A/N: ...Sorry. Happy belated Easter! *runs and hides*

Chapter 9

When I first opened my eyes, I felt like I'd been attacked by an over-sized hammer. My head pulsed and my eyes burned, but other than that I was fine. Relatively speaking anyway. I pushed those thoughts aside and focused on the dhampir leaning over me.


The dhampir gave a wan smile. "Good to have you back Hector."

"I must've fallen asleep on the roof. You have my thanks for bringing me back. It must've have been a bit of a surprise," I said, sitting up so I didn't look as weak and tired as I felt.

Adrian's expression darkened. "You didn't fall asleep. You rebelled against Dracula."

My thoughts froze and I suddenly felt incredibly cold inside. A terror the likes of which I had never known, not even when I watch my mother burn at the stake, made me gasp for breath. Rebel? Against my Lord? I would never do such a thing. I would never.

"I would never!" I breathed, to offended and terrified to harden my voice.

"By sitting outside in the sunlight, you rebelled against who and what my father is. Thus, you rebelled against him. You're lucky he doesn't know about it."

My fear drained as relief rushed to fill its place and bring blood back into my most definitely ashen cheeks.


I raised my eyes I hadn't realized I'd closed and met my companion's blue eyes. They seemed older than I remembered them ever being before.

"I…I'll be leaving again soon."

"What? What will your father think? It would break him."

"Hector will you listen to yourself? Everything is Lord Dracula this, my Lord that. It's as if your life revolves around my father. You can't be that way. You can't live or die simply by his command alone. Think of yourself. Has it ever once occurred to you to ask yourself what this is doing to you?"

"This?" I whispered in confusion.

"All of this. Hector, you're not the boy I knew when you first arrived. Back then you were…scared yes, but determined and strong. But now, it's as if I'm meeting an entirely different person. You've changed. Sometimes I catch glimpses of the bold young man I once knew, but then it vanishes and I'm left with a shadow of that person. You're more submissive now than you ever have been before. You can't do hardly anything without bring Dracula into it," Adrian spat, almost using Dracula's name as a curse.

Astonished was not quite the word I was looking for to describe my feelings at that moment, but it was fairly close. This wasn't the quiet Adrian I knew. "What are you saying?"

"I'm saying that you've changed. You've become a puppet for Dracula to use and manipulate!"

"Take that back," I demanded quietly, suddenly feeling that calm power settle over me as it did when I took on Isaac.

"No. Just because you're mother was burned at the stake by the humans does not mean every human on the planet is evil. You're human yourself."

"That has nothing to do with this, Adrian. Drop it." We were standing now, facing each other like equals. The hatred and rage that weighed on my heart demanded something be done, but I held their reins tight. I would not lose control, he would.

"You're a coward, Hector. You don't live for the sake of living, you live for Dracula. A vampire. A killer. Look what he's made you? He's made you a killer too. He's made you enjoy killing. Crave it even. You never used to be that way."

"I grew up. All children do when they discover what a dark, twisted world this is. How evil it is."

"Not all of it is evil."

"Yes! ALL of it! You murdered my mother in cold blood and tried to do the same for me. They rejected me because I was different. They tried to KILL me for it. Why shouldn't I return the favor?"

"Because you're better than that!"

"Yes! Yes, I am better. Better than those pathetic humans who crawl the earth,claiming it as their own, demanding everyone and everything conform to their ways of life, and persecuting those who are different. Better."

"Can you even hear yourself?" Adrian's eyes narrowed as he regarded his opponent. "Hector, you are a human."

"I am NOT! I am better than humans." Hector took hold of his scabbard and drew his sword letting the sharped double-edged blade emphasize his point.

"You're mother would be ashamed," Adrian said quietly.

"Be SILENT!" The Devil Forgemaster swung the weapon unto his unflinching opponent.

Then misty blue eyes widened and all the rage and hatred from mere moments before fled as if they had never been present. Horror flooded his heart as he realized what he'd been about to do.

The sword slipped from numb fingers to land with a clang on the wooden floor. Blue eyes hazed with confusion and shock stared at their owner's hands. Hands that barely a second ago had been ready and willing to kill the one and only true friend he had in this hellhole of a place.

My breath came in gasps as tears of shame and horror slipped from my eyes down my face. I backed up, my legs wobbling as the rage that had fueled them left.

"I almost…I…almost…"

"You see?"

I looked up at my friend, at least, I hoped he still was my friend.

"It was almost as if the Hector I knew vanished leaving someone else in his place. Someone you aren't. For those moments, you weren't Hector the Innocent. You were the Devil Forgemaster, raise by Dracula to be a ruthless murdered."

My legs gave way and I landed on the foot of my bed. My mind still trying desperately to claw its way back to sanity.

Adrian sighed and knelt before me taking my cold, numb hands in his cool, living ones. "Hector, you're not evil. You're misguided. You're love for Dracula has been his perfect weapon. He has and will continue to use that weapon against you as long as you present it to him on a gold platter. You are not his slave. I don't think you ever truly were.

"There have been others, so many others who have stayed here for a very little period of time and have lost their minds to Dracula's power. You have fought him and continue to fight his influence even at this very moment. You stopped, Hector. You stopped. Where others would have swung that sword and beheaded me in an instant without looking back, you stopped. Just like I knew you would."

I bowed my head as I rejected his words. But Adrian wouldn't have it. He gently tilted my head back up so my shame filled eyes met his gentle, forgiving ones. "Hector, I forgive you."

I took a deep, shaky breath and tried to smile. "I'm not innocent."

"No, I don't think there is a single person alive in this world who is completely innocent of any sin. But you are innocent in that you see the good in people where others see only evil. You remind me of my mother. She was the same way."

You're mother?"

The dhampir chuckled. "Of course my mother. I am half vampire half human, that's what a dhampir is after all. And without a mother, I wouldn't be here. How else do you think that creature sitting up on his throne managed to father a child, hm? I can assure you, it wasn't alone. There was a woman involved."

I had the decency to blush, but Adrian just smiled. "Her name was Lisa. Like you, she saw the good in Dracula and even went so far as to fall in love with him and bear his child."

"You?" I asked tentatively.

Adrian scoffed. "Well of course me, I don't have any siblings running around, thank heavens. At least I hope not."

Even I chuckled at the implications.

"That aside, do you see what I'm trying to say? Lisa, a poor, powerless human managed to tame the monster that is my father. Beauty and the Beast at its purist. But no matter what, when Lisa made up her mind on something, she would not be dissuaded. Dracula could never fully dominate her, and I think that may be why he keeps you around. Because you remind him of Lisa. Determined, stubborn, loyal, strong, beautiful," –I blushed and ducked my head- "powerful, and never fully within arms reach. You stand there, his in every way except for the way that counts. You can never be truly his because you're too much like Lisa."

"What happened to her?" I asked.

"She died. I think if she had stayed alive, then Dracula would probably be almost completely human right now, with the exception of his vampire…ness."

I chuckled. "That got away from you a bit, didn't it?"

"A bit, yes."

We laughed as our good humor was returned.

"Oh, Adrian. When do you think my prisoner's suitor will arrive? I can't just kill her, or him. But if I don't, then my Mas-" Adrian glared and I gulped and rephrased my sentence, "then Dracula will kill them himself and punish me. What should I do?"

"I don't think you'll have to worry about that much."

"Why?" I asked, my face reflecting my confusion and acknowledgement that Adrian knew more then what he was saying.

"Because I happen to know that a certain someone is on his way who's family has a history of thwarting my father's plans." The dhampir grinned and the wheel in my mind worked as I tried to understand.

Then I knew and felt stupid for not catching on immediately. "The Belmonts? Here? I thought they were banished."

"They were," Adrian confirmed, "but the church specifically asked the current Belmont to come back and rid them of Dracula. If he can, he will be fully reinstated as lord of the land will no longer be banished."

I whistled. "That's quite a motivation. But what makes you so certain that this Belmont will succeed? I mean no offense."

"None taken, and let's just say I know this Belmont personally. He will defeat Dracula, and I intend to see that he does."

"You'd betray your own father?" I asked in horror.

"I've done it before. I helped the previous Belmont and I intend to help this one as well. And…I would like it you helped me."

My thoughts clogged up as I shook my head. "I can't Adrian. You may be right in that I may not be completely controlled by Dracula yet, but I'm still not sure I could manage an open rebellion. He'd probably kill me before I took even one step towards him."

Adrian was already shaking his head. "I don't mean openly, I wouldn't ask that of you. But secretively. If you could just keep my involvement a secret until the last moment if possible. I'll even arrange for times when you can witness events and then report back to my father like any loyal servant would. I'm only asking that you tell what you see and hear."

"I can do that, but what about after? What will happen to me? I obviously can't stay. Dracula will order me to fight the Belmont and you. I don't think I could manage that."

"I'll find a way to get you out, I promise. Hector, you must trust me in this."

I met his steely blue eyes with my own misty ones and sighed in resignation. "Fine, but if we fail, kill me."


A/N: FYI, the part where I slip from 1st person to 3rd person was deliberate. It was meant to create a sort of "ou-of-body" experience in which Hector was no longer present and so he couldn't narrate. Also, I put a little nod to the FABULOUS series Doctor Who in here. Here's a hint for the episode, "And you can't kill a stone. Course, a stone can't kill you either, but then you turn your head away, then you blink and oh yes it can!"