Author's Note: Unedited version, and my first crossover! Hope you enjoy and expect updates on In the Name of God, and Brothers Grim very soon, I promise. Also, hope you enjoy the numerous Universal movie homages or rip offs. Please read and review.
Disclaimer: "If we shadows have offended, think but this and all is mended,
That you did but slumber'd here while these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme is no more yielding then a dream."
-Midsummer's Night Dream
By: Lady Erised
Chapter One: The Count
Admittedly, there were certain things Severus Snape should have become accustomed to by now. Awakening in the middle of the night to find his lover (who was also one of Lord Voldemort's favored) gone should have been on the top of the list. But it wasn't. In fact, there were few things Snape despised more then to awake and find his bedmate gone. It brought back memories of his Auror days, and an ill fated but terribly romantic ordeal he didn't want to remember. But, then again, weren't all love young affairs guilty of bringing a smile to the face even as the twisted the heart painfully? He didn't mind that. In fact, he loved feeling even that small connection to his past. It was one of the few things that remained from the better times.
He slid out of his bed, and into a robe before pushing open the thick wooden door and entering the hall. Castle Ardennes was old, and at night, it's age danced hand in hand with the shadows that crept around the corners. Wolves cried to the moon outside and despite himself, Snape was reminded of the old black and white horror movies. He looked up at the cobwebs that were nestled into the high places and decided that he was in a scary story. It was complete with the crumbling castle, filled with all sorts of nefarious evildoers; and assorted monsters.
"Cue the creepy music." Snape said, idly to himself.
"Were you saying something, my Prince?"
Severus looked up and favored Ezra a knowing smile. "No, no Wolf Man, I was just…daydreaming."
"In the middle of the night?"
"Where is Melanie?" He asked instead, looking around and noticing he was not the only man awaken to find his lady gone. Eoin, Ezra, Imre and a few more of the lower ranking Death Eaters that Severus did not know were outside, staring down the hall to the Throne Room with looks of disgust.
Snape turned and looked at the doors and saw that Melanie was grouped with other women, including Eoin's wife Maude, Ezra's girlfriend Cora, Jackie and Drusilla, were grouped around the door eagerly peering through the cracks to see whatever or whoever was visiting with Lord Voldemort.
"He is called Count Rene." Imre supplied the name to the mystery guest before Snape asked.
Thank you Frankenstein, Snape thought to himself. Behind Imre, he could see the slave disappear into the shadows. And there goes your Monster. "And who is this Count?"
"A Vampire." Eoin answered. If looks could kill, Maude would be dead and buried, as would the good Count.
"A vampire Count?" Snape snorted. "Not very original, is he?"
"Actually, I think it's the same one."
Snape paused and stared at Eoin. There was something about the way the Kaga said that that didn't settle right in his stomach. He blinked nervously. "No…that's impossible. You can't mean…" Snape paused again, licking his lips. "He's not real. He doesn't exist."
"What?" Eoin mused. "You mean like Kaga?"
"Or werewolves?" Ezra joined in.
And Imre brought up the rear. "Or Dark Wizards?"
"Point conceded." Snape nodded at the three stooges and then inhaled as a grim feeling settled in over his stomach. He began to chew on the inside of his lip, rubbing his neck in thought. Under his hand, he could feel the bumps of Daniel's bite on his neck and quietly he shook his head to release himself from the nightmares.
Now, this is not to say Severus was afraid of Vampires. He wasn't, nor did he feel at anyway attached or fond of the fanged creatures of the night. Instead, there was a sort of deep-seated respect for them as a powerful force in their own right not to dealt with lightly. His own Uncle had been a vampire and he had always reasoned, somewhat vainly, that any power strong enough to fell a Snape must be worthy of some acclaim. And it was also because of this uncle that Severus knew, acutely, that turned humans; however brash and assertive, however hale and vibrant were enslaved to be nothing more then monsters- pure and simple. Everything that had made them human, made them something more then beasts, had been conquered by one brute desire to conquer their own death by inflicting it on others.
It was not an act of cowardice that drove them to kill, nor was it a thrill that was received from it (although some romantics might argue such.) At the end of it all, it was simply to need for blood. The need that took away everything that made humans- the precious free will to chose to live or die on their own circumstances. Vampirism, by it's very nature made men, even great men, slaves. It was this brute desire to live no matter what the cost, on either yourself or others that turned Snape off to the idea of immortality at this price. He was quite simply too vain to bow to any desire. So, rather then his objection being something based firmly on moral grounds or the morality of the situation, it was simply a manner of lifestyles and for Severus, this was an lifestyle he could not condone.
"I would be wary, my Prince." Eoin whispered.
Snape turned, and watched Eoin. While, he was accustomed to the Kaga's baiting, he had also learned that Eoin's jibes usually carried sound advice. "And why is that, Creature?"
"Because Count Dracula is looking for an alliance."
"I'll make sure to wear turtlenecks. What do I care about and old Gypsy Count and his supposed alliances with the Dark Lord? I am the Dark Prince, after all."
"Yes, but so is he and he was it first." Eoin turned to look at him. "Think about, my Prince. Dracula is legend, to all of us who make our home in the dark. His friendship with Voldemort will double the Dark Lord's power. But you know how arrogant our Lord is, Voldemort will not allow a equal partnership. He doesn't like the competition." Snape narrowed his eyes. He didn't like what Eoin was getting at. The Kaga, of course, took this as a sign to continue. "Voldemort will make Dracula his second in command."
Ezra smiled a wolfish smile. "Which would make anyone already in that post very unhappy."
"The instigators right, my Prince." Imre whispered in his ear. "I would watch my back. We took care of Hecate with Day of the Dead, but Dumbledore and his Order are becoming troublesome…and then, of course, there is Saint Michael…"
Saint Michael, the name itself caused Severus to inhale angrily. There were few things Snape hated, and Michael, with his gray loyalties and network of spies and informants topped the list. Snape's value of Free Will turned out to be only as strong as the person's willingness to pick a side and stay at least somewhat rooted to it. Michael traded loyalties and lives for gold and silver which was something Snape could not respect, yet alone condone. But for now, Michael had not done anything to directly affect him and he was in truth, useful to Voldemort.
So until there came a time he was not, Michael would remain well and alive.
And besides, he was not the problem right now. This pansy Count from Romania was. Lifting his chin, Severus inhaled and stuffed his hands in his pockets and made a straight line towards the Throne Room. He nodded at the women, before opening the door and walking in.
Eoin blinked and turned to stare at his companions. "What the hell is he doing?"
"Something stupid." Ezra deadpanned.
Snape walked into the Throne Room and immediately wished he had at least dressed before he entered. It was too drafty in this place and wearing only boxers and a robe when meeting your new rival put whole new meeting on the idea of facing your enemy unarmed. If nothing else, he wished desperately for his mask. One should after all prepare a face for the faces that you meet, Prufrock had taught Snape that.
The Dark Lord looked up, and tilted his head at Snape. When Severus had first met Voldemort, the man had reminded Snape strongly of a Liverpool shipyard worker with his easy nature. He had been something that could have been called handsome and sturdy, with a sort of unpolished handling of himself that had made Snape wonder if Muggles had raised the Dark Lord, despite his grand bloodlines. But time, even though only three years had passed since that encounter and now, had not been kind to Tom Riddle.
His skin had began to pull at the bones, like canvas pulled too taunt over a frame. Age, and whatever Dark Magic Voldemort had used to gain power and immortality ate away at those strong muscles and relaxed posture, making the Dark Lord stand so erect it looked painful, and he carried his arms slightly raised in front of him, fingers sprawled like he was suffering from arthritis. His eyes, once sharp, haughty and regal were now bloodshot and narrow; and altogether it gave Voldemort a snakelike appearance, rather then the man he had once been.
His counterpart, however, looked quite simply beautiful. Snape inhaled at the image but was careful not to react too much, knowing Dracula was studying him as closely as he was studying Dracula. The man was standing with his arms folded behind his back, and his chin lifted slightly. Long dark brown hair hung in a lose ponytail that fell over his shoulder. His face was round, and intriguing, with eyes that glowed with malevolent mirth and thin lips that were pink. He was not the pale, tall, brooding image of Dracula made popular by so many Muggle movies, but nonetheless, his danger was real and palpable. He carried himself as if he was the epitome of everything that should be feared and respected.
But he was not a leader of men, nor had he ever been. Snape knew this from the start.
So this was not Dracula, not the one of story at any rate.
"So," Snape deadpanned in a sickeningly sweet voice. "Who are you?"
"Is there a reason you're bothering us at this late hour?" Voldemort asked, folding his arms.
"Oh, no." Snape chirped. "I just woke up to my find my bed buddy gone, she was swooning over this Max Shrek would be, along with the other female Death Eaters and so I decided to see what all the fuss was about. So, again, who are you?"
"Delightful, how your children rely on their snobbish charms to hide their dislikes or insecurities." The Dracula vampire smiled. He turned and glanced over Snape lightly. "But I would expect better treatment from your second in command, Lord Voldemort."
"You know my Master keeps telling me I should learn manners but they never stick." Snape countered. He glanced at Voldemort at the corner of his eye; the Dark Lord enjoyed his brashness and how it kept people off track, but it was a game Voldemort tired of quickly. He had to be careful not to upset his patron.
"I too never had much need for protocol." The vampire whispered in a tone that told Snape he was lying. This pansy loved putting on shows. "But you are right, we should be introduced, I am Count Dracula."
"So, was I, for Halloween once. The fangs hurt." Snape was still watching Voldemort; he couldn't believe this vampire's claim to be the infamous Count but if Voldemort questioned it, Snape could not sense it. Then, something odd began to happen. There was a warm sensation that took over Snape's body. He became very serene, and placid. Severus turned and found himself pleased with the idea that Dracula was finding him delightful and amusing. He did so want to please this man…
Snape blinked and took a step back. He looked at Dracula and narrowed his eyes. The vampire was using his mind games on Snape, bending Severus' will to his own. Anger replaced his placid nature as he raised his chin to face Dracula and meet his eyes directly. "Then again, Bela Lugosi is really the only Dracula. Lon Cheney and John Carridine sucked at it."
Voldemort laughed. "See, I told you you'd like my Prince, Rene. He can be backed into a corner and facing death and he'll just smile and light a cigarette."
"Yup, that's me. I need my cancer sticks."
"He is no doubt a wonderful foot soldier." Dracula rejoined. He offered his hand to Snape. "Let us be friends. When I assume command of Voldemort's armies, I could use your counsel."
Snape looked down at his hand before taking it. There was a rumor that Dracula had been missing a finger from a lost he had sustained in life but the black gloves Dracula wore hid any injury. He nodded thoughtfully and took the Vampire's hand. He had no intentions to bowing to this flamboyant Count but knew he could not attack him directly. But that didn't mean he couldn't threaten him.
"I wouldn't be so assured, Count Dracula." Snape smiled. "We're not hiding in corners and baying at the moon after all. We are fighting a war more or less, and that's something you haven't done…in a while." His smile turned malicious. "And you don't have your brides to help you."
"A problem I am planning on remedying as soon as I can." Dracula returned, and glanced at the closed doors. "Perhaps, you can suggest someone. As for the war, I should be okay. After all, I have you bowing to me, that's worth something."
Snape glanced at Voldemort, who merely nodded. "We'll see how well fare against Hecate, St. Michael and Dumbledore's Order then."
"Which is where you come in, I know how much you love a challenge, my Prince." Voldemort interjected with a smile of his own that made Snape worry. "You will be in charge of the Count's safety."
"Wouldn't Eoin be better for that? He was born to that."
"I want you to deal with it."
"May I ask why?"
"Because Hecate and Dumbledore have united with the Knights of the Holy Order to combat our new alliance."
"Knights of the Holy Order? The Muggle religious leaders who fight evil?"
Dracula nodded. "The very same. One of their most powerful hunters have been sent after me, and aiding him is a Hecate Companion."
"Erised." Snape supplied. Somehow, without Dracula or Voldemort telling him, he knew this was the Companion that had been sent. He could feel it in his gut. He had heard of Erised's journeys into the underworld, looking for him among the vampires and had known of her reassignment to Dumbledore's side. It seemed natural that her history with the vampires and her new vocation would make her an ideal choice. It would also make this new mission difficult. "I suppose you want them both dead?"
"That is preferable."
"Who is this hunter?"
"His name is Gabriel Van Helsing."
Snape nodded, not really caring about the names. He was too busy trying to figure out how he was going to beat- and kill- someone who had studied his every move. He pulled his hands out of his pockets and rubbed his eyes before turning and walking back towards the door. "It shall be done, my Lord…Lords."
"What now?" Voldemort asked, "Where are you going?"
"Back to bed."