Dude, where is everybody?
Author: Me, Eiahmon. XD
Timeline: Lords of Shadow 2
Spoilers: For the ENTIRE Lords of Shadow Trilogy, but especially LoS2
Genre: Hmmm let's just call it Family
Disclaimer: If I owned Castlevania, when would have gotten to see Julius curbstomp Dracula.
Comments: You know, Lords of Shadow 2 had some issues, but damn, it had the best character development ever. I recommend it simply for that.
Never Too Late
Son... when.. will I meet you again?\
When I put my hand on your shoulder... Father.
When I put my hand on your shoulder... Father.
~ Act I: Alucard ~
Dracula smiled faintly at his son before his red eyes sank shut, and he collapsed forward into the younger vampire's arms, deeply asleep. His power, which had only second before thrummed around him like a second skin, weakened and faded to nothing. With it gone, his armored coat and clothing turned back into the blood it had been created from and ran down to the ground in thin rivulets, leaving the Dragon naked upon the burnt ground.
The empty battlefield then fell silent save for the distant rumble of thunder, nothing but Alucard and Dracula himself had survived that final spell cast in desperation by the Paladin and amplified by an angry dark lord, tired of his immortal life.
It wasn't necessary; he didn't need to breathe, but Alucard still took a deep breath that was released as a sigh. It was done; his father had agreed to the plan and was now sleeping deeply with the blade of the Crissaegrim run through his heart. A tiny part of his own heart, all that remained of that angry young man he had been upon waking in his coffin centuries ago, whispered that he should finish it now, cut the vampire to pieces and burn the remains, but another part of him resisted. A tiny fragment that was all that was left of Trevor Belmont refused to entertain the though of committing patricide, no matter how many evils his father had committed. His anger had cooled over the years, and he had come to understand his father's anger, more than the other would ever know. No, even if it was possible to actually kill him without the Vampire Killer, he couldn't harm his father now, not while he was defenseless in his arms. He would do as agreed; he could revisit the issue once Satan and Zobek had been dealt with.
"The Mirror showed me." he said quietly. "You wanted this no more that I did, but it was your fate, and you accepted it as best you could." He closed his eyes for a moment; the Brotherhood had played them both, costing them everything.
Except for, perhaps, each other.
Lightning flashed through the haze in the air, followed a second later by thunder. The first drops of rain pattered to the ground, and Alucard sighed again and began to get to his feet.
To his vampiric strength, his father weighed nothing, but it was still awkward to gather him into his arms without dislodging the massive blade embedded in his chest.
He is beyond pain, but I still don't wish to hurt him further.
Sleep had washed the constant anger from Dracula's face, but as Alucard gazed down at him, he saw that something else had taken it's place. Though the rest of his body was limp, Dracula's eyes were squeezed tightly shut, like he was trying to shut out the world around him, and his mouth was pulled down like someone about to start weeping at any moment. His hands had curled up, looking as though he was grasping for something, something that he would never be able to reach. Had this always been there, hidden behind the facade of rage that he projected to the world? Had anyone else noticed it?
Would anyone have cared?
Above them, the clouds opened up, and the cold rain poured down in sheets as Alucard carried his father out of the ruins of the devastated battlefield, back towards the only place where he would be safe.
"Rest, Father," he said quietly. "I will protect you until the time comes."
~ Act II: Marie ~
Gabriel was sleeping.
She tried not to look at the sword that their son had driven though his father's heart. She knew that it wasn't a mortal wound, but it still pained her to see it, even as she acknowledged the necessity of it. The long sleep would allow him time to rest and escape the never ending cycle of rage and grief that his existence had become since his destruction of the Forgotten One. No one remembered the sacrifices he had done for the world; no one cared that without his actions, there would be nothing but darkness. Gabriel had saved everyone, but in doing so condemned himself to an eternity of torment, longing for the life that no longer was and never could be again.
She carefully reached down into the open coffin and gently brushed his hair out of his face. Trevor had stepped away to ensure that the area was warded against all that wished harm upon Gabriel, so she had a few minutes until he returned. Years from now, she would be able to aid them both in their quest to defeat Satan and Zobek once and for all, but for the moment, she had but a few minutes to spend with her sleeping husband before she had to depart.
Pain was etched onto his face, even while in a deep sleep, and she ached for him. He had done so much, yet no one could ease his grief. He was unaware of her presence by his side, which perhaps was for the best. Centuries after her death, he still pined for her, so knowing that she was nearby without being able to reach for her would have been torture for him.
"Let him heal," she said softly, "Let him find peace. Let him dream of good things, of life, of love, of family, of home and safety. Let him awake knowing that he is loved still. Let him understand that life does not end with loss."
There was a soft sigh then, and as she watched, Gabriel's face slowly relaxed. His fingers straightened, and his hands dropped down to rest on his chest. She smiled; her prayer had been heard.
"Sleep, my love," she whispered as she ran her fingers down his cheek, "sleep and heal. When you are ready, I will be waiting."
~ Act III: Dracula ~
In the dark confines of his sarcophagus, Dracula slept, and he dreamed.
He dreamed of times before Satan's spell: of the quiet life in his and Marie's small cottage, of he and Marie watching from the front door while Trevor chased a dog about in the yard, of nights spent by the fire as a family, with Marie working on her needlework while he taught Trevor his letters. Time seem to be frozen, for he and Marie never grew old, while Trevor remained a boy of twelve. The Brotherhood never called him for a quest, and while part of him wished to go check in with them, he was content to remain with his family. It was always summer, and they never wanted for anything. Their larder was always well stocked, and no creatures of the night came prowling. They were safe.
He knew that he was dreaming, but he seemed to be unable to wake himself, though he really had no desire to do so. He couldn't remember falling asleep, but he did not let that disturb him. As long as the dream continued, he was content to remain within it. Sometimes when he and Marie bedded down, he would dream within his dream -
Come Father. This place is no longer safe for you.
- but he could never remember those upon "waking" in the morning.
Trevor never seemed to know that the world around them wasn't real, but sometimes he caught Marie looking at him sadly, though she was always quick to smile when she noticed him looking. Marie's parents, who visited often, and Trevor's friends seemed to believe that everything was real as well, and he didn't have the heart to bring it up.
Rumors are swirling about, Father. Our plan seems to be working as we intended.
Years passed in the dream world as he taught Trevor the basics of combat, as they shared games and stories, as he and Marie danced to the music in a festival in town. Slowly, Gabriel began to ignore that he was dreaming, then he forgot it entirely. He did not question that the seasons never changed, that he and his family never aged, or that he never had to hunt to keep their larder full.
Zobek is on the move again, it seems.
One night, as they lay in bed together, Marie turned to him. She reached out with one slim hand and ran her fingers down his cheek.
"Gabriel," she whispered to him in the dark room, "It is time."
He looked at her in confusion. "Marie?"
"It is time for you to wake."
"What are you - ?"
The rest of his question was cut off then, as an excruciating pain filled his chest, centered where his heart was. The air was forced from his lungs, and it was only that that prevented him from screaming.
What is happening? he tried to ask, but he couldn't make the the words come.
Marie inched over to him and kissed him softly on the lips before she backed away.
It's done. Father will awake in a few hours.
"Goodbye, my love." Marie told him as their bedroom began to fade away. "I will see you soon. I love you."
Darkness crept in around the edges of his vision, and Gabriel felt himself falling as Marie seemed to recede away from him. He tried to call out to her, to reach her, but his body wasn't his to command. He fell, down, away from her, away from Trevor, away from the sweet happiness that had been his for so long...
… and he came awake with a harsh cough. His body heaved as he sucked air into his lungs and managed to sit up. He felt cool stone under his hands and wondered where he was for a brief moment before a more serious problem presented itself.
"Marie?" he rasped, but there was no answering call His eyes quickly adjusted to the darkness around him, and he saw that he was not in a bed, but a stone sarcophagus. He realized then...
"It hadn't been real." he whispered "None of it had been real."
I will see you soon.
Closing his eyes in pain, Dracula ignored the thirst burning in his veins and climbed out of the sarcophagus. He didn't recognize his location, but that meant nothing to him.
"I never wished to wake up."
It's time to go, Father.
He wandered away from where he had been sleeping, down a corridor lit by candles (Who had lit them? he wondered for a brief moment.) until he came to a circular platform in front of a stained glass window. Off to the left was a staircase leading to a throne like chair that was hidden in the shadows. He shuffled up those steps and sat down. Barely a minute later, his senses pinged a warming.
Zobek was coming.
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