“I cannot believe these trite, cinematic claims that I wanted Mina Harker as my bride.” Dracula shook his head. “It was not I who desired her, my servant.” He glanced over at Xander. “Van Helsing was the one who was so smitten with his precious Madam Mina. He truly came to idealize her, the fool.” The count smiled, showing a hint of fang. “Unlike me, he was from a far more monstrous bloodline, unable to control his passions.”
“Van Helsing was a vampire?” Maybe Xander shouldn’t have been surprised. It was only too easy for vampire hunters to join the ranks of the undead. Even Buffy had, even if it had only been in a nightmare reality.
Xander himself had, in a parallel world, along with Willow.
“Oh, yes.” Dracula settled himself with easy grace next to his ‘servant’. “Like your Angelus, your William the Bloody, Van Helsing was a soulless demon with a monstrous visage. He gathered a coven of lonely, vulnerable men, such as John Seward and Arthur Holmwood to himself until he fell in love.” Dracula fixed Xander with his searing dark gaze. “He snatched Johnathan Harker from myself and my brides, using his allure of his precious Mina to do so.”
“Who brought Van Helsing across?” Xander could tear himself away from that gaze, not that he was sure he wanted to. Bringing people across, this was how Dracula referred to siring other vampires. It was different from the process which had taken Jesse from him, robbing his friend of his soul.
Not to mention Angel and Spike.
“An enemy who would have taken you, your Slayer, and your witch not so long ago.” Dracula reached out a hand to trail down Xander’s cheek. “You knew him as the Master.”
The Master. The same vampire who’d sired Darla, who in turn sired Angel, who’d turned Drusilla, who’d taken Spike. The vampire patriarch of many of the undead who’d survived.
The same vampire who’d taken Jesse, not to mention Willow and himself in another world.
“And who brought you across?” Xander leaned into the vampire’s caress, even though he shouldn’t. He was unable to resist.
“One who could never ignore the call of his master or his own nobility even while he fought his own desires.” Dracula pressed his cool fingers against Xander’s skin. “His name was Nicholas de Brabant.”
“Tell me about him,” Xander breathed, almost seeing a vision of this Nicholas right behind his eyes.
“Beautiful.” Dracula allowed his cool fingers to trace a pattern upon Xander’s neck, perhaps the spot he intended one night to sink his fangs into. “With hair as golden as the Slayer’s and the same touch of cheeky sarcasm.”
“Buffy reminds you of your sire?” Intriguing. Not what he’d expected.
“Not to mention he also had, oh, what would you call them? Daddy issues.” Dracula withdrew his hand to smile with a bit of same sarcasm he’d just accused Nicholas and Buffy of. “He was as tied to his master as the Slayer was tied to her Watcher.”
Deprived of the dark prince’s caress, Xander was left to ponder that one.
Buffy had daddy issues. Here Xander had thought he and Angel were the ones who’d never been able to escape from the shadow of their fathers. Buffy lacked that shadow.
Perhaps this was why she had them, lack of a father, or a father who tended to disappear.
“I guess Daddy issues don’t automatically mean a disappointing father,” Xander murmured, unaware he was speaking out loud.
“My servant.” Dracula’s cool caress brought him back to the here and now. “I promise never to disappoint you the way your mortal sire has.”
Xander blushed a bit, ducking his head. He didn’t exactly see the dark prince as his father.
Still it was nice to hear this particular promise.