Title: Under the Milky Way
Author: bnomiko
Rating: NC-17
Pairing(s): Trevor + Sypha + Alucard, Trevor + Sypha (w/ implied Trevor x Sypha), Sypha x Alucard, Trevor x Alucard (& rev)
Spoilers: through the end of S3 + through S4
Disclaimer: "Under the Milky Way" is performed and recorded by The Church. "Cuts You Up" is performed and recorded by Peter Murphy. Castlevania is the creation and property of Konami. Castlevania (animated series) is the creation and property of Netflix. This is a not-for-profit fanwork and I do not own any of these characters.
Summary: After the events of Lindenfeld, all Trevor and Sypha wanted was to return to the closest thing they had to "home," but Alucard has not fared well in their absence. "You wanted to save the world, remember?" " He also needed it. He needed us." Post S3 + S4 animation canon based.
Archived at: http://www.phenixsol.com/Miko/FF/

* * *

Under the Milky Way

Ch. 19: Move the heart
Switch the pace
Look for what seems out of place

* * *

Trevor awoke a few hours later and immediately regretted regaining consciousness. His left shoulder throbbed a steady beat like someone was using the limb to hit a large drum; parts of his right arm felt like it had been forcibly held against the surface of the sun and then ground against broken glass for good measure. As he sucked in gulps of air to steady himself, he could hear crackling in his chest and feel bruising pressure bearing down, worsening the more he fought against it; he could feel additional sharp jags of pain dancing along his back. A groan escaped his lips as his body automatically tried to move away from the worst of it, but his left arm had been bound against his torso and his right still felt like a piece of meat left to roast over a fire so all he could do was rock slightly in place.

"Trevor, stop, please," a familiar voice called to him, and he managed to force open his eyes to meet a worried golden gaze set above heavy shadows amidst wan skin.

"Adrian, what?" Trevor tried to say, but he'd nearly lost his voice from all the screaming earlier. He swallowed, struggling to get the words out, but all he managed was a coarse whisper that was barely intelligible.

Adrian sat up and reached over to caress his boyfriend's cheek and jaw, bristlier than normal with an extra ten days of beard growth. "Shh, it's all right. You're home. You're safe. But probably in a lot of pain from my treatments. I'm sorry."

Trevor frowned, battling his way through the words that jumbled in his head. The only things he really made out were "home," "safe" and "sorry." Adrian was always sorry about something or another. "Don't..." he tried again. He attempted to lift a hand to pat Adrian's, but it felt like it weighed a hundred pounds, and it throbbed terribly in protest.

Frustrated, he simply lay there and stared at the blond, trying to will his thoughts into Adrian's thick skull, but apparently that was failing because the half-vampire just smiled apologetically at him and began fussing with the pillows. "Are you hungry? Thirsty? Need the toilet?"

Trevor tried his best to shake his head. He didn't need anything... or at least, he didn't think he did. It was hard to tell. He wanted to lose the muddled fog surrounding his brain; he wanted to stop feeling like knives were jabbing into him every time he so much as twitched.

He looked back at Adrian since he had nothing else to do at the moment, and an attractive man was a much better view than the ceiling. He'd never seen his boyfriend with his hair tied back. He looked like an angel... a tired, haggard angel. He was pretty like the portraits of his mother, except with cute pointed ears. Wait, he couldn't be cute, because men weren't cute. And he wasn't his mother, he was her son. And he wasn't an angel because his father was a terrible creature. But Adrian wasn't his father and Trevor loved him anyhow. Or... something like that?

After trying - and failing - to untangle his confused thoughts, Trevor's eyes began rolling back; he was slipping back into unconsciousness. Adrian brushed back damp bangs from Trevor's face until glassy blue eyes slid shut, then tried to figure out what he should do with himself while waiting for Sypha to spell him. He checked over the bandages to make sure nothing was too tight or in need of replacing, then reminded himself to launder the used sheets as soon as possible, before switching his thoughts to dinner. Soup would probably be the quickest to make, and if he chopped up the ingredients finely it wouldn't be hard for Trevor to eat. He'd need to bake some bread too, as his mother's infection fighting mold powder would grow on that, and he'd used up a good amount already.

Just as he got up to start pacing the room to burn off some nervous energy, the door creaked open. Sypha gave him a mildly questioning look as she came to join him at bedside.

Adrian was quick to update her. "He woke briefly. Tried to speak but couldn't, but when I asked if he needed anything he seemed to understand and shook his head."

Sypha exhaled, and leaned into Adrian a bit. "Thank goodness. That he's... okay, considering everything."

He rubbed her shoulders and kissed her near the temple. "Were you able to get some rest?"

She nodded. Not as much as she would've liked, but she'd been too worried to sleep well. She didn't ask him the same though, because one look at Adrian's face told her he'd probably only managed to nap briefly at best.

"If you can stay with him a bit, I'll go make dinner. I need to get those sheets washed as well, I'm fairly certain we'll need to turn them into bandages."

"Leave the sheets to me. I can use magic to make it go faster. And I can see about going out and enlisting some help with making bandages once they've dried."

Adrian considered it; she made some good points. Cutting and folding fabric into bandages was tedious; getting a large quantity of water to boil would be tough too, without magical aid. "That will help, thank you."

"Remember, we're in this together," she told him, her tone gentle yet stern. "You're not doing this alone; we're a team."

He immediately agreed. "Yes. Of course." It wasn't like he'd forgotten. But this had all happened because he let Trevor go off alone.

She eyed him critically, but didn't call him out on it.

"I'll bring dinner up when it's ready," Adrian stated. "In the meantime, if he needs anything..."

"If he does, I'll take care of it. If I can't... well, you can hear me from down there if I open the door and raise my voice," she reminded him.

That was the extra bit of reassurance he needed to push himself away from Trevor's bedside. "Yes. I'll be back soon, then," the half-vampire promised, before he began striding out of the room.

* * *

Trevor wasn't really much more responsive later on in the day, nor the next morning. They managed to get him to eat and drink a bit, but he still had a fever and seemed to be confused, in pain, and anxious about his immobility. At least he was getting a lot of rest whether he wanted it or not.

The next afternoon, as Adrian fitfully napped at Trevor's bedside, Sypha slipped out to see about getting bandages made, and to make sure that Greta had everything else under control in the meantime. Even though she knew Greta would scold her for thinking about anything other than Trevor's needs at the moment, she felt a little bad for abruptly leaving all the town planning in the headwoman's hands, though Sypha had no doubts that she could find a way to manage.

Greta waved over the redhead the moment she spotted her. "Finally emerged from hiding I see." She was hanging around the common kitchen area as she often did, overseeing the baking, as it made more sense to make essentials like bread en masse and available to the whole community. With her was Zetta, the younger of the two Speakers Sypha had met previously.

"Good day, Sypha. How is your husband?" Zetta asked, seeing Sypha approach.

"Which one?" Greta volleyed with a smile, knowing the Speakers wouldn't look askance to it.

Sypha gave a small answering grin. Technically neither man was her husband, but she had no issue going along with it. Most Speakers would consider them married anyhow, since she'd left her train to settle down with them. "Trevor will live, thanks to your help." She nodded at Zetta. "And Adrian's doing Adrian things."

"Like single mindedly focusing on a goal to the exclusion of everything, including his own well being?" Greta asked with a slight shrug.

A faint frown marred Sypha's features. Greta said she didn't really understand Adrian, but she knew him well enough to know his bad habits. "He's hogging all the care duties, even after I told him I'd split with him, to the point where even when I said I'd stay with Trevor overnight Adrian insisted on sleeping in the chair next to me, so now... I'm just supporting him best I can," Sypha quietly fumed, earning a sympathetic pat on the shoulder from Greta. "It's all I can do, since he thinks this is his cross to bear."

"Poor dear," Greta cooed, though it wasn't exactly clear if she was talking about Sypha or Adrian.

Sypha took a breath and straightened up, glad to have gotten that off her chest, as she needed to focus on the tasks at hand. "How are things out here with the townspeople, Greta? Any new issues or concerns?"

"Now, now, you needn't worry. Everyone's doing about as well as expected. Folks are working hard and staying the course. I think they're starting to really see the potential in what we're building here. And the Speakers have been extremely helpful too, pitching in wherever needed."

"I may need to borrow a few of your helping hands," said Sypha apologetically. She looked at the younger Speaker. "Trevor's going through a lot of bandages, fast. I could use some help in making more."

"If you have material available, my mother and I can certainly assist you," Zetta offered.

"I was hoping you would say that. We have some sheets that were laundered in boiling water; Adrian said that any infection causing contagion would be destroyed that way, even if the fabric still looks a bit dingy. Will that do?"

Zetta nodded. "Yes. And I'm glad to hear that Mr. Belmont's receiving good care. We were quite worried when we found him; he seemed like a man possessed, babbling about living in a castle with his Speaker wife and the son of Dracula, but given his injuries and the Belmont crest upon his garments, we did as he asked and brought him here. I admit I did not expect many of the things he said to be true, but..." and she tilted her head back to look up at the castle. "This is really Dracula's castle?"

"It was. I... may have stolen it. It's Adrian's now."

Zetta's curiosity was perked. "And your 'Adrian' is the same man known as the Alucard, son of Dracula?"

"Oh God, don't call him the Alucard, he'll read you for it," said Greta with a laugh. She couldn't help but glance over at the castle as well, as if certain Adrian could hear the comment all the way from wherever he was holed up, and would arrive at any moment to scold Zetta for the slight.

"Yes. I suppose we stole him too, in a sense. We're keeping him, though," Sypha said with a wry smile.

"So you're really settling down here, then," Zetta observed. "I can't imagine it, staying in just one place."

"It wasn't my original plan. I had intended to rejoin my caravan. I still hope to reconnect with them, and to continue our work helping those in need... but as it turns out, it works just as well having people come to us instead of the other way around. And after everything Trevor's been through, I think he deserves to settle down, to have a place he can call home once again. We'll be raising the next generation of Belmonts here."

Zetta's eyes twinkled with youthful enthusiasm. To her, this was everything she could possibly want to achieve as a Speaker: forging her own path, making an impact, finding meaningful relationships. "Oh my, I really do need to hear your stories!"

Sypha thought about it; she had a bit of time since Adrian was keeping vigil on Trevor, and things would go even faster if there were three sets of hands working. "I don't mind sharing a few while we work on the bandages, if you have some time right now?"

"Oh, yes! It shouldn't take long if you're helping as well. I'll go get my mother; where shall we meet you?"

Sypha instructed the girl to meet her just inside the castle gates, and went to gather up the sheets drying in the breeze. It felt like ages since she'd been able to exchange stories with other Speakers; she was looking forward to hearing a few tales from outside of their little slice of the countryside.

* * *

Trevor wasn't really coherent until two days later, when the pulsing pain in his right arm awakened him. The limb trembled as he tried shifting it so it wasn't touching his body or the pillow next to him, but then he realized he was propped up at a slight angle on what appeared to be the upper portion of an upholstered armchair.

He let his head roll to the side. Sypha and Adrian were both huddled up against one another, quietly talking as they ate soup at his bedside. They looked as worn out as he felt. Adrian in particular looked as if he hadn't slept in a month.

They both stopped and stared at Trevor as he managed to hoarsely whisper the first thing that popped into his head. "Never seen you with your hair tied back."

Adrian blinked owlishly at him, spoon forgotten halfway to his mouth. Trevor couldn't help but notice he was wearing a ring on his left... wait, was that Dracula's?

"Are you hungry? Can you eat?" Sypha asked, turning to grab the extra bowl that they'd brought up, just in case.

Trevor blinked, then tried to gauge what he was feeling, other than completely broken all over. He still wasn't sure, but given they'd been tucking into their meals, he supposed it was supper time, given that it was dark outside. "Okay." He thought about pushing himself up and attempted to move his arms into position before remembering he couldn't, which left him stuck on his back like an overturned turtle. He gave Adrian a beseeching look.

The blond finally got the hint, putting down his bowl and stepping around Sypha to carefully help Trevor into more of a sitting position before wedging himself behind the hunter to ensure he stayed upright while Sypha began spoon feeding him.

Four bites in, and Trevor couldn't help but complain, "I hate this... that I can't do anything, I mean. You can't even finish your own meals first." At least the warm, creamy soup helped to coat his throat so his words came out more clearly.

"We can eat after you've eaten," Adrian said in his ear.

"It's worth a little inconvenience to make sure you're taken care of," Sypha scolded, lifting more soup to his lips.

A few more mouthfuls, then, "How long have I been out?"

"You returned three days ago, about midday. You've been in and out of consciousness since then. I was able to use a lot less anesthetic today; that seems to have helped, as you're much more lucid this time," the half-vampire explained, flashing a bit of fang as he spoke.

He never thought he'd be grateful for the fact that Trevor had talked him into biting him before, but that experience had put the kernel of an idea into his head - that by really focusing and pushing his abilities he should be able to put Trevor into something of a controlled trance. Some full-blooded vampires had the ability to enthrall humans so it was a similar technique, done differently by necessity to compensate for the fact that he was half-blooded.

But putting it into practice was a bit of a calculated risk because it could backfire onto him instead, the way it had before. He wouldn't be harmed by it, but a sleepy care provider was of no use. So to prevent that, he'd asked Sypha to anchor him by letting him hold his fingers against her pulse; theoretically her livelier rhythm would counter Trevor's slowed heartbeat.

They'd both been relieved when they found out that it worked; he could control it that way. It was far from perfect though, he could only extend it for so long before the effect waned, so they still needed to rely on the narcotic tincture, but it did help. Maybe if Adrian kept working at it he'd be able to nix the opiates completely or pull off the technique without Sypha's help, but for the time being, he was grateful it worked at all. Not that Trevor needed more holes in him, but being able to safely extend out the amount of time he stayed blissfully unaware was worth the tradeoff.

"Anesthetic?" Trevor mumbled, pulling Adrian out of his thoughts, not privy to what his boyfriend had implied.

"Do you remember my asking if you wanted to retain as much use of your arms as possible? Because of the burns... I need to soak and then scrape away excess scar tissue off as it builds up, to minimize loss of range of motion."

Trevor's eyes traced down to his right arm even as he chewed. Closer to the shoulder, it was only minimally covered, but his wrist and hand were practically immobilized by all the wrappings. He kicked his feet a bit; they felt leaden, but at least they moved. "Like how the bandages restrict my movement?"

Adrian nodded, his cheek brushing by Trevor's hair. "That is by design. And yes, it would work just like that. Except it would be your own body's attempt to heal over the injured areas that would impede you. Plus scar tissue tends to tear, not flex, as you may know. It can also trap infection or allow new infection to settle in."

Trevor grunted, not really wanting to know what was under the bandages at this point, and unsure what else to talk about. The past several days swirled together like mud in water; he could only remember bits and pieces of it. He remembered staring up at the expanse of canvas covering a wagon as it rumbled along, his girlfriend threatening to dump his beer, his boyfriend floating him up to Lisa's study. Something about the town being named after that accursed nickname...

"What have you two been up to while I was gone? There's the village..."

"Yes. We collectively decided it was for the best if the town was rebuilt here," Sypha explained. "Better for the villagers, and for our child, too. I guess that took up most of our time: laying things out, distributing labor, beginning construction..."

"I hope you're not working too hard. Because you both look like shit."

Sypha scowled and narrowly missed accidentally shoving the spoon up his nose. "Excuse us for mourning you for ten days, and then having to look after you once you magically showed up, you idiot! We've both been worried and stressed and Adrian's been living at your bedside since you got back, except for maybe an hour or two a day, and that's just to make sure there'll be nutritious food for you whenever you wake!"

Trevor winced. "I... sorry. I didn't mean it that way. I was just worried you were prioritizing everything over taking care of yourselves. The battle took a lot out of all of us. I'm glad you both pulled through in much better shape than I."

"I would've traded places with you in a heartbeat," Adrian murmured. Sypha fixed him with a look, but didn't say anything.

Trevor sighed. Of course Adrian would've happily sacrificed himself. Even if he saw a way out when all was said and done, he might not have taken it. That was why the brunet had done everything he could to stop that from happening. But he was sure the three of them knew that so there was no reason to say it, because it would only hurt Adrian, and he had no desire to wound the other man in any fashion. He let himself relax against Adrian's solid torso, as much as he possibly could. "I really wish I could hug you both."

"Heal up faster and you'll be able to," Sypha said, scraping to get the last bits of food from the bowl before thrusting the spoon into his face.

"Is that your idea of an inspirational speech?" Trevor joked. It felt good to be able to banter, as he couldn't do much else at the moment.

"If it gets you to cooperate, yes," said Sypha.

"I'll cooperate if you both start getting more rest," Trevor countered. "I mean, you're not really sitting here all night, are you, Adrian?"

"He has. I've been sleeping alone in the other room," the redhead reported, her voice a bit sharp. They'd argued over this, with Sypha wanting to do her part in taking shifts; in the end, Adrian had "won" by emphasizing that he was better qualified to render emergency medical aid if necessary, and because Sypha couldn't physically lift Trevor if the need arose.

"Why?" Trevor wanted to know.

"To reduce the odds of you bleeding into the bed we're using," Adrian stated.

"But there's really no reason you need to sit here all night..." Trevor tried again.

That, the half-vampire did not agree with. "What if you need something? What if complications arise?"

"Then just sleep in bed next to me?"

"What if I roll over and bump you in the night?"

"Oh my God. Isn't that what this is for? This... deconstructed armchair?" Trevor would've waved at it, but given that that wasn't an option, he settled for slowly shaking his head back and forth as a gesture instead.

"It's to reduce the pressure on your lungs and back, to help you breathe," Adrian patiently explained.

Trevor's eyebrow twitched. "But it works as a barrier too."

Sypha smiled slightly. "He has a point, Adrian."

"There's plenty of room." Seeing his boyfriend still waffling, the hunter decided it was time to deploy the dagger. "Maybe it'll keep my legs a little warmer too, if you're next to me."

There was a surprised spark in Adrian's eyes, and then he was immediately contrite, as if he couldn't believe that he'd failed to notice such a simple thing. "I'm so sorry, I did not realize you were cold."

"I always appreciate a little extra body heat," Trevor said with a grin.

Adrian nodded, now completely on board with the request. "By the way, I never did get to thank you. Not just for dealing with Death and Saint Germain, but for freeing my mother and father from being trapped in that abomination."

"I could do no less. I just wish you weren't there to witness it," Trevor said remorsefully. He could still recall the horrified realization on Adrian's face as he was forced to watch - and hear - his parents' souls writhing in agony as they were imprisoned in the Rebis.

Adrian was silent a moment, then he nuzzled against the back quarter of Trevor's head. He still remembered Trevor asking for something as silly and harmless as licking his neck or ear, and he'd refused to give him even that much, for no real reason. He'd regretted it ever since. "Once you're better, I'll give you my gratitude," he promised.

Trevor did his best to turn and glare at his potential lover. "I don't want it." Seeing Adrian's eyes widen in concern, he explained, "You owe me nothing. If you're offering me your love and affection, I'll happily accept that, all day, every day. But if you only see a debt to repay, I don't want it."

Adrian swallowed, unsure how to reply. He... hadn't expected to be rejected. Wasn't this the same man who'd babbled about "tapping that ass?" He glanced at his girlfriend; she stared back at him, also waiting to hear how he'd respond. But Adrian saw no way to push aside obligation when it was a core part of who he was. "Would a little of both suffice?" he asked, feeling stupid for trying to strike a bargain like they were haggling over the price of cheese.

"Only a little...?" Trevor grumbled. "I told you plainly how I feel."

Adrian coughed weakly. "I know. But you're asking me to be someone that I'm not. I turned you away, and then I..." It felt like his heart was trying to escape, only to realize it was still trapped in his body. "I left you to die, Trevor. I don't deserve anything from you."

"What are you on about? I made you leave, you dummy."

Sypha finally felt the need to intervene. "Trevor. He knows. This has been hard on us too. We thought we'd lost you forever. Adrian searched for you through the night and the entirety of the next day, without rest... He came back swaying on his feet in exhaustion with cuts all over his hands and feet, and burns from pulling the Morning Star free from the rubble."

The brunet exhaled. He hadn't realized... did he just argue with that same man that he didn't care enough? "Fuck, sorry..."

It was painful looking at the downcast faces of the two men. But it occurred to Sypha that there was something she could do to help things along. "I have an idea," she announced, getting up and going to the desk nearby. She came back with the drawing pad Adrian had given her days prior.

Adrian squirmed, suddenly feeling very self-conscious. "Oh..."

"If you can't explain it, then I will show him," she said with gentle firmness. "Switch places with me."

The blond couldn't argue back. But after he lowered Trevor onto the backrest and seated himself in the chair he'd formerly occupied, he found himself contemplating the woven pattern in the coverlet over Trevor's legs and studiously ignoring the sound of flipping pages and the occasional soft murmur.

After a few minutes, he heard a single word. "Incredible," Trevor whispered.

Adrian could feel his face heating up and ducked his head further. Except he forgot his hair was tied back, so the move wasn't quite as effective as it usually was. He shriveled in his seat. For a tall man with exceptional posture and bearing, he was very good at crumpling himself into something resembling a lump of coal when he wanted to.

"This is what you see when you look at me? At us?" Trevor asked.

Adrian tensed minutely, but said nothing. He felt exposed, like a raw nerve, tingling and overly sensitive, and that made him nervous. One wrong word, one wrong sound, and he feared he'd fall apart...

"... Like we're beautiful and special and worthy of you?" the hunter continued.

"... What??" Adrian was hearing things. Yes, Sypha and Trevor were everything to him, but... Worthy of me?? I'm the one who isn't worthy of...

"You heard me." Trevor's lips twitched. "And... even if you can't say it in so many words, I hear you loud and clear." He looked back down at the page Sypha had left open, at the drawing of himself faintly smiling as Sypha snuggled up against his chest, his hand stroking her forearm and her lashes fluttering against her cheek, both of them relaxed and happy and full of love for one another. Adrian was a talented artist, but Trevor knew full well what he saw when he looked in a mirror... and this wasn't it. But he had to admit, he liked the half-vampire's rose-tinted version better. It gave him hope that if he tried hard enough, that's who he could be.

The only thing that was missing from the whole equation was Adrian. He hadn't added himself to any of the scenes - there wasn't even a single rough sketch of his hand or a finger or anything - and that was just wrong. "Come here, give me a hug."

Adrian had no issue with that request, uncurling and shifting back onto the bed to carefully place an arm around Trevor's shoulders, while Sypha did the same from the other side, resting her arm on top of his, so they made a loose, lopsided circle around Trevor. They couldn't really risk putting any pressure on him, but the intention was clear.

"I love you both," Trevor said, smiling. Even with the pain he was in, and the immobility, for the moment, he was beyond content.

* * *

Author's Notes:

August 20, 2023