The night creatures had lost at Gresit. At least the town had suffered, and was suffering still as its people buried the dead. Dracula could not bring himself to feel much for the defeat, not when Gresit and every other human town, city, hamlet, and dwelling would soon be emptied. But then again, he never felt much at all, anymore.
Hector was taking the defeat personally. He’d barely left the forge since, the sound of his hammer echoing across the silent halls. Dracula was going to walk past, but then he stopped.
He was starving. It had been weeks since he’d fed, and the act had brought him no pleasure. Dracula hadn’t been sated. He couldn’t let his Forgemasters know what their smell did to him like this, or the sight of their veins, the way that Hector’s skin would flush in the cold. Humans spoke of vampiric bloodlust; well, in that they were right.
Dracula should move. He was staring at Hector’s stiff back, hearing his frustration in every strike of his hammer. The night creature howled as it came to life, arching off the slab and stumbling onto the floor. Hector reached out to steady it, then turned towards Dracula.
“Master,” he said. “Do you need something? I’m replenishing our forces as quickly as I can.”
“I just want to talk to you, Hector.”
“Like old times,” Hector replied, nearly smiling. He gently pushed the night creature forward, sending it towards the pens where it would stay, waiting for orders.
Dracula stepped into the room. Cezar walked up to him, and Dracula made sure to pause to give the dog a few pets. One of the easiest ways to earn Hector’s good regard was to show kindness towards animals. Dracula had brought Cezar back from one of his last hunts; he’d found the dog half-buried in the yard of a family he’d eaten, and thought Hector might like the odd-looking little thing.
“You should rest,” Dracula said.
“I haven’t yet run out of the dead.”
“And there will be more. If you exhaust yourself—”
Hector’s lips quirked. “Like you?”
“Yes. Like me.”
“I’ll take your advice,” Hector said, bending down to pick up another corpse, “when you follow your own.”
Dracula stopped him by putting his hand on Hector’s chest, nudging him away from the body. Hector stood up straight, his heart beating faster. Dracula was drawn to the sound, too distracted to take his hand away.
“How long as it been since you fed?” Hector asked.
“Why is it your concern?”
“Because of the way you’ve looked at me and Isaac lately.”
Dracula sighed. He thought he’d hidden it better. “I wouldn’t ever hurt either of you,” Dracula said.
“I know that. But I wish you’d let us help.” Hector yanked his collar open wider, revealing his neck. Dracula felt himself baring his fangs, longing to sink his teeth into Hector’s vulnerable throat. “You can have me.”
“You don’t know how dangerous what you’re offering is,” Dracula replied, forcing his mouth closed.
“I do—I’ve made a study of your kind. I trust in your restraint.”
Hector tucked his hair back behind his ear as he tilted his head. He swallowed, making a vein in his neck jump. It was too much of an invitation. Dracula laid his hand on Hector’s shoulder, wanting to push him away but instead keeping him still. Then he leaned in, letting his teeth graze Hector’s neck. Hector pressed his hand against Dracula’s nape, drawing him in. Dracula bit down, hearing Hector gasp as the first pulse of blood flowed into his mouth.
Warmth. Dracula had almost forgotten what it was like to feel someone else’s warmth. Hector’s life was beneath his fangs, everything that he was, tasting bright and sharp. Dracula put his other hand around Hector’s waist, holding him closer. He’d never known what it was like to drink the blood of someone he thought of as more than mere livestock. Dracula suddenly wasn’t sure he could stop.
Hector shifted. Dracula released him, worried he’d drank too deeply.
“Have I frightened you?” Dracula asked, wiping Hector’s blood off his lips.
“No,” Hector replied. He pressed his sash against the wound to staunch the bleeding. “It’s just—strange. You couldn’t have had enough.”
Dracula hadn’t, not of Hector. He shook his head.
“Well, I don’t feel lightheaded,” Hector said. “Do you want more?”
“There’s a… vein in the thigh. Will you allow me?”
“Yes, of course.”
Hector leaned back against the slab as Dracula reached for the waist of his breeches and started to pull them down. His shirt was just long enough to protect his modesty, if he even had any. Dracula couldn’t imagine Hector caring about something as ordinary as nudity. Goosebumps rose on Hector’s skin as he was exposed, and Dracula laid his hand on Hector’s thigh, as if he could warm him. Hector shivered and sat on the slab, spreading his legs.
“Drink,” Hector commanded.
Dracula kneeled in front of him. What an odd sight they would make to anyone who walked in: the great Dracula on one knee before a human with his breeches around his ankles. Someone would assume they were walking in on something else entirely. Nuzzling the soft skin of Hector’s inner thigh, Dracula took a moment to collect himself. Hector’s blood was intoxicating.
This time, Dracula sank his teeth in slowly. Hector let out a moan and opened his legs wider, his arousal unmistakable now. Dracula relished the throbbing of Hector’s heart, filling his mouth with blood. He wanted more and more, until Hector was drained to nothing. He withdrew his teeth, meaning to stop, but Hector’s disappointed whimper made him press his fangs back in.
“Take more,” Hector said, tangling his fingers in Dracula’s hair.
Hector drew in a shaky breath, writhing underneath him. He imagined fucking Hector on that very slab, whether Hector would sound as good on his cock as he did under his teeth. Instead of becoming full, Dracula felt hungrier, for everything. He lapped at the wound, savoring the blood on his tongue and how Hector responded. Dracula stroked Hector’s thigh, inclining his head towards Hector’s hand as he tugged on his hair. He wanted this to never end.
But it had to. Dracula pulled away and rose to his feet, ignoring the disappointed look on Hector’s face that he’d stopped.
“Master,” Hector murmured, reaching out for him.
“That was enough.” Dracula turned away. “You really do have to rest. You’ve lost a lot of blood.”
“Are you feeling more—yourself, now?”
“Yes,” Dracula replied. “Thank you, Hector.”
It was so easy to lie to him. From the beginning, Dracula had helped Hector to create his own master, whose goals perfectly matched what was in his heart. Dracula let Hector conclude that he wasn’t tired of the world, that he cared for Hector’s demented idea of mercy. It was too late now to tell the truth.
Dracula licked the last of the blood off his lips, and left Hector to his work.