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 + through 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 + S4 animation canon based.
Archived at: http://www.phenixsol.com/Miko/FF/

* * *

Under the Milky Way

Ch. 8: He will do one of two things
He will admit to everything

* * *

Sure enough, Trevor was forced to spend an hour sandwiched between two people who could speak and read a ridiculously large number of languages. He still didn't give a shit about learning to read and write, but it wasn't bad getting to sit out in the afternoon sun, feeling Sypha's breasts pressing against his arm whenever she leaned in to point out words line by line. She wasn't a bad teacher - it was more that he was far from an ideal student, seeing no practical value in letters and words. It wasn't like he could recite the alphabet at a night creature to browbeat it into submission. He'd rather be doing something useful like hunting game or chopping wood or performing maintenance on his whips.

If they ever had the half dozen kids she was hoping to have, he was sure they'd all be properly educated. Unless they all turned out like him, he thought, hiding a grin.

Adrian didn't have Sypha's patience, grumbling if Trevor screwed up more than twice in a row, but he'd tasked himself with teaching Trevor to write and seemed resolved to do so one way or another. But Trevor didn't mind his cranky persistence; he liked watching Adrian write letters over and over in demonstration, the way his long fingers gripped the pen, his script flowing out easily, elegant and flawless. And just as determined as Adrian was to teach him, Trevor was determined to at least learn a few letters - maybe if he could do that much, it wouldn't be a stretch to ask for a kiss as a reward?

After a half-hour, Trevor wasn't thinking about asking for anything as a reward. All he'd really managed to do was get ink on his hands. Calling his scrawls "writing" was an insult to actual handwriting. But Adrian studied the progression from the beginning of the session to the end and said he could see some improvement, so Trevor figured that maybe it wasn't a waste of time after all.

With the sun starting to droop over the horizon, they packed up the books and writing supplies, then split up to finish any chores that had to be done that day. Sypha went back to poking at the smoldering embers where the bonfire had been, while Adrian went to get some laundry that had been left out to dry, then headed back in to get started on dinner. Trevor dragged in some extra firewood for the boiler then headed back out, intending to gather some flowers for the dinner table - and yes, he was well aware that he really had no clue what to grab or how to present them - but this was his idea, damnit, and he was going to see it through...

Too bad the night creature Trevor stumbled into had to ruin things. It was one of the ones that looked like a cross between a bull, a human, and a hedgehog. The flowers he'd gathered mostly got trampled by the stupid creature as it turned to flee after realizing it had chosen the wrong victim. Trevor only felt moderately better after sinking the flaming end of the Morning Star into the back of the thing's skull. There was no hope for most of the flowers though, and with the sun starting to brushing the horizon line, he didn't have time to go get more. Best he could do was pick up the ones that weren't broken or too badly squashed, brush the dirt off, and hope that Adrian wouldn't notice.

"I'm back. Sorry I was gone so long," Trevor called out once he reached the kitchen.

Sypha had found a vase and filled it with water, ready for the brunet's return, but when she saw the drooping flowers in his hand she made a face. "Trevor, really?" she chided. That had to be the saddest, sparsest bouquet she'd seen.

"Well it didn't look like this when I started. I had a whole bunch. Then a brazenly stupid night creature attacked me... So this is good as it gets."

"Are you alright?" Adrian asked over his shoulder from the stove, not even noticing the flowers.

Trevor's hand automatically dropped to touch the whip at his side. "Of course. It was just one random night creature."

"Most of them don't tend to get too close to the castle, so it's not usually a prob..." Adrian trailed off, his brow wrinkling slightly. "Flowers?"

"Yeah. I grabbed them for you, but I know they look pretty shitty after being trampled and all that."

"... You... for me?"

Trevor looked over at the vase, then plopped them into the water regardless of their sad state. He gave a modicum of effort to arrange them into a more pleasing display, then shrugged and put them on the dining table, just behind the two dolls. Even he wasn't sure if it made the table look any nicer. "Yeah, for you."

Adrian wiped off his hands and came over to the table. No one had ever brought him flowers before, trampled or otherwise. He sighed softly. "Is this part of your whole wooing thing?"

"Courting. And, sort of. Except I imagined it would go differently," Trevor admitted. "Like I said, I had gathered a lot more. I had originally wanted to cook dinner too, but the last time I tried making something fancier than skewered meat, I nearly killed both Sypha and I, so..."

"I told you those mushrooms weren't safe to eat!" Sypha chided.

Trevor shrugged. "They looked just like the ones I normally pick..."

Adrian shook his head, one of his characteristic small smiles gracing his lips. "I think I'll continue handling the meals here."

Dinner ended up being grilled sausages and roasted vegetables with some leftover bread, served with wine of Adrian's choosing. Trevor ate it all up with relish, feeling pretty pleased with himself when even Sypha admitted the flowers looked a little less sad once they had some time to take up water.

"Want to head up to the balcony after dinner?" Trevor asked once the meal began winding down.

Adrian cocked his head slightly. "Balcony?"

"Yeah, the one way up in the clouds."

"I thought you said it seemed extremely unsafe," Adrian commented. The closest Trevor had gotten to it was looking at the long straight stairs that led up to it, through the access door. The hunter wasn't afraid of heights, but he hadn't liked the way the entire section shuddered when the winds started blowing.

"Well it hasn't fallen off yet," Trevor said lamely. "So it's probably okay?"

"I already explained it to you, it's not going to collapse. It was designed to flex in the wind. It's as sound as any part of this castle. My father's engineering is solid," Adrian patiently pointed out.

"So can we?" Trevor asked, not really caring about the logic behind the build.

Adrian just sighed. Apparently he was going to get dragged through this whole script Trevor had thought up, one way or another. "All right. But bring a cape or a blanket up, it can get chilly up there."

* * *

The trio stepped out onto the balcony and almost immediately, Sypha turned and slapped Trevor on the arm. There was nothing romantic about it being so damn cold!

The winds were stronger this high up. What was a gentle night breeze on the ground far below was forceful enough to whip even Adrian's heavy fall of hair around like a flag. Not that it seemed to bother him in the slightest; he walked down the narrow length of the platform and stood at the edge, staring out into the surrounding darkness.

"I'm just glad you told me to bring a blanket with me," Trevor said. They'd been there less than a minute but even he was starting to shiver slightly. He threw half of it over his shoulders and offered the other side to Sypha, who wrapped it tightly around herself, and then snuggled up against his side as well to share in the trapped body heat.

"We won't stay long, even though this was your idea, Trevor," Adrian said with a faint smile. His gaze swung up to the unobstructed night sky above. His father had loved stargazing; Adrian remembered spending many a night on this balcony, as his father pointed out all the constellations and explained the origins of each of their stories.

"It is a beautiful view; I won't argue with that," Trevor said, though he was more marveling at how well suited Adrian seemed to the setting, his black coat with gold accents and pale golden hair mirroring the night sky alight with stars and moonlight. The cold didn't seem to faze Adrian one bit.

"Why did your father think building this was a good idea?" Sypha complained, trying to push her own wayward curls out of her face, before tucking her arms back under the blanket. Like Trevor, she wasn't afraid of heights, but this balcony was extraordinarily high. "There's not even any railings."

"He said it interfered with the view. But my mother agreed with you - she forbid me from coming up here alone until I was five or six." Adrian paused, then chuckled softly. "That sounds strange. Maybe I should say, 'the equivalent of a ten or twelve year old.'"

"I think she had the right idea," Sypha murmured. She looked over at Trevor again. He shook his head briefly. There'd be no stargazing on a night like this - maybe they could come back up in summer.

"Perhaps. I wasn't fully in control of my levitating or shape-shifting then," Adrian said into the sky, reminiscing. His mother had been very concerned that he'd fall off the balcony, but he had never been a reckless child, so her fears had been unfounded.

Turning back to his companions, Adrian noticed how they were both huddled together under the blanket, Trevor going as far as to wrap both arms around Sypha to pull her closer, warming her, and the half-vampire suddenly thought, he didn't belong. Just as he hadn't that night down in the Belmont Hold, when Sypha and Trevor had curled up to sleep together, leaving him to wander the library like a ghost. So much for nobody ever being lonely in the Belmont house.

Sypha and Trevor were made for each other, both clever, quick witted and loyal, with hearts big enough to want to save the entire world. Whatever one of them lacked, the other made up for it. They made a good couple. They didn't need him intruding, ruining things. Besides, how were they going to raise a family with him around, complicating things? Was Sypha aware that she was pregnant?

As clumsy and haphazard as it had been - he was loath to call it a courtship at all - it had been nice being courted. A sweet, silly little fantasy in which he was the object of desire of the two people he was closest to. If things had gone differently, if he was someone different... he would've been happy to accept their affection. But he'd let it go on long enough. It was time to bring them back to reality.

"You've both been very kind today. I appreciate the gesture," he said, realizing even as he spoke how hollow those words sounded. Sumi had said something similar, hadn't she? All while smiling at him, clinging to his arm... planning his murder. He swallowed, feeling the bile rising in his throat. "I enjoyed the attention, but... I must decline."

"Why? Where did this suddenly come from?" Trevor asked, blunt as ever.

Sypha frowned at her boyfriend. "We know it's not a lack of interest. So what are your concerns?" she asked, going for a more diplomatic approach.

Adrian gave her an apologetic look. "I know I owe you an explanation, but..."

"No, you don't. You don't 'owe' us anything," the redhead clarified. "We would like one, but I'm more concerned about what's on your mind."

Adrian took a deep breath, then another, before saying, "I'm unsure how to best approach this, but... in case you're not aware, it appears you won't be the last Belmont, Trevor."

Trevor's brows beetled. "... Wait, what?"

"Congratulations," Adrian said, softly enough that the wind nearly swallowed it. He felt like a complete coward, knowing full well that he was trying to misdirect them.

"Are you saying I'm pregnant? How..." Sypha looked equally confounded. Yes, she was a couple of weeks late, but her cycle had never been terribly consistent, so she hadn't put much thought into it. Her hand fluttered down to her stomach, which was as flat as usual. "Are you sure?"

"Fairly certain. I'd noticed signs of it earlier, but after being in the bath together, I was able to reconfirm my suspicions."

Sypha let her other hand drop onto her stomach. A baby! That meant Trevor would no longer be the last of his line - and the world could certainly use a few more Belmonts. Not that she'd actively tried to get pregnant, given all the hazards and uncertainty they'd faced in their travels, but they hadn't done anything to prevent it either; her community had a fairly laissez-faire attitude towards pregnancy, and she was no exception.

The Speaker looked up at her boyfriend, who looked equal parts excited, overwhelmed, and completely floored, then back across at Adrian, standing at the other end of the balcony, silhouetted against the light of the moon, his expression hidden in the shadows. She had thought she'd be thrilled - and she was, really - but somehow, it was almost like Adrian was using the news against them, dividing them. "Even if you're right, that shouldn't... You do understand, for Speakers, it's normal having family consist of more than just a mother and father and child, yes? Would my having a child with Trevor upset things that much?"

"Maybe he doesn't like kids," Trevor whispered, wide eyed, before he remembered, Adrian could hear him, even with the wind whistling on and off.

Adrian turned his head away. "It has nothing to do with liking children. That's not the reason. I just thought you should know, before... before this went too far." He sighed. "I don't want to complicate things; the two of you have a good relationship going."

"Yes. But we want you to be part of that, too. We were only at our best, when it was all three of us together," Sypha said.

"You're going to need to explain things slower, because I don't get it," Trevor added. Admittedly, he was probably not in the right state of mind to be understanding anything at the moment. He'd dreamt of having a family again, but it had been too much to hope for. One of his hands shakily drifted down towards Sypha's stomach and rested over hers.

"I suppose... I will have to." The blond looked around. The balcony was quite possibly the worst setting for a confession. It'd be too tempting to simply step off the edge, if things went badly. It was bad enough that he'd already considered it. And Trevor and Sypha were clearly cold and miserable. "I think I need a drink."

"You and me both, I'm freezing," Trevor agreed.

They ended up wandering back down to the wine cellar, but instead of pulling out the chairs at the table, Adrian headed back to the room he was occupying. Trevor and Sypha followed without complaint, anticipating something big was about to happen - bigger than even Adrian's casual announcement of Sypha's pregnancy.

They sat down on the sofa, the Speaker and hunter flanking the half-vampire. Adrian set down a trio of glasses, uncorked the bottle, then started pouring. But his hands wouldn't stop shaking. Instead of pouring wine into the glasses, it was more like he was liberally sprinkling it about instead, so Trevor grabbed the bottle and filled one glass nearly to the rim before saying in a low murmur, "You don't have to do this you know."

"I do. I have to," Adrian insisted, grabbing the glass and downing a huge gulp of wine. He made a face. "This has been eating at me and I need you to understand. I need to set things straight. I just don't think I can get through it without... help."

Trevor sighed, wanting to slug down half the bottle himself, but he probably needed to be sober for this. He pushed away the other two glasses. He decided it was his job to moderate the flow of liquor instead. Too much and Adrian would just end up face down on the floor somewhere, his story unfinished. Too little and he'd probably quit before getting through it.

For several minutes Adrian simply drank, and Trevor obligingly refilled the glass when he felt it was needed, while Sypha held Adrian's hand, stroking it.

Finally, Adrian lowered his glass, and stared straight ahead, eyes slightly glassy. "Where do I even begin?"

Sypha and Trevor exchanged glances, then in a rare moment of falling out of sync with one another, Sypha asked, "What were their names?" just as Trevor inquired, "How did you meet them?"

Adrian sighed heavily. "Sumi. Taka." Just saying that was enough to make his stomach lurch, and he held his hand over his mouth until he was able to rein it in enough to start up again. "They said they were from a country to the east called Japan, where they'd been enslaved to the court of a vampire named Cho, one of my father's generals. They'd been tracking the castle, looking for her, wanting to defeat her to free their people from her vampiric rule."

"If Cho was at the castle during our raid, I'm sure we killed her," Trevor murmured, as Sypha shot him a look to tell him not to interrupt. He immediately shut his mouth.

"But they worried that another vampire would simply rise up and take over her court. They said they were alone; they needed a friend. I... felt the same," Adrian added in a shameful whisper. "They begged me to teach them, to train them. And so I did. I housed them. I fed them. I showed them around the castle, the Hold - they had access to the armory, the libraries. I worked with them every day to improve their knowledge and combat abilities."

The blond shook his head slowly. "I should've seen it coming. They kept asking about moving the castle, about why I wasn't showing them more, sooner. They wanted to know about magic, different weapons, tactics. They even wanted to know if the lightning in the Hold could be harnessed as a weapon. They had a thousand and one questions, and I suppose I wasn't giving them the answers they wanted to hear, fast enough. Or maybe... I was holding back without realizing, trying to slow things down a little, because they'd leave, wouldn't they, once they'd gotten what they wanted?"

Trevor and Sypha exchanged glances again, though neither said a word. Even if Adrian hadn't framed it as an accusation, that last comment was a reflection of what they'd done: they'd needed Adrian to kill Dracula; they'd left soon after.

"Then one night, they came to my room. To my bed. They said I was lonely and it was time for my reward." He rubbed at his forehead, and took another drink before realizing he was probably already over his limit, though his voice remained annoying steady, despite the buzzing in his head.

"They pushed me down and took turns kissing me, first Sumi, then Taka," he continued, the tip of his tongue flicking out over his lower lip. "I've never kissed anyone before, for obvious reason." He flashed a hint of fang. "At the time, it felt nice... I think."

Trevor swallowed, the sound loud enough to reverberate throughout the room. Adrian didn't react. Sypha shot her boyfriend another look but didn't say anything.

"I thought they liked me. They took off their nightclothes and took mine off as well. Their bodies were warm. We touched each other, and they kissed me all over, and... we had sex. I'd never..." He faltered and turned back to his glass to find only a few drops left; Sypha wisely plucked it from his trembling fingers before he dropped it as he forced himself to plunge on.

With his hands unoccupied, Adrian began fingering the scars on his wrists again. But before Trevor or Sypha could reach over to stop him from digging in, he suddenly clamped his hand down over the damaged area, his knuckles white. "They grabbed my wrists and I found myself immobilized and bound to the bed. It was like lines of fire were cutting into me all over; the more the struggled, the worse the pain. I... could smell my skin burning. They said I'd lied to them, that I hadn't helped enough, that they'd been deceived and cheated by everyone they'd ever met and that I was no different. ... But I hadn't lied to them. I'd tried to teach them and train them, like you would've wanted, Trevor. Like my mother would've wanted. But I hadn't done enough... and for that, they intended to stake me to my bed."

Adrian let out a sudden bark of laughter that sounded closer to a cry. "They said I was already dead. Didn't I say the same about my father?"

Trevor suddenly yanked Adrian into his arms almost violently, pulling him so close that there was nearly no gap between their torsos. Adrian found himself staring blankly at a slice of Trevor's throat as the hunter's hand came up to card through his hair with surprising tenderness. It was almost enough to stop Adrian in his tracks, but the words kept tumbling out, one after another.

"After that... I don't remember. There was blood everywhere. I don't know where I left the sword. I ended up in my childhood room. But I don't remember going there," Adrian babbled, feeling just as foggy-headed now as he had when he'd dashed blindly out of the bloodied bedroom. "And then the next day - or was it the next? I don't know anymore - I staked them outside the gates, to scare everyone else away. And to remind myself that I'm a fucking idiot, because my father had always warned me not to let anyone close..."

Adrian faltered, knowing full well that wishes meant nothing and that what had happened, happened. "Until the very last moment, if they'd simply stayed their hands... I would've forgiven them. For everything," he whispered, his breath hitching.

"I know. I know you tried. You did your best," Trevor murmured, his voice rough and low, as all the jokes and fantasies they'd had about seducing Adrian flew out the window like a flock of panicked birds. It kept echoing through his head, that Adrian had kept in mind his wishes for the Hold. It felt like a stab of betrayal to Trevor as well, that someone had taken his family's legacy and turned it against the very man who'd been entrusted with protecting it.

"It wasn't your fault. They didn't know how to trust, so they took advantage of your kindness," Sypha said from behind, joining in the hug, pressing Adrian further into Trevor as if to eliminate even the tiniest sliver of space between them. "I'm so sorry, that you went through that. That we weren't here to stop it from happening."

He had told himself he wasn't going to cry. That was the point of drinking, wasn't it? And surely he'd run out of tears long ago. But they suddenly sprung out of nowhere, like a burst pipe, and before Adrian knew it he was sobbing noisily into Trevor's neck and shoulder, clinging to his shirt, crying out Trevor's name and Sypha's, until his voice went hoarse and his throat hurt like razors were slicing through it. And all his friends could do was hang on, hold him up, and let him wring himself dry.

Trevor remembered when he'd found out that the rest of his family had been completely wiped out. He hadn't shed a single tear for them, because tears were a luxury, and survival first and foremost in his mind. But for the first time in a long time, he could feel a growing dampness gathering in his eyes... and once again he could not afford to let it fall. The last thing Adrian needed right now was someone crying on him.

Sypha remembered the bloodstained sheet on the floor of Adrian's childhood room, and agonized over the fact that he'd escaped the horror of betrayal only to collapse where his father had died, injured and broken in this empty castle with no one to console him.

After an unknown amount of minutes - or was it hours? - Adrian had gone quiet, save for uneven, congested breathing. The fingers that had clawed small tears into Trevor's tunic had started to slacken and he was noticeably slumping against them. Sypha pulled back slightly to resettle herself, but Adrian suddenly stiffened in agitation, and she was quick to murmur quiet reassurances as she tried to get more comfortable on the sofa.

"My legs are starting to go numb, too," said Trevor. "Can we move to the bed or something?"

"That would be better," Sypha agreed. "Adrian, is that okay?"

He gave a slow, tiny nod of assent against Trevor's shoulder.

"Can you stand? Or is it easier if I carry you?" the brunet asked.

Adrian shook his head. He didn't want to be carried around like he was helpless. Yet, it felt like his legs had completely gone to jelly; standing was impossible. He couldn't even find the energy to sit up properly on his own.

Sypha and Trevor had a brief, hushed discussion, then Adrian suddenly found himself hoisted up despite his weak protests, carried for a few strides, and carefully deposited in the center of the mattress. Since he still didn't want to let go of Trevor's shirt, the hunter managed to kick off his boots after a couple of attempts, then crawled in next to him, fully dressed, and pulled the blanket over both of them, as Sypha joined them on the other side.

"It's all right. Just rest," Trevor murmured, letting Adrian curl up against him as much as he wanted.

"We'll be here," Sypha added as she smoothed down Adrian's hair, twisting it out of the way a bit so she could spoon up against his back without getting a face full of hair. "You're safe now."

The three of them lay there in relative silence - punctuated only by the occasional sniffle or hiccup or the rustling of sheets - until Adrian had stilled and no longer reacted to either one of them shifting their weight.

Trevor cautiously rolled onto his back and stared up at the ceiling. He was glad Adrian was asleep, but sleep was something that just wasn't going to happen for him. To think that those people had simply marched right in and done whatever they wanted, and desperate, lonely Adrian had innocently let them take advantage of him... "Sypha... I need to go out for a bit."

The redhead propped herself up on one arm. "Right now?! For what?"

"I seriously need to kill something or I'll explode," Trevor snarled, trying his best to keep his voice low.

Sypha's lips tightened. "It's not that I don't understand. I feel the same. But right now, we have to stay with him."

"I know, I know," Trevor grumbled. He wanted to get up and pace around, or maybe punch some walls, but Adrian was half sleeping on his arm and his fingers were still tangled in his tunic. "I can't believe I'm saying this, but if a dozen night creatures showed up at the castle gates right now, I'd welcome it."

"I wouldn't mind it either. Any sort of distraction, really," Sypha admitted, sounding both drained and frustrated. "Maybe we can all go on a hunt tomorrow, if Adrian feels up to it. I'm sure he could use the distraction too."

Trevor went quiet for a minute, before hesitantly asking, "Humanity doesn't seem like it's worth saving, does it?"

She frowned. Adrian wasn't the only one who'd suffered at the hands of the very people he was trying to save. She pressed in closer and reached over Adrian to gently run her fingertips over Trevor's cheek, as she tried to memorize the feel of the wind roughened skin, of each scar under the perpetual growth of stubble. "There will always be people with wicked intentions. But at the same time there'll be many more who are good or kind or fair. It's why your family has fought on their behalf for so many generations, why Speakers continue to offer their aid, despite the persecution."

Trevor sighed. It wasn't like he didn't know that. It was just... hard to remember it at the moment. "The thing that pisses me off the most is... I feel partially responsible. Yes, yes, I know I'm not - directly. But those cuffs came from my family's collection. And I am the one who asked him to stay and be the guardian of the Hold."

"Yes, you did. And that saved his life. Remember what his original plans were."

"I haven't forgotten. But it was an impossible ask - I chained him down as surely as those cuffs did."

"Trevor, no," Sypha insisted as she reached for his hand, but he pulled away, not wanting to be comforted.

"We should've been here. What good is it to try and save the whole world, if we can't even protect someone we care about?" Trevor hissed angrily, half sitting up.

Sypha went quiet for a moment, but it was Adrian stirring in his sleep that finally got the hunter to lie back down and regain composure. "I... didn't mean to make it sound like it was your fault," Trevor told his girlfriend, his voice low once again, after checking to make sure that Adrian hadn't awoken.

"No, it's all right. I know it was I who wanted to go back on the road. I wanted to find my caravan... and I thought that the two of us could make a real difference out there. But you're right; although I cared for Adrian and called him my friend, I didn't think through the impact our absence would have on him either."

"We can't mess this up again, Sypha," Trevor said, reaching back across to offer her his hand, if she'd accept it, even though he'd just tried to pull away...

"I agree," she said softly, lacing her fingers with his. His fingers were rough with calluses from years of wielding his whip and other weapons, but she found them familiar and comforting.

Trevor went back to staring at the ceiling. "Are you going to sleep? I'm not sure if I can..."

"I know. Just... try. He'll need us when he awakens, I'm sure."

With nothing more to be said, they let silence settled back over them as they lay there with their hands intertwined over Adrian's back.

* * *

Author's Notes:

February 1, 2023