young. Rudiger had remained frozen in time as Anton entered adolescence, and the distance between them had started to turn into a chasm. The little vampire's visits to his home had become less and less frequent, and when his parents had decided to move across the country far away from where Rudiger would be able to come fly to visit him on a single night, he had just not mentioned it on the vampire's last visit. And then they had gone. It had been a crappy thing to do, but that was adolescence for you. "I guess I grew up," he admitted.

Rudiger gazed at him knowingly. "Poor Anton," he said finally.

Anton didn't quite know what to say to that either.

"How are your parents?" Rudiger changed the subject, still flitting around here, there and everywhere.

"They're... they died," Anton revealed. "Five years ago... car crash."

Rudiger stopped in his tracks. He advanced on Anton, closing in on him. God, he was exactly the same. "I'm sorry," he said.

"Thank you."

The little vampire began moving toward the open window. "I'd better go."

"So soon?" Anton surprised himself by not wanting him to leave just yet.

"Uncle Ludwig and Aunt Hildegard are expecting me," Rudiger explained simply.

"Oh," Anton was again ridiculously surprised to hear those names. No doubt they were still exactly the same too, unaged and eternal. "Goodbye then."

Rudiger reached the window and looked back at him. "Would you like me to come again?"

Anton nodded slowly. "Yes... I would like that," he admitted.

"I'll see you then," Rudiger hoppd onto the window ledge, spreading his cloak in preparation for take-off. "Maybe next time I'll bring Anna."

And then he was gone, even as Anton's heart froze and the name struck him almost like a physical blow. "Anna..." he whispered.