AN: This fic assumes you've seen Tanz der Vampire. Canon divergent upon reaching the castle. Pick your own cast for visualization, though I will admit that I always envision Alfred with slightly wavy, light brown hair.

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Dying to Live
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In Alfred's eyes, Sarah was perfect. Beautiful red hair, a charming smile, and a beguiling voice. She was a beautiful siren. There was no other way that Alfred could describe her. Glistening, wet skin… And so much of it to see, too. She had effortlessly lured him in and snagged his heart and bath for her own.

Even though he had been dragged along on a hunt for vampires in the heart of Transylvania, he had never expected to find himself standing outside the gate of vampire's castle. He kept telling himself it was all for Sarah. He had to save Sarah. He had gone so far as to convince the professor to let the innkeeper go so they could follow him to the vampire's lair—after his cowardice had prevented him from delivering the killing blow, of course.

As he tried to hide behind Professor Abronsius, he wondered why he had ever thought that rescuing Sarah would be an easy feat. Now that he saw the Count standing before him, a part of him could understand why Sarah ran off. She had been seduced by promises of excitement and freedom. And a handsome face wrapped in a flowing, black cape.

Alfred swallowed back that particular thought and quickly averted his eyes. The last thing he needed was for the professor to catch him staring at another man. Not after the last time when his eyes lingered on the well-sculpted rear of the farrier shoeing their horse. The lecture he had received was worse than any beating he had endured during his schooling. It was a miracle that he hadn't been caught being sodomized by the same farrier later—especially considering how loud he had been.

And then Count von Krolock introduced his son, and Alfred was unable to tear his eyes away from the tall, slender man. His gaze traveled up, and when his eyes met Herbert's, he instantly recognized the look of desire. But was it for his company or his blood? Before Alfred could properly comprehend what was happening, Herbert had his arm around his shoulders and was guiding him through the gate and into the castle.

Alfred's eyes darted back and forth, taking in every detail and possible escape route. There was hardly any sign that anyone lived there, and certainly no sign of Sarah nor her father. He stilled as he heard the Count call for the hunchback.

Koukol hobbled into the foyer, and Alfred gladly used his fear and disgust of Koukol as an excuse to duck out from beneath Herbert's arm. He skittered away to hide behind Abronsius once more. He kept his eye on Herbert as Koukol was instructed to show the two visitors to a room for the night.

For a moment, it looked as if Herbert had given up on making any more advances for the evening. It was just as he permitted himself to relax that the younger vampire reappeared, slinging an arm around his shoulders.

'Oh! Um… M-my lord,' Alfred stuttered, doing his best to remain polite. He wasn't sure if either von Krolock knew that he and the professor knew they were vampires. But he wasn't about to give himself away. He would be careful. He wouldn't let on that he knew. For Sarah's sake. It wouldn't do to give their hosts a reason to lock them up. Or worse, kill them. Or worse still…turn them. Although…Chagal had seemed exactly the same as when they had first met the innkeeper—just a little pointier.

'Now, now, my dear,' Herbert said. 'We're going to be friends, you and I. You may call me Herbert. Though I do regret to admit that I missed your name.'

'A-Alfred.'

Herbert smiled and reached for the bag that Alfred was clutching tightly. 'Here, let me take that. You are a guest after all.'

'No!' Alfred moved away from Herbert as he hugged the bag to his chest. He wasn't about to give up his only means of defense against the evil creatures that inhabited the castle. He backed against the cold, stone wall of the hallway, barely aware of the fading light of the candles. There was still enough light to see the disappointed pout that Herbert was giving him. 'I-I mean… No, thank you,' he said quietly and lowered his eyes. 'I'm quite capable. I can carry much more than this with no problem.'

He held his breath as a gloved hand entered his vision and gently tipped his chin up. Subconsciously, he licked his lips as his eyes passed over Herbert's mouth. He expected the devilish smirk. But who knew the undead could possibly possess such delicious looking lips? The smirk widened, and he quickly raised his eyes. In Herbert's eyes he saw the knowing look. He tried to protest, but his voice was caught in his throat.

'Yes… I think we're going to be great friends,' Herbert said. He slowly brought his hand back toward himself, and Alfred followed. Before he could push his luck any further, Abronsius's voice rang out, calling for Alfred to hurry along. He sighed as Alfred scrambled off, stumbling in his haste to reach the professor's side. He was about to give up for the night, but Alfred glanced back at him, eyes wide, confused, and yearning. Well. He could certainly settle poor Alfred's confusion.

He followed along until they reached one of the lesser-used rooms. He sneered as Koukol opened the door and waved for the pair of humans to follow him inside. There were plenty of cleaner rooms. Rooms more recently in use. There was even his room. He would not object to the old professor sleeping in his bed if it meant that Alfred would sleep there as well. His father had seen to it that the Chagal girl had been given a clean room. No dust or cobwebs to sully her petite frame.

He looked on in alarm as Abronsius happily sat on the bed to test it. A quick glance to Alfred proved that the boy was in a similar state as himself, but in no place to argue. He reached out and tapped Alfred, causing him to jump and drop the bag he was holding. He smiled as he held up a sponge. 'Did you lose this?' he asked.

Alfred reached for the sponge, and Herbert stepped away. He followed the vampire back into the hall and out of the professor's sight. 'My sponge! How—?'

'You dropped it in the foyer. You were rather eager to get away from Koukol,' Herbert replied as he released his hold of the sponge.

Alfred held the sponge close as he stared at it. 'Thank you,' Alfred quietly replied. 'It was given to me by someone very important.' He breathed in sharply as a cool hand lightly brushed against his cheek. His head shot up, and he saw Herbert smiling fondly at him. His heart raced as the hand remained pressed to his cheek, and he wondered if the coolness was from the vampire or the glove. Out of the corner of his eye, he could the tip of a very pale finger.

Alfred's feelings warred against each other. On one hand, Herbert had removed his glove to touch him with his bare hand. On the other…Herbert was a vampire. He was flattered and horrified. He looked back up to meet Herbert's eyes. His own widened in fear and worry as Abronsius called for him.

Herbert laughed softly and swiftly leaned in, placing a soft kiss on Alfred's cheek. 'Goodnight, my sweet Alfred. I do hope to see you tomorrow night. Something very special will be happening. Now, see to your professor,' he said before turning away with a quiet flap of his cape.

Alfred's mouth opened and closed without any sound as he watched Herbert disappear into the darkness.

'Alfred! What are you still doing out here?' Abronsius asked as he pulled Alfred into the room. 'We must rest, for we will have a busy day tomorrow!'

Alfred tripped over the forgotten bag, barely catching his balance. 'But…but what about His Excellency? O-or his son?' He retrieved the bag and brought it with him to the bed.

'Oh, I wouldn't worry about them,' Abronsius said dismissively. 'They think they have us fooled! Surely, they will leave us be for now to gain our trust. Hah! Little do they know!'

Alfred climbed onto the large bed and opened the bag as the professor undressed. He pulled out a string of garlic and a crucifix. Whether or not the vampires had been fooled, he was not going to chance it. He would not fall victim to a handsome vampire. No matter how elegant or charming he might seem. Besides, it was all just a ruse to make him feel at ease and reel him in. The undead didn't feel emotions.