Disclaimer: I don't own Castlevania.
Chapter 7: The Wayward Son
She was soft against him.
Alucard could still smell the sun in her hair and the grass on her skin. He stayed there a long while after waking, against her body, his nose buried in the hair crossing her rosy cheek. Maria clucked at the motion, releasing a short chuckle before falling asleep again.
He couldn't remember making it back inside the small homestead, not since his last attack. But he knew that, if he asked Maria, she would say, with those same sleepy eyes, that he'd taken a spell in the heat. He knew her answer already, so he let it pass. It no longer mattered if it was the truth. It was the conclusion his mind had written for him.
"I wish. . ." he whispered against her. He let the statement trail. It would do no good, wishing that he had such a life with her, with a child. A normal life.
Alucard smiled, pulling himself away from her. The window was open and the cool air of morning was drifting in with the gentle coral glow of a far away horizon. He slipped on the boots he could not remember pulling off and stepped out into the hallway, quietly shutting the door behind him. He could hear the faintest sound of humming from the dining room, and he followed it.
Lisa sat at the humble table, a basket of green shoots before her. Her nimble fingers split the peas, dropping them into a bowl. Her fair eyes dared up, the song fading from her lips.
"Adrian," her smile greeted. "Good morning."
Alucard stared on, a look of sorrow on his face as he watched her hands move. "Mother," he said, choking on the title, "you look lovely."
Her smile dropped ever so slightly, smoothing out the faint lines at her lips. "Why, thank you, Adrian." She blinked away the somberness in her reply. "Your father said that, if you woke this morning, he wanted. . . He is in the field, if you wish to speak to him."
"I do," Alucard answered, looking at the waiting doorway.
Before he could move, Lisa pushed her bowl away, standing. "Come," she commanded, "give me a hug before you go."
Alucard stepped forward, wrapping his arms around her form. She held him tightly.
"My dear son," she hissed, "you are not well. Go on, back to bed. Your father can wait another day."
He shook his head, pushing her away. "No. It's time we speak."
The door led to the porch. His father was sitting there, on a sturdy chair, staring out at the gray, foggy sky, as if waiting for the golden glow of morning to spill over the land.
He shot a passing glance at Alucard. "Strong enough to pull a plow, I suppose," he commented, growling as his body ached to stand. He gestured for his son to follow before walking down the steps.
A square of land stretched out before them. The upturned earth, rich and dark, crunched beneath their feet as they moved forward.
"This land is already plowed," Alucard stated.
His father came to a stop, looking down at the uneven ground. "So it is," he stated. He turned back to face Alucard. "But there's still work to be done. One can never escape his work."
"No, Father," Alucard answered, his voice soft.
The sun spread across the open land, casting the men's shadows along the soil. Alucard watched the light brighten his father's skin, letting its deep, worker's color rise to surface. The dhampir took a step back.
"It is strange," he said, "seeing you as only a man."
His father raised a narrow brow. "Not simply a man, boy." He reached out, his wide hand squeezing Alucard's shoulder. "Your father. Now tell me, what has you saying these things. Is your own mortality catching up with you? One often says such things after a bout of illness."
Alucard wanted to look away from the face before him, but he could not. The hint of pitted flesh was in his cheeks, wrinkles at his eyes—even his father's lips were thin and cracked from abuse. Here, in this place, Alucard was Adrian, simply a man. And he would grow gray and into his father's image. Yet, Alucard didn't fear that fate.
The sun was hot against Alucard's face as it soaked through the morning chill.
"What kind of son am I?" Alucard asked.
His father shook his head, as if the question was a foolish one. "What kind?" he asked, confused. The gray eyes hardened, aging. "You are my son, Adrian. Your own kind, I suppose."
Alucard nodded, brushing off his father's touch. "Work," he explained.
The other man nodded. "Wash your hands, first, boy," he said, stepping away.
Fists uncurled at Alucard's sides. He looked down at them, his eyes wide. In the sun, the blood on his flesh was almost too bright, too red. He held his hands out and they dripped their liquid load down onto the soil. Alucard opened his mouth to cry out and the scent of life passed his lips and nostrils. His body rolled in need for the substance.
"No, Father!" His eyes darted up to see the man walking away, his plain clothes chipping away, scorched. His old, leathery skin blackened, peeling away from the muscle, even as he crossed the length of the field.
Alucard pushed his body forward, as if to run after him, but his feet were stuck to the soil, encased in ice that crawled from the earth to grab his ankles. Alucard felt a sudden weakness run through him and his eyes closed against his will.
The cold woke him to awareness. However, the chill was not from ice but from the air around him. A weight was against his throat and a numbness growing over the skin there. Hair scratched at his face, but before his eyes could open again, he realized that he could taste it, metals and life pouring onto his tongue, drowning him. A tremor shook him, and the weight lifted off of his neck. His weary eyes lifted to see blood stained lips frowning down at him.
Dracula stared back down at his son, his clean hand wiping at the blood that threatened to trickle down his chin. He pulled his other wrist from Alucard's open lips, and the vampire king watched as his own wound began to seal together the sliced skin of its own accord.
"Where is my father?" Alucard muttered, distracted by the taste still sticking to his teeth.
Dracula shook his head with a human-like gesture, his eyes clear, serene. A line of green crept down beneath the porcelain skin of his jaw. "Your own kind," he hissed. "That you are."
The vampire lord's focus shifted from his son to the far side of the room, a place Alucard's eyes could not follow. For the first time, Alucard realized that there were short, solid walls surrounding the length of his body. He tried to move to touch his stone surroundings but found he was too weak to lift his arm off of his body. Instead, he slid his hand up his chest, his fingertips grazing the torn flesh of his neck.
"You drunk," Alucard whispered.
His father did not look back down, still staring out at the room. The sound of a door shattering in the distance broke the sudden silent.
"Welcome, Belmont," Dracula sneered, "I hope you have enjoyed your stay in my castle. I am afraid your visit will be short."
Dracula's gaze darted down, a smile above his fangs as he reached out and pulled a stone slab over Alucard's still form. The sounds of battle faded from the room, taking with them the faint candle light. Alucard's world became one of complete darkness as his eyes closed without argument and surrendered to the enclosing sarcophagus.
The prince fell into a deep slumber, dreamless and without hope. And he would not awaken again for many years to come.
Story End Notes: Sorry it took me so long to write this story. I really didn't mean for that to happen. Thank you for reading, nevertheless. You've been great. I really appreciate it. I hope this satisfied you—I love to leave a story with a few questions unanswered so that the readers have something to think about.
The soundtrack for the last few chapters has been…interesting, to say the least. I doubt anyone really cares, but here are the songs that inspired this little story: Breaking Benjamin's "Dance With the Devil" and "Breathe", Kansas's "Carry on my Wayward Son", Blue Oyster Cult's "Don't Fear the Reaper", and Johnny Cash's "Hurt."