Disclaimer: Castlevania belongs to konami not me. I am making £0.00 out of this fic, it is written purely because I have a burning need to create. Although I would like to own Alucard . . . then he'd be mine.

Rating: PG-13

Setting: During SotN.

Authoress note: Maria meets Alucard in the castle for the third time and gives him the holy glasses.

She could still smell blood, the smell had clung to him like a parasite. But she realised that the smell did not come from him but his clothing. He was covered in spilt blood. She thought for a moment that it was strange that she had never seen a vampire in such a state. All vampires that she had had the misfortune to meet had been pristine, no matter what she put them through, but not him. He had been covered in grime, and the blood on him had smelt terrible. Mud covered his once clean boots, his cloak was torn in places and mud soaked the bottom of it. His skin had had both mud and blood marring it and even a few small cuts where he had been hurt. The small wounds healed while they were talking, but the mud and dried blood had remained. She had had to make an effort not to stare at his clothes. She had forced her eyes to his face and found his hair to be matted in places, again splattered with blood. The left side of his face held a fading bruise. He seemed to notice her staring and looked away, without thinking she reached forwards grabbing his chin in her small hand.

"You've been hurt," she said. His eyes were downcast and he said nothing, clearly embarrassed. She had never met anyone embarrassed by their injuries, her usual company was quite the opposite. Men enjoyed showing off their scars, they did it to show they had endured great pain. But he was different, he was embarrassed by his pain.

"It is nothing Lady do not..." he winced and fell silent when she pressed a clean wet rag to his fading bruise. "Do not trouble yourself."

"It's no trouble," she said softly. She was embarrassed a little herself. This was probably futile, his wounds were healing fine on their own. He didn't need someone doting on him; he was Dracula's son for crying out loud. That thought gave her pause. He was Dracula's son, raised in this Hell of blood and death; she doubted he'd ever felt a truly gentle, loving touch. It broke her heart to think such.

"But it is gone my Lady," he pulled back gently from her touch and she saw that the bruise was gone. She looked him over frowning and used the damp cloth to wipe the blood and dirt from his face.

"What on earth happened to you?" Maria said after a moment, amazed that she was doing this, and amazed that he was letting her, standing perfectly still, he even dipped his head slightly so she could reach him.

"I think the bruise is from a war hammer one of the creatures was wielding, I was foolish and was too slow," she shook her head and lifted his matted hair a little off his forehead to find a burn, she gasped before she could stop herself. "It doesn't hurt," he said quickly as if to calm her. "I believe that was one of the trolls down in the caverns, they spit acidic venom." He seemed to be having difficulty remembering.

They shared soft words after that, she tending to his various injuries and he telling her it was unnecessary but not fighting her. She was smiling by the time she found the last cut and cleaned it out while it healed. He had a strange sense of humour, at least, she assumed it was a sense of humour, she wasn't entirely sure. He may have been serious. He had tried to explain why her tending was not necessary while at the same time trying not to mention his heritage or its monstrous nature. She had laughed at him and his effort and he had shaken his head at her and muttered something to himself that she had not caught. But she thought she saw a flash of a small smile.

He had stood then and had spoken of the fight up above and the fact that it would ease his worry greatly if she left the castle, he was sure she was capable, her continued existence proved that, but still he worried. She had blushed brightly and muttered something about strong women, he had looked at her, clearly not understanding what she meant. He had turned to go then and she had stopped him, it had taken a great deal of courage and trust but she wanted to prove to him that she could trust him. That although he thought himself a monster that was not how she saw him. She had given him the glasses. The only thing she had to save Richter, she had given to him and had spoken of illusions and secrets. He had looked at her, shock on his features as if finding it impossible to comprehend such trust being given to him. He looked mournfully at the glasses and then back to her.

"Thank you, my lady, for helping me," she knew he meant both the small tending she had done and the glasses. "I will try and save your friend," he had turned again to go and Maria felt her heart jump into her throat and she lunged towards him, grabbing his still tattered, damp, dirty cloak.

"A creature such as you deserves more than you have," she had said as he turned to go. "I would give you that." She wasn't sure why she had said it so plainly, she had blushed coming across common and easy was not her intention but she feared that was how he would perceive her. But he had not leered or made any notion that he thought her such, instead, he had given her a long hard look, a look that made her feel as if he were staring into her soul.

"I would love you, Lady," he breathed after a moment, "but it would be a curse, not a blessing." And with that, he was gone.


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