Gone Fishing

"What exactly is the point of this 'fishing'?" Alucard asked, frowning as he pulled in yet another empty hook and tossed it back into the darkened waters of the lake.

"Fear not, there is a reason," Dracula reassured him from where he sat on the grassy banks. A calm breeze blew gently through the trees overhead, and as the lord of the night looked up, he grinned at the clear night sky which gave way to a brilliantly luminous full moon. Fortune seemed to be smiling on them this summer evening, though he had to admit that even had the weather been miserable, he would still have been incredibly happy.

After all, it had been several hundred years since he had last spent quality father-son time with Adrian.

Not thinking about much of anything, besides the lack of fish biting, Alucard pouted and muttered, "I am failing to see the reason." The dhampire's blonde locks shimmered in waves beneath the light of the moon as he fidgeted restlessly from his perch on a broken old tree stump.

"Then you haven't fished long enough," Dracula replied knowingly. Truthfully, he would have had little patience for such a mundane task in this undead life, but memories of a time long past still brought him happiness at times. Memories of a certain blonde haired knight knocking at his door more times than he could count, a stupid grin on his face and a fishing pole in his hand. Memories of Elizabetha, laughing at his sour look each time Leon Belmont wanted to go fishing and pushing him out the door. She claimed that one day he would be happy that he went.

That day was today. In all of his time fishing with Leon, he never quite understood why the man loved it as much as he did. Certainly, they ate the fish that they caught, but it wasn't as if they couldn't afford to pay a fisherman for the same wares. Why should they, members of the nobility, be forced to slave away on the banks of some river?

When he asked his friend this question, Leon had only grinned and told him that the answer would come to him soon.

"Would it not be more efficient to change forms and simply catch the fish?" Alucard asked, pulling Dracula from his memories. "I am certain that I could have filled our empty bucket by now."

"No doubt you could have," the vampire agreed. "You are quite talented."

"Is that a compliment I hear?" the dhampire asked with a touch of sarcasm, flicking his empty line back out into the water.

"You took longer than I would have expected to reach my throne room last time," Dracula defended quickly. "But you certainly made excellent use of all your forms. You picked them up rather quickly."

"Only because you taught them to me long ago, and left reminders about the castle," Alucard murmured, staring into the dark waters thoughtfully. After a few moments of silence, he turned to his father. "You… left those relics around the castle for me to find… didn't you?"

The lord of the night met his son's calm grey eyes with a small nod. "Indeed, I did."

"But without those relics, I never would have made it through the castle," Alucard reasoned, agitating the line as he flicked the fishing pole up and down. "Why didn't you—"

"—let the monsters of the castle pull you limb from limb while I watched from the throne room?" Dracula finished for him with a frown, casting his gaze aside. "Be realistic, Adrian! I could never have allowed that."

"You let me kill you."

The sadness in the dhampire's voice forced Dracula's attention back on his oddly expressionless face. It was a look that he always hated to see. That stoic, blank look that his son had been forced to wear for centuries didn't suit him. He remembered a time when Adrian had laughed, cried, and even stamped his foot in anger. That had all disappeared when he lost his mother.

Since then, this odd, empty expression was the only one he ever saw on his child's face. The look did not suit his son. Not in the least.

"Didn't you?" Alucard pressed, the slight elevation of volume in his voice the only indication that the subject carried any emotion whatsoever behind it.

"Yes, I did," Dracula finally admitted.

Though he already suspected the answer, Alucard asked, "Why would you do that?"

"Because I could never kill you, Adrian," the lord of the night said quietly. "You are more important to me than anything in this world."

"Father…" Alucard murmured. Though he would have liked to say more, his attention was suddenly diverted by a strong tug on his line, nearly pulling the fishing pole from his hands.

Thankful for this intervention of fate, Dracula cried enthusiastically, "You have a bite! Quickly, secure the hook and reel it in!"

Alucard did as instructed, actually finding it somewhat exciting as the creature on the other end of the line fought against him, jerking and pulling the line in odd directions. It was a bizarre experience, like none that he had ever had before, and though it made little sense, for some reason he found it simply exhilarating.

Dracula watched with a growing smile as his son's mask slowly cracked and melted away. With any luck—

Suddenly, something snapped, and Alucard was thrown backwards into the high grass of the river bank.

Dracula knew what had happened. The fish had broken the line. Immediately, he feared the return of that expressionless mask that covered what was certainly an anguished soul.

Instead, Alucard quickly rose to his feet, tossing the pole aside with a snarl. Without a word, he ran forward, leapt into the lake, shifted into his wolf form mid-air, and dove expertly into the water. Moments later, the wolf reemerged, swimming swiftly to the bank of the water with a decent sized fish in its mouth.

Almost indignantly, he spat the offending creature onto the grassy ground, shook himself dry, and changed back to his human form with a triumphant grin. "I told you this would be faster."

"That's cheating," Dracula teased him, walking up so that he could ruffle Alucard's still somewhat damp blonde hair.

"Oh? I didn't realize there were rules," the dhampire said, his tone of voice far more mirthful than Dracula had heard in centuries. "Besides, what do you plan to do with it now? Do you actually intend to eat it?"

"I intend… to give it to an old friend," Dracula said with a chuckle, picking up the fish, removing the hook and broken line, and placing it into a small water-filled bucket he had brought along. Free from its confines, the creature went back to swimming happily in its small tank.

"Leon likes to fish?" Alucard asked, correctly assuming that his father's only living friend was the Belmont. "I never thought he was the type."

"You would be surprised," the lord of the night said flatly as he tied the hook back into place and handed the newly repaired fishing pole back to Alucard. "Now, why don't you catch one the real way?"

As Alucard went back to the task with a slightly disgruntled murmur, Dracula watched with a smile. Perhaps Leon had the right idea, long ago. He had claimed that the reason for fishing would come to him someday.

To go fishing, leaving all the cares in the world behind, and share even a moment of happiness with Adrian was more than reason enough.

LateNiteSlacker's Notes:

1 – I'm a sucker for happy father-son moments. I'll admit it.

2 – This bit of happy fluff was threatening to bleed into Modern Problems, so I had to contain the infection before it could spread!

3 – Yes, this ficlet does take place in the Modern Problems universe, thus why Alucard's suddenly cool with his dad again and Leon's still alive.

4 – Isn't it weird not to see a trivia q at the end of one of these fics? ^_~

5 – Reviews make my world go round!