Title: Under the Milky Way
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. 4: Lay down a list of what is wrong
The things you've told him all along
* * *
When Adrian's eyes fluttered open early the next morning, his first thought was that he was unusually warm, and his second was that his face was unusually close to Trevor Belmont's.
The brunet was snoring just inches away, his head resting on the same pillow Adrian was using. One arm was thrown loosely over Adrian's torso. On a hunch Adrian rolled the other way just a bit and found Sypha right up behind him, also with an arm resting atop his body. At least they were under different blankets, so it wasn't like they were rubbing up against one another, but still, the blond hadn't expected to find himself wedged between the pair.
Part of him wondered how long he could stay there like that, soaking up their scents and their body heat, admiring the way the morning light brought out the bronze sheen in Trevor's hair and set the red in Sypha's aflame.
The other part of him noted that he wasn't going to be able to get up without waking one or both. As nice as the warmth was, he did not want to spend his entire morning simply lying in bed, when there were things that needed to be done.
He was... still considering some of the things Trevor had said the evening prior, about how alcohol was only a temporary bandage, about how he didn't have friends and would be heartbroken to lose one by his own hand. Now that Adrian thought about it, he never did give the hunter a proper answer about not fighting him again with their lives on the line... though he wasn't sure if he had an answer for that.
Adrian didn't like knowing that maybe they had a little too much in common.
Lying around was only making him morose. So regardless of the fact that he was risking waking them, he began pushing himself up as slowly as possible...
Sypha rolled away, muttering something incoherent in her sleep before settling back down. On the other hand, Trevor's eyes snapped open and he sat up almost immediately, muscles tightening in reflex before he realized he'd been woken by the man next to him.
"Oh. Morning, Aluca... er, Adrian," Trevor drawled before yawning widely. "What time is it?"
"Still early, I believe." The half-vampire hesitated, then asked, "Adrian?"
"Yeah. But that means you have to call me Trevor now," the brunet said with a soft snicker. "It's only fair."
"I don't get a say in this?"
Adrian frowned slightly but didn't protest further. Instead, he went to get up, but Trevor's hand caught him on the arm. "Where are you going?" Trevor asked.
"I'm getting up, obviously."
Trevor eyed him carefully. "I'll come with you."
"That's not necessary."
"I said, I'm coming with you," Trevor insisted.
Adrian sighed. "... I'm going to the toilet."
"Oh," said Trevor, finally letting go.
"Go back to sleep," Adrian said. He finally got to his feet, but didn't leave immediately. "If you can't, then meet me downstairs in a few minutes - we'll go gather some breakfast."
* * *
Adrian couldn't say he was surprised when Trevor showed up downstairs after about ten minutes, though it was clear from his expression that he'd rather be in a warm bed with his girlfriend.
"You know, Trevor, you really didn't need to come along. I would've gathered enough for the three of us," Adrian commented as they headed out the massive front doors.
"Why does it sound like you're using my name as a curse word?"
"You did insist I use it, Trevor."
Trevor rolled his eyes. At least the blond hadn't switched to Treffy to really make him regret it. "So what's the plan after breakfast?"
"Back to the Hold I suppose."
The brunet remembered his offhanded comment to Sypha about the floorboards being spit shined in the Hold. Meanwhile the castle smelled like mildew and old blood and depression. "The library in the Hold seems well secured, thanks to you. I think you should work on the castle instead, for now."
"Why the castle?"
"Well since we're staying here, it'd be nice if it was... more livable."
"Since when did you ask to stay here?"
Trevor cocked his head. They hadn't. They'd just assumed Adrian was fine with it. "Is... it a problem?"
"Not really." Adrian paused slightly, then let out the breath he'd been holding in. "For how long?" he asked as casually as he could, but it came out more rushed and pitched than he wanted.
"We have no plans to leave, if that's what you're asking. Not unless you want us to."
Adrian froze mid-stride and turned to fix his eyes on Trevor's. "Won't you get bored?"
"I'll take bored. Going off on the grand adventure was Sypha's idea. Not saying we'll stay here forever, BUT... if we leave again, you're coming with us."
Adrian lowered his gaze. "Then who will keep watch over the castle and the Hold?"
Trevor shrugged, then patted Adrian on the shoulder. "We'll figure something out. Something better than leaving you here to struggle by yourself."
The blond hesitantly nodded in lieu of a spoken answer. So there was no plan, it seemed...
They gathered carrots and some leafy greens and a good amount of berries for jam. An unfortunate rabbit crossed their path; Adrian simply sped forward and grabbed it, snapping its neck with one quick motion. With their baskets full, they made their way back to the castle just as the morning sun was beginning to bathe the towers in golden light.
As they made their way past the small copse of staked bodies, Trevor paused to look at the two human ones rotting on their stakes, and exhaled. It was probably pushing things a bit, but Trevor had to say something once he realized that Adrian was just going to walk by as if they weren't there. "These are going to be God awful come summer." He turned to Adrian, who had stopped as well and was staring at him warily. "And I'm sorry for having jumped to conclusions. I should've known better, that you wouldn't have done something like this for no reason."
Adrian looked down for a moment, then disappeared into the castle in a red blur. Cheating bastard and his instant speed boosts, Trevor thought with a sigh, wishing he was better at wording things - or at least at not shoving his foot into his mouth - as he trailed in behind him.
* * *
While waiting for the men to return, Sypha busied herself with cleaning up the hallway of the wing they were staying in by using her magic to alternatively freeze and thaw a thin layer of water over debris and stains, and then pushing the frozen sheets down the stairs. Not a perfect solution, but if they could just make the area they were in inhabitable, that would be an improvement. She was very nearly done when she heard a pair of footsteps echoing in the hall far below, so she quickly finished up, then headed down to the kitchen where she figured her companions would be.
Sure enough, Adrian was making some sort of dough while Trevor was working on butchering the rabbit. Sypha rolled her sleeves up and stepped in to begin washing fruit.
It felt like old times, whenever they worked together. Even for something as simple as a meal. There was a natural rhythm to it; they didn't need to check where someone else would be or what someone else was doing, it always felt like they simply knew.
"Did you two sleep well?" Sypha asked, considering they'd both been long gone by the time she'd woken up.
"I slept plenty, thank you," replied Adrian.
"I only got up because this guy got up," Trevor complained good-naturedly.
Sypha hummed under her breath. "I think we need to rethink the sleeping arrangement. The bed's nice, but maybe just a bit snug for three."
"Three what?" asked Trevor.
"The three of us, silly," she said with a roll of the eyes.
" Last night... was an outlier. I wasn't planning on staying in the same room with you two," Adrian said.
"Why not?" asked Sypha. "There's bigger beds in the castle, aren't there?"
"Well..." and Adrian glanced momentarily at Trevor, "don't you want some privacy?"
The brunet nodded.
Sypha shrugged. "If it bothered me, I wouldn't have asked."
"God, I hate Speaker logic," Trevor grumbled.
"You didn't complain last night. In fact, did you not say, 'Just put him in our room?'" Sypha shot back.
Trevor really wanted to point out that he was more preoccupied with keeping Adrian alive at the time - given how the day had gone, leaving him alone all night would've been a terrible idea. But he held back, not wanting to step in it yet again. "That was last night. An outlier, like Al... Adrian said."
"You're bad at this, Trevor," said the aforementioned blond. Trevor could hear the hint of smile in his voice.
"God damn it, it's early, okay? I'll get it straight."
"I suppose there's also the matter of what rooms are available. Half the castle is still in shambles. Even the wing we're in..." Sypha trailed off. She wanted to ask if it was okay to clear out the other rooms, especially the large one at the far end, but she wasn't sure if that would upset her friend in some way. He probably didn't want to think about it at all. Maybe Trevor had been right, simply burning them out without saying a word would be best, but it was Adrian's right to make that decision.
The redhead steeled herself. Someone had to say it, so it might as well be her. At least it increased the chances that he'd hear it out. "The other rooms in that wing, can we clear them out? You don't need to help if you don't want to, Adrian. But at the very least, I need your permission."
Adrian's hands stilled. It was the same thing Trevor was hinting at earlier. They found it uncomfortable... disgusting perhaps: the staked bodies, the blood. And it wasn't like Adrian had some particular attachment towards keeping the bodies around; really, it would be better to never see them again. But he'd wanted to keep others like them from coming to the castle. And he wanted to remind himself of his own mistakes: in trusting, in allowing others in too close, when he was someone best left on his own.
Clearing out the rooms though... maybe he could permit that. He had simply abandoned the wing as he had no further use for it; maybe he would've boarded up the entry later on. But he did not want to have any part in any clean up effort, and he couldn't imagine himself ever using those rooms again either, so he really saw no difference either way.
Seeing the half-vampire's hesitation, Sypha added, "If that's too much, then, are there other rooms you'd prefer to use?"
Trevor's voice suddenly cut in. "Where have you been sleeping this whole time? Please don't tell me, the kitchen..."
"No one place in particular," Adrian answered. It really hadn't mattered where. The kitchen had been one place, the Hold had been another. He'd even woken up on the bathroom floor before.
"So are there other rooms then?" Trevor asked.
The blond considered it. "There are, but..." Obviously his childhood room and his parents' room were out. Dracula's generals had laid claim to all the guest suites on one side of the castle; those could be cleared out, he supposed, though they weren't particularly ideal rooms for human habitation since they were designed to keep sunlight out, no matter how the castle was oriented. And the additional troops they'd brought along had pretty much commandeered every spare sofa and chaise, crowded into every room and nook and cranny they could find in the lower section, even the stables, along with the pigs and chickens they were apparently feeding off of. So logically, the only option was the one wing they were currently residing in and debating over. His father had specifically designed those rooms in case his mother ever extended an invite to human guests; Adrian couldn't recall a single time they'd been used. "I suppose I should give my consent," he mumbled, hating the fact that he sounded so uncertain and indecisive.
"Only if you want to," Sypha reminded him. "Or you can take the room we're in, and we'll choose another, somewhere else in the castle."
For some reason, it bothered Adrian to think about them being clear across the structure, if he were to need anything. Not that he ought to be relying on anyone else. "If... the rooms across from the one you're using were available, you would be willing to use one of those?"
"Of course," said Sypha.
Adrian's hands had clenched into fists so tightly that his nails were digging into his palms without him realizing. He forced himself to relax. Sypha's request was reasonable. There was no reason they should all be forced to sleep in one room or to bed down in some random hallway. "All right."
Sypha exhaled slowly. "And the large room at the end? We can clear that out as well?"
Adrian sucked in a deep breath. All he had to do was say a single word, but it was a struggle to get his mouth to comply. He shut his eyes and immediately regretted it, as his last forays into that room flashed through his mind. The bodies hadn't been that terribly heavy, and yet he'd felt like he was sinking into an increasingly deep, sticky muck as he'd dragged them out.
"... Yes," he finally managed to grind out, barely louder than a whisper.
The Speaker quickly washed up before going over to put a careful hand on her friend's shoulder. "You still have some personal items in there. Is there anything in particular you want, or don't want? Or should I use my discretion?"
He appreciated Sypha's consideration, but words simply weren't coming to him any longer. Adrian dipped his head in the barest of nods, hoping that was enough.
Sypha squeezed his shoulder and lightly rested her head against his arm a moment, then said, "I'll do my best. Thank you."
Adrian could barely remember what he'd been doing, so he simply stood there when the redhead let go. Sypha and Trevor exchanged concerned glances at seeing Adrian staring blankly at nothing, one hand moving to the opposite wrist to start worrying at the border of the scar there. Sypha quickly reached down to stop him from tearing at it again. He already had blood speckling his fingers.
"Maybe sit him down for a bit?" Trevor suggested, though since his hands were covered in rabbit innards, that task would have to fall to his girlfriend.
"Yes." Sypha put an arm around Adrian's waist and slowly turned him away from the counter. "Trevor and I can take care of the cooking. You should take a break."
Adrian finally canted his head slightly in her direction. All she could think was, He looks lost, as she pulled out a chair and gently directed him into it. Adrian obediently sat down and almost immediately buried his face in his hands.
Breakfast will have to wait, Sypha decided as she pulled up a chair next to him, as she began rubbing careful circles into his back, feeling his breaths coming in uneven shudders.
"I shouldn't have brought it up," Sypha said apologetically after a few minutes had passed in relative silence. "We can continue with the same arrangement for now, if that'd be better for you?"
She didn't expect Adrian to answer, but he did, in a small voice that barely squeezed out from between his hands. "It's my fault."
"No, it's not. I know you must have your reasons. I will not ask for anything you don't want to give."
He sighed, and let his hands fall away so that he could rest his cheek on the tabletop instead. No one made mention of the fact that there was flour on his face. He stared blankly at the handcrafted dolls that sat a couple feet away, and felt stupid for having made them in the first place. At least Trevor and Sypha hadn't said a thing about their mini likenesses. "It's fine. I already agreed." His brow furrowed slightly as he turned his head the other way and sought out Trevor, the real one, who was still working on gutting the carcass but also keeping one eye on the pair at the table. "I know it must be done. Otherwise it'll be God awful come summer."
The brunet decided to run with that opening. "What about... outside then?"
Having anticipated that, Adrian closed his eyes. "Do what you will."
Trevor shook his head. "No. If you're not ready, you're not ready."
Adrian gave a weak chuckle. "Now is a terrible time for you to have developed a sense of consideration, Trevor."
"Adrian, I mean it. Only when you're ready," Trevor reiterated.
The blond frowned, but didn't offer a counter argument. He straightened back up and took a deep breath, and tried to tell himself he'd be fine whether or not Trevor did as he pleased. Actually, he wasn't sure which was preferable, now that he thought about it.
Sypha gave her friend's back a final pat, then stood up, glad that this latest episode had ended without any real damage done. "Now then, what shall I do with this dough?" she asked as she returned to the counter.
Thanks to Adrian's instructions, the dough was kneaded a little longer, flattened into small disks, and baked off without issue, and Trevor got the rabbit quartered and into a pot of simmering water and wine, for dinner that night. They ended up breaking their fast on quick bread with crushed berry jam and some shaved ham.
With full understanding that Trevor and Sypha intended to go ahead with their clean up project, Adrian decided to continue working in the Hold just so he had an excuse to be out of the way. As soon as he was out of sight, Trevor and Sypha headed upstairs and began clearing out the closest rooms, starting with the bed linens. They piled the contents of the armoires on the sheets, along with any personal effects elsewhere in the rooms, then dragged them outside to create a burn pile, a good distance away from the castle itself.
They debated whether or not the mattresses had to go, as well as things like the rugs or sofa cushions. It was impossible for them to guess just how sensitive Adrian's senses were, but they figured since he wasn't planning on using the rooms himself, then a full clean out wasn't necessary.
The large bedroom at the end of the hall was a bigger problem. The canopy, the drapes, rugs, the side table... anything near the bed or spotted with blood would have to be destroyed. The entire bed itself would likely have to be removed as well, which was problematic since it was so big and heavy. With Adrian's help that wouldn't have been an issue, but that was out of the question so neither the hunter nor the Speaker suggested such a thing to the other. Trevor figured that with an axe or a sledgehammer, he could probably break up the bed enough to be able to remove it piecemeal, so while Sypha worked on removing smaller items, he headed back out to the clearing where he'd fought Adrian and grabbed a couple different axes to work with.
By the time he turned back towards to the castle, it occurred to him that there were other things he ought to take care of as well, but he was going to need something like a basket to carry them in. Or...
Trevor looked over at the growing burn pile, which was currently mostly fabric, then went and snagged one of the sheets, eyeing it critically. It would do. Hopefully Adrian wouldn't notice what he was doing, though Trevor figured it was less of an issue than the items in the bedrooms, so it should be all right either way. He grabbed a second sheet just in case, then rolled them up and tucked them under his arm just as Sypha came down with a rolled up runner for the pile.
"I'm going to borrow these for a bit. Just have something else I want to add to the pile, that's all," he told her as he walked off in the direction of the Hold.
He returned about twenty minutes later, dragging the now laden sheets behind him. When Sypha's eyebrows shot up in inquiry, he pulled one onto the burn pile and let go of the edges, so that the contents tumbled out.
"Skulls?! Wait... are those from the Hold?"
"Yup. Don't want them, don't need them, and don't need Adrian offering to add his to the 'collection.'" Without thinking, he gave one a kick as it rolled at his feet, then winced when he realized it was the child sized one. Feeling guilty at the disrespect, he bent down to pick it up and placed it on the pile with a little more care. "The fire will burn hot enough to turn these into ash, right?"
"Not normally. But I'll try to increase the intensity, as long as it remains safe to do so."
"Good." He hefted the second "bag" on top of the first.
"What about..." and Sypha dropped her voice, just in case, "the cuffs? Are they in the pile too?"
Trevor shook his head. As far as he knew, silver wouldn't burn the way that cloth or wood would, so tossing them in the burn pile wouldn't have helped. "There's a few specially enchanted chests in the Hold. Supposedly only someone with Belmont blood can open them, though I plan on going back and adding a lock for additional security. I found a smaller one with assorted parts for weapons, so I pocketed a few that looked interesting and left the silver in there, bent and twisted into an unrecognizable lump."
He took a breath, then continued. "But there's no practical way to deconsecrate those sorts of things, not without jumping through a lot of hoops or maybe employing some black magic. So we can't completely get rid of them. This was the best I could do."
"Maybe 'good enough' is just that, good enough. I think as long as he doesn't see them, or touch them... it'll do,'" said Sypha, with a slightly helpless shrug.
Trevor nodded. "All right, so break down the bed, break down the mattress, find a padlock, got it." He ran his fingers through his hair. "I almost wish we could go back to Lindenfeld and just, I dunno, dump the silver in a well or something. Delicious blessed water for all."
Sypha exhaled deeply and shook her head. Their failure at Lindenfeld was still a touchy subject, but maybe when Adrian felt a bit better, they could tell him about it, just to get it out in the open, and to pick his brain about what they could've done differently and how to prevent such a thing from happening again.
"Sorry," Trevor mumbled, seeing her expression. He hated that their "adventure" had taken such a turn and ended so poorly when Sypha had been so happy to be out there making a difference, but reality was rarely kind. Really, the only positive of that disaster was that it had forced them to turn around and come back to the castle, before Adrian had completely crumbled to the same sort of mad despair that had ruined his father.
"No, don't apologize." She gave a mirthless chuckle. "Maybe some consecrated water would've done that town good."
Trevor gave a curt nod, just to be done with the matter. "Well, I better get back to it. That bed won't disassemble itself." Sypha gave him a nod as he hefted the axes he'd brought over earlier and headed back inside. At the very least he had to get that bed into the burn pile before the day grew late.
* * *
November 24, 2022