They each tell it differently, and in fragmented bits and pieces, so that by the time Adrien is old enough to understand the more intimate details of his parents’ relationship he has a version of events that is far more complete—and candid—than either Vlad or Lisa had ever intended it to be.
It was supposed to be simple, a brief overview of their relationship, same as any other parents' story—a simple tale, the bare bones basics of their love affair. However, their particular story followed slightly different lines. What should have been cut and dry, black and white, instead turned into a broad-scale epic of supernatural proportions. Woman meets vampire, woman bullies vampire into teaching her science, woman and vampire fall in love, get married, and have a son—not exactly a tale for the average bedside.
Of course, neither was Adrien a typical or average boy, so naturally Vlad and Lisa’s attempted blasé approach failed to go according to plan, and what Adrien instead ended up with was the effective equivalent of a sweeping harlequin romance—if large-scale romantic overtures were also interspersed with graphic descriptions of violence, bloodshed, and implied sordid liaisons throughout ones childhood home.
Vlad and Lisa did not intend it thus, initially picking out the more family-friendly tales of their relationship in a valiant attempt to maintain at least a modicum of assumed decorum. As time passed, however, they could not escape the reality that was their atypical life, and intuitive as he was Adrien quickly cottoned on to the fact that his parents’ grand romance was indeed punctuated by all sorts of trysts in an assorted number of other locations he preferred not to actively recall, as well as the occasional bloodbath and/or research hermitage. His mother’s experiments occasionally exploded, his father’s guests did not always leave the castle in one piece (or even recognizable ones), and not one of the three members of their little family could ever be guaranteed to be awake at the same time as the others.
Despite the uniqueness of their family life, or perhaps because of it, Adrien could not have asked for a better childhood—except for more time in it, perhaps.
Here, now, cemented firmly in the present and living alone in the ruins of his childhood home, Adrien has nothing but time as he dwells on the past and watches day after day pass. He ponders the events of the last months, recalls days long gone even as he bends his mind to what the future, bleak and lonely though it might appear, may hold.
He is also very well aware that his new friends—and doesn’t that give him pause, such a foreign and surprising word to pass through his mind—are quite intrigued by the story of Vlad and Lisa. They bring it up incessantly, beginning with tentative queries prior to their initial departure and following up with more and more specific questions upon their many returns and communications that follow.
Finally, the inevitable happens, Trevor and Sypha cornering him and asking him point-blank how someone as wonderful as Lisa of Lupu had been taken in by the dark and bloodthirsty Dracula. Their eyes bright with curiosity, postures singing of trepidation and a distinct hesitance to rock the boat, so to speak, they press him for details of his parents’ relationship, heads cocked and ears ready for any scraps he might deem worthy of sharing.
Adrien surprises them by smiling, albeit sadly.
“My parents’ story? Theirs was a first on all fronts,” he replies softly, looking across the table he shared with the human duo in one of the still-functional kitchens of the now-fallen castle. Though his eyes hold all the sadness merited by the question, a gleam of mischief shines through, his brilliant teeth flashing white as he breaks into his first true smile since the return of the pair after they had last parted ways. “Would you like to hear it?”
As expected, they nod, eyes alight with curiosity as he offers so much more than they could have expected, caught up in rapt silence in the story they never thought he would fully share.
Adrien settles more comfortably into his chair, kicking his long legs out beneath the table until they nudge Sypha’s, tangle with Trevor’s, and finally settle awkwardly out to the side, booted feet crossed.
“It started out a day like any other…”
“And I walked for hours through a standing, silent army of impaled skeletons,” Lisa told the boy perched on her knee, meeting his wide golden gaze with serious blue eyes. “They went on forever, staring down at me with hollow, empty eyes as I kept on.”
“I would think we shouldn’t talk about skeletons yet,” Vlad commented from where he sat reading in the corner, nose buried in a tome as thick as his waist, head propped in one hand as he poked through the crackling pages with the other. “The lad is only three.”
Winking at her son, Lisa turned a disparaging glance on her husband. “Who drinks blood and has already received rudimentary training in shapeshifting,” she replied, absently carding a finger through Adrien’s golden locks. “And who has the intelligence and awareness of a boy double his age, if not more.” She snorted. “I think he’s fine.”
Smiling so wide it threatened to split his face, Adrien turned to his father and promptly turned the skin and blood vessels of his hand invisible, displaying the tendons and bone beneath. “Skeletons,” he agreed.
Vlad huffed. “Very well, continue with your misinformation.” He waved one elegant hand. “It was hardly more than perhaps one hour’s worth of skeletons.” Smartly, he tapped Adrien’s hand, returning it to its typical fleshy opaqueness before retreating back into his book.
After sitting for a moment to ensure no further interruptions would ensue, Lisa continued her story. “So, then I reached the stairs—you’ve seen them—great, monstrous things leading up to a set of doors that could fit a giant ten times my height, and they open by themselves. By this point, I’m wondering if it’s worth it, if I’m even doing the right thing, but I did not walk all that way for nothing, so I went in.”
“And then a great, bloody bat swooped down behind you and caught you in its thrall,” Vlad added drolly.
Lisa scoffed. “Hardly.” She gave Adrien a side glance, putting a hand to her mouth in a great show of shielding her words from her husband. “I insulted his hospitality and bullied him into letting me stay.”
Adrien giggled, his eyes gleaming in the candlelight. “You’re good at bullying.”
There was a pregnant pause as both parents sat in mild shock, and then Vlad coughed, barely muffling a wry snort before he completely abandoned his pretense of reading. “That she is, boy, that she is.”
Lips pursed, Lisa leaned down so that her head was level with her son’s. “And why would you say that?” she posed.
Adrien squirmed off of her lap, bounding over to pull at his father’s hand until the vampire lord stood and scooped him into his arms, book cast aside. “Because you always tell Father and me what to do and we do it,” he said sensibly, “even when we don’t want to.”
“Alright, that’s enough.” Lisa rose, hands on her hips, a slight frown playing at her lips. “If little boys don’t respect their mothers they don’t get any blood after dinner.” Her mouth twitched, belying her heavy amusement with the turn the conversation had taken, and she wrapped an arm around her husband’s waist and leaned down to press her nose against her son’s. “We don’t want that, do we?”
He shook his head, face still smashed against hers. “Nuh-uh,” he denied vehemently. “I quite like blood.”
“Good lad,” Vlad praised, tossing him into the air and catching him scant inches from the stone floor as Adrien shrieked with delight. “Takes after his father.”
Mouth opening to interject, Lisa instead caught herself and simply hung in the background, a small smile dancing at her lips as she watched them together, catching Adrien’s eye as he turned to beam at her from over his father’s shoulder.
Present-day Adrien smiles as well, a match for the boy in his memory as he recalls the moment with a fond look in his eyes. “Mother always had the silliest expression when she watched me with Father,” he recalls, leaning back with his hands behind his head. “Like she knew exactly how unorthodox our situation was and was intent on cherishing every sentimental moment she could.”
He laughs lightly, and Trevor and Sypha exchange shocked looks at the levity in his voice. His parents had been such a driving force behind his rapidly shifting moods over the last months that they could never have imagined that he would perhaps glean some modicum of happiness from their story.
“He sounds like an entirely different man,” Sypha says carefully, watching her friend’s face for any sign that her words caused offense.
Alucard blinks and his eyes grow a shade darker, a slight frown tugging at the corner of his mouth. “He was, honestly. What you saw, what the world saw, was a broken man. My father died the day he learned of my mother’s fate.” Withdrawing into himself, his eyes grew shuttered. “So many horrible deeds done because he was weak enough to love, weak enough to not follow her into death.
Trevor opens his mouth and promptly closes it, seeing Sypha subtly shake her head. “So,” he says instead, drumming his fingers on the table, “What then?”
Nodding to acknowledge the swallowed remark, Adrien brings himself back to the present with a heavy sigh. “It does not do to dwell on what we cannot change,” he murmurs, although more to himself than his companions. Thinking back to his parent’s story he snorts. “After they had me? Oh, they continued on parenting in their own unique ways,” he says. “Mother would teach me science, practical skills, how to take care of myself and a home, and Father…well, his lessons were a bit more unorthodox…”
“She was always incredibly intent on learning, in those early days,” Vlad told his son drolly, mouth turned up into a wry smile as he stepped behind him to correct his stance as he fumbled with the too-long sword.
“What did you teach her?” Adrien asked, cocking his head as he watched Vlad step around back in front of him and assume an attacking stance.
Fangs glinting in the dim rays of daylight filtering through the high window, Vlad lunged forward in a sharp stabbing motion, driven the tip of his sword straight toward his son’s heart. “Everything. Science, maths, physics, biology, chemistry—she wanted to learn it all.” He paused for an unneeded breath as Adrien awkwardly dodged his strike, counting to ten before coming in with an atypically slow, sweeping slash and giving his son an approving nod as he managed the rather complex counter-strike.
Gasping for breath—which he unfortunately needed even though his father did not—Adrien skipped backwards. “No one can learn everything,” he contradicted, furrowing his brow.
“Clearly,” Vlad replied, blinking out of existence to reappear at Adrien’s back and rap him on the back of his head with the hilt of his blade. “But your mother certainly tried.” He dissolved himself to reform in the corner of the practice arena, baring a brilliant smirk of gleaming white teeth and fangs. “Of course, it was a little farther along in the progression of our relationship that our lessons got…interesting.”
Concentrating, Adrien allowed the now-familiar swoop of energy to surge through him before shooting forward with superhuman speed to slash ferociously at his father’s unguarded chest. “Interesting how?” he asked naively, grunting as Vlad simply caught his blade between his hands and held him in place.
“I’ll tell you when you’re older,” the vampire snickered, his red eyes growing dark with…not anger, Adrien knew anger, but this…
The eight-year-old’s nose wrinkled. “Oh, gross,” he exclaimed. “Not in the laboratory!”
Vlad snorted. “Oh to be young and innocent.” He picked Adrien up by the sword and flung him into the wall, the boy crumpling to a heap on the floor. “I believe lessons are over for the time, son.” Extending a hand he hoisted Adrien to his feet, eyes gleaming with approval. “Excellent job today, you have improved exponentially since our last session.”
Beaming, the boy sheathed his sword and squeezed his father’s hand before scampering out the door.
“You had to imply that we have…relations outside of our bedroom?” Lisa’s soft voice floated across the training hall, catching Vlad by surprise.
He blinked once, appearing at her side and dipping her low to the ground, pressing a searing kiss against her lips. “What the lad doesn’t know--or thinks he doesn't know-- won’t kill him,” he said, running his tongue along her lower lip before taking it gently between his teeth. “If that is the only illicit transgression he ever accuses us of we’re doing well, love.”
Lisa’s giggle turned into a heady moan, her hands threading through her husband’s hair and pressing him to her, claiming his mouth just as much as he did hers. “Well he certainly doesn’t need to know about the library,” she remarked breathily.
“Or the bathrooms.” Vlad arched an eyebrow, mouth moving lower to her collarbone.
“Or the kitchen,” Lisa muttered, head lolling back as she conceded defeat and allowed Vlad free reign to nibble his way down.
Vlad peered up at her, hands shifting to the ties of her dress, his eyes dark with lust. “Or the practice yard,” he murmured pertly.
Neither of them noticed the wide-eyed youth gaping at them through the still-cracked door leading to the hallway.
Sypha and Trevor gaze around the ashy ruins of the castle with mirrored expressions of horror. “Is there anywhere your parent’s didn’t do it?” Trevor asks bluntly.
Adrien snickers behind one hand. “It isn’t likely.”
The Belmont gags, looking disgusted. “That is a mental image I could definitely have done without!” he exclaims. “You didn’t get queasy thinking about your parents doing…that?”
Rolling her eyes, Sypha pokes him hard in the side. “Shut up, you,” she instructs. “They were in love, and it’s not like we haven’t—“ she breaks off blushing as Trevor splutters and Adrien smirks and raises an eyebrow.
“Haven’t what?” he prompts in a slow drawl, eyeing his two friends.
Silence descends upon their little party as the two humans blush. Adrien laughs out right at their discomfort, the sound brightly melodious and carrying through the desolate room like a brilliant ray of sunlight. It is a sound long lost to the lonely castle, and all three of them are startled by how loudly it carries through the open debris.
It is Sypha who breaks the long pause, reaching over to grasp Adrien’s hand in hers where it has knotted into a tight fist. “Your parents sound wonderful,” she tells him. “They had such a strange beginning, and a tragic ending, but the times in between—they sound like they were everything parents should be.”
Pale lips turn up as Adrien nods. “And they were,” he acknowledges. “So wonderful, so loving in their own ways. They put me first far more often than they should—Mother waited years to truly open her own practice, just took patients on the side when I was a youth. Father stayed his hand and his influence in affairs for years—it took him months to fully regain dominance of the vampires once I was grown.”
“But what about before they had you?” Sypha asks. “How does one go from the pupil of the great and terrible Dracula to being the love of his…life?” She pauses over the end of the sentence, raising an eyebrow which Trevor punctuates with a snicker.
“Unlife, perhaps?” the other man offers. “What made your parents start banging, man?”
Exasperation clear on his face, Adrien pinches the bridge of his nose. “Is sex and food all you ever think about?” he asks his friend with a pained grimace.
Trevor pretends to think for a moment. “I like to fight things, too,” he offers helpfully, grinning. Cracking his neck, he assumes a more sober expression, dark eyes intent as he peers across the table toward the blond. “No, but seriously, it’s quite a step to go from working for someone to falling in love.”
“This is true. They managed, though, and at a much quicker pace than I would ever give Father credit.” At their raised eyebrows, Adrien pulls his lips back in silent mirth. “He was hopelessly tongue-tied around her and refused to acknowledge that he actually cared about her for months at a time…”
“You need advice on what?” Vlad asked, dark brows drawn tightly together as he stared down at his son with a frown.
Gulping, Adrien forced himself to meet his father’s brilliant eyes. “How do you…talk to girls?” he asked. “Not like talking, but say there is a girl you like who is wonderful and nice and you talk sometimes but she doesn’t really see you and you want her to, and…” He flushes, pale cheeks turning a bright pink as he shuffles awkwardly from side-to-side.
“Have I met this girl? Who is she? I assume she is human?” Vlad’s questions were incessant, firing one after the other as Adrien withdrew further and further into himself.
Ducking his head, the youth deflected the question, running a hand through his shoulder-length hair. “Nevermind,” he muttered, “was a stupid idea anyway.”
Despite himself Vlad softened, placing a heavy hand on his son’s shoulder. “I don’t mean to pry too much, son,” he said, and it was as much of an apology as Adrien would ever get, “but she has to be worthy of my boy if you’re going to be speaking to her.”
“Don’t take advice from your father,” Lisa said brightly from the doorway, leaning against the frame with crossed arms. “His idea of letting me know he cared was refusing to speak with me for nearly three weeks and then finally pouncing like a cat on a mouse and snogging me senseless against the wall without a word between us.”
This was delivered so matter-of-factly that Adrien nearly had to pick his jaw up from the floor.
Vlad scowled darkly, looking over his son’s head to glare at his wife. “He did not need to know that. And you were driving me insane, being your usual kind and brilliant self and completely unaware of how you were cementing yourself further and further in my heart with each passing day. The only way to ensure I didn’t say or do something ridiculous was to put some distance between us.”
“Which worked brilliantly until you cornered me against the wall that afternoon,” she countered, blue eyes full of wicked humor.
“I don’t recall you complaining.”
Adrien was completely forgotten, standing between his parents with a resigned look of despair, lips twitching as he fought back a fond smile as they slipped into what he knew all too well to be a familiar routine. “I’m just going to…” He inched toward the door, ducking around Lisa into the relative safety of the hallway. Just as he was considering himself fully liberated, Lisa reached out and caught him by the sleeve.
“Just talk to her, love,” she told him, pinning him in place with her piercing blue gaze. “If she’s like most other girls, that will be more than enough. Be yourself, and please don’t be your father.”
Adrien snickered, nodded once, and then left them to it.
Adrien is all but lost in the past now, eyes staring sightlessly into the gaping hole where the doorway used to stand, looking beyond reality to a time where the castle and his family were whole. He hums quietly to himself, his breathing heavy and weighted by sorrow. “My father was terrible, yes, ruthless and bloodthirsty and entirely without empathy in most circumstances—but when it came to us, to his family, he was almost human. Mother saw that side more than anyone else, and loved him all the more for it.”
Breathing deeply through his nose, he sharpens his gaze to focus on his friends. “I believe that is more than enough sharing for quite a while,” he tells them, blinking furiously as he forces his mind back to the present.
If Sypha’s eyes are uncommonly bright and Trevor’s apparent itchy nose extends past the typical period of discomfort, well, Alucard says nothing. He had hardly expected them to be even remotely moved by his tale, yet to have them so obviously affected means far more to him than he would ever admit.
“I wish they could have had a happy ending,” Sypha says softly, reaching over to place a light hand on Adrien’s wrist.
“My father would laugh at that,” he replies, absently mirroring her gesture with his free hand. “Say that if anyone deserved a happy ending it would not be him. He wanted it for my mother, though—I wish they could have had each other to the end, regardless of what end it might have been.”
“Who is to say they didn’t?” Trevor asks, thoughtful. “In the end, after it’s all said and done, who knows what happened once they were...gone."
Cocking his head, Adrien offers a small smile. "Perhaps," he agrees softly, rather touched by his friend's attempt at tact.
"And even if not," Sypha adds, "they had you, and to them that was without a doubt the greatest happiness they could have achieved.
This time not even closing his eyes can prevent a few tears from slipping from beneath his shuttered lids, and Adrien exhales shakily, nodding his head in a sharp, jerking motion. "Yeah." It is not a concession he makes lightly, but as he focuses watery eyes on the empty doorway behind the human duo and catches the faintest glimpse of two indistinct figures, bathed in shadow and brimming with affection, he thinks that, perhaps, everything might be alright in the end after all.