It was a grey dawn that broke over the miserable little homestead at the edge of the forest. The flat, anemic light was well suited to the run-down, weatherworn farmhouse and its abandoned pigsty. It was not the sort of place where Alucard would have expected to find one of Dracula’s vampire generals, but the trail of destruction and cruelty she’d blazed across Wallachia had led straight to its doorstep. The cold reek of death and stagnant blood was unmistakable—the smell of the vampire. Judging by the strength of it, probably about half a dozen. Now that he was closer, there was something else, too. Warmer, messier. The scent of sweat soured by fear; sickness and stale piss. Human. An emergency food supply perhaps; or simply a toy for their sadistic amusement. Poor bastard.
He lowered his head as he left the cover of the trees and loped toward the enclosure, vaulting easily over the low fence. The shape of the wolf would afford a passable disguise in the unlikely event that anyone glanced out the window. He rounded the corner of the small enclosure, paws sinking into the soft mud. Before him, manacled to the hogs’ feeding trough, was a man, clad in what had once been blue and gold, with a tattered red sash around his waist. He was as filthy as his surroundings, spattered with mud and whatever else was in the wallow, unwashed stringy hair hanging over his face as he slumped against the trough. Alucard began to wonder if it might be a kindness to put him out of his misery.
As he padded closer, the captive lifted his head. His face was battered; his eyes blackened and his lips cracked and swollen, but Alucard recognized him nonetheless. He had seen him only once before, when he’d come to court to try and convince Dracula to spare the humans; but he knew him well enough by reputation. Forgemaster. He paused, silently considering.
To his surprise, Hector leaned toward him, rather than flinching away from the predator. Though his pale blue eyes were glassy with fever, they betrayed no hint of fear. Instead, a smile spread across his ravaged mouth, and he lifted his free hand toward Alucard’s muzzle, trembling fingers lightly stroking the thick fur at his neck. “Beautiful… Magnificent creature,” he murmured.
Alucard blinked. This was Dracula’s forgemaster, the man responsible for sending hordes of night creatures to terrorize the people of Wallachia. Doubtless the vampires here intended to put him to work for the same purpose. He was a necromancer; a monster in his own right by almost any reckoning. He could end his wretched existence right now. It would be trivial. Clamp his jaws over the tender throat; crush his windpipe, snap his neck.
He didn’t. Hector would not die today. His decision made, Alucard released the spirit of the wolf, shifting to sit on his haunches as a man. Hector’s eyes flew wide; surprise, recognition, and alarm flashing across his face in quick succession. He tried to back away but could get no purchase, his feet sliding uselessly in the mud. Ignoring his flailing, Alucard reached out and pulled apart the chain that tied him to the trough, tearing the links as though they were paper. Hector went limp as he threw him over his shoulder.
He didn’t know what he was doing. Was this his hobby now? Collecting stray humans? Fuck, this one smelled almost as bad as Belmont, too.
It was Hector’s eyes that had captured his attention, and stilled his hand. In them he had seen an unexpected gentleness, and a deep well of sorrow that somehow spoke to his own. Then there was the way he had reached for him; with such affection and childlike wonder, heedless of the danger or even his own abject circumstance. It was certainly the first time anyone had tried to pet him. And for him to fear a man more than he did a beast… It piqued his interest. Who are you, Hector?
Dracula’s castle held two forges within its walls. Even with his limited knowledge of the man, Alucard was confident in his guess as to which was Hector’s—he didn’t seem like the ascetic type. It was littered with blankets, bits of bone and other knick knacks—in his earlier explorations he’d assumed the disarray was owing to the battle that had raged through the castle; but he now realized that they were beds and toys for some now absent pets. In such a hard place, how are you so soft?
There was a modest bedroom adjoining Hector’s forge, and it was there that Alucard deposited him. He fetched some towels and a basin of water, and set about cleaning him up as best he could. His mother had taught him that properly washing wounds was key to preventing infection; and besides, he didn’t want to put up with the smell.
Fortunately, the external injuries were mostly minor: blisters infected and weeping, wrists chafed bloody from rough handling while manacled. One of his eye sockets might have been fractured, a rib or two cracked, but nothing seemed to be out of place. What concerned Alucard the most was the rattle in his chest, and the wounds he’d found under his collar. He turned Hector’s head to the side, and carefully wiped a fresh cloth down his neck. The unmistakable twin punctures were ragged at the edges, angry and welted. He frowned; such wounds were notoriously slow to heal. “They fed from you,” he murmured to himself.
“Once,” came the unexpected reply. Alucard started, withdrawing his hand. He hadn’t noticed Hector awakening, but when he looked down, tired blue eyes stared back. The fear was gone now, replaced by exhausted resignation. “Carmilla punished the offender for daring to interfere with her pet… and me for not stopping them.”
Alucard was unsurprised after all that he’d seen while tracking her, but he felt that he should say something more comforting than that. The impulse to soothe was unfamiliar; and he hesitated, unsure how to act on it. He tried to think of something his mother might have said, or Sypha. “I’m sorry that happened to you.” It felt as awkward as it sounded.
Hector shifted his head on the pillow to look at Alucard more directly. His eyes were clearer than they had been, intellect and curiosity shining through the melancholy. “It’s Adrian, isn’t it? Or do you prefer Alucard?”
He glanced away, down at the cloth in his hand. “It’ll always be Alucard now,” he said. Forever the opposite of you. The one who killed you. He looked up again. “And you are Forgemaster Hector.”
“You know who I am.”
“You raised the Night Hordes to serve my father.” Not an accusation; a fact.
“So then… Why did you save me? Not that I’m ungrateful but—” His sentence trailed was cut off my a deep, wet cough.
“I haven’t decided yet. Perhaps I was curious as to what could lead a man to aid in the eradication of his own kind.” He watched for a spark of indignation, some kind of protest, but none came.
“Humans have never been kind to me.” Hector sighed, tired and desolate. “Their chaos, their cruelty… They’re a blight on the land. When Dracula came to me, I saw a chance to be part of something great, something important… Culling the humans would minimize the damage they inflicted on the world, and each other. It would have been a purer, more peaceful place…”
“Except for all the fucking vampires,” Alucard said with a snort. Hector continued to stare at the wall.
“I used to think they were different. More like animals; acting on instinct, free of malice…” He shut his eyes briefly as his voice faltered. “I was wrong, about so many things.”
“A cull was never what Dracula intended.”
“I know that now. And vampires… they retain all the terrible qualities of humanity. They’re just older and harder to kill.”
“Very few of us are wholly good or evil. Human or vampire.” He felt a pang of sadness as he thought of his father, and all the good he might have brought to the world if not for the church’s ignorance.
“And I suppose you are meant to be the best of both worlds.” Hector turned back toward him with a wan, wry smile.
“No.” He bowed his head, looking askance. “I don’t belong in either.”
“Well,” sighed Hector, “that makes two of us.”
Two of us. The words resonated with unexpected persistence. Alucard had been isolated for so much of his life, even when he wasn’t actually alone. Alienated by other vampires, feared by humans. Even with Trevor and Sypha, the closest companions he’d known, he’d often felt like an outsider. A spectator to their relationship, even when Sypha had attempted to draw him in. But in Hector he saw something he hadn’t found in the others: an unlikely kinship in loneliness. He felt, for the first time, the possibility of being understood. He wondered if Hector felt it too. At first, he was largely bemused by Alucard’s continued attention, but as he recovered he seemed more at ease and engaged. And the more of himself Hector revealed, the more intrigued Alucard became. He was intelligent, kind; soft spoken yet witty. There was a warmth to his spirit that lifted Alucard’s own. He was a gentle soul who had been ill-used by the world of humans, and Dracula had used that pain to manipulate him into his service; Alucard had decided that none should abuse him further. Everything else aside, he found that he liked Hector. His company was certainly preferable to the ghosts haunting Dracula’s halls. More than preferable.
He made it a point each evening to call on Hector before he retired; partly for his own peace of mind, partly to indulge in the comfort of his presence—allowing himself to experience the connection between them, hoping that he wasn’t imagining it. Though the castle had no further need of devils, Hector rarely left the forge, and tonight was no exception. His back was to the door as Alucard approached; he stood over the empty forging slab, his hands resting splayed across the stone. He glanced back over his shoulder as Alucard slipped into the room.
“You again,” he said, smiling faintly.
“I didn’t hear you coughing, so I had to see if you were still here.” As he’d feared, the infection in Hector’s chest had lingered after his other injuries were well on the mend. Ultimately he had unearthed some of his mother’s formulas to find something to deal with it.
“That tincture you gave me seems to be working.” He trailed his fingers across the stone as he turned to face Alucard. “I think the taste must be burning it out.”
“Sounds about right,” Alucard smirked. “Here.” He set a small clay jar upon the table. “This should help get rid of the last of it. Some fresh air might do you good as well, if you can bring yourself to leave your lair.”
Hector raised an eyebrow. “Aren’t you afraid I might run off?” he quipped.
“You’re not a prisoner,” huffed Alucard. He rolled his eyes, but the thought that Hector might choose to leave the castle stung unexpectedly.
“Don’t worry,” Hector sighed, with that soft, tired smile. “Where would I go? Besides, I’ve gotten used to having you around. And the castle is… peaceful, with everyone else gone.” He leaned back against the table, gazing thoughtfully into the shadows at the corner of the room. “Though I confess I do miss my little friends… They must have been frightened away by the fighting.” Alucard followed his gaze to one of the abandoned pallets on the stone floor.
“Perhaps I could find you a new companion,” Alucard murmured absently, still mulling what he had meant by being ‘used to him,’ and distracted by the way the torchlight caught the line of his profile, until Hector turned his attention back to him. His eyes lit up with amusement, his smile revealing a rare glimpse of straight, white teeth.
“Are you offering to be my pet?”
“Don’t be crass,” he snorted. “I wouldn’t make a very good one anyway. I’ve been known to bite.”
“I’m sure I have a muzzle around here somewhere.”
Alucard blinked, eyes wide and owlish, as an unfamiliar heat spread across his face. Was he blushing? Spots of color warmed Hector’s cheeks as well, as if he too had only just realized the implications of what he’d said.
Hector cleared his throat self-consciously, coughing into his hand. “Uh… What do I do with this, then?” he asked, picking up the container Alucard had left.
“It’s a warming salve,” he answered quickly, flustered. “You apply it to the chest or back, and the heat is meant to loosen any remaining congestion. The scent is supposed to help you sleep, I believe.”
“That’s awkward.” Hector turned the jar around in his fingertips with a distracted look. “I usually sleep on my stomach. I don’t know how I’d get it on my back; I’m not that flexible…”
Flexible… Alucard swallowed. He was still thinking about the roses on Hector’s cheeks, and muzzles, and biting… “I could help,” he said, before he could censor himself.
It was Hector’s turn to be surprised. “Al—alright,” he stammered, when he had recovered his voice. Moon-eyed, he dropped the pot into Alucard’s outstretched hand.
Alucard tried, and failed not to stare as Hector pulled his shirt off over his head. Years of working at the forge had sculpted his upper body into a masterpiece; his shoulders were broad, his waist slim. A fine trail of silver-blond hair led from his navel down to the waistband of his trousers. His eyes met Alucard’s for a brief moment before he turned away to lean over the table, gripping the edge tightly as if to steady himself. Alucard’s fangs pinched the inside of his cheeks as his jaw tightened. The heat he’d felt earlier spread through his whole body, pooling in the pit of his stomach. He shrugged off his coat, and pulled the cork from the jar.
The fragrance of lavender and clove permeated the room as he dipped his fingers into the salve. Slowly, as though moving through water, he laid his hand flat between Hector’s shoulder blades. The warmth of his body melted the balm almost instantly, and Alucard’s palm slid easily across his skin, spreading it over his shoulders. The feel of living flesh beneath his fingers was thrilling, sensual; without a thought he joined the other hand to the task, moving both over the broad muscles of Hector’s back. He couldn’t recall ever touching someone—or being touched—so freely, skin to skin; now he felt keenly those years of lack. He was suddenly, unnervingly aware of his own heart, usually a slow metronome, pounding furiously in his chest. His pants, already close fitting, grew uncomfortably tight as his cock stiffened.
“Oh… that is warm,” Hector murmured, his voice soft and breathy.
Alucard was not usually one given to lust. As the child of a doctor he had an academic understanding of sex, but his practical experience was limited to few fumbling handjobs in the village stables while he waited for his mother to visit her patients. But right now he couldn’t help imagining grabbing Hector by his hips, pulling him back, his cock pressed against Hector’s ass… His hands slipped of their own accord down toward Hector’s waist, his thumbs tracing the shallow divots at the base of his spine.
He felt Hector tense as his breath hitched, half a second before he spun around to face him. Mortified, he moved to withdraw; a shameful apology ready to fall from his lips, until a warm hand closed around his wrist and drew him closer. Pale blue eyes sought his, brimming not only with need, but understanding. For a moment, relief rivalled his desire. Hector pulled his hand against his chest, and reached out with the other to thread his fingers through Alucard’s hair. The intimation was clear. He leaned into the touch until their lips met, pressing Hector back against the forging table as the unfamiliar passion overtook him. Hector’s mouth was so inviting, so delicious, it filled him with a hunger unlike any he’d known before.
“God, Alucard,” Hector panted, nails scraping across the nape of Alucard’s neck. “I didn’t expect—”
“Neither did I,” he interrupted, before reclaiming his mouth, stifling anything else into a muffled moan. Hector was as hard as he was, his erection poking into Alucard’s hip as they ground their bodies against each other. Hector’s hands were at his waist now, tugging at the hem of his tunic, edging it up toward his shoulders until Alucard lost patience and pulled it off himself, eager to feel more of his body against Hector’s blazing heat. He half pushed, half lifted him up on to the table, and shoved his leg between Hector’s knees, stepping between his thighs when they parted. To his surprise, Hector wrapped his legs around his, catching him off balance so that he all but fell on top of him.
“Fuck,” Alucard groaned as Hector rolled his hips, grinding their hard cocks together through the layers of fabric between them.
“Mmmm,” Hector enthusiastically replied, kissing him again. He reached for Alucard’s belts, eagerly pulling at the buckles.
“Wait.” He faltered as the imminent reality of his situation struck him.
“Is something wrong?” Hector drew back slightly, concern creasing his brow.
“Only that I… haven’t done this before.”
“Oh.” He blinked up at Alucard, worry giving way to surprise. “Really? How? You’re… beautiful.” Hector’s eyes softened as he stared up at him, a smile creeping across his lips.
“Maybe I’m shy.” He looked askance with a smirk.
“Do you… Do you want to stop?”
“Fuck no.” He might lose his mind if they did.
“Thank God,” Hector sighed, getting back to work on his belts.
“Anyway I’m a quick study,” he hummed as he bent to taste Hector’s skin again.
His pants were off in less than a minute. He let Hector guide him the short distance to his room, push him down on the bed; then he was straddling him naked, his cock bobbing stiffly against his taut stomach as he knelt above. Impatient, Alucard took hold of his waist and dragged him down into a kiss that was all tongue and teeth. Hector moaned into his mouth, and snaked his hand between their writhing bodies to wrap his fingers around Alucard’s length. Alucard practically whimpered in pleasure, his hips jerking involuntarily as Hector slowly pumped him, swirling his thumb over his slit at the end of each stroke. It had been so long since even he had touched himself, it was almost more than he could bear already.
“Let me take care of you now,” Hector purred in his ear, then dipped his head to kiss his way down his chest. Alucard hissed a breath in through his teeth, pressing his head back into the pillow, fisting the bedclothes as Hector’s searing mouth moved across the hollow of his hipbone to the hinge of his thigh. He felt a puff of hot breath against his balls, then the teasing wet caress of Hector’s tongue over the sensitive skin there, before he pressed it fully to the base of his shaft. His mouth followed the action of his hand until he reached the leaking tip of Alucard’s cock, then all at once he slid his lips over his head, enveloping him in sweet, slick warmth. Alucard’s breathing grew quick and ragged. As delicious as Hector’s mouth had tasted, it felt even better wrapped around him. And the view—long eyelashes fluttering over cheeks that hollowed as he sucked him... It was almost—no; it was too much; he was over the edge before he could even think of holding back, coming hard against the back of Hector’s throat.
When he recovered his senses and opened his eyes, Hector was nestled against him, softly kissing his shoulder, stroking his chest with a light hand.
“Well. That’s embarrassing,” Alucard muttered, staring at the ceiling. “Not what I wanted to mean when I said I was quick.”
“I’ll just take it as a compliment,” Hector laughed, and leaned over and kissed Alucard deeply, making him forget any awkwardness. He pulled Hector down against him, tangling his fingers in the soft waves of his hair.
“Tell me what to do,” he rasped, running a hand up and down Hector’s side. His erection pressed against Alucard’s hip, hot and throbbing. Hector shivered as he raked his nails through the hair below his navel, stopping just short of his cock. He wanted to make Hector feel good, to give him what he’d given Alucard.
“Just—just touch me,” Hector panted, his voice straining as Alucard’s hand slid up the inside of his thigh.
“Alright then.” Alucard grinned. He could do that. He slung a leg over Hector’s hip and rolled him onto his back, pushing him down against the pillow. Following Hector’s earlier example, he trailed his mouth and tongue down his body, tasting the salt of his sweat, eager to experience more. Alucard settled between his legs, running his thumbs along the creases where his thighs met his body to encourage him to spread them wider. One hand slid lower to gently palm and squeeze Hector’s balls, while the other kept a firm hold on his hip. He pressed a kiss, open mouthed, against Hector’s inner thigh, sucking hard enough to draw a cry and leave a mark, grazing his skin with his fangs. He could feel the femoral pulse against his tongue, could almost taste the torrents of blood flowing in the artery there.
“You… you can if you want,” Hector whispered, but his voice was tight and nervous.
Alucard paused, deliberating for barely a second before coming to a decision. “No. I don’t want this to be about that.” Instead he laid another, softer kiss on Hector’s thigh, before shifting to brush his lips over his sack; and Hector let out a breathy moan, trembling beneath him. Deliberately, languidly, Alucard curled one finger at a time around Hector’s length. He began with a slow but firm stroke, slicking his hand with the precum welling from the tip of his cock before striking up a steady rhythm. Hector squirmed in his grip, trying to lift his hips from the bed, making soft, needy sounds as Alucard worked him with his hand, and mouthed and tongued his balls, careful to keep his fangs tucked away. The hand on Hector’s hip moved lower; he rubbed his thumb over the band of darker flesh between his legs, behind his sack; and Hector groaned and shuddered, his fingers curling and uncurling at his sides.
Spurred by these reactions, Alucard moved his thumb over the pucker around Hector’s entrance, rubbing circles around his rim in time with the ministrations of his other hand. Hector muttered something that might have begun as curse, but dissolved into an unintelligible whine when he pushed the tip of the digit inside him.
Alucard looked up in amusement at the sound. Hector’s eyes were closed tightly, his mouth hanging open. His face shone, the curls framing it damp with sweat; and Alucard felt his own heat stirring again at the sight. He stilled his hands and leaned over Hector with a hungry smile. “What do you want?” he purred.
“Want?” Hector repeated. He blinked, unfocused, struggling to form words. “I want...you. Your fingers, inside me,” he panted, halting. He twisted aside, reaching under the edge of the bed to retrieve a small bottle, and thrust it at Alucard. “Here.” He let his head fall back against the pillow while Alucard tipped some of the contents into his palm: a slippery substance, some kind of oil; its intended use plain. He drew his slicked fingers over the tight pucker, prodding gently until he was able to slip his middle finger past the rim; drawing a loud, lengthy moan from Hector as he pushed all the way in then slowly withdrew. Curious, he added a second; Hector whimpered and rolled his hips against the thrust of his hand.
“Like that?” Alucard worked his fingers in and out of his tight, slick hole while his other hand pumped his cock.
“Yes,” Hector groaned, almost wholly beyond speech as he rocked his hips between the dueling sensations, knuckles white where his hands fisted the blankets. Alucard couldn’t tear his eyes away from him; his head thrown back against the pillow with a transported look on his flushed, dewy face. The wanton noises he was making spoke directly to Alucard’s cock, now fully hard again—he knew he needed to have more than just his fingers inside him.
Hector let out a sharp cry of dismayed protest when he pulled his hands away. “Why…” he gasped, chest heaving. “Why did you stop? ”
Alucard sat back on his heels and smiled, languorously stroking himself. “Because I want to fuck you now.”
Hector’s eyes grew wider still, the dark of his pupils near-eclipsing the blue. “God yes,” he sputtered. Alucard had laid a hand on his hip to flip him over, but Hector was already twisting around to get on his knees. He leaned on his elbows with his ass in the air and his legs spread apart, giving Alucard a magnificent view of his glistening hole, and looked back over his shoulder with a ravenous eye. Alucard’s hands dropped naturally to Hector’s sides as he knelt behind him, trailing lightly down across his ribs before taking a more solid hold of his waist. He pulled Hector back toward him, trying to maneuver him into what seemed like a practical position. Hector shivered, chin tucked against his chest, when Alucard finally pressed himself against his entrance and pushed the head of his cock inside. He let himself sink in slowly, wanting to savour every inch as pleasure engulfed him. Being inside Hector felt better than anything he’d ever known; a moan escaped his lips as their bodies met for the first time and he was held fully within the pulsing heat of his body. Moving felt even better. The tight slide of flesh against his cock was deliciously maddening. Before long he was breathing as hard as Hector was; actually sweating as he drove into him with steady intensity. Hector rocked back hard against his thrusts, his moans and cries mounting a crescendo as their pace increased, drowning out the slap of flesh on flesh.
The pressure was increasing again, slower this time but no less inevitable. Alucard groaned through clenched teeth, tightening his hold on Hector’s hips, and pulled him onto his lap as he sat back on his knees. Hector wailed as he thrust into him at this new angle, and gripped Alucard’s thighs for leverage. “Please,” was the only coherent word he managed; and when Alucard took his cock in his hand again, he lost even that.
“God you’re loud,” Alucard whispered breathlessly in his ear as his head lolled back against his shoulder. "Maybe it's you who should wear the muzzle.” Hector shuddered violently, a guttural cry bursting from his throat. His body throbbed around Alucard, cock twitching in his hand as spurts of hot come trickled over his fingers. Alucard followed soon after, his hips jerking erratically as he came deep inside Hector.
They sat, still joined, for a moment after, Hector leaning back in Alucard’s embrace, the room silent except for their ragged breathing. After a cursory cleanup, Alucard lay close to Hector; sated and, for the first time since the war had started, truly relaxed. He didn’t tend to sleep much, but now he floated in a pleasant, drowsy haze. He curled his body around Hector’s warmth, and lazily nuzzled his neck.
“You’re really just like a cat.” Hector murmured with a sleepy smile.
“That’s funny,” hummed Alucard. “I was just thinking that I’ve never felt more...human.”
Hector’s smile softened further; he brushed the hair away from Alucard’s face. “You know, neither have I.”