Title: Under the Milky Way
Author: bnomiko
Rating: R to NC-17
Pairing(s): Trevor + Sypha + Alucard, Trevor x Alucard
Spoilers: through the end of S3 + some referencing of S4
Disclaimer: "Under the Milky Way" is performed and recorded by The Church. "How to Save a Life" is performed and recorded by The Fray. 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 animation canon based.
Archived at: http://www.phenixsol.com/Miko/FF/

* * *

Under the Milky Way

Ch. 3: Or he'll say he's just not the same
And you'll begin to wonder why you came

* * *

Alucard awoke with a familiar scent suffusing his nostrils, and even before he'd managed to force his eyes open he immediately began gagging. "Where...?"

"Alucard! It's okay, it's Sypha," said a soothing voice, as sunset curls framing wide blue eyes came into his field of view and a cool hand came to rest on his forehead. "I was so worried... Trevor is an idiot! You were bleeding and unconscious and I'm pretty sure he cracked your skull in a few places."

The blond groaned. He'd never had a headache this bad, not even after fighting Dracula and having his head - and the rest of his body - slammed into and through walls, floors and ceilings nearly a dozen times. He vaguely remembered fighting Trevor... he'd set it up, after all. "But... I started it." He frowned, trying to remember what had greeted him as he awoke... a familiar scent, cloyingly so. "Where am I?"

"We weren't sure which room you were using. So we put you in one of the rooms in this guest wing as they weren't in current use."

It hit him like a hammer to the head. It was Taka's scent. This had been his room. Alucard barely managed to lurch upward in time to avoid vomiting all over himself. It ended up on the blankets instead. "Urgh. Get... get me out of here."

Sypha's head swiveled around as she considered her options. Trevor had gone down to the kitchen to figure out what they could scrounge up for dinner. So she wrapped her arms around Alucard's shoulders and gave him as much support as she could as he shakily rose to his feet.

Trevor ran into them in the hallway, just as Sypha was asking Alucard where he wanted to go instead. The half-vampire was bracing himself against the wall with one arm, trying to avoid leaning on her too heavily with the other - clearly he needed more rest, but a good bath would have its benefits as well.

"Since the bath is right here, I think that would make the most sense. I... we can help you in, and then go set up another bedroom if you want," Sypha suggested as Trevor put down the tray he'd been carrying and moved in to help.

Alucard's head lifted slightly as Trevor took Sypha's spot, slinging the blond's arm over his broad shoulders. "What's wrong with the bedroom?"

"... I can't stay in there," Alucard said, leaving a whole lot unsaid. He let his head drop again. He was ashamed of himself for having attacked Trevor, for having tried to make him his agent of self-destruction. His voice was barely audible as he murmured, "I'm sorry. About... earlier."

"You should be," said Trevor, but there was no bite in it.

"Yes, well... not one of my better moments," Alucard quietly agreed.

Sypha quirked a small smile. Since it didn't look like the two were in danger of starting up a second round of combat, she asked, "Can you handle this Trevor, so I can set up a bedroom with fresh sheets?"

Trevor shrugged, but was already toeing the bathroom door open. "Just put him in ours or something," he suggested before passing through with Alucard and nudging the door shut.

The bathroom was ridiculously opulent by Trevor's standards; every time he walked in he couldn't get over the fact that rooms like this existed, with colorful glazed tiles and pipes and valves that delivered hot and cold water, all strictly for personal hygiene. He helped Alucard over to one of the little stools that were intended for rinsing one's self off, stripped off his own shirt and trousers, then bent down to help Alucard undress.

Alucard glanced up at the brunet and said, "Thank you, but I can take care of this myself."

"You haven't exactly been doing a great job of it lately," Trevor retorted. "Come on now, you don't have anything I haven't seen before."

One of Alucard's eyebrows rose.

"Sypha will have my head if I don't help," Trevor added.

With a sigh, Alucard uncrossed his arms - he hadn't even realized he'd done it - and let Trevor pull off the nightshirt. At least he didn't stop to stare or comment on the scars; in fact Trevor sat himself on a neighboring stool right after putting their clothes on a shelf and left Alucard to it.

They both quietly soaped up and rinsed themselves, with Alucard taking far longer due to the fact that he was still slightly dizzy, plus he was a lot more caked with dirt and filth. He couldn't remember the last time he'd bathed, actually... somewhere between the stakings and the alcohol he'd stopped caring.

"Need help with the hair?" Trevor finally asked as he looked over and saw Alucard struggling to untangle the long strands. "Can't promise I'm good at it though, it's been a long time."

"I'm not a child," Alucard grumbled mildly.

"No, you're not. But I did clock you pretty good earlier. And I really just want to soak in the tub for a bit, so the faster you get done, the sooner that happens."

Alucard considered it, and finally relented.

Trevor approached, crouched down and began carefully combing his fingers through the damp tresses. Even tangled, it was amazingly soft, like silk or down. He'd seen Sypha use a bit of scented oil on her hair before, so he grabbed the same bottle she'd been using and worked a bit of it into Alucard's, figuring that would help with the problem. It smelled a little flowery and feminine, but was overall a fairly light scent so he didn't think it would be an issue. Once most of the knots had been worked out, he moved his hands up to the scalp and massaged and rinsed his way through that as well.

"Ever think of cutting it?" the hunter asked. He hadn't really thought about it before, but it wasn't exactly practical for combat to have all that loose, waist length hair. Though it'd be a shame to cut back something so pretty...

"When I was younger, my father said he was glad I took after my mother. Though as I got older, my mother thought I looked more like my father, except for the hair color, perhaps."

"I'd say you look like them both, judging by the paintings you have around."

Alucard turned slightly, enough that Trevor could see the surprise on his face. "Thank you, Belmont."

"Uh... you're welcome." He poured the remaining water in the bucket through Alucard's tresses, pleased to see gleaming gold emerge from his efforts, then asked, "Did I do this all right?" He hadn't heard any complaints, but then again this was the same guy that had watched them leave without a word rather than ask them to stay.

Alucard ran a hand through it and gave a soft grunt. Trevor took that as a sign of approval and slapped him on the shoulder. "Great! Come on, let's get in the tub."

* * *

The huge soaking tub had to be one of the greatest inventions Trevor had ever seen - besides beer of course. It was big enough to hold four, maybe five people, and steamy and hot and perfect for sore muscles. He leaned back with a pleased groan, resting his arms on the lip behind his back.

Across from him, Alucard sat in silence. He looked worn out, which was understandable and acceptable. He also looked like he was brooding, which was not.

"A coin for your thoughts?" Trevor asked, thinking about Sypha's advice earlier.

Alucard started. "Eh?"

"What are you thinking about?"

"Nothing." The half-vampire glanced up a moment, and saw blue eyes narrowing at him. "Everything," he sighed. Alucard curled into himself slightly, wrapping his arms around himself. For a man who usually came off as proud and in control, he seemed unusually small and vulnerable at the moment.

Trevor hesitated. He wasn't sure what he should talk about, or if he should ask more questions, but if Alucard wasn't talking, then wasn't it up to Trevor to get him talking? The hunter was dying to ask about what had happened with the people outside, but even he knew that was a bad idea. So instead, he went with, "You've done a lot with the Hold so far. Thanks."

Gold eyes flickered up to meet blue. "You asked me to take care of it, so I did."

"Should I have asked you to take care of this place, too? And yourself?"

Alucard cocked his head slightly. "I would've gotten around to the castle, eventually. Probably." He didn't address the second question.

"Riiight. At least lay off the wine a bit, eh? It's not doing you any favors."

"Hmph. That's rich, coming from you, Trevor Belmont."

"It's precisely because it's coming from me that you should listen." Trevor sighed. "I get it, you know. Sometimes it's better to feel nothing at all. Except it doesn't last - never has, never will. You'll drive yourself crazy trying."

Alucard snorted. "I'll take it under advisement. I promise nothing."

"Then, will you consider promising me something else?"

Another promise. The half-vampire closed his eyes. "What's that?"

"Don't ever make me fight you like that again. I would be heartbroken to lose a friend in such a manner... and yes, you are my friend, no matter how much we quibble over stupid things." Trevor leaned forward slightly, the timbre of his voice dropping. "I don't have many of those - friends, I mean. People hear the name Belmont, and immediately they don't want to have a thing to do with me."

Alucard's eyes flew open. That was a sentiment he understood all too well. "I don't, either. Have friends, I mean," he said slowly. "My father's war ended over three months ago. And yet, I am still defined by it. No one even remembers my name."

Trevor frowned slightly, and scratched at his chin stubble. Even now, almost everyone - including Alucard - called him Belmont, as if he was just a representative of his family's legacy. He didn't really object - he'd stubbornly continued to wear his family crest even after being excommunicated and chased from his ancestral lands, after all - but if Alucard wasn't of the same mindset...

Trevor's brain worked furiously. He knew it, of course he did, but now that he was actively trying to remember it, it was slipping from his mind. "Uh... it's Adrian, right? Would you prefer that?"

Alucard/Adrian's head tipped back, until Trevor could only see a pale throat and smooth jaw. "I don't know. Adrian's never had friends. But would Adrian have killed his father?" Now that he thought about it, Sumi had called him by his name when they'd first met. He hadn't minded at the time, but it now left a bad taste in his mouth. At least neither she nor Taka had called him by either name after they'd wormed their way into his bed. He'd just let them in, just like that. Let them feed on him like maggots on a carcass. Like an idiot.

He hadn't realized that he'd begun clawing at his wrists again until Trevor was suddenly on top of him, pulling his arm out of the water. "You're bleeding..."

Alucard/Adrian's eyes widened, and he jerked back with a hiss. "Don't touch me!" Just the sensation of someone's hand closing around his wrist was enough to set off an entire minefield of unwanted memories.

"All right, all right, I won't! But... those are never going to heal if you keep picking at them."

Alucard/Adrian didn't answer. They weren't healing anyway, at least not in the way he was used to. He tucked his chin to his chest, drew his arms in, and balled up. He wanted to disappear.

Trevor felt compelled to hug him, but the other man had just reacted poorly to being touched, and besides, they were both naked. That wasn't a deterrent to Trevor, but he couldn't imagine Alucard/Adrian reacting well to that. "Hey, no drowning either, Alu... er, Adrian?" he warned as the blond started slumping until just the upper half of his face and a halo of hair were visible.

The half-vampire sat back up with some effort to sputter, "I'm not drowning." At least not physically. "And Alucard is fine; it's what you're used to after all."

Trevor sighed and sat back down. "If you prefer Adrian, it's not like I can't learn."

"Well..." Golden eyes shifted left and then right, but didn't quite meet the man in front of them. "I guess it doesn't matter. I don't really care."

Caring about someone who apparently didn't give a shit about themselves was far harder than Trevor had imagined. He sighed yet again, but was saved from stumbling his way awkwardly through a response by a sudden knock on the door, and Sypha's voice calling out, "I'm leaving some clothes by the door for you two."

"Okay," Trevor called back. "We'll be out in a moment."

Alucard/Adrian may have said he didn't care, but Trevor wasn't buying it for a moment. After they got out of the tub and got dried off and changed, they headed back to the room next door, where Sypha was snacking on apples and prunes and cheese while waiting for her turn in the bath.

"I hope you two didn't use up all the hot water," she commented when the two men walked in, a bit damp but clean.

"The castle easily generates more hot water than three people could use in a day," Alucard/Adrian pointed out.

"Noted." Sypha smiled, mostly because her friend looked almost offended at the slight to his home's capabilities. "You look a bit better, Alucard," she added, her smile softening. She left out the fact that she'd spent her time combing the castle for clean clothes for him, only to end up finding them in the last place she wanted to look - the bloodied, closed up room at the end of the hall, where he'd previously been staying. No wonder he'd stopped bothering to change clothes.

The half-vampire tried, and failed, to return the smile. "I feel a bit better, thank you," he said politely.

"And thank you Trevor for bringing up dinner, it was nice, though I did have to clean up after you," Sypha added as she stood up, resting her hand for a moment on her boyfriend's shoulder before she began gathering up a bundle of clothing for herself. When he gave her an odd look, she jerked her head in the direction of the side table, and he realized much to his relief that she'd stashed the box with the cuffs somewhere out of sight. "And now I'm going to enjoy a nice hot soak."

"Oh, yes. Have a good time," Trevor said as she departed. Then he sat down and began eating. He motioned to Alucard/Adrian to do the same, but while the other man sat, he didn't take anything for himself and just stared out the window.

"Come on now, you really do need to eat something," the hunter commented after a couple of minutes.

"I'm not hungry."

Trevor shook his head. "I don't care. You're too thin. Humor me, even if it's just a piece of fruit or two."

The blond wanted to protest, but decided it was less work to just eat something rather than argue about it. So he did.

"Tired?" Trevor asked, watching as his companion slowly nibbled at a slice of apple with complete disinterest, his eyes starting to slide shut.

Alucard/Adrian shrugged. The warmth he'd absorbed from the soak was already starting to dissipate; his head was starting to swim again. He had no idea any more if he was tired, cold, hungry, thirsty, or anything. It had been like that for weeks, maybe longer.

"The bed is right there. Feel free to lie down."

Alucard/Adrian's eyes flicked to the bed and its slightly rumpled sheets. "I thought you and Sypha were staying in here."

"We are. Hmm, I forgot to ask if she'd set up something elsewhere." Trevor shrugged. "Well, at least for now, you might as well use it."

"What about you?"

It was a simple question, but Trevor caught the note of concern in it. Even without the half-vampire saying it, those liquid gold eyes pleaded, "I don't want to be alone."

"Don't worry, I'm not going anywhere," Trevor assured him.

Alucard/Adrian looked a little embarrassed at needing the reassurance, but he climbed into bed without further protest and lay down. With Trevor's steady gaze resting on him like a favorite blanket, he was asleep in minutes.

* * *

"What a day. Only our first full day back, and everything's gone to shit," Trevor griped in a low voice. Sypha had had her bath, the evening air was starting to get progressively chillier, and they were both sitting on the sofa with a throw over their laps and winding down for the night.

"Yes, this morning was awful. But at least he's cleaned up now and sleeping in a proper bed," Sypha responded.

"Always the optimist," Trevor said fondly. He'd always liked that about her. Watching the mesmeric flickering of firelight, he slung an arm over his lover's shoulder and was rewarded with her leaning her head against him, her curls tickling against his throat. "You know what, you were right."

"I usually am," she said with satisfaction in her voice. "About what, specifically?"

"It's lonelier with him around than without. It's like he sucks the heat right out of the room."

"He doesn't mean to. It's just how he is."

"I know. I don't hold it against him." He looked over at the bed while doodling mindless circles on her arm with a finger for a moment, then took a breath, puffed his chest out slightly, and declared, "Well there, I talked to him. Are you happy now, Sypha?"

She smiled. She knew full well Trevor hadn't done it to fish for compliments, but it didn't hurt to give him the equivalent of a pat on the head either. "I am. You did well. And I think it's a good thing for you, too. The two of you are best suited to understanding each other."

"Last time you said something was good for me, look at where we ended up."

The smile faded a bit. "Let's make sure this ends differently."

Trevor made a face and let the subject drop. "He asked me if I remembered his name, then immediately followed it up with, 'I don't care.' Alucard, Adrian, whichever... he said, 'Adrian's never had friends.' Does he think we're hanging around just because he helped kill Dracula?"

"I think... it's different than you. You are Trevor. You're also 'Belmont.' But you're both the same person, and you don't have an issue with that. He does."

The hunter ran his fingers through his hair, scowling. "That makes no sense. How can he not be the same person regardless of what name he uses?"

"So then you're fine with Treffy?"

Trevor groaned. "Woman, no."

Sypha giggled softly. "But even when you're Treffy, you're still you."

"Point taken." Trevor sighed heavily. "Anyhow, apparently he's leaving it to me to figure out, and I must say, it's not my forte."

"The fact that he brought it up at all means it matters to him. Did he say anything else about it?"

"Just that maybe Adrian wouldn't have killed his father."

"... Oh."

"Yeah..." Trevor scrubbed at his face. "Adrian, huh. Maybe I should make him call me Trevor in return. That way we can both fumble around like idiots."

"That's... not a bad idea! Trevor, how clever of you!" Sypha's face lit up.

"Oh God, she likes it," the brunet groaned, but the more he considered it, the more he liked the idea as well.

They fell into a companionable silence for a few minutes, then Sypha stretched against his side and said, "I'm getting tired. How about you?"


Sypha looked over her shoulder at the bed. Adrian was deep asleep right in the center, on top of the covers. "He needs a blanket."

Trevor followed her gaze. "Hmm, yeah. You okay with him in the middle?"

She shrugged and got up, taking the throw with her. "It's really no different than when we were traveling from Gresit and sleeping in the back of the wagon. And this is a decently large bed. It was a lot more crowded in our caravan at times when I was growing up," she explained quietly as she carefully lay the blanket on her sleeping friend.

"True. You're used to this," Trevor murmured as the redhead slipped under the covers on her side of the bed.

"Come to bed," Sypha whispered, reaching an arm over Adrian to beckon to her boyfriend.

Trevor climbed in on the other side and took hold of her hand, and closed his eyes. He could only hope that tomorrow would be a better day.

* * *

Author's Notes:

November 2, 2022