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Through the darkness

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Jonathan and Mina Harker sat inside his old room in Castle Dracula. The presence of the entire castle changed from threatening to welcoming. For him, at least. Mina trembled beyond belief and clung to him. He rubbed her back and whispered as many comforting things he could think of; they didn't work. She had received explicit instructions not interfere with her husband. He was doing everything in his power to just keep her with him. He wanted her. He wanted to stay with her, even though he also wanted the Count- no, Vlad, no, yes, no.

Something in the back of his mind pulled him out of the room, somewhere in the castle. She felt it too and gripped his hand with pleading eyes; he kissed her deeply on the mouth and murmured, "I promise that you'll be safe. You won't have to worry about them."

"I love you," she gasped in desperation right after he shut the door.

Jonathan walked through the many hallways of the castle. It amazed him how it seemed impossible to navigate when he first attempted it.

He smelled sickly sweet perfume and stopped dead in his tracks. Memories of the last time he smelled it flooded through his head, and he fearfully turned around. Three angry, beautiful women stood behind him; they obviously wanted much closer than they were allowed. He took a hesitant step forwards, and they moved back. Good.

"Do not touch her," he growled at them in an attempt to disguise his desire to bolt out of the room. They stared back with scorn, and he walked away from them.

The Count stood in the middle of a large sitting-room. Jonathan walked up to him silently. He took his hand and kissed the knuckles.

"Vlad," Jonathan whispered.

"Jonathan," he replied.

"Please don't discard her. I lo-"

"So soon?"

"Centuries is soon? Centuries?"

"In my lifetime, yes."

"I have had two lifetimes. Two completely different lifetimes. And she is as much a part of them as you were. I'm here for her. You should not ignore that." The-Vla- he took his hand again and rubbed the back of it with his thumb. "Please." He nodded in defeat.

"Very well. I promise." He moved his hand to Jonathan's chin, who looked away. He couldn't. He felt a cold hand on his waist pulling him closer. It was possessive. It told him that he wouldn't be listened to in the same way he wanted.

"Vlad-"

"Centuries, Elizabeta," he growled. "Centuries doomed to this existence because I chose to condemn myself rather than go through eternity without you."

"That was your choice!" he yelled and spat in the vampire's face, trying to get out of the embrace. "I chose this for Mina, let go of me!"

"And I chose it for you!" Jonathan looked in his eyes at the passion of his statement. They burned with years and years of pain. "I made the mistake of pursuing her when it was you I was seeking. That was wrong. I was wrong, and I could have avoided it. Yes! But now that I found you," he brushed a willing cheek this time, "I cannot let you go. I need to have you with me, by my side. We have eternity, my love." Jonathan was pulled closer.

"I. Am here. For. My. Wife."

"And I am here for mine." His chin was tilted to the side as th-Vlad moved behind him. "Spend eternity with me. Please. I have only wanted to have you by my side. And now you are."

"Only because of Mina." His voice trembled. He could feel hot breath and hear desperation and had to fight to remember who Jonathan Harker chose to marry. He started to cry. A cold finger brushed them away.

"Why do you cry?" The whisper in his ear sounded genuine, and he gave in to the compulsion to say what was on his mind.

"You want Elizabeta. Mina needs Jonathan. I want to be both and not feel torn between two worlds." The hot breath gently nuzzled his neck and was accompanied by a gentle hand rubbing his waist. "You want me to be who I was. I cannot do. I'm someone different. I want to be this someone different. With my wife. The longer we talk, the less I want her, and I know I do. I want her and love her so much, but then you pull and consume and I down in both worlds."

"Eternity." Whispered in his ear. "Eternity is a long time. I would not hide you forever from her." He sank back into the body holding him up and groaned weakly. "I just want you to not hide forever from me."

"But you would be hiding me for almost eternity." A bleeding wrist was held by his cheek. He knew if he did there would be no going back.

"I will not discard her, my love." The tone was almost sincere. "She has had a lifetime with you, but I have not even had that. I wish to make up for that."

"No. I know what you want me to do. But this is not a war, Vlad." He pushed the wrist away and walked forward. "This is not a war, and you will not lose me. Mina, however, will. And I have a duty as her husband to not let that happen. Let me be a husband to her, as you were a husband to me." Vlad nodded and wiped the blood away from his wrist.

"Very well." He cupped Jonathan's face in his cold hands. "I will not stop you." They locked eyes for a few seconds. Then Jonathan kissed him out of pity. It took a few seconds, but a few seconds was more than enough for him to be kept as a long-lost bride. As soon as the kiss stopped, the wrist was offered; he didn't think when he accepted it. He just did.

"She will not be discarded," was murmured above him as he partook in the bastardization of a sacrament. "She will not be discarded, but she will not be elevated to your position, either. She has her place, and you my love, need not worry yourself about those in that place." He didn't pay attention to what was being said, only breaking away from the wrist to kiss him again. Vlad Dracula led him out of the room, unaware of the dark-haired figure in the doorway watching them with a broken scream stuck in her throat.