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company by the fire

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“How do the dead mourn?”

It was a senseless question, one that a child with little grasp of what those words truly meant would ask -- but they tumbled from Hector’s lips easily enough. He was curious. So he asked. Dracula was still, surrounded by Hector’s menagerie so that he looked like he belonged with them, a dead thing amongst dead things.

Beloved dead things, Hector thought fiercely. Ones that deserved to live more than the things that had slain them. Like --

Dracula’s voice rumbled across the still air. Hector’s breathing was the only sound, save for the crackle of the fireplace. “With sorrow,” Dracula said, his eyes ancient and grieving. “For the dead go where I cannot.”

Hector reached out and took Dracula’s hand. It smelled of death, and old blood caked into the skin. He kissed it, reverently. He wanted to promise his master so many things -- impossible, reckless things. Promise to forge Lisa back to life -- somehow. He had never brought back ashes before, but he did not doubt he could do it. With time, and patience.

Never had Hector been accused of having an ounce of common sense. However, something warned him not to share his thought with Dracula. Instead he looked away from the fire, letting his eyes adjust to the darkness.

“We’ll send the rest of humanity after her,” he said instead. “I promise that, my lord.”

He felt Dracula’s heavy hand rest against his head and began to stroke his hair. It took all of Hector's will not to lean against it like a cat. They could spend the whole night like this and it would be the happiest of Hector’s life.

Hector bore no real malice towards his own kind. He had seen what they did and what they had to offer. Dracula was not wrong in condemning them to eternal night. If Hector shrank a little at the inevitable bloodshed, then the promise of what lay after still spurred him on.

A promise of another night like this -- every night would be like this.

Soon, there would be nothing left except his master and himself, and whatever howling remnant of humanity persisted until, they, in their deep kindness, finally snuffed it out.