"I'm not sure a correspondence with you is something a woman of honor could permit herself." - Dangerous Liaisons, Christopher Hampton

Mrs. Wilhelmina Harker –

Time was that I would have addressed you by more intimate terms than those above, but years apart are enough to reduce even the closest of friends and lovers to formality, and your unwillingness to admit that a few months of being mentally connected constitutes a close acquaintance perhaps inhibits our former relationship from even reaching either of those modest labels. And so I shall call you by your full, married, name, at least until such a time as it seems to be appropriate to address you with more familiarity.

As I'm sure you have realized, being as you are extraordinarily perceptive for one still a human, I have not ceased corresponding with you, in any fashion, because of having somehow forgotten you, and certainly not because I was in any way vanquished by your husband and friends. I thought it better to leave you alone for a time, and to let your paranoia and that of your friends calm from the panic it was before my supposed death. I only meant this time to last a few months, but, alas, to us immortals, time runs differently, and it has been several years since that evening in November.

It is out of some vestige of mercy that I have decided to make contact with you in writing, rather than speaking directly to your mind. I know how much it would trouble you if I was to resume our former mental connection too quickly, and to trouble you so much and in that manner is not what I intend at the present. Indeed, I mean no harm in the sense that you would use the word, not now – I wish only to correspond with you and perhaps gauge how much you have changed in these years.

However, if you refuse to write a letter in return to this one, then I perhaps shall be forced to speak to you mentally, if it is the only way to keep you from attempting to evade me. I do not wish to yet resort to those measures – the written word is beautiful, is it not? And I have never seen how you express yourself in it – but I shall if necessary. Please do not make me do so.

- Count Dracula

Count Dracula –

Please do not write to me any further. I have not shown this letter to Jonathan, as I have been, no doubt out of some illogical feeling of mercy that I should eradicate as thoroughly as possibly, disinclined to tell him anything of my suspicions as to your survival, but I surely shall if you write me another.

Leave us alone now, please. We have a child, a son – we have a life that we've created in defiance of the one you tired to create for us, and though I have little power to fight you off alone, I don't want you to destroy that again.

Don't write to me again.

- Mina Harker

Mrs. Wilhelmina Harker –

I don't believe that you would care to show these letters to Jonathan, my dear. After all, he and the rest of your friends made my life rather unpleasant those years ago, and I would not like to repeat the experience. If you were to do something so foolish as to inform him that we have been corresponding, I would be rather inclined to kill him. Am I correct in assuming that that is not the outcome you would prefer?

I will not stop writing to you. And you have no right to demand such a thing, or even ask it, for, however much you may choose to deny it now, my blood still runs in your veins. Anytime my compassion runs out, I can claim you as my Fledgling. As you are well aware, you belong to me, despite how I may have been lax in enforcing that ownership for a time.

I can easily make your life very unpleasant, and I would rather enjoy doing so. At this point, I am content in writing these letters to you and having you write them in return to me, telling me of your life as it is now. Be glad with that kindness on my part, and do not complain.

In any case, I would like to hear what has happened in the time since we have spoken last. You mention a child, a son – what is his name?

- Count Dracula

Count Dracula –

Damn you. Damn you to hell, though if there were any justice in heaven you would have long since been there. How dare you threaten Jonathan, and me, for your own twisted reasons. How dare you claim ownership over me, as if I was a dog or a horse, as if you were some sort of species above me, and all of us were just toys for you play with and take possession of at your will.

His name is Quincey.

- Mina Harker

Mina Harker –

There you are, darling. It's not so difficult, now, is it? Oh, Mina, you do amuse me so, with your militant philosophies on your own freedom. It's remarkably childish, of course, but I do love you for it. Of course, I am a species above you, though that will not be true forever. And of course I may take possession of you and any others of your species at my will, provided that my will is strong enough. You see, dear, whatever ethicists throughout the centuries may say, the reality remains that any individual who has enough strength, in any manner, to take possession of property or of other individuals, and to keep them, can control them. It is the way the world works, and the way the world always has worked, and we must build our philosophies around that, not around idealized conceptions of the way we believe the world ought to work.

Ah, I see. Named for the self-sacrificing Texan, I assume? A rather charitable thing for you to do, I suppose, though it doesn't seem quite the most attractive name for a child. How old would Quincey Harker be now?

- Count Dracula

Count Dracula –

I hate you.

But that's why laws exist – to create a moral world. I don't believe that everyone in the world is the way you say, that they all would take control of things or people for their own benefit without thought for good and evil. And perhaps it's true that, if there are no laws, then those without morals would end up controlling those with morals, but laws and government can stop that from happening, which is really to the benefit of all. A world in which everyone merely takes things they want leads to overwhelming suffering, for the great majority of people.

Jonathan and I happen to believe that Quincey is a wonderful name. And, if I remember correctly, the names you chose for your children were never any better.

He's a year and a half.

- Mina Harker

Mina Harker –

I know, love.

Ah, but laws can only do so much, and with enough strength and intelligence one can even use the laws to their advantage. Besides, the laws are not created by gods, they are created by humans, and all humans have greed, and will write the laws so that they will benefit most from them. Even aside from that, the overwhelming majority of humans are terribly stupid, and will never manage to create or enforce laws that will actually work. Better to have one ruler, strong enough and intelligent enough to maintain that position despite adversity, who will have taken possession of a kingdom and thus can decide what to do with it in a calm fashion.

Morals, moreover, are generally incredibly useless. In my several centuries of observing humanity, I have seen that over and over.

And, for my part, I happen to believe that Mircea is a wonderful name. It was the name of my eldest brother, if you remember. A Wallachian name is infinitely better than an American one.

A difficult age to deal with, as I recall. How on earth do you manage to care for him and still teach? If everything I've observed of you and Jonathan is correct, you are not the sort to allow your children to be raised primarily by servants.

- Count Dracula

Count Dracula –

Of course you do. You delight in it.

Really, anyone who cares enough about controlling others that they would go to all that trouble to control a country isn't the sort of person we want having total and complete control over everything. Probably such a person would be intelligent, and perhaps competent, but they would only be able to use those qualities to be effective rulers with laws to check their behavior. Otherwise they would end up using all resources at their disposal to satiate whatever particular greed they were susceptible to, and then everyone would end up worse off.

Morals don't need to have a use. They're an end unto themselves.

That's a matter of taste.

I'm not teaching anymore.

- Mina Harker

Mina Harker –

Obviously. If I didn't, I would have handled things quite differently.

Ah, so your insistence on laws truly masks a strong pessimism with regards to the abilities of humanity to resist temptation. Fascinating. However, the question of whether reducing human suffering is a worthwhile goal remains essentially unanswered. From my perspective, of course, I don't see the point of it – but I'm another species. My caring would be as ridiculous as you deciding to revise the social structure of a colony of ants in order to ensure that all of them find enough food for one another.

Societal propaganda, darling.

True.

You must hate that.

- Count Dracula

Count Dracula –

I hope you know how despicable I find your sadism.

That's not quite true – I've never been an ant. But you were once a human, and you still are only barely different from us. And, as a matter of fact, if I was able to communicate with ants and became aware of a problem within the structure of their colonies that was causing great suffering, I would certainly do my best to help all of them. If I consider myself of a higher species than them, then I suppose the least I can do is use my superior intelligence to help them.

That's not true. And don't call me darling.

I think that this may be the first time you've admitted that I'm right about something.

I do. Quincey is more important. As soon as he starts school, I'll go back. But I want to care for him as much as I can for now.

- Mina Harker

Mina Harker –

In fact, I'm not entirely convinced of that, but I feel no need to argue that point.

You do, quite often, accidentally step on ants, do you not? And you do not feel great guilt over each accidental murder, and then attempt to apologize to the ant's friend and relatives, do you? In that case, when you are already, by your mere existence, causing so much suffering to ants, do you not realize that the lives of ants are, by their nature, filled with suffering, and it's effectively useless for you to attempt to reinterpret their social structures to alleviate their suffering?

I'll call you whatever I want.

That's only because of the lack of casual conversations between us before this.

You'll never be happy this way.

By the way, Ecaterina, Ileana, and Adriana asked me to say hello to you for them. They all look forward to seeing you again in the near future.

- Count Dracula

Count Dracula –

When I was very young, I used to be terribly bothered whenever I noticed that I'd accidentally killed an insect of any sort. Sometimes I wish that I still felt like that.

And you believe that I'd be happier living as your slave for all eternity? That you could give me a fulfilling life as an undead murderer? Unless you somehow succeed in brainwashing me, that would never happen. I am happy now, whether you believe that or not. Perhaps I'm not completely happy, but no one is ever completely happy, and any problems that might now exist between Jonathan and I are the fault of what you've done to the both of us, not any fault in the way the two of us are doing things. Don't presume that you know me better than I myself do.

You may tell them hello in return, but I will not be seeing them again.

- Mina Harker

Mina Harker –

But you grew out of it. One grows out of all such things, don't you see? In the normal human lifetime, there may not be enough time to grow out of such more lasting morals, but in the vast span of the lifetime of my kind, there certainly is. I don't expect you to abandon all your human morals immediately, of course. That would be manifestly unreasonable of me. But I do expect you to grow out of them – perhaps in a decade, perhaps in a century. We shall see.

There are things you want, that perhaps you need, that this foolishly constructed mortal society you live in cannot give to you, that your beloved Jonathan cannot give to you. I see that. You are not the sort of woman who can go through her life in blind obedience to illogical customs, or who can live her life purely absorbed in caring for another, as you seem to be doing now, without even your teaching to distract you. It is true that my way of life will be something that you will have to adjust to, and it will be quite a difficult process for you, but you will manage. You're strong enough.

As for your marriage to Jonathan, I think it hardly fair to blame the entirety of your problems on me. I have seen inside his mind, you remember, and I have seen the desire there. Hardly the sort of thing that can be satisfied by your idyllic little coupling. Perhaps, were it not for me, he would never have even acknowledged those desires, and both of you would have spent your lives in blissful ignorance, living shallowly, without any true emotion beyond that which the word tells you that you ought to feel, but I hardly believe that would be a preferable alternative.

Actually, you may. I plan on returning to London soon, and bringing them with me.

- Count Dracula

Count Dracula –

Don't come here. Leave us alone.

And don't you dare say such things about Jonathan.

- Mina Harker

Mina Harker –

You hardly have the ability to forbid me the city itself, dear. Though it's almost touching that you act as though you do.

I will hardly change my traveling plans because of your wishes. However, should you ask me to, I might be inclined to leave your friends and family alone and unharmed.

- Count Dracula

Count Dracula –

Fine, then. If you want me to subordinate myself to you, I will. It's not as though you haven't done worse.

Please, don't hurt Jonathan, or Jack, or Arthur, or my Quincey. I'll tell them nothing of any of this, I'll betray them all by staying forever silent, but please, don't do anything to harm them. I beg you.

Is that enough for you?

- Mina

Mina –

Entirely. Thank you.

We are to leave tomorrow night. It shall be a far different journey than my previous one to Whitby, as this time we shall be going by land rather than sea. Indeed, it's true that the sea route could take less time, under the right conditions, but, traveling with the three of them, I think it would be too difficult. None of them have acquired quite the stillness, quite the peace with death that is required in order to travel in an earth filled coffin for weeks. Besides, neither Ileana or Adriana have seen much of the world outside Romania, and they look forward to Budapest, Vienna, and other such places.

I regret to say that, over the course of this journey, there will be no way for you to write letters in return to mine and see them successfully delivered. Upon my arrival in your glorious city, I shall give you my London address for that purpose, but, until then, I must be content with merely knowing that you read my words.

- Count Dracula

Mina –

We have left, and now travel through the mountains of my beautiful country. We travel in a carriage now, driving only at night, but soon we will come to the train station, where we will board, bringing with us what seem to me to be an excess of bags and boxes.

It amuses me to think that this journey I now take is the exact reverse of the one taken by Jonathan these several years ago. I know this well, for I was the one who planned that route for him, and ensured that it was entirely safe, and without many likely delays.

On the evening previous to this one, Ecaterina and Ileana both insisted that we stop at an inn at some point during the night, for they had grown tired of the taste of the immortal blood all of us share, thick with lifetimes of death. We stopped then, and made a great show of ordering a supper of mortal food. All three of them seemed to enjoy playing the high lady for the peasants, particularly Ecaterina in her silks and pearls.

We chose a stableboy then, for our prey, and shared him among us. He was a handsome young man, with an honest, open, face. We left his body in the straw, and returned to the coach, speeding away from that place with a few whispers of dark magic to the horses.

- Count Dracula

Mina –

We now travel by train. Those who work there have been informed as to our needs, which I have seen that they imagine to be eccentricities. I have not explained to any of them anything of the relationships between the four of us. I watch them wonder. It is amusing, how mundane their imaginings are.

I have just read a new translation of Ovid's Metamorphosis into English. It is well done, the poetry almost as beautiful in your native tongue as it is in Latin. I shall lend the copy to you, when I arrive. I believe you shall enjoy it.

- Count Dracula

Mina –

I apologize for not having written to you for so long. The erratic schedule of traveling, occasional moments of fascinating sights alternating with tedious hours in one place, makes little topic for letters.

We have arrived in London now. The city is much as I remember – very little changes in so few years as this. In fact, London very rarely changes, I think. It was much the same as this when I saw it in the seventeenth century. Or, at the very least, the overall sense of the city is the same. You must understand that.

I have enclosed my new address here. I am curious to hear how you have fared in the past several weeks.

- Count Dracula

Mina –

I do expect a reply, my dear.

It's rather childish of you, I believe, to think that my agreement with you as regards this exchange of correspondence has become lax over the course of my travel. I know that all my letters have reached you – I have made sure of that fact. And you cannot be too busy to pen me a response, not while at home with nothing but a screaming child for distraction.

If I do not receive a reply in four days, I will be coming to see you personally. And you may not use the post itself as an excuse – we are now residing in the same city.

- Count Dracula

Mina -

I will be coming to see you tonight.

- Count Dracula

Count Dracula -

Please, never do that again, please. I'll write to you a thousand letters if you like, on any subject, but please, never come to visit me again.

- Mina

Mina -

I did warn you, after all. You can hardly blame me for your childish attempt to pretend that I do not exist by not writing to me.

- Count Dracula

Count Dracula -

Even taking into account your twisted ideas of morality, can you truly blame me for being afraid to reply? With you so close, again? Perhaps it was childish, perhaps it could never have accomplished anything, and certainly it has brought me more pain than anything else, but is it truly something you can punish me for? You have certainly done enough to me to warrant my fear of you.

If you don't wish Jonathan to know of your continued existence, I don't really believe your recent visit was quite the best idea. He'll notice the marks on my neck eventually, he must.

- Mina

Mina -

I never claimed that you should not be afraid of me. It is quite logical for you to be afraid of me, and, for personal reasons, I'm rather glad that you are. But how you act upon that fear is another matter, and childish, useless measures are not justified by perfectly ordinary fright.

Ah, but I am not so sure that he will. He's arriving home so late these days, isn't he?

- Count Dracula

Count Dracula -

Damn you.

- Mina

Mina -

My dear, I don't think that the proper contents for the entirety of a letter. I would think that my warning after your refusal to write to me would impress upon you the importance of such things.

- Count Dracula

Count Dracula -

What do you want me to say in my letters to you, then?

- Mina

Mina -

For the moment, why don't you describe my recent visit to you from your perspective. I daresay that I would find such an account interesting, and I believe the writing of it would be humiliating enough to you to serve as a punishment for the insolence of your previous letter.

- Count Dracula

Count Dracula -

(Sadistic libertine.)

I came upstairs to find you in mine and Jonathan's bedroom. I was terrified, as I'm sure you are perfectly aware. You threatened me, you threatened Jonathan, you threatened Quincey. I knew that only the threats to me were genuine, but the others had quite the desired effect, and I imagined terrible things. I felt, with you there, tangible, unchanged, that there was no hope, that things would just continue on in a linear fashion from the events of 1893, that the world would shrink down to a prison in which you were my captor and only companion, just as sometimes it felt that my mind did that month. Jonathan at work and soon to arrive home, Quincey in the other world, they didn't seem to exist.

You pushed me up against the wall. I didn't fight you. I let you bite me. It hurt just as much as the other times. When you were done, you held me there for a time, and talked to me of other things you could do one. You considered forcing me to drink your blood again, and talked of the possibility. I begged you not to, and I truly was begging, I admit that fully. You laughed and agreed not to do so this time. You kissed me, and then left.

You forget, I've already had to describe that previous visit of yours, those years ago, to the Professor, Jonathan, Arthur, Jack, and Quincey. This little punishment of yours is something I'm used to well enough.

- Mina

Mina -

(I'm hardly the Marquis de Sade, Mina.)

That's true. I'd forgotten that. I'll have to think of a better punishment the next time the occasion presents itself.

- Count Dracula

Count Dracula -

(Truly? I thought the comparison rather apt.)

Am I picking up your writing style? I keep saying phrases and Jonathan looks at me strangely and then I realize that they aren't in the least usual for me.

- Mina

Mina -

(Superficially, perhaps, but my tastes are rather different in their specifics, if not their generalities, from his, as you'll find out soon enough.)

Quite likely so. I haven't noticed it, but I imagine it comes out more strongly when you're not speaking to me specifically.

- Count Dracula

Count Dracula -

(You keep talking about me learning things soon enough, and never specify when that 'soon enough' is. Do you just wish to drive me mad with perpetual fear of what you shall do to me in either the immediate or distant future?)

I do wish that I didn't. I don't want to worry Jonathan.

- Mina

Mina -

(Well, then, when will you be ready? For obvious reasons, there is no true immediacy in my plans.)

For he is so considerate in not worrying you. Truly, Mina, you are too charitable.

- Count Dracula

Count Dracula -

(Never.)

- Mina

Mina -

Don't be facetious, my dear. I'd like an actual answer. When do you think that you shall be prepared to leave with me? Understand, I am not giving a choice in the inevitability of the event, but merely in when it shall occur. How long shall you need? Several months, a year? Several years?

- Count Dracula

Count Dracula -

You're actually giving me some choice in my future? I'm afraid I must cast doubts on your sincerity.

But, if this is true...I don't know. You understand that this is a difficult decision to consider, as it's rather like asking a convict when they would like to go to their eternal confinement.

I think I ought to leave before Quincey is too old, though, so that he will not remember me and feel my abandonment (for abandonment it must seem) as a grevious wound. And I should leave before Jonathan does something that he shall regret and feel guilty for. If he can be angry with me, than he will not feel guilty himself, and is better to save one person in all this some guilt, I'm sure.

Soon, so I don't change my mind and do something rash that could get Jonathan, or Arthur, or Jack hurt. I'm sending this letter quickly so that I don't think better of it and tear it to pieces, but that's as much as I know.

- Mina

Mina -

You do surprise me, and quite pleasantly. I do regret to say that I did not expect you to take so rational a view of such matters so quickly. It is motivated by sentimentality and compassion, of course, but a realistic compassion, somehow, And your letter is gloriously empty of self delusion. I commend you.

I will be coming for you in a week. That should give you enough time to settle matters. Do not worry about most things - as I know from experience, less needs to be dealt with than one imagines.

When you panic, as we both know you shall, don't tell anyone of this. Don't even think of the possibility. You know my threats by now.

- Vlad

Count Dracula -

Please don't do this yet, please. Just give me more time - I spoke too hastily in my last letter, I forgot...I forgot so many things, I simply cannot leave in a week, I'm sorry.

I'm not trying to escape from this, I promise, I haven't, I won't tell anyone, I just need more time, please.

- Mina

Mina -

No.

Don't be ridiculous. Calm down. You expected this.

- Vlad

Vlad -

Yes, I did. I'm sorry. I can't stop panicking.

I'm just afraid. I can say that to you, can't I, because you know it already, and it's not an admission when I say it to you, and it's not complaining or looking for sympathy. You know that I'm afraid, you know why, you've instigated it, and so there's no reason not to say it to you, but that also means that there's no reason to say in the first place, when one considers it.

I've been rambling. I'm sorry.

- Mina

Mina -

I'm going to begin speaking to you mentally again. I think it would be best, at this point. You may desist from writing these letters, unless you wish not to.

- Vlad

-

Jonathan -

I love you.

I'm sure, after you have thought about it a moment, you will know where I have gone, with whom, and why. I know that you have always known, as well I have, how inevitable this way, and that all these years of pretended security have only delayed that. That doesn't mean that it's not my fault, that I'm not despicably weak, but it means that I don't have to say all of it, which is a blessing I do not deserve.

I do know that you will be all right without me. I know that you are a better father to Quincey than I am a mother, and I know that you are stronger than I am in all ways that matter.

I do know that I will miss you, when I write in shorthand, when I read Much Ado About Nothing, when a brisk, careful movement makes me turn around and think you are standing behind me. I do know that I will never stop missing you.

Don't miss me, if you can.

I'm sorry.

- Mina