It had been an ambush. The stupid bastards had somehow managed to sneak up on them, even though they’d taken all of the precautions. Fire was out before the sun set, Sypha putting wards on the windows to make the decrepit little building look empty. But it didn’t matter, none of it. It was Trevor’s fault, of course. He’d gone out to take a piss and something vaguely shaped like a man had grabbed him and, well, here they were, fighting for their lives again.
Trevor felt the sting of skin being split and grit his teeth. Just a scratch, he told himself, ignoring the warmth that began to dribble down his calf. This lanky fucker was all claws and fast to boot. The whip felt fluid in his hands, twisting around trees and undergrowth, cracking down just a split second too late. Only good peripheral vision and an unbalanced dodge saved his face from more scars. He rolled out of the trees, into a small clearing in front of the cliff. Up on one knee then backwards into a low crouch. The creature was out of sight for the moment and Trevor felt exposed. He drew his shortsword, feeling better with the familiar weight in his grip.
He could see the telltale signs of Sypha and Alucard nearby, red and blue bursts of flame silhouetting the trees, screams and howls of dying beasts. A larger flash blinded him momentarily and the thing took its chance, leaping on him from the trees. Claws dug deep into his shoulders as they rolled backwards, ripping upwards and out as he jammed his feet hard into the creature’s stomach and pushed, throwing it off him. He scrambled to his feet, blinking the sweat from his eyes, brought the shortsword up to catch the next strike. The brace for impact was met with nothing and he lost his balance again, cursing as the thing streaked past him and claws ripped into his ribs. The hit slammed him back into something hard, skull making a sickening noise against stone. By the time he’d blinked the stars back, the monster had him by the throat, spitting and snarling in his face. The claws on his neck tightened and pushed up sharply as it lifted him up in the air, Trevor hissed as the rough stone caught on his ruined skin. The whip was gone, must’ve lost it in the roll, but the shortsword was still tight in his grip. He went to stab the damned thing but it blocked too quickly, metal on dry bone echoing through the clearing.
Darkness crept in on the edges of his vision as he gasped for breath, right hand scrabbling ineffectively against its pale wrist. The creature drew its free arm back, red eyes burning bright. Trevor didn’t feel it, not exactly, when the long claws pierced him. He felt an odd sensation in his gut, something sharp and unwelcome that punched the air out of his lungs. He felt a warm wetness dribble down his chin. Trevor used the last of his strength to stab up and in, hearing a wet crack and squelch and he broke bone and pierced organ. The beast screeched in shock and dropped him. His grip on the sword was strong, a hot gush of blood sprayed the forest floor as the thing staggered back, moaning an awful noise. He landed on his feet at first, then lurched sideways, ending up sprawled, jolting him with a searing pain. An undignified yelp escaped him.
The creature fell to the earth, let out a final rattling breath, and died. Trevor breathed a sigh of relief, only for it to catch on the blood in his lungs. He sputtered, coughing harshly. After a moment, he could breathe again, albeit not without difficulty.
“Fuck,” he grunted. He wiped his mouth, then pushed himself up to a seated position. The pain was excruciating and he grit his teeth to stop the little sounds from escaping him.
“Sypha,” he muttered, “I’ve just got to get to Sypha.” He pressed against the stone cliff, using it as leverage to haul himself upwards, ignoring the throbbing of his shoulders. He pressed hard against the wound in his gut, closed his eyes for a moment as it sparked with white-hot agony. Sypha was in the opposite direction from the cliff, so Trevor set his jaw and pushed away, aiming for the nearest tree. A few steps, a stumble, and his shoulder slammed into the hard bark. The swirl of flame and howls of beasts felt so far away. Fuck, he’d let himself get drawn too far out. Nothing to do but keep moving. He couldn’t feel his legs anymore and fingers were going cold. A few more steps, the next tree. Blood splashed lightly on the fallen leaves, sounding not unlike the pitter-patter of rain. It felt warm where it oozed between his fingers, soaking his tunic. He felt a small pang of regret. I really like this tunic. Another stumble, another tree. The bark dug into his ribs and he let out a pained groan, tears springing unbidden to his eyes. Just a few more. The forest seemed darker now, colder. The next tree was further and the stumble didn’t take him far enough and Trevor fell to his knees. I’ll crawl, then, he decided, not too proud to crawl. His fingers felt frozen around the sword, scuffing his knuckles on the ground as he pulled himself forward. Right arm crossed his body and held the wound tightly. It still wept crimson. Trevor couldn’t see the fires anymore and couldn’t tell if it was his vision going of if they were done.
“Sypha!” he called roughly. It was a gamble, but, well, he’d die anyway unless someone found him. The coughing started again, blood bubbling on his lips. Not good. Trevor’s legs finally gave out and he ended up on his stomach, arm pressed painfully into the wound.
“Fuck,” he breathed, “Fuck, c’mon Belmont.” He pushed up with his free arm, trying desperately to move. His legs wouldn’t obey him and, for the first time tonight, Trevor was scared. He rolled himself over carefully, dying facedown in the dirt was not exactly ideal. Better to face the sky. The stars looked down impassively and he felt colder and more alone than he had in a very long time.
“Sypha!” he tried again, but barely managed a whisper.
He cursed. Blinked slowly. The world was going soft, blurry. He’d hoped at least it could have been quick, not this bleeding out slowly bullshit. Just his luck. He’d finally stopped wanting to die, stopped throwing himself at every chance, stopped being alone. Of course it had to be now that he actually had people to care about. Ah well. He was too tired to be angry. Trevor’s eyelids felt heavy. A slow blink, another, and suddenly the moon was much closer. He blinked again and saw an angelic face above him, silver hair catching in the moonlight. Beautiful, he thought.
“Wow,” he breathed, “didn’t think your dad would want me.” The angel looked confused, concerned, was saying something Trevor couldn’t hear. His eyes slipped closed and he felt something on his lips, sharply metallic and hot. Then a swooping feeling up and up and maybe he would see his family again, maybe they wouldn’t hate him too much, maybe they would be proud of him.
Adrian had jolted from sleep to the sound of Trevor’s shouting. Normally, he might have ignored it, chalked it up to Belmont idiocy, but this time he smelled blood and bone on the air and knew something was wrong.
The world always blurred when he fought, his awareness focused down to a handful of points rather than the myriad of sensation that usually swept around him. Sypha’s shards of ice or fireballs, Belmont’s whip, his foes, of course. Things that could hurt him. Tonight, there were many, many points, the night creatures seemed to just keep coming. His attention was split, sword a silver streak in the moonlight, slashing and stabbing from mid-air, while he fought viciously with his claws and teeth. It was inelegant, but necessary.
He blamed his inattention when he heard Sypha cry out, then slump to the ground. A squat creature holding a large metal rod stood briefly behind her, then erupted into flames as Adrian’s sword embedded itself in the thing’s chest. Another creature used this distraction to jump on him, biting into his shoulder. Adrian hissed in pain and returned the favor, incisors digging deep before he drove a hand into its stomach. It howled and tried to push itself away. Adrian clamped down harder, ripping flesh and fat as it struggled desperately to escape. Finally, he let go, spitting the foul blood to the earth. The thing hobbled quickly away, following its counterparts as they fled. Adrian let it, he didn’t care if it escaped. Sypha was safe and that’s what mattered. He checked her over quickly, finding nothing more than small cuts and an egg-sized lump on the back of her head. He checked her eyes, which dilated normally. She’d have a hell of a headache in the morning, but there would be no permanent damage. Belmont will just have to come to terms with being the dullest one of the group, he thought snidely. Then his blood turned to ice in his veins. Trevor.
Adrian looked around the impromptu battlefield quickly. No sign of the hunter. Panic began to press tight against his lungs. What if he’d gotten taken? What if he was dead? What if- He stopped himself. Worrying won’t help. I just have to find him. Adrian closed his eyes, breathed deep in through his nose. The dark scent of night creature made his lip curl, like sour pus and sticky sweet rot. Adrian took a few steps into the forest, almost autumn leaves crunching beneath his bare feet. The scents rolled together, blood and death and forest mixing haphazardly. But there was something else under there. A few more steps into the woods, another deep breath, and he caught it again. Something sharp and spiced, a soft burn tickling his throat. Like whiskey. That was Trevor’s blood.
He followed it like a hound as it grew stronger and stronger and finally found the hunter, lying face up on the forest floor. Relief washed over him momentarily, but pulled up short in his chest as he realized the scent was too strong, the cream-colored tunic soaked a dark crimson.
“Belmont?” he said, kneeling down.
“Beautiful,” Trevor mumbled, eyes glazed.
“Wow,” he breathed, blood bubbling between his pale lips, “didn’t think your dad would want me.”
Adrian sucked in a sharp breath, “ No, no, c’mon Belmont, you’re stronger than that, we just have to-”
Then his eyes closed and Adrian could hear his heartbeat going sluggish. Fuck. He could carry the man back to camp without issue, but Sypha was most likely still unconscious and even if she weren’t healing magic only does so much. Think, Adrian. They were running out of time, Trevor’s heartbeat tripped, thudded double for a moment, and weakened. That made his decision for him. Adrian took a long breath, looking up at the night sky.
“Forgive me,” he whispered.
He plunged his fangs into his own wrist and filled his mouth. Then, he bent over Trevors’s unconscious form and kissed him, letting the blood fall into his slack mouth and holding his head up so he wouldn’t choke. He felt Trevor swallow and then tasted the breathy sigh that escaped his lips. Whiskey and pine underneath the metallic tang of his own blood.
Adrian drew back in alarm, suddenly not knowing how to feel. The man looked vulnerable, pained, and, well, like shit if he was being honest. But there was something about the way his lips parted ever so slightly and the blood that- no, Adrian couldn’t entertain such ideas. They had to get back to camp. He had to take care of his humans. The humans, he told himself sternly. Adrian wiped their mouths as best he could, then picked up Trevor to return to the crumbling building.