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. 21: You know the way
It's painted gold
Is it honey
Is it gold

* * *

Words couldn't adequately describe Trevor's relief the day Adrian removed the remaining bandages on his hand and declared him hale enough to leave them off. No more scraping of burns and lingering soreness and jags of pain after... no more having to check bandages for seepage and sleeping in a smaller bed with his partners jostling for space. Of course that came with all the usual dire warnings to not push himself too hard, to slowly work on increasing frequency and range of movement, to remember to wear a glove before handling anything rough like kindling. Combat practice was absolutely out. The skin was still quite tender in the area; the swelling still had to lessen, but there wasn't really anything else the half-vampire could do, other than make more batches of lotion as directed by his mother's journals.

Adrian hoped that that would be enough. But he knew how impatient Trevor could be, how he thought physical pain and damage were just barriers to overcome. So almost against his better judgement he struck up a bargain with his boyfriend: if the hunter followed his advice and did as he was told, when he was sound enough, Adrian would consent to spend some private time doing anything Trevor wanted - no restrictions, no questions asked. He should've been terrified to give himself to anyone like that, but he and Trevor had bled for one another, been willing to die for one another... Adrian trusted that Trevor would not hurt him, even more than he trusted himself to see things through.

Even without the bribery Trevor had already been telling himself he had to do better in following Adrian's advice, as he hoped to wield his weapons again someday, even if only for training purposes. And it was hard seeing how down Adrian was about not having managed to "do more" when there wasn't anything more that could've been done. But the brunet certainly wasn't going to turn away an offer like that, especially given how much he'd enjoyed their last encounter, even with the awkward moments and him running his stupid mouth and the fact that both of his arms had been as useful as dead fish. Since he'd had advance warning, that also gave him time pick Sypha's brain, as she certainly had a better grasp of Adrian's likes and dislikes. She wasn't exactly thrilled with some of Trevor's ideas - or more like, she threatened to kick him out of the bedroom for a year if he upset Adrian in any way - but he promised her up and down that if there was anything their boyfriend wasn't comfortable with, he wouldn't do it no matter what, so she left it at a warning.

Most of Adrian's prescribed exercises were pretty straightforward, things that Trevor could do while helping around the castle or pitching in outside. For example, stacking firewood utilized light weights to work shoulders, arms and back muscles, and literally running messages between Adrian and Greta, or Sypha and Greta, pushed his lung capacity and got his heart pumping. Trevor had no real complaints about any of that - he was happy to be up and to be useful, and he felt a little stronger and more vigorous with each passing day. His appetite was up too as his weight steadily climbed back up towards normal, and with Sypha eating for two, they were both very happy to dig in at the dinner table, which put a smile on Adrian's face, as he really seemed to enjoy feeding them.

On the down side, one of Adrian's most recommended activities was writing, as it was precise, methodical and required repetitive flexing of wrists and fingers. Trevor grumbled about it, feeling like he was always being tricked into doing things he didn't like, but he did it anyhow. One afternoon, while he was working his way through the alphabet yet again, Adrian wandered into the room with a small bundle under his arm that he left on the bed, then pulled up a chair, and sat down without comment.

"Are you really just here to watch me write?" Trevor asked after a minute of silence, genuinely confused.

"You've been doing well. Better than I expected, actually," Adrian observed.

"Uh... thanks?" Trevor looked down at his letters. Did it really matter how legible they were? He was mostly going through the motions; he still couldn't pretend he cared all that much, as long as he could write their names properly.

Adrian followed his gaze, then chuckled softly as he reached over and gently plucked the pen from Trevor's hand. "I meant your overall recovery. The burns might not fully settle down until a year has passed, maybe even longer. And I can't guarantee you won't have shoulder issues since it was dislocated twice in short succession. But otherwise... I'd declare you well on the way to recovery, Trevor Belmont."

"... Does that mean...?"

The blond simply nodded, a hint of a smile on his lips.

Trevor answered with a huge grin, but his enthusiasm waned a bit as he noted the slight tension beginning to steal into his boyfriend's frame. "Listen. As much as I've been anticipating this, I don't want to do anything if I don't have your full confidence, Adrian."

"You have it; that's not the problem. I can't help but worry I'll do something to disappoint you."


"Because... I don't know how I'll react to things, even now."

Trevor considered it, then said, "Would it help if you knew the sorts of things I had planned?" He'd wanted it to be a surprise, but if Adrian felt better knowing, then so be it.

Adrian hummed, then nodded again, already looking a smidgen more relaxed.

The hunter reached up and ran his thumb over the edge of his lover's ear, then leaned in and whispered a brief summary of everything he was considering. He saved the most problematic request for last, knowing he'd probably get shot down before he even had the chance to try, but that was Adrian's right. Just as it was his right to plead his case.

"Trevor..." Adrian predictably began protesting, nothing but nerves and anxiety in that single utterance, but Trevor merely shook his head, as if to beg for patience.

"I'd like to give it a shot. But if it's too much, tell me, 'No,' clearly, and I'll stop. Hell, if it'd make you feel safer, I could even ask Sypha if she's willing to sit outside and listen in. You know she'd have no problem running in and kicking my ass, right out the window if need be."

"That's not the point. It's just... I'm just..." Adrian sighed. "What if I start struggling without thinking? I... don't want to hurt you."

"You won't. And, even if somehow you did, by accident, well, that's on me for initiating, right?"

A tiny whimper escaped before the half-vampire managed to tamp it down. Apparently that wasn't the answer he wanted to hear.

"You trust me," Trevor stated, waiting for the nod he knew would come, then said, "And I trust you." The words, "You did say no restrictions, no questions asked," sat on the hunter's tongue, but he refused to loose them even though he knew it was a guaranteed "I win"; Adrian wouldn't argue against it. But he only wanted what his boyfriend was willing to give him on his own terms; he refused to bind him with a technicality, a hastily uttered promise.

Adrian's mouth opened to protest, but he couldn't, not when Trevor put it like that. "Yes," he murmured instead.

"Then, that's all there is to it," Trevor said with finality, as he stood up and tugged Adrian over to the bed. "Mind if I strip you?"

A hint of a blush bloomed across pale skin as Adrian ducked his head. "If you wish," he agreed, when it was clear that Trevor wasn't going to do anything without approval first, even though he'd told him he didn't have to ask.

Trevor wasn't one for sexy stripteases, at least not when his hands were the ones doing the stripping. He pulled Adrian's shirt off, then yanked off his own and tossed it on the floor. He stepped closer, so their chests were just barely grazing. Adrian sucked in a breath at the sensation of crisp hair brushing against his skin; Trevor caught it and grinned. "Can I kiss you?" he asked, his voice already deepening with desire.

Instead of answering, Adrian closed the gap between them, leaning in to lock lips with Trevor, his boyfriend's warm mouth like fire against the coolness of his lips. The brunet was quick to grant him entrance, his mouth massaging against his lover's as their tongues teased and tasted one another. Their chests pressed together and Adrian hummed... as much as he liked the soft gentleness of Sypha's body, the promise of power in Trevor's muscular frame had always held a special level of attraction for him.

Trevor broke away briefly to grab a handful of hair and yank, pulling a few strands loose from the beribboned ponytail and earning him a frustrated hiss which morphed into a needy groan as he set his mouth to Adrian's neck instead, biting and sucking bruises into the pale column. There was something stupidly satisfying about being the one sinking his teeth into a vampire's throat instead of the other way around. Not that he didn't enjoy being bitten himself - only by Adrian of course - but being able to dominate such a strong partner set off all the alpha male instincts in him, even if the marks he left were fleeting at best.

With his lips too preoccupied to gloat, Trevor traced a hand down Adrian's side the way one would soothe a horse before stepping around it, then began unzipping the fly of Adrian's pants.

The blond shuddered minutely at the sensation of his pants being eased down his hips, and blindly reached forward to try and repay the favor. Trevor was back to belting his pants up, but since he wore them with a looser fit there was no issue with unbuckling the belt, loosening the ties, and then easing the fabric downward along with his undergarments; meanwhile, the brunet was still struggling to peel Adrian out of his clothing, the second hand joining the first in its effort to do just that.

"Would it kill you to wear something that's not skin tight?" Trevor grumbled, his face hovering somewhere around Adrian's bare abdomen as he bent down, his hands gripping and pulling at black leather that was reluctant to budge.

"I was under the impression you liked it," came the obvious retort, not as sharply stated as usual, but the banter was familiar nonetheless.

"Oh, I do. But it is hell to get you out of these," Trevor complained at Adrian's navel. The answering chuckle made the surrounding muscles flex and ripple.

Another good tug put Trevor dead even with his lover's crotch. He blew a puff of air and grinned as the burgeoning arousal lurched in response. Now, Sypha had made it very clear that Adrian liked oral, both giving and receiving, but as tempting as it was to just open mouth and receive sausage, the half-vampire would probably appreciate a word of warning first.

"I'm gonna suck you off. You good with that?" Trevor asked, dropping to one knee. Okay, that wasn't the sexiest way to phrase it, but he just needed a "Yes" or a grunt or something to continue.

Bright citrine eyes peered down, and then, a nod.

Trevor had never gone down on a man before, but it wasn't like he didn't understand the mechanics behind it. Use some tongue, suction from the lips, mind the teeth, don't gag. He licked his lips in anticipation as Adrian's cock continued to twitch and jump under his gaze. He tried to remember if there was such thing as a proper angle of approach...

Dicks weren't exactly high up on his list of attractive things but surely Adrian's was the exception; it looked as if it was carved of ivory and lightly brushed with pigments, long and smooth with just a bit of an upward arc when fully erect. His sack hung like a frame behind it. It didn't hurt at all that Adrian was probably the most well groomed man in the entirety of the countryside - he always smelled of pleasant things like lavender soap, fresh cut wood, sweet spices. And even though it was a little unusual that he had no body hair, it suited him, as his naked form always gave off the impression that it was chiseled from alabaster, cool and flawless to the touch, with the only interruptions being the bisecting scar across his chest and the thinner ones encircling his wrists. The rest had faded away entirely.

Realizing he was spending too much time gawking and not enough time sucking, the brunet decided to just go for it, opening up to engulf the first few inches of Adrian's member. It was smooth of course, and surprisingly velvety - rigid, but with enough give that it reminded Trevor a little of the grip of the Vampire Killer. It also felt a little warmer than the rest of Adrian's body. Trevor gave an experimental flick of his tongue tip and was rewarded with a throbbing increase in girth and a muted groan from above.

He looked up to see Adrian gazing at him with soft amber eyes, his lips parted just enough for the tips of his fangs to be visible. Encouraged, Trevor pulled back slightly to roll his tongue around the fatter tip, then twisted his head slightly as he pushed back in, taking in more length than before. His right hand reached up on its own to fist itself around the base as he began slowly stroking, while his head sawed back and forth. The other hand joined the first for a brief moment to cup around the balls, then slid up the backside of Adrian's thigh to firmly grope an asscheek.

It was harder than he thought to keep his jaw relaxed while maintaining pressure with his lips, while also not biting down. Trevor had to admit to being impressed with how good Sypha was at doing all those things, all while keeping a playful spark in her eye. He hoped Adrian wasn't comparing his performance with hers, though another glance upward showed Adrian's head was slightly rolled to the side, eyes mostly closed and brow furrowing in concentration as his breathing became labored. He supposed those were all good signs, as was the fact that the taller man's legs were starting to tremble even as he tried to lock his knees to minimize the shaking.

Trevor withdrew so he could talk, earning a tiny mewl of disappointment as Adrian blinked, his lips pursing in discontent.

"Let's get fully naked, then have a seat on the bed. It'll be easier on both of us, I think," Trevor suggested, quickly kicking off all the material still pooled around his ankles along with his boots, before finally divesting Adrian of his pants and footwear to pile with his own. He shuffled across the rug on his knees as Adrian complied with his request. "Sit right at the edge, and open your legs a bit."

The blond did as he was instructed, his cheeks a fetching shade of pink as he spread his thighs.

Trevor leaned back in to reward his lover's plump glans with several twirls of his tongue, then began sucking again in earnest, switching to his left hand to begin pumping faster than before to keep up. His free hand drifted up towards the cleft between Adrian's buttocks, idly teasing just around the outside of the ring of muscle there, before he remembered that he needed oil or something before he could stick anything in.

"Hey, we still have lotion in here or something?" Trevor said, popping off and pressing the head of Adrian's cock against his cheek as he spoke.

Adrian panted a few seconds as he struggled to find the words he needed to respond. "Oil here. And towels." He looked over at the bundle he'd placed on the bed earlier.

"Oh thank goodness, you came prepared." Trevor quickly found the bottle, pouring a bit on his index and middle fingers as he thought about how to best continue. He really did want to get Adrian off, but he also wanted to get him set up for the next step. "Hey, can pull your legs up towards your chest and hold them there?"


As soon as Adrian did so, Trevor felt his own manhood jump up and practically smack itself against his belly. Seeing his boyfriend opened up and in such a vulnerable position was way too arousing. The thought of sucking him off until he came, screaming, was as well.

The hunter carefully eased one finger into the now bared opening, then stood up and leaned down over Adrian's torso to begin attending to his nipples, forcing the other man's thighs further apart. Trevor alternated swirling his tongue around the base of one sensitive nub and then the other, before carefully sucking one in and worrying it between his teeth, until the pair of them were pinpricks of pleasure on Adrian's chest. Then he began curling the finger that he'd inserted earlier, as Adrian responded with breathy gasps, his head rolling from side to side as he clutched a little tighter at his knees.

Trevor gave some consideration to just putting it in, to see if his lover could take it, but that was a terrible notion when the idea was for both of them to enjoy the experience with all the time in the world to do as they wished. And now that he thought about it, he was already pressing the issue, wasn't he, sucking Adrian's nipples and finger fucking him at the same time? Sypha had emphasized that Adrian didn't like being overwhelmed, and there was so much more Trevor wanted to do anyhow, so having him throw in the towel early because he couldn't take any more just wasn't an option.

One thing at a time... he reminded himself as looked down at the precum welling up to lazily dribble down the front of Adrian's manhood. Trevor wet his lips again and dove back in for more, kissing away the slippery saltiness at the tip before painting the underside with the flat of his tongue as his palm and fingers caged around his lover's testicles. He found it a little easier to relax around the oral intrusion than before; it had been a good idea to give his mouth a little side diversion then, something to note for next time. He even remembered to stop sucking to make sure he could focus long enough to add a second finger to twine with the first, to make sure Adrian could focus on feeling it too.

For a couple minutes he alternated just like that: several bobs of his head and a little work with his tongue, then a twisting or spreading of his fingers inside. Adrian was shaking more noticeably, little hisses escaping from between his lips, as he struggled to hold his position and refrain from simply thrusting into the back of Trevor's throat. His abs clenched each time Trevor curled his fingers inside.

As fun as it was to continue teasing Adrian along, Trevor did not want to leave his lover chasing after release forever, so he stilled the movement of his digits inside and concentrated on pressing his tongue firmly towards the roof of his mouth, sucking in until his cheeks caved with the effort, all while keeping his teeth from scraping the sensitive skin. He slid the encircling fingers around the base of the shaft up and down in direct contrast with each dip and rise, until Adrian silently came undone. There was something oddly appealing about his restraint even as he fell apart, as he bit down on his lower lip as if to further gag himself, his fangs cutting temporary grooves into the curve of his lip.

The half-vampire's back arched as his hands slipped further down towards the middle of his shins, all his limbs quaking as he helplessly jerked and emptied into Trevor's mouth, his hole simultaneously tightening around the intruding fingers. The hunter struggled to not choke or cough as spurts of cum struck the back of his throat, flooding his mouth and coating his tongue with a bitter, viscous fluid, so unlike the thinner tang of a woman's satisfaction. It was surprisingly difficult to swallow since some of it began sticking to his teeth as he worked his jaws around, but Trevor had his pride; he wasn't going to spit it out just because it wasn't going down easily.

After gulping down what he could and wiping away any residual tackiness from his mouth, Trevor slipped his fingers out and cleaned those off on one of the towels as well, then pushed himself back up and onto the bed to study his hard earned prize. Adrian lay in limp gratification on top of the blankets, chest rising and falling with each inhale and exhale. His hair was slightly disheveled like a tossed sheaf of wheat and his half-lidded eyes were clouded over like raw honey; his right hand had slipped from his leg and lay palm up on the bed while the leg itself was splayed somewhat to one side. His left leg dangled partway off the bed. He looked absolutely wrecked... and desirable as hell. Trevor's twitching hard on reminded him that he hadn't put it to use yet, and it was itching to get in on the action.

"You feeling okay?" Trevor asked, leaning over to gently finger comb a few loose strands of hair out of Adrian's face. "Don't fall asleep on me, we've only just started."

Adrian blinked, looked over, looked down towards his lover's groin, and gave a small smile. Trevor felt his heart do a backflip in his chest.

The hunter urged the taller man to move over on the bed a little more so he could get in behind him, then ran his hands thoughtfully over milk white thighs as he considered what to do next. He could just put it in and get off... but that didn't have the same appeal as a slower, more playful tease. And he really did want to try holding Adrian down, even if just for a little bit.

He took hold of Adrian's right leg, unfolding it and tugging it upward, guiding it up so that he could run his tongue over the instep of Adrian's foot before settling his ankle up on his shoulder. He leaned forward slightly so his cock bumped up against Adrian's entrance, so that his weight stretched Adrian's leg a little more taut against his hip. He had only begun stroking his fingers along the side of Adrian's calf when he realized how tense the limb had become, the muscles there bunching and quivering as if Adrian was struggling to not kick him in the head. Perplexed, Trevor stilled and asked, "Is this ticklish? Or annoying? Should I stop? Adrian?"

The blond swallowed, staring back in Trevor's direction with more than a hint of panic flooding into his eyes. The faint smile from a minute ago was long forgotten. He was no longer seeing Trevor there... instead it was a blurry afterimage of Taka rising before him, holding his leg flush against his body and preparing to thrust in, to take every last thing Adrian was willingly offering, all while planning his murder afterwards. His former student could've simply tried to kill him without going through the extra effort, but maybe he'd wanted one last thing to hold over the half-vampire, a little extra misery to take to the grave, as if betrayal alone wasn't a bitter enough pill to swallow...

"Adrian, talk to me, please. I'm not a mind reader," Trevor begged, easing the leg back down, shifting away slightly as well to sit by the right side of Adrian's hip. He began stroking the side of his boyfriend's hand with the burn roughened pad of his thumb, hoping that that sort of contact was at least acceptable. "You know I'm an idiot. If you don't tell me what's wrong, I might screw up again."

Adrian squinted slightly, his expression pained. "When..." he began, then he gulped in a deep breath and tried again. "Before..."

Just those two words, and it clicked in Trevor's pea brain that he must've inadvertently put Adrian in a position similar to the one he'd been in during his assault... Suddenly the fantasy of pinning him down seemed impossibly far away and a very, very bad idea.

He lay down next to Adrian and murmured, "Is it okay if I hug you? Or is that an issue? I don't know what else to do." He began extending his arms, then froze, unsure if it was the correct move. "Should I get Sypha?"

The half-vampire rolled onto his side to face him, breathing heavily as he examined the arms held open in invitation, like a cornered animal staring at an obvious trap, except Trevor's arms weren't grabbing at him or doing anything threatening other than hovering in position. Warily he looked past them and locked his gaze with clear blue eyes that swum with concern.

"I really am sorry," Trevor said with sincerity. "I didn't know, but I shouldn't have assumed. Or rather... I should've asked." He tsked under his breath, recalling the time not so long ago when he'd started jacking Adrian off without first getting consent. "You'd think I would've at least learned that much by now."

Now without the pressure of a body looming over his, Adrian was able to calm himself enough to slow the thudding of his heart, to take in the words and turn them over in his head. He'd explained things to Sypha to some degree, but not to Trevor; how could the hunter have known that that's what Taka had done? Adrian trusted Trevor; he desired him. He knew he wouldn't harm him or upset him on purpose. And he had promised Trevor could do as he liked, so wasn't the failure on his part?

Trevor had to be getting tired of holding his arms out, but he wasn't giving up either. Carefully Adrian shifted a bit closer, closing his eyes to concentrate on breathing in Trevor's scent, before leaning in and curling up against his boyfriend. Trevor's arms came down slowly to wrap loosely around him, as gentle as a dove's wings, supplying warmth and a little comforting pressure as he began rubbing Adrian's back.

"It's my fault," Adrian mumbled into Trevor's chest, breath catching somewhat. He could feel Trevor's slightly softened arousal pressing lightly against his gut. "I told you that you could do as you pleased, but I forgot."

"Not at all, you idiot. And I don't like it when you get that look on your face, the one that says you're trying to talk yourself into doing something you don't want, just because you think you should." Trevor sighed heavily, knowing Adrian was frowning at him even though he couldn't see it. "And what I should've done was tell you to take your initial 'offer' and shove it, because I don't want you doing anything you don't feel comfortable with, as that was very clearly something you weren't okay with."

They fell into silence and simply lay like that for a couple of minutes, Adrian nuzzling and cuddling against Trevor, feeling safe enough to do so, knowing Trevor would not mock him for being needy or emotional, unlike the aloof, untouchable front that "Alucard" was supposed to represent. But despite Trevor's reassurance that he didn't have to push himself to do anything, Adrian really did want to make this happen, because Trevor had been so patient and understanding and had even done a spectacular job of making him feel good, even though all indicators pointed to Trevor being just as inexperienced with orally pleasuring a man as Adrian himself. If having a sense of duty and obligation was a flaw, then so be it. Adrian never claimed to be perfect.

"Maybe you've lost interest, but if you'd like to continue, I would like that," Adrian finally whispered.

The hunter reluctantly pushed him away to study his face. "Are you certain?"


"You will tell me to stop if it's too much, right?"

"... Yes."

Trevor sighed, unconvinced, but got back up and shifted back into his previous position anyhow, his eyes flicking to Adrian's face every few seconds to see if anything in his expression changed. Stubborn, self-sacrificing bastard... He nudged Adrian's thighs apart a little more, unsure if he should risk grabbing his ankles again. It seemed safer to minimize contact with his legs, in case that was a trigger. "Let's try this. Take hold of the inside of your knees and push your legs apart, wide as you comfortably can."

Adrian made a tiny sound of embarrassment as he realized how vulgar that would look, even more than the position he'd taken before, but he did as he was asked, opening up and exposing himself to Trevor's hungry gaze.

A low growl rose from Trevor's throat as he palmed his neglected dick and began harshly stroking it back to life. "Do you think you're stretched enough, or do I need to put my fingers back in? Or more oil?" he asked gruffly.

Adrian eyed the rapidly swelling member that rose before him. He exhaled; having ridden it before, he knew Trevor was a lot to take in, but he needed it, even if it hurt a bit going in. He only wanted Trevor in his thoughts right now; he ached for the connection between them. "Please. I'm ready."

One corner of Trevor's mouth lifted in a smirk. "Eager; I like that. Give me a second..." He fished around for the bottle of oil, quickly dispensed a good amount onto his hand and all over his cock, ensuring it was well slicked, then bumped the swollen knob up against the gratuitously displayed entrance before him. Adrian shuddered deliciously, his skin flushing. "I want you to guide it into position yourself, okay?"

Fingers hesitantly moved off knees and towards the midline. Trevor was right there, just prodding him but going no further; Adrian's left hand fumbled for his lover's thick shaft while his right index and middle fingers spread himself open to receive him.

Trevor gasped as he felt Adrian slide his head around until it was seated right where there was a bit of give. Take it slow, take it slow, he reminded himself over and over as he began pushing in, groaning as the taut outer ring of muscle gave way for him. The passage past that was just as amazingly tight and hot as he remembered, hugging him like an old friend. Trevor's jaw tightened as he found himself once again fighting against the urge to simply ram his way in.

Grasping Adrian's hips, Trevor shifted forward bit by bit until he was nearly all the way in, then took a few moments to catch his breath and to let his boyfriend adjust to the intrusion. Adrian's hands had returned to their previously assigned posts at his knees; they trembled faintly as he strove to hold them far apart like Trevor had asked. At least he was no longer showing signs of distress or pain... his eyes were a little glazed over, his mouth was curved slightly upward as if in relief, if Trevor was reading things correctly?

"Doing all right?" Trevor asked anyhow, not wanting to rely on a guess. He rocked back a bit, pulling about halfway out, and waited.

Adrian's head lolled about slightly. His lips moved, but nothing more than a soft gasp escaped. Finally, with much effort, he managed a faint, "Yes."

Trevor smiled, a feral flash of teeth, feeling much better about what he was doing now. He adjusted his angle a tiny bit, then carefully pressed back in, earning a grunt from his lover. So he did it again, and again, picking up the pace, gradually pushing in deeper, only to pull out further before plunging back in again, until he couldn't push foward even an inch more.

Soft, squelching sounds and the slap of flesh-on-flesh filled the room, interspersed with occasional hisses from Adrian and guttural groans from Trevor. At some point Trevor decided he still wasn't getting deep enough for his liking and he leaned his weight forward, Adrian's hips tilting upward to match his new angle. The adjustment in position allowed Trevor to run his fingers down the curve of a firm ass, nails sinking in slightly into the yielding skin. He released Adrian's buttocks long enough to run his hand over the plane of the taller man's chest, pleased at the way the nipples pimpled and pressed against his palm, before he returned to pumping into him in earnest.

The blond's head fell back; Trevor's strokes were starting to consistently hit just the right spot to make him see stars.

Hearing an especially drawn out groan, Adrian's eyes fluttered open to look up at his lover, at the fevered brightness of Trevor's eyes, at the concentration that furrowed his brow, at the sweat glistening on his wide shoulders and broad chest, all marked up with scars both new and old. He was appealing in his imperfection, a living testament to what dogged determination and human willpower could survive. The half-vampire's eyes shifted down to where their bodies slotted together, Trevor inside him, pistoning into him, his balls slapping against his backside with each thrust. He was stretched so full, so taut, but it felt like bliss to be able to take Trevor in so deeply, to allow him to dominate him, when Adrian had been so afraid of being put into that position again.

"Hey Adrian, remember what I mentioned earlier?" Trevor suddenly asked, earning him a slightly confused, bleary look and a questioning murmur. He stilled his movements and shifted his weight to his right, so he could take Adrian's right hand with his left, lifting it to briefly brush his lips over the barely visible scar circling the wrist. "I'll keep my hold very loose, okay? You'll be able to pull away easily if you need to. But... let me try it." Trevor paused a beat. "Tell me it's okay, or I can't. Either way."

Adrian was still trying to process what was happening; it was damn hard to think with a prick buried inside him, pulsing intermittently. At least Trevor touching his wrist didn't really set him off any longer. But he'd rather hold hands, if they were going that route. So he rotated his wrist to entwine his fingers with Trevor's, and waited for his response.

Well, I think I can work with this, Trevor thought, shifting their interlaced hands until he had Adrian's carefully pinned down about half a foot from the side of the blond's head. He rested his weight onto his elbow, to ensure he wasn't putting too much pressure on their joined hands. "Still good?"

He really had expected Adrian to pull away, but even though the taller man wriggled his fingers a bit to readjust his grip, he didn't attempt an escape. He just turned his head slightly to stare at their joined hands, and that was a bit worrisome in its own way...

Taking advantage of the angle he was leaning down at, Trevor nudged Adrian's cheek to get him to turn his head further, then nosed aside his hair until he could uncover an ear. He sucked the shell of it into his mouth with a moan, then began tracing it with his tongue, flicking it right at the tip. Then, very carefully, he set his teeth on the edge and bit down lightly.

Adrian audibly cried out and bucked, almost hard enough to unseat Trevor.

The hunter smirked. "Just making sure you're still with me," he said as he shifted his weight back towards his heels so he could resume thrusting into his lover's waiting channel.

With Trevor well situated, Adrian's left hand came away from his knee and drifted down to graze briefly over his own manhood as it started to twitch back to life, before jerking it up to press over his mouth, as if he needed to suppress any shameful moans that might escape. Trevor couldn't help but notice it; Sypha had noted that Adrian didn't seem inclined to touch himself... he'd only jerked off last time because Trevor had asked him to. Yet even though he very clearly could feel sexual desire and pleasure, it seemed like he kept it tightly repressed because he found his urges scary or unnatural. It was similar to his reluctance to bite, or to use more of his vampiric abilities than needed. But there was nothing wrong with sexual want and gratification, either by one's self or with a trusted partner... and Trevor was more than happy to blow his mind.

"Touch yourself," Trevor suggested. "If you can get it up again, I'll let you take me once I'm done."

The expression on Adrian's face indicated he hadn't considered it. Maybe he wasn't interested in being the penetrator - though he had no real issue with making love to Sypha - or maybe he figured Trevor wouldn't be responsive to the idea, so he'd simply dismissed it. But now that it was on the table, his hand drifted back down, and he began hesitantly squeezing and stroking himself, his hand bumping against the brunet's lower abdomen as his member gradually became engorged once again.

"That's it..." Trevor murmured in encouragement, stroking his thumb over the side of Adrian's hand as he picked up speed yet again. It was far more enjoyable seeing Adrian shudder and jerk with pleasure, his hand pumping in time with Trevor's thrusts, instead of simply lying there passively, just a passenger along for the ride.

Regrettably, even though Trevor prided himself on his endurance, he could only keep it going for so long. As he felt himself closing in on completion, his fingers clenched involuntarily and he pressed forward even harder, driving his boyfriend deeper into the soft pad of the mattress, almost folding him in half onto himself. Adrian began thrashing to and fro, his fingers tightening around both Trevor's hand and his own cock, his passage clenching with each thrust that grazed his sweet spot. His fangs gleamed as his mouth opened in a near soundless cry.

Pleasure rose up like a thunderstorm, crashing down suddenly; Trevor almost felt deafened and blinded by it when it happened. He sucked in a sharp breath as he went under, fighting to keep his head about him as waves of gratification swept in and slammed into him, as he drove into Adrian with that same force, sharing the strength of his climax with his lover. For his part, Adrian, who'd been nearly silent throughout, gave a choking gasp, as if swept up in Trevor's torrent.

They clung to one another, Trevor's sweat slicked skin sliding over Adrian's smooth porcelain as his thrusts became uneven, riding out the crest of the storm until he ran dry. And just like that Trevor collapsed, pinning Adrian beneath him for a moment until it occurred to him just how uncomfortable it had to be being accordioned under his weight like that; he managed to push himself off and twisted to the left, his hand still loosely joined with Adrian's. He took advantage of that connection to pull Adrian's hand to his mouth, to lightly suck on the tip of each digit before finally letting go.

Adrian was breathing just as heavily as if he'd joined Trevor on his high, but a quick glance confirmed for the brunet that his lover was in fact hard and upright and just as promised, Trevor intended to put that to good use. Fumbling around, he managed to locate the bottle of oil; he took it and pressed it into Adrian's hand, giving him a meaningful look. "Only if you want to," he added, remembering to always give Adrian an out.

The half-vampire seemed to be considering it, then sat up slightly. "You're sure?" he rasped.

"Yeah, of course. Never thought about it before, but I never had a man I trusted enough to consider it. With you... I don't see why not. I don't mind trying new things."

Adrian wasn't so fond of "new things" but he was curious as well. Sliding into Sypha was always amazing, and he'd heard Trevor mention that a man's hole was even tighter. Besides, Trevor was entrusting his first time to Adrian, so the blond wanted to grant him his wish. "All right," he said, uncorking the bottle and oiling up his fingers.

Trevor stretched out and lay back on the bed, drawing his legs up a bit to make access easier. It felt a little weird for Adrian to be poking around down there, but it wasn't bad per se, just... unusual? Invasive, slightly. But Adrian had just taken him without issue, had seemed to enjoy it quite a bit, even with Trevor screwing up, so the brunet didn't see any reason why he wouldn't feel the same.

The first finger was not really a big deal. It was slippery and a bit cool due to Adrian's skin, but it didn't hurt or anything. The addition of the second was a little harder to accept, especially when Adrian began curling and scissoring them. The third was starting to push things towards the edge of discomfort... not painful still, just strange and a bit off-putting. Trevor was beginning to wonder if he was supposed to feel stuffed full like that.

"Are you okay?" Adrian asked, thrusting his fingers in and out a few times to see how receptive Trevor was to it.

"I'm... not sure?"

Pale brows drew together. "Does it hurt? I can stop."

"It doesn't. Just...weird. I've never had anyone touch me like this," Trevor reminded him.

"As you like to tell me, if you don't like it, tell me to stop, and I will," Adrian said in all seriousness. He gave his fingers one last twist, then withdrew. "I think you're about as ready as you'll ever be," he remarked, slicking up his hard on thoroughly before wiping off his hand, then positioning himself behind Trevor just as his lover had done a short while ago.

Trevor grinned up at him to hide his own nervousness. "Yeah. Go for it."

Adrian smiled back, just as apprehensive, then began sliding in...

It was tight all right; hot too, like sitting a bit too close to the licking flames of a campfire. It was such a snug fit that Adrian felt like he was having to force himself in a little at a time. Trevor was starting to hold his breath, which didn't help.

"Relax. Breathe..." Adrian instructed him.

The hunter grunted, his nostrils flaring momentarily. "Yeah. Trying," he squeezed out between drawn lips.

Adrian stopped, though he was only about two-thirds of the way in. It felt like Trevor's body was actively trying to push him out, not willing to accept any further intrusion. If Trevor couldn't loosen up a bit more, no one was going to be enjoying this.

"When does it stop feeling like I'm being torn apart?" Trevor huffed after Adrian made it another half inch in.

The half-vampire gathered his thoughts. "When you relax enough. I'm not even all the way in."

"Oh. Christ... are you serious?" None of this felt anything like what he expected. Wasn't it supposed to feel good? Blue eyes searched his lover's face. Adrian wasn't even doing anything, just waiting him out. Trevor exhaled. If Adrian can do this, so can I... he told himself. Mind over matter, that's all it was.

"Maybe we need more oil?" Adrian wondered. He'd been generous with it, but maybe more would be better.

"Or less of me clenching." Trevor grumbled. "Keep going."

"You certain?"

The brunet sucked in another breath, and released it. "Yes."

Adrian didn't look convinced, but he went ahead and braced himself to begin pushing further in as slowly as he could.

God, it burns. How is this worse than dislocating my arm? Trevor wondered, gritting his teeth and tightening up further without realizing it.

He caught a soft sigh, and then he felt the pressure quickly diminish as Adrian reversed course and pulled out completely.

Trevor blinked. He groped for his lover. "Wait, what are you..."

"It's enough. Trevor, you are clearly in pain."

"I just need to get used to it," Trevor insisted. He could do this. He had to; it wasn't fair to Adrian otherwise.

"Or we need to take it even slower, work you up to it. I don't know." Adrian hoped he wasn't coming across as frustrated, because he wasn't - at least, not in the way Trevor might've thought. He just wasn't sure what else to suggest as it seemed his boyfriend experienced things differently than he. "Maybe next time?" He flashed a quick smile, trying his best to reassure.

Trevor grunted, disappointed nonetheless.

Adrian cleaned himself up as much as he could, then lay down next to his boyfriend, draping an arm over his waist and playing his fingers over the swath of hair there. "I'm..."

"You better not be gearing up for an apology," Trevor snapped, before realizing that he now owed Adrian one for overreacting. "Ugh, fuck. I swear I'm not upset, not at you."

"You're frustrated."

"A little, yeah. I don't know how you can possibly enjoy it," Trevor groused, feeling a little guilty that he'd been so obsessed over putting Adrian through the very same thing. "I mean, it hurt, like I kept wondering if something was going to split open, and, well... all I kept thinking was I had to hurry and find somewhere to relieve myself as soon as possible. You don't feel like that?"

Adrian shrugged. "It can be a little painful at first, but it's like... a good kind of pain? And I like that feeling of fullness, I suppose. It makes me feel more... connected to you. Like I can let go, and put myself in your hands."

Trevor just shook his head. He hadn't gotten any of that from it!

"And when you hit things just right there's a - hmm, how to best describe it - you know when you strike a flint and it sparks up? It's like that, except it hits right in the middle of everything. You know... what I mean...?" Adrian trailed off, suddenly looking all shy about it.

They'd just had sex - twice, by Trevor's own count, though he wasn't sure if one minute of Adrian slowly thrusting into him really counted. They were both still naked and sweaty - or at least Trevor was - and curled up together diagonally on the bed to avoid a couple of wet spots, neither terribly inclined to move now that they were comfortable. The fact that Adrian was now blushing over talking about it, trying in vain to hide behind hair that wasn't curtaining in front of his face... "Aren't you just adorable!" Trevor enthused, rolling on top of him to hug him.

"Now that's a word choice," Adrian mumbled into his ear, frowning slightly. Why was he being talked about like he was a puppy?

"You're adorable and you're perfect." Trevor finished by planting a loud, wet kiss on his lover's cheek.

The blond didn't agree with any of that, but it certainly had restored Trevor's good mood, so he didn't make any further complaint.

Trevor continued lying on top of Adrian, fingers threading through a few loose strands before stroking their way down his cheek. "Maybe it's a vampire thing?" he wondered, as he thumbed lightly over his boyfriend's lips.

Adrian's eyebrow twitched, and in one swift motion he'd rolled them both over and then triumphantly rose up to make it obvious who was pinning who down. "If it was a 'vampire thing,' this is what it would've looked like," he said, fangs bared.

Trevor stared up at him, momentary surprise quickly giving way to smug glee. While he was attracted to Adrian's almost demure, sweet side, he was equally attracted to the apex predator that was usually locked away.

"Hm. Yeah, probably," the hunter conceded, and then in further submission, turned his head to one side to better expose his neck.

A low, soft purr rumbled through Adrian's chest as he leaned in, nosing at Trevor's throat, huffing in his aroma in that slightly sexy-weird way of his. The fact that the scent of their earlier intimacy still hung heavily in the air made him a little giddy, loosening his inhibitions slightly. "Maybe we should've done it this way instead: my dick buried in your ass and my fangs in your throat."

"Maybe we should've. That doesn't sound so bad, actually; I know it helps me relax," Trevor said, softly chuckling. Wonder if he'd give it a go? He could feel a hint of teeth dragging over his skin, then the softness of lips tickling over the same section. "Hey, remember when we first met, back in Gresit? And you had me pinned down, hair in your fist, and told me you were going to rip open my throat?" Trevor paused a moment, savoring the memory. They really should've made out then and there, though he supposed Sypha would've been less than amused at the time... "Tell me that again..."

Adrian straightened back up and stared down at him. "Are you going to try and stake me this time?"

Trevor opened up his hands, then gestured at his naked torso. "Can't. Unarmed, I'm afraid."

Amused gold eyes flicked further down to the hunter's crotch. Trevor's cock stirred at the implication, even though it should've still been down for the count at this point. "Not completely unarmed."

"Well look at you, making a dirty joke," Trevor chuckled, delighted. "Knew you had it in you."

Adrian snorted softly, then leaned back down, eyes gleaming. "It's not my fault. I've been thoroughly corrupted. Guess who's to blame?" He nipped lightly at his boyfriend's throat, earning a shaky gasp, then reached up to take hold of a handful of hair and yanked, hard. "Do you have a god to put a last prayer to, Belmont?" he whispered.

He hadn't intended to go any further than that, but a visible tremor ran through Trevor's frame as everything from blood flow to breathing picked up noticeably. He swallowed loudly in lieu of delivering the next line, pupils dilating in a sea of sapphire. Adrian couldn't help but cock an eyebrow. He knew Trevor had some... interesting kinks, but he wouldn't have thought that this would've been such a turn on for him.

"I can still rip your throat out," Adrian purred, adding a broad stroke of the tongue from just above the collarbone up to the carotid pulse, as if to emphasize his words.

The hunter shivered again, his manhood twitching upward as if it had been startled awake to reinsert itself into the conversation. He'd never been able to go for a second round so quickly, but even the memory of those fangs sinking into his throat was enough to raise the flagpole. "Oh God. Please..." Trevor spread his legs, then hooked a calf behind one of Adrian's knees, trying to reel him in once again.

"You really want to try it like this?" He couldn't believe he was trying to figure out the logistics of it, especially since Trevor had just admitted to not enjoying being taken. But here he was, pleading to try again. Adrian frowned slightly. Theoretically Trevor probably would enjoy it more if they were connected on a subconscious level, as Adrian could tie his lover's pleasure to his own, but would that be enough? And wouldn't there be too much jolting if their bodies began moving while his jaws were locked down? He really could tear his boyfriend open, which made it a terrible idea. But Trevor, unfortunately, was highly attracted to terrible ideas...

A beatific smile broke across the brunet's face. The exact words he uttered the day they met no longer fit, but with a little bit of alteration, some of them still applied. "Living through all this has been a luxury. So... why not? Let's give it a go."

* * *

Adrian jerked awake and was immediately perplexed by the fact that the room was bathed in shadows; a glance at the window showed it was nearly dark outside too, which at least explained the lack of light inside, but left him with no explanation as to what had happened. Well, other than the obvious: he'd rolled over and fallen asleep right after release.

Last thing he remembered was practically ramming Trevor into the headboard as the other man twitched and moaned his name, filling Trevor with his essence as his fangs extended and sank deeper into the junction of the hunter's neck and shoulder, just above the upper edge of his burns. Their orgasms had synced up so perfectly that there was no way it'd been accidental, especially given that Adrian hadn't touched Trevor's arousal since he flipped him over. Said brunet was now snoring loudly next to him, one leg draped over Adrian's own and both arms bonelessly flung over the pillow he rested on, droplets of his own dried spend crusting the dark hair under his navel, a trickle of drool starting to work its way from the corner of his mouth and into the perpetual stubble on his chin. It was the most unsexy sight... but like staring at an ugly dog that happened to be yours, Adrian couldn't help but smile fondly at him.

The half-vampire could still taste a hint of metallic tang on his tongue. That his fangs had lengthened as he climaxed was a concern, but upon inspection it didn't look like they had done any additional damage. If anything the fact that he'd felt the need to bite Trevor multiple times - twice on the neck, once on the inside of a thigh - was more concerning, but none of the punctures were actively bleeding, so he supposed no real harm was done. Or at least that's what Trevor would most likely say.

There was the faintest knock at the door, and after a few seconds, Sypha peeked in. Seeing Adrian sitting up, she whispered, "Hi," and slipped through the doorway. "I was a little worried since you guys were holed up in here so long..."

"Sorry. It's dinner time, isn't it?" He was glad he'd had the foresight to leave a pot of soup simmering before he'd come up to proposition Trevor.

"Soon enough." She smiled slightly as she sat down at the edge of the bed, her eyes doing their best to adjust to the relative darkness of the room before focusing on Trevor and his snoozing sprawl. "He didn't do anything stupid, did he? I warned him..."

"Nothing too stupid. Just... unexpected."

Her gaze flickered over Adrian's face, trying to decipher his expression before she pressed forward with her question. "Is everything all right?"

"Yes, I think so. I'm all right. I wasn't sure if I would be." He let loose a small sigh. "I'm not going to pretend I'm completely fine, even now, but... small steps, one at a time if need be. I can do that much."

She smoothed down his slightly tousled hair and placed a warm kiss on his temple, right as Trevor rolled over with a particularly loud snort, waking himself just as one of his arms swung down across his face so that he basically clubbed himself. "Huhwhappen..." he muttered as he jerked upright, brows drawn together in offense as he looked around for who or what had been rude enough to disturb him.

Both Sypha and Adrian began sniggering at the absolute ridiculousness of his waking, as Trevor sleepily turned his glare on them. The half-vampire couldn't resist ruffling the mop of mahogany hair, even though it earned him a deepening frown.

"How are you feeling?" Adrian asked once he'd gotten control of his mirth. He pressed a kiss onto Trevor's forehead.

"Mmh?" Trevor considered it. He could use a bath maybe, or a beer would be more than nice, but other than that... "Pretty good, I guess."

"Not sore or anything like that?"

"... No?" He thought about it some more. "I feel refreshed, almost." Even Trevor seemed surprised by just how relaxed he felt, even down there, given how much he'd disliked it on their first attempt. But he was being truthful. There was a pleasant, almost tingling numbness buzzing through his body. Nothing hurt: not the bites, not his ass... not even his fading injuries. "I must've slept well, given how hard you were pounding me," he added with a laugh.

"Now I feel like I missed out," Sypha said with a small pout.

Adrian rolled his eyes, though there was nothing he could do to hide the warm blush that cropped up. He wouldn't have thought he'd have it in him to take Trevor like that. He'd never been rough with Sypha, never had the desire to do so, but then again, Trevor seemed to have a knack for finding and pulling out aspects of Adrian that even the blond himself wasn't aware existed. "Ah, about that... I apologize if you..."

"No, fucking stop. I wasn't complaining. I enjoyed it; we should do it again some time," Trevor said, flashing a grin. "And Sypha has a standing invitation, of course. We'll make sure you get in on the action," he promised.

"Not too much action." She rubbed her belly. She was still up for having some fun, but it was getting harder and harder to compensate for the extra weight up front, plus the random aches and soreness that would crop up here and there.

"... Or even if you just want to watch," Trevor said with a wink.

"I did not say I would not participate!" she huffed. She grabbed hold of Adrian's hand, intending to brace herself to get up, and he lifted it to his lips and brushed a kiss over her palm, much to her delight. "Maybe you should just sit and watch," she told Trevor as she nudged Adrian out of bed so he could help pull her to her feet.

"Nooooooo... wait, where are you going?"

"It's time for dinner. Aren't you hungry?" Sypha asked, as Adrian picked up his shirt and pants and began getting dressed.

The brunet frowned slightly. Part of him wanted to continue lazing about in bed, though there was no point to it since both his partners had vacated. And now that he thought about it, he was getting a bit peckish. All that activity meant he needed to refuel soon. "Hmm, I guess I am," he admitted, sliding out of bed on the other side. "Hey, Adrian, can I have beer yet?" he added, turning hopeful eyes on his boyfriend.

The blond considered it. Since Trevor was healthy enough to perform as he did, a little alcohol was probably okay as well. "I think that would be all right. But only one, for starters," he answered as he finished rebuckling his belts, before resting his hand on the small of Sypha's back, offering a bit of support if she wanted to lean into it.

Trevor absolutely beamed at the news. He hadn't been allowed to touch booze since... since before facing Death, actually. It was like finding out he was reuniting with a long lost friend. "Fuck yeah, let's go!" he yelled, ready to bolt out the door.

"For God's sake, put on some clothes first!" Sypha and Adrian scolded near simultaneously.

Trevor rolled his eyes. He didn't see why it mattered. There shouldn't have been anyone else in the castle since it was getting dark. But it was faster - and less troublesome - to just find his clothing and put it on instead of arguing back. "There. Better? Can we go?" he asked, quickly tugging and pulling on articles of clothing, not caring if some of it was askew.

"Your manners are atrocious as ever," said Adrian, but he couldn't hide his amusement at his lover's enthusiasm.

"Beer waits for no one," Trevor said sagely, as he stepped to Sypha's other side to offer his arm to her, with a small bow that was reminiscent of the sort that Adrian would give. "Shall we?"

She giggled and playfully swatted at his arm but accepted his offer, letting him lead the way as they all headed downstairs together.

* * *

Life settled back into a comfortable rhythm, different than the old, but more than satisfying in a new way. Being far more sociable than her partners, Sypha enjoyed having a village just past the castle grounds. She could still make a difference in the lives of others, but no longer had to travel to do it. New refugees and trains of Speakers trickled in on a regular basis, seeking respite, whether permanent or temporary.

And though her pregnancy had been progressing surprisingly smoothly, it certainly was more comfortable having a soft, warm bed to retire to at night. She hated to admit it, but if she were to sleep in the back of a wagon at this point, she'd probably wake up stiff and sore, if she were to get any sleep at all.

She only hoped that by the time her little one was old enough, that the schools would be established and running, so the children of Belmont village - and any adults who wished it - could be taught to read and write. They'd learn about the forgotten sciences and magic, and the shared histories of all those who lived in the region, so they could look forward to a better future, one without the ignorance and fear that had plagued the population for so long.

Adrian was already benefiting from the change in mindset. Although he liked that there was enough distance and respect to grant him the privacy he was accustomed to, it was still a pleasant change of pace to be able to go out and work on the water and electrical systems installation without people averting their eyes or slamming windows shut as he walked by. Maybe he wasn't truly used to being around so many people yet, but every day it felt a little easier, a little more acceptable. And true to her word, Greta did her best to kept an eye on any questionable conduct, especially with new arrivals; the one time someone tried to confront Adrian with unpleasant accusations about his heritage, they found themselves being escorted out on the next caravan leaving town.

And Trevor would be happy just to be able to sit down and have a mug of ale at a bar without wondering if a brawl was going to break out just because someone glimpsed the crest on his shirt. Not that there was a bar or tavern yet, but Filip, the barkeep from Danesti, was already working on constructing a service counter and promised Trevor free beer every Saturday for as long as he lived, once things were up and running. He would've said that that was all he'd ever wanted or expected out of life, except that was no longer true.

As he made his way back to the castle after conducting his first official training session, a discussion and demonstration on the optimization of melee weapons against night creatures and vampires, a revelation struck him out of the blue... just how much had things changed since a year ago, no, even less than that, when he'd tried to share as much of that same knowledge as he could with the desperate citizens of Gresit? How much had changed since the moment he'd climbed into the catacombs to find a Speaker's lost grandchild, since they'd fallen even deeper to find an occupied coffin sitting amongst hot metal pipes and self lighting torches? His feet stopped on their own for a moment as his eyes traced their way up the bulk of the castle, following the upward stretching spires silhouetted against the fading light of the setting sun, like branches of an unnaturally imposing tree, rising towards the coming night sky. He was going home - and since when had any Belmont looked at Dracula's castle and felt anything but dread? - and expecting a freshly prepared meal and pleasant conversation, a hot bath and a feather soft bed, the warm companionship of two lovers who would always have his back.

Before he knew it he'd broken into a run, his breath forming visible puffs in the crisp evening air. He barely remembered to exchange greetings with the small group of Speakers exiting the castle's library with their borrowed books as he headed for the kitchen, figuring that was where his boyfriend would most likely be. And in fact there he was, moonlight hair neatly tied back just the way Trevor liked, putting a heavenly smelling herb rubbed spatchcocked chicken back into the oven to continue roasting while a bowl of batter was being prepared, to be poured into hot drippings to bake off later.

Trevor took a moment to catch his breath, still not completely used to exerting himself after all that time spent in recovery. "It just hit me," he began babbling without preamble, as Adrian stared at him with a raised eyebrow. "A year ago, my everyday life was aimlessly crawling from one tavern to another, getting into pointless brawls, passing out under trees for shelter and just doing the bare minimum to survive. But instead of choking to death on my own vomit in a gutter somewhere... I met Sypha. I met you. And now here I am. We survived Dracula; I even survived Death. Now I'm back on my ancestral lands, living in what was Dracula's fucking castle, with a village named after my family at the doorstep. The most amazing woman in the world is going to have my kid soon and the best man I've ever met spoils us both incessantly. Like, this can't be real, right? I'm gonna wake up at some point and realize I'm lying in a pigsty with a massive hangover and there's a muddy sow staring at me and it'll be like, 'FUCK...'"

Adrian had to take a moment to absorb all that. "Make sure you never trip in the pigpen and hit your head, then," he finally said with a slight smile.

Trevor snorted, momentarily amused, but then he took a step forward and wrapped his arms around Adrian's waist, burying his face in silken golden hair. "I'm really not dreaming all of this, am I?" he mumbled. He'd struggled for so many years by himself, never daring to even imagine such a life was possible.

"I hope not." Adrian twisted and leaned slightly back, so his cheek was barely brushing by his lover's jawline. He couldn't help but inhale a little deeper than usual; the pulse throbbing under Trevor's jaw had that effect on him. "Where's all this coming from?"

The brunet gave a slight shrug of a shoulder, almost amazed that it cooperated without issue. "The weather's turning. In a couple more months, it'll be about a year... But it feels like it's been a whole lifetime, and yet only an instant, both at the same time. How does that even work?"

Adrian hummed in thought. "I suppose it's been similar for me. A year ago, I was asleep in my vault under Gresit, hoping my body would knit itself back together enough that I was functional, banking everything on a Speaker prophecy."

"And then I fell down a hole..."

"And stepped on the plate that was rigged to wake me up. So even though your first instinct was to attack me..."

"Jesus, I'm sorry okay? Maybe don't come floating out of your coffin hissing at me with your pointy teeth," the hunter huffed. Though he rather liked the fangs now and come to think of it, he didn't mind the hissing either, especially when it was deep and throaty and right in his ear - just more changes over the course of a year. He nuzzled Adrian as he gave it a bit more thought, then asked, "Were you really asleep the whole time?"

"Under Gresit?"


"We call it 'sleep' but it's not the same as normal sleep. How to describe it... you know that floaty feeling when you're just about to nod off? But even though you realize it, there's nothing you can do about it. It's like that."

"So you were aware..."

"Yes and no. I would not have known a year had passed until Sypha told me."

Trevor's voice sharpened. "But you were aware." You lay there for a year, alone and injured... He pressed in tighter, hoping that would convey just how much he regretted that they couldn't have been there sooner, that they'd then walked off and left Adrian behind in his lonely, empty castle. Not again, not in this lifetime...

Adrian gave a tiny shrug in lieu of answering. "I had no idea what I'd wake up to. I didn't know what kind of people you'd be. Frankly, I didn't care. As long as the prophecy came true..."

"But you care now. Imagine if some other hunter and scholar had stumbled down there," Trevor said, and even he wasn't sure if he'd meant for that to come across as a joke, or if he was dead serious. He didn't put too much weight into things like fate and destiny, not the way Sypha did, but he was their hunter, she was their scholar, and Adrian was their sleeping soldier, no one else's. And if that meant they'd been pulled together by some unfathomable force, then so be it.

Adrian chuckled. "God forbid. I suppose I'm stuck with you now."

"You most certainly are." He planted a kiss on his lover's cheek, then returned to snuggling against him from behind. It was in his nature to be pessimistic, but if this was how much happiness they could find in one year, maybe there was hope he could look forward to more? His heart stuttered at the thought.

"Is everything all right?" Sypha asked as she stepped into the room to see Trevor glued to Adrian's back, clearly impeding the taller man as he attempted to side shuffle over to grab a canister of flour.

"He's having a moment," Adrian replied, patting his boyfriend's arm with his clean hand.

"Shuddup," Trevor muttered, his voice heavily muffled by Adrian's back. "How was I supposed to know things would turn out like this?"

"Like 'this'?" Sypha asked, her brows knitting.

"Peaceful. Happy," the brunet admitted in an unusually subdued voice.

"Awww, Treffy!" She wanted to join in, attaching herself to his back as best she could, though the swell of her belly made it difficult to really hug him properly from that position. She ended up turning partially sideways so she could comfortably lean against him instead.

"Ugh, don't call me that," he complained out of habit. Though if the price to be paid for living this life was being "Treffy," then so be it. Not that he'd ever admit to that.

Adrian gave up on whatever it was he was trying to make and wiped off his hands on a kitchen towel, then turned around, gathering his boyfriend against one shoulder while holding his other arm out for their girlfriend to step closer and join in. And so she did, pushing her tummy into the center of their little hug circle with a laugh... and then, a soft, surprised grunt.

"Was... that a kick?" she asked, looking down.

Adrian's hand came to rest on her belly as his eyes slid shut a moment. Sypha had been concerned that she hadn't felt the baby moving around the way she'd read that it should, but he'd been able to allay some of her fears by confirming that it was active, just not moving vigorously enough for her to really feel. The movements definitely seemed more pronounced now. "I do believe so," he verified, delighted.

"Wait, really?" Trevor placed his hand next to Adrian's. "Did I miss it? Hey, do it again," he told her stomach.

"Are you seriously trying to order a baby in the womb to do something?" Sypha said, incredulous.

Trevor shrugged. It did sound a little crazy, now that he thought about it. "Figured it wouldn't hurt," he explained as he began pulling away, but then... was that a tiny bump against his fingertips? "... Was that...?" His eyes flickered between Sypha and Adrian and back.

Adrian snickered. "Maybe he or she heard you after all."

Trevor's other hand rose up and clamped itself over his mouth. "... Oh. Shit. I'm so happy right now..." he mumbled, overwhelmed.

Sypha beamed at him, bright as sunshine on a summer day. "Get used to it."

"I'm trying, I really am," he told her. He enthusiastically threw his arms back around both his lovers. "God, I love you both so much!"

"You really are in a mood," Adrian said, but he was grinning so broadly that he was all fangs and crinkled eyes.

"Oh shush, let me have this," Trevor said, squeezing a bit tighter, enjoying the warmth and closeness between them as the other two laughed. He was having a very good day, and it had only just begun.

~ FIN ~

* * *

Author's Notes:

September 1, 2023