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When the Sunset Falls

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I've always hated the color red, since as long as I can remember I've despised the tint which drips from our bodies. Now it stained my vision, the ground and my clothes as blood seeped from my stomach. I kept one hand over the wound, trying and failing to keep my guts in. I couldn't even make out the land surrounding me and no sound was reaching my ears. I didn't know where I was, where I had come from or even how long I had been running, I just knew I had to keep going.

"Run! You fucking run and you don't fucking stop! Run until your feet bleed and your legs give out you hear me and then keep fucking going!" Those words were echoing continuously in my head, I don't even know who utter them so fiercely, the voice was foreign to my mind, but nonetheless, I followed the instructions. I was forcing myself to keep moving, just one more step, just one more goddamn step. One more step was all it took, my toe hit something hard and elevated and before I could even react, my whole body plunged forward, crashing onto a set of concrete steps. All in one moment, the world came crashing down around me. The roar of the rain exploded in my eardrums and my blood-curling scream mixed with the wind as my wound ripped further into my bowels. I could feel my insides slipping out onto the steps, but I refused to let this be the end. Gripping the step above me with my bloody hand, I dragged myself up, letting the growls of excruciating pain escape my lips. Steps meant buildings and buildings meant people. I just have to make it to the top, one fucking step at a time. I dragged myself up another step, screaming with every movement. Rain mixed with my blood as it slid down the stairs, but I kept fucking moving. I'd dragged myself to wherever the hell I needed to go if I had to. When I lifted my hand again I found solid ground, I had reached the top. I left out a sigh of relief which sounded more like a wheeze and lead straight into a coughing fit. Blood erupted from my mouth burning my throat as it ripped its way through my body. It hurt, my whole body was shaking violently from the pain and cold but as soon as it had started it stopped.

A numbness had set in and I knew I was dying.

With one final effort, pulling a will deep within my exhausted, crumbling body, I pushed myself with the force of beast until my body fell against what felt to be a wooden door. I raised my hand to knock upon the door, to scream for help, anything, but all the life my body possessed had left and as my hand fell upon the door with not even a thud, I knew I had drawn my last breath.

 

Adrian's head snapped up from his book as a sound had caught his attention. He was sitting in a chair next to a large window, which displayed the storm raging outside. Not far from his seat was a long black couch that housed his father, whose head was in his hand as he lazily read through some papers. Cocking his head to the side, he listened in on the storm outside. "Father, did you hear a howl just now?" Vlad hmmed in response to his son's question, not really paying attention as he flipped through Lisa's newest surgical proposal. His wife really was a genius, she took all the knowledge he had given her and was pushing it to new heights. A few seconds ticked by and no response or movement came from Adrian. Vlad closed the proposal noticing his son's concern and focused on the sounds around him. The fire crackling in the fireplace beside him, rain beating the window behind his son, wind rattling against the sides of his castle, thunder booming overhead, distance sounds of animals in the forest, but no howling.

"No wolf would be foolish or brave enough to come this close to the Castle. I'm sure it was just the wind." Adrian noticeably relaxed at his father's words; although, he still felt something was off. But his father was almost always right, thus he shrugged it off and return to his book on astronomy. An unsettling silence fell over the room and Adrian snapped the book shut once again, frustrated that he couldn't focus. 

"I was thinking of heading over to Targoviste tomorrow after the storm." Adrian's simple comment said in a casual tone was enough to cause Vlad to look up from Lisa's work and narrow his eyes.

"And, pray tell, why would you do that?" 

"Well, I heard the church imprisoned a large number of people from a forest clan under the guise of witchcraft. I wanted to see for myself if there was any truth to the..." Adrian twirled his hand, searching for a proper word that would please his slightly annoyed father, "hearsay." Vlad waved his hand dismissively at his son's comment.

"There's no point. It just another case of the church using their power to burn anyone who is different. I don't need my dhampir son marching into Wallachia's capital on a whim. Don't waste your time." Adrian was about to retort when another howl pricked his ear, this time more of a whimper. He couldn't be imagining this. He stood and moved to the window, golden eyes searching for anything that could explain what he was hearing. He focused pushing his senses to the limit until his ears caught something unmistakable.

Breathing. Someone or something was breathing at the front door of the castle. But the breaths were sharp and shallow. They were dying.

"Hey honey, have you had a chance-" Lisa's question was cut off by her son pushing past her in the entranceway of their study and out into the hall. However, he didn't get very far before Lisa spun around and grabbed him by the arm pulling him back. "And, where are you running off to in such a hurry?" Adrian tensed and slowly turned to face his mother. He had heard this tone before and knew he wasn't going to get out of this. Well, at least not without severe consequences. 

"Oh just off chasing howls, I presume." Vlad chuckled, getting up from the couch to approach his wife. 

"Howls?" Lisa questioned, still holding onto her son's arm and placing the other hand upon her hip.

Adrian sighed "I hear someone at the front door. Their breathing is fast and shallow, I believe they may be dying."

"Someone? Or something? It's probably just a wounded stray dog, leave it." Vlad's tone was bored, but Adrian wasn't going to let his father stop him from investigating. He was far too curious, so he switched tactics and targeted his mother's humanity.

"What if it's a wounded human, mother? Shouldn't we at least take a look? It couldn't hurt." Vlad rolled his eyes at his son's soft, pleading words. He already knew Lisa's answer. She immediately let go of her son's arm, grabbed her medicinal pouch from the desk in the back of the room and was out in the hall before either vampire could blick. She peaked her head back around the doorway and looked from Vlad to Adrian.

"Well, what are you two waiting for? Let's go!" Adrian didn't need to be told twice. He was out the door and down the hall in an instant. Vlad, with an exaggerated groan, lazily followed behind them. They passed through long red and black hallways, filled with portraits and down countless flights of stairs. Adrian had to do everything in his power to force himself from walking too far ahead of his mother, otherwise, he'd hear his mother's "no bullshit" tone. Soon they found themselves at the top of the stairs in the foyer and almost immediately the smell of blood flooded the senses of both vampires present. Adrian looked back at his father, making eye contact to confirm he smelled the same thing. 

Blood. Human blood and lots of it. Adrian was the first down the stairs and as soon as his hand touched the handles of the endlessly long double doors, he wretched them open. Ferocious winds greeted him first and rain completely drenched him within seconds but none of it seemed to bother him. He had more important things to deal with. Lisa came to stand behind her son, protecting herself from the storm and Vlad stood next to him looking out onto their property. At first, they saw nothing but then as their eyes traveled down, all three of them found a near-lifeless form on the pavement. Lisa didn't hesitate. She moved out from behind Adrian and pushed through the strong winds to kneel down beside the injured human. Her boots stepped in the blood that pooled around the figure and ran down the stairs with the rain. It was everywhere, and it was a miracle that the person before her was still breathing. The figure laid face down with one arm outstretched as if they were reaching for something. Clad in shredded, dark rags the figure looked as if they had just left the battlefield. Adrain joined his mother on the other side of the human body and helped her roll them over to reveal a large stomach wound where blood was pouring out and the face of a young...girl? Adrian looked upon the contorted face of a raven-haired woman. This is the last thing he had expected to find on the steps of Castlevania. How did she even make it this far in a storm this wounded?

"Adrian, pick her up carefully. I need to keep the pressure on her wound and together let's carry her inside." Lisa's voice was precise and commanding, he knew this meant her injuries were serious. Adrian did as his mother commanded, gently scooping the girl up into his arms as his mother kept a firm hand on her stomach. Vlad opened the door into the main lab on the first floor and set up a table to lay the wounded girl upon. Once she was down. Lisa instructed Adrain to press a towel on the wound and to remove all her garments, while she sanitized her hands. Adrian extended his nails and slashed away all the rags leaving a bloodied, dirty woman beneath him. He kept his hand firmly pressed over her wound as he took her in. Her pale skin was caked in blood and mud and her long black hair was knotted and filthy. He reached up to move some of her dark bangs out of her face but suddenly she jerked awake. Wide, frightened, silver eyes found his golden ones and something in Adrian clicked. He felt a cold chill run through him as he noticed a crescent moon glowing on her forehead. They stared at each other for a time that seemed endless before she shook again and vomited onto the floor beside him.

And then her whole body began to convulse. Lisa was next to him ordering him to keep her still and she began to clean the wound. Adrian held her down feeling her body shake beneath him. The wound now clear of blood looked deep and round with splinters of wood. Did someone try to fucking stake her? He didn't have time to figure it out as Vlad and Lisa began closing up the wound. Gurgles and moan filled the room as the barely conscious girl struggled in pain under him. Lisa locked eyes with her son and he saw the fear and determination within them. No one knew if she was going to make it but we all knew it was going to be a long fucking night.

 



Chapter Text

"Don't you fuckin-" My vicious howl is cut off by hand clamping over my mouth pressing me down onto the hard ground. Hands. There are so many hands grabbing at me, pinning me down. Nails run up and down my arms, thighs, there is an intense pressure above me, on me. Is this it? Is this how the honorable daughter goes? Forced down and gutted by men? I can't even see my attackers, I know I'm not blindfolded, have I lost my sight... or am I too scared to open my eyes? Too scared, to fucking scared to face the scene around me. The thought almost makes me laugh. Oh if mother could see me now. 

Before I can even contemplate what is happening or how to react, the sound of flesh being ripped opened roars above me and the cries of screaming men soon follow. I feel something wet and thick coat me and as if by magic, the scene around me materializes. There is fire, screaming, people running, people dying but all of that is background to what stands before me. The most prominent figure in my vision is a large beast, completely covered in black fur, standing on its hind legs, towering over me. I should be scared, I should be screaming but a sense of relief floods my body. She is familiar, strong and comforting. I know her.

I know her. 

 

Adrian Fiernhieght Tepes, son of Dracula, dhampir, and the prince of darkness was on his way up to visit his mother's patient with a warm bowl of water and cleaning rags. The sigh released from his mouth was probably the most exaggerated in history. At first, he was more than willing to assist his mother in taking care of the unconscious, mystery girl that had crashed into Castlevania, but that was when he believed she had a chance of waking up. Eleven days later and the only sign of life coming from her was shallow breathing and the occasional groan. Adrian's feet stopped before the door of the guest bedroom his father had chosen for their injured patient. He let out another sigh before pushing one of the double doors open with his shoulder and sliding inside. In the room of red and gold, on the bed of red silk sheets, under a golden canopy laid the sleeping raven-haired women. Adrian placed the warm bowl of water on the bedside table and sat down next to her sleeping figure on the bed. He had been tasked with cleaning her body and replacing her salt-water bag when necessary. Occasionally his mother would come up here to force a tonic down her throat via straw and check the wound in her upper abdomen. There wasn't much else they can do but wait and see if she would awaken or softly slip into everlasting slumber. He brushed away her bangs to inspect the crescent moon upon her forehead. It puzzled him and so he had spent this last week digging through his father's collected works trying to find any reference to it. He was sure it glowed silver when they first met but now it lay dormant black. He had questioned his father on it, but Vlad had remained quiet and contemplative since mother had taken in her new patient. He too had been spending a large amount of time in the library and his study. Pulling himself from his circling thoughts, he pressed his hand firmly against her head. Her forehead felt slightly warm and he noticed that her skin was damp with sweat. She had struck up a fever again. 

Adrian rose from the bed with full intention to fetch his mother to administer another tonic when a slightly muffled sound escaped from the bedridden girl.

"Mother."

He jerks his head towards the pleading word and a faint glow catches his eye. Did he really just hear her speak or is mind playing tricks on him? He reaches his hand back out to touch the now silver crescent moon, but he flinches back as she shoots up screaming bloody murder. Instantly he's on the bed again, arms around her as her screaming echoes around them. As if she realizes someone is touching her, she begins to writhe and struggle under him.The needle is ripped from her arm and her hydration supply crashes to the ground.

"Let fucking go of me! I'll rip you limb from fucking limb! Let go!" Her voice is rough and dehydrated but the bite is definitely still there. If Adrian wasn't trying to help her, he might have been intimidated by her powerful aggression. 

"Please remain calm. I am not here to hurt you." He tries to keep his voice soft and comforting, hoping it will relax her. It doesn't.

"Then let go of me, you bastard!" She pounds her fist against his chest and shoulders, and Adrian isn't going to lie, it kind of fucking hurts. Just how strong is this girl? Adrian pulls back as she requested and to stop the onslaught of punches, but keeps her in arms reach. She stills and keeps her eyes downcast, fixated on the blanket now clutched in her hands. Adrian knows from his mother's constant lecturing that patients like this are suffering from trauma and must be treated with care and caution. Two things he's not very good at currently.

"Are you alright?" Adrian lowers his head to the side trying to look underneath the black hair spilling around her face. He can't see the glow anymore. She slowly lifts her head to meet his gaze and those piercing silver eyes capture his mind. He can tell she's scared, visible by her shaking body and hesitant movements but none of that shows in her eyes. They are filled with determined rage so fierce he feels a shiver go through him. She parts her lips as if to answer him and he feels himself instinctively lean closer. She opens her mouth further and... 

And curls over the side bed, vomiting all over Adrian's black heeled boots.

 

A beautiful blonde woman leaned over me, insisting I drank the green, steaming liquid in the cup she had placed in my hands. I eyed it wearily and then looked back up at her overly encouraging smile before mentally saying fuck it and downing in one gulp. If they wanted to kill me they would have already. The blonde woman seemed nice and genuine enough, the only person putting me a bit on edge was the large motherfucker standing at the entrance of the room. When I say large, I mean fucking large. He must be at least seven feet tall. And the fact that he's clad in all black doesn't help my worry, he literally seems to melt into the shadows. With slick black hair and a black goatee, if it wasn't for those glowing red eyes, I'm not sure I would be able to see him clearly. He and the blonde lady had burst into the room shortly after I vomited, probably due to the fact I screamed and struggled loud enough to wake Lady Moon before sunset. Speaking of vomit... in the corner of the overly fancy room, perched on a dresser was the man who I vomited on. He was wiping off my stomach acid from his boots with a mild look of disgust on his oh too perfect face. Wait, now that I get a look at him, he looks quite a lot like the lady taking care of me. Ugh, this is too much to take in right now. 

As if sensing my eyes on him, the blonde boy lifted his gaze from his boots to me. His eyes were the same golden shade as his long, slightly wavy hair and his skin was paler than mine. 

"This is the second time you've relieved yourself on my shoes. Is this going to become a past time?" The blonde woman, whom I'm soon to suspect is his mother, shoots him a warning glare, but a smile slides across my lips. His words may sound harsh but there was humor in his tone. Not to mention, I distinctly remember a comforting hand holding back my hair as I emptied my stomach. 

"I'll try my best not to make a habit of it." My voice was scratchy and broken but I think it got the point across, for everyone in the room seemed to relax a little. Even the looming man in the background of my vision shoulders slumped. The blonde regarded me with a smile and placed a soft, warm hand upon my mine. I tried my hardest not to flinch away, I know she means me no harm. 

"My name is Lisa Tepes. I'm a doctor." Her voice is warm, like liquid sunshine washing over me. "Behind me is my husband Vlad Dracula Tepes and the sulking boy in the corner is our son Adrian Tepes." Adrian, as I now know him, huffed at his mother's comment but a smile remained on his face. So they all are a family. I guess the shadow man can't be all the bad if he's married to such a warm woman, but something about his name stings in the back of my mind. Where have I heard it before?

"Would you like me to get you a nightshirt? You could use one of mine. We are about the same width; although, I fear you are a bit taller than me." Her question pulls my eyes from her husband back to her. Her shy gaze was lowered and I followed it to my bare chest and then looked back up to her concerned face.

"A nightshirt?" I know there were a lot more important questions to be asking at this moment, like "where the fuck is this, how did I get here, why does my throat feel like it hasn't tasted water in over a year and most importantly why the fuck does my stomach hurt so much?" But given the surprisingly casual atmosphere right now, I settled with asking for an explanation for a word I was foreign to. It was Lisa's turn to wear a puzzled expression and Adrian tilted his head to study me intensely. His gaze felt hot and I elected to ignore it because I didn't have time for him right now.

Lisa gestured to her dress, "You know like clothes expect you were them to bed."

"You sleep in clothes here?" My question seemed to catch her off guard but Vlad chuckled and finally pushed himself off the doorway and sauntered over to his wife's side. He was even larger up close but the immediate intimidation I felt melted away at the sight of his slight smile.

"I take it you are not from around here." His words were deep, powerful, and commanding. His presence was enough to control a room but once he spoke, I don't think anyone could ignore him. 

I shrugged my shoulders, causing a rippling pain to spread up my chest and answered, "I'm not even sure where here is."

A chuckle deep and stentorian vibrates through the room, "I suppose that is fair. Maybe my wife and I should explain a few things." 

Lisa bobs her head in agreement. "If you are feeling well enough, I'd like you to come to the lab so we can properly look over your wounds and run some tests, but I understand if you are still woozy and would like to rest." I wasn't sure how long I had laid in this unrealistically comfortable bed, but I know it was for far too long. All my muscles felt stiff and sore. I needed to get up and move.

"I'm alright. I'd like to take you up on that. As long as you promise to explain somethings once I'm up." I rasped out, probably not too convincing on the "alright" part.

Lisa smiled softly, "Of course, hun. Vlad and I will go prepare the lab and some food for you." Turning her attention to her son, still sitting casually upon the black dresser. "Will you go to my wardrobe and pull out some clothes for...um..." She looks back at me expectantly. 

It takes me a moment to process what she wants from me. "Oh, yeah. I'm Luciana, but no one calls me that. Friends call me Lucian or Luci." 

"It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance Luci." Her husband nods stiffly to his wife's introduction. "There is a personal bathroom to your left, right where Adrian is sitting. Feel free to freshen up while we get everything around, just please do not touch the bandaging around your wound." Wound. That's the second time Lisa has said that word. What exactly happened to me? I could feel a throbbing pain from my upper abdomen, but honestly, I was a little terrified to remove the blanket and see what lay underneath. "If you need help walking over to the restroom let us know so we can assist you. You will be numb after sleeping for so long, so please take slow cautious movements. Give your body time to adjust. I don't want you reopening your wound, so once you are dressed Adrian will carry you to the lab." 

I choked on my breath and silva, causing myself to launch into a coughing fit. "Excuse me?" I squeaked out through the sharp pain pinching my stomach. Lisa rubbed my back in a very motherly fashion, making sure I was okay and offering me water, which I happily took.

"Well, I can't possibly carry you, hun. I suppose Vlad could if you would prefer." Uh, absolutely not. No way in hell was I letting tall, dark, and fucking frightening cradle me.

"I would prefer to walk myself," I said confidently.

"Absolutely not." Lisa's tone comes out more stern and commanding than her previous sweet one. "Like I just stated, I cannot have you ripping open your stitches. You will limit your walking and movement to and from the bathroom and to change clothes. Any more than that and you must be carried. I'd prefer to treat you here in bed, but some of the equipment I need would be too much of a hassle to move, thus we shall move the patient." With that, Lisa was up and moving to the hallway, her husband in tow. She turned back once to offer me a smile and a wave before exiting the room. Once they've left a creeping silence slithers its way into the room and coats everything in its wake. Ugh. So much is happening and I have little time to process it. Somehow I got injured and ended up in the bed of some fancy Lord and Lady. How was I injured? I dug in my memories try to peace any of this together. What was the last thing I remembered? I was with my pack and and and...suddenly a prickly pain erupts around my forehead and I see a slight glowing above my vision. What the...

"So do you need help getting to the bathroom or should I go get your clothes now?" My head whips around to the voice that is such an intense low growl it sounds as if it is being whispered directly into my ear. It wasn't, of course, Adrian was still perched on the dressed one arm draped over his raised knee. The other leg dangling. Fuck, I had forgotten he was here. 

"I'm quite capable of walking across the room myself, thanks." I huffed, slightly annoyed he interrupted my thoughts.

"Suit yourself," he said nonchalantly hoping off the dresser. "Just remember, if you tear open your stitches, you'll find my father isn't the scariest person in the household." He was across the room and out the double doors in the blink of an eye. I didn't even have a chance to consider how his beautiful mother could be scarier than the ten-foot-tall monstrosity she calls a husband. Okay, all I have to do is get out of this bed and take like 12 steps to the washroom door. Easy.

 

It was not easy. One step off the bed and my whole body crumbled to the floor. My legs had gone numb and pain wretched its way through my core. I bite down on my lip to stop myself from crying out. Fuck. What did I do to produce so much fucking pain? After multiple deep breaths, I slowly rolled my body onto my side and then used my sore, shaking arms to push myself into a sitting position. "You can fucking do this," I think, trying to pull some courage out of my wavering spirit. The future alpha will not be conquered by a task as simple as making it to the bathroom. Besides, I really have to piss. My bladder is enough encouragement to get me to my feet. And so begins my tedious, perilous journey of taking a piss.

 

It takes me longer than I would like to admit to make it to the door, but damn it, I made it and that's what counts. When I step into the bathroom I found... a bunch of shit I don't understand. There were pipes and oddly shaped porcelain tubs everywhere. Or at least I think that's what porcelain looks like. There was a large white one directly in the middle with a long pipe that leads up to the ceiling and connects to some other black tubes. I followed the pipes back down to an object that kind of resembled a chair but small with a lid. My eyes flickered to another smaller tub next to the seat that was quite similar to the first tub with two golden handles, as well. A movement to my right caught my attention and I jerked my gaze to land on... myself? A large full-bodied circular mirror on a golden stand was positioned in the corner. Holy shit, I looked like, well, shit. Although my body was fairly clean of dirt, anyone could see I looked like I was on death's doorstep. My skin was paler than normal, which is saying something, and my eyes were sunken deep within my skull. My lips were chapped and bruises covered my arms, legs, and wrist. My hip length hair, while knot-free, was greasy. Dear moon, what had happened to me? I stepped closer to the mirror, inspecting the bandage that was tapped to my upper left abdomen. Blood was now staining the once-white cotton. Well, fuck, we all know what that means. A shiver ran down my spine at the thought of having Lisa pissed at me. Shaking off that thought, I traced my hand down the wound and passed my abs to the large bruise upon my hip bone. What had done this?

Hands, nails, two sharp knees keeping me pinned.

The sound of a nearby door opening snaps me from whatever that was. Something wet dripped down my face and the mirror confirmed my worst fears. I was crying. Why was I crying? I didn't have time to figure out why I had such an emotional response to a flesh back of limbs in an unknown memory. Not leaving myself to ponder my emotions, I needed to figure out how to pee, that was more pressing than anything else. Quickly wiping the tears from my face I stepped out from the bathroom and came face to face with Adrian placing clothes in the wardrobe next to the bathroom door. Dresser on one side, wardrobe on the other, just how much clothes space do these people need? Adrian looked down at me as he placed some articles of clothing away and closed the wardrobe doors. His eyes traveled down my face and then the rest of my body before he quickly averted his gaze.

"Do you just walk around proudly naked in the company of others where you come from?" His voice sounds slightly annoyed and disinterested and I'm not quite sure how to take that so I just shrug.

"Clothes weren't always necessary with the pack."

"Pack?" He brings his eyes back to mine with that question.

"Yeah, my people. What do you call your people?" I ask back. 

He ponders this for a second before responding with a simple, "Their not people." What does that even mean? The question must be displayed on my face because he just shrugs and smiles. 

"I must admit I am unfamiliar with the customs of your people but here it is recommended that you wear clothes. Preferably a loose shirt and pants so that my mother can inspect your wounds without much trouble."

"It wouldn't be any trouble with no clothes." I quipped.

He rolls his eyes, "Suit yourself." He stepped up to me and reached out towards me. I flinched back defensively. 

"What do you think you are doing?" I growled.

He stepped back, lowering his arms and raising one eyebrow. "Carrying you. Mother doesn't want you injuring yourself further, remember?" As he finishes his sentence a stern look crosses his features, "Why do you smell like.." He trails off before his eyes snap down to my bandage. "...blood." Frustration now covers his beautiful face. "You opened your stitches!"

"I did not!" I definitely did. 

"Oh? Really? Explain then why your bandage, which was replaced yesterday is now coated in fresh, wet blood." His tone is snarky and it really sets me off.

"Okay! So maybe I fell out of bed. It's not that big of a deal." I attempted to fail my arms to emphasize my point but lifting them hurts too much. Adrian groans and rolls his eyes again.

"If you would stop being stubborn and just let us help you, you wouldn't stunt your healing." Woah Woah Woah. I've known him for ten minutes and he's already making assumptions and insulting me. Just who does this brat think he is?

"Look there are more important things you could be doing instead of fussing over my minor," I put emphasizes on the minor, dragging the word out, "injury." 

"For example?" He asks, rolling his hand rushing me for a quick answer.

"LIKE HOW TO PISS IN YOUR WEIRD HOUSE!" My blatter bounces with my outburst and I feel more blood pour into the bandage. Silence follows my loud answer and shock stains itself on Adrian's face. For a heartbeat, nobody moves and I'm afraid I may have offended him more than I had planned to, but Adrian's face melts into one of amusement as laughter spills from him. The low sound vibrates through me and leaves me a little breathless. His laugh is quite infectious and I find myself giggling along with him. "Please, I'm serious. I really have to pee." 

He quiets his laughter a little to reach behind me and open the bathroom door. I step back into it and he follows, passing me to approach the weird seat thing. 

"This," he gestures, "is a toilet. You lift the lid, do your business and then push this golden handle on the side. All of your bowels will be flushed down through the pipes and released into the ground." Huh. That's new. Adrian walks past me again and back into the bedroom before returning with some clothes folded neatly in his hand. "Why don't you use the toilet and then change into these, they don't have buttons or ties so you shouldn't struggle too much with them. I will be waiting outside and then we can go to visit my parents in the lab. Does that please you?" I just simply nod and take the clothes from him.

The toilet was absolutely terrifying and the clothes took me a couple tries to get into but now I stood in front of the mirror in soft brown pants and a white long-sleeved shirt. Not really anything I'd wear normally but it works for this medical visit I guess. I do a once over in the mirror making sure I'm not about to make a fool of myself in front of the spoiled, unrealistically attractive, high-classed brat waiting outside the door before I made my exit. Adrian is leaning against the bedpost when I step out staring at the wall absent-mindedly. I take this moment to see him clearly, he wears a long white-sleeved shirt, similar to mine but his cuts low into his chest, paired with tight black leather jeans with crossing hip belts, which make absolutely no sense to me and those heeled black boots that have tasted my vomit twice now. I smirk at that thought and Adrian cocks his head noticing me.

"Finally ready?" He says with a hint of amusement. As ready as I'll fucking ever be. Let's get this over with.

Chapter Text

"Honestly, you could let me walk on my own and your mother would never know."

"Honestly, I can not."

I left out of huff that rattled off the wide hallway filled with portraits of people I couldn't look at long enough to distinguish due to Adrian's brisk walking pace. I was actually quite surprised how easily he was carrying me such a long distance. I tilted my head up to study him. No sweat trickled down his forward and his chest rose slow and steady underneath my hand. I wasn't particularly large but I was certainly more muscle than anything else. And Adrian didn't look exceptionally strong, he was fairly lean, in fact. His golden eyes flickered down to mine and I quickly fixed my gaze on anything that wasn't him. This was utterly humiliating, being cradled by a stranger, by a man. Mother would have a fit if she stumbled upon this scene. Me, wrapped in the arms of a pampered, rich boy, one of my arms draped around his neck, the other pressed into his shirt, legs dangling from his arm cuffed under my knee, the other gripping my shoulders. She'd probably faint from pure anger and shock. The thought causes a small giggle to fall from my lips and Adrian tenses slightly around me.

"May I inquire about what you find so funny?" His quip has no bite to it just mild curiosity. I smile a bit, shaking my head.

"Oh, nothing really. I was just thinking of my mother." This causes Adrian to relax a considerable amount. His eyes are fixated on the path ahead but I see his lips tilt-up if only a little.

"And what is she like?" He questions and I'm a bit taken aback that he's interested. Although, I imagine he's just making pleasant small talk. 

"Well, you know, just incredibly powerful and intimidating," I say with a casual shrug, which makes Adrian quirk an eyebrow at me. "She was our alpha, her job was to keep us safe, she had no other choice but to be strong. No one questioned my mother's authority and she was respected by everyone in the pack, regardless of age." I smirk, huffing a bit. "And I was the catalyst to everything she had ever built." When I look back up Adrian he isn't smiling anymore. His eyes are downcast and the sadness is palpable around him. What happened? Wasn't I just joking about terrorizing my mother?

He parts his lips only enough to let his words whisper out. "I'm sorry for your loss, I can't imagine the pain that comes with losing a mother." What? When did I say- Oh, but he's right. I was referring to my mother in the past tense, wasn’t I. Why though? Wasn't it just a few days ago that I was coming up with my next big trick to irritate the crap out of my pack, only to get lectured by mother that I was twenty now and must take responsibility for my actions. My last memory before waking up was another feast celebrating another one of my mother's shining achievements. They were all happy, drinking, alive. They were all definitely brimming with life, so why does my heart tug with pain right now. Why do I know someone deep within my soul where my memory can't reach that they are all gone.

 

That they were all dead. 

 

"I am sorry. I truly didn't intend to upset you." I let my eyes slowly find his and in them is nothing but a pool of golden sympathy. I know why he looks so concerned, I can feel the wetness dripping from my eyes and staining my face. Why have I been crying so much over tragedies I cannot remember? Better yet, why can I not remember? I wanted to dig further into my memory. What had happened that night? Why was I injured? Why am I crying as if my whole family was murdered?

"Get up! Get up, we have to move! Do you want to die here?" My mother's voice is clear and urgent in my mind but I can't recall why she would be shouting at me. A sharp, familiar pain pricks my head and a silver glow illuminates above my eyes. Adrian's eyes widen as they move up to my forehead.

"How do you do that?" He whispers softly, curiously.

"Uh, do what?" I respond not so softly, much more panicky. 

"Make the crescent moon on your forehead glow silver." He hardly seemed to notice me, he was completely transfixed on the silver glow apparently coming from me. Before I can respond or even comprehend what was happening the door we had stopped next to flung open. Both of our heads snapped to the sound and our eyes found a somewhat annoyed-looking Vlad towering in the doorway. 

"And just what are you two-" he cuts himself off as his eyes flick towards me, catching the silver glow before it disappears again. If he had seen it or understood it, he doesn't say, just continues as if he hadn't paused mid-sentence. " squabbling about in the middle of the hallway, while Lisa is patiently waiting to examine you?" Adrian simply nods to his father, stepping passed him with me still in his arms into a huge golden room full of oddly shaped mechanism I had never encountered before. Now trust me I know there is a lot I should be finding abnormal in this household, such as porcelain tubs, toilets, pipes, the long scope thing in the middle of this room, the vials of what I think is blood rotating on a table, but what really caught my attention was the lack of windows and the ones I did encounter were blocked by large shutters. I technically didn't know if it was daylight out, I could have woken up in the dead of night. The room was well lit and I craned my neck to look behind me, causing Adrian to huff as I wiggled in his grasp. The torches placed on the walls were encased in metal and the fire within, which was more white than orange, didn't flicker in the slightest. Huh. 

Gently, I feel my body being lowered onto a table with a soft, white cloth over it. As I find myself sitting down somewhat comfortably, Adrian begins to pull away but stops with his arm around my shoulders and takes a moment to lock eyes with me. Now that I think about it, his eyes were truly captivating. Someone could easily get lost in those pools of endless sunshine. The sound of a confident smirk pulls my eyes from his down to his upward lips. Someone, but not fucking me. I pulled myself from his reach with a huff and turned my head from him. I could feel his presence move from mine when he straightened, probably with that same stupid smirk. Brat. 

I felt a warm hand place itself on my knee and I tensed, whipping my head back around only to find Lisa's warm smile, instantly soothing me. Her golden summer waves were pulled to the side of her face tied with a mauve scrunchy that matched her dress.

"Why don't you lay down and roll up your shirt while I sanitize my hands." Her voice softly washed over me lowering me down onto the table. I rolled up my shirt and fixated my eyes on the brightly lit ceiling above me. Soon I felt cool hands on my upper stomach removing a bandage. "Well, it seems one of the stitches tore..." I rolled my head to the side to see Adrian leaned against the wall, arms crossed with a smirk and a raised brow. Fuck. "But you are pretty much fully healed, so the cut is minor." I stuck my tongue at Adrian, who only rolled his eyes in response. "It probably helped that you slept through most of your healing process. I'd say about another day in bed and you should be good to go." Oh, thank the stars. "I'm going to remove the rest of your stitches and then bandage the wound again, okay?" I simply nod, eyes not leaving Adrian's.

"While you are doing that my love, why don't Lucian and I exchange a few questions." Oh, yeah. That's a good idea.

"Of course. Just don't cause any unwanted stress. It makes the healing process stagger." Vlad gave a knowing nod to his wife and then came to stand over me. I got to say, not a huge fan of him in this position. He was already so freaking tall.

"So, why don't you start by telling me what happened to you." His voice was neutral, but I could tell he was suspicious of me.

"I don't know," I said locking eyes with him.

"You don't know?" The suspicion rose.

I sighed. "My last memory was of my pack and I celebrating and then... it's just blurred. I'm not sure what happened to me, I'm not sure what are memories and what isn't. I don't even know if my pack is alive." The last word came out more like a sob. I saw Lisa shoot her husband a warning glare and he cleared his throat, almost in an embarrassed manner. 

"You called them your pack. What does that mean, exactly?" Smooth change of subject, Vlad. One that I was thankful for.

"My family, my people. It's like a village but we live in the woods, so not a village." Was this really so uncommon I had to explain it? I know most don't live in packs in the woods, but it's not unheard of, is it? Based on the puzzled expressions of not only Adrian and Vlad but Lisa who stopped bandaging me to stare wide-eyed, answered my question.

"You lived in the woods?" She gasped. "No houses, or shelter, or anything?"

I shrugged. "We lived in caves, hunted our own food, lived off the land. I've been to villages, visited ones nearby, but we never lived there with them."

"Are you human?" The question came out of Adrian, who had pushed himself off the wall and was stepping forward.

"What kind of question is that!? Of course, I'm human, aren't you?" I sounded more offended than I felt. Adrian didn't respond just smiled wide revealing two sharp fangs in his grin. Odd. 

Vlad waved his hand dismissing the conversation topic and moving on with his questioning. "You are awfully calm and collected for someone who woke up in a strange room with no memory of how they got there."

"Panicking wouldn’t get me anywhere and if you wanted to torture and kill me you wouldn't waste all your precious medical supplies curing me," I answered his implied question with an exasperated sigh.

Vlad tilted his head back and forth obviously considering my argument. "Fair assessment, unless we are truly cruel creatures who want you fully recovered before we began our torture." Lisa's head snaps up from her cleaning of my wound to stare down her husband again. I beginning to understand what Adrian meant. Lisa's glare could freeze hell over. 

"Did you run that plan by your wife?" I snapped back with no bite. Vlad and I kept our eyes locked for a few moments before a genuine grin spread across his face, followed by giggles that escaped from both Lisa and Adrian. There's no way these people could ever act on evil intent.

"All right, enough of that," Lisa dismissed still giggling. "Why don't you try explaining some things to her." Right, I was promised information. Vlad moved to a stool and sat on it, which was miraculous considering stools are small and he's quite large. Lisa shook her hand, getting out the rest of her giggles before going back to removing my stitches.

"I'm not sure where you are from exactly," Vlad started with a mild eye roll and a flick of his wrist, "but this is my castle located in Wallachia." Oh, I see where Adrian gets the brat from.

"I know we are in Wallachia, Vlad." Letting the sarcasm be emphasized by my return eye roll. He jumped a bit when I said his name, a look of shock settling on his face. Adrian's hand went up to his mouth but I caught the snicker that he was trying to hide. "Did I say something wrong?" Maybe the sarcasm was a bit much. 

"Uh...no." He rubbed the back of his neck not making eye contact with me. "It's just most people address me as Lord Dracula."

"Oh that makes sense - wait! You're a lord?" I shot up causing Lisa to squeak and jump back in surprise.

Adrian's snickers grew louder and more frequent. "I'm surprised you even know what a lord is." He huffs out.

"I lived in a forest, not under a rock." I snapped back only causing his snickers to grow more powerful.

"Alright, alright!" Lisa commanded, pushing me back down into a lying position. "Your stitches are out, let me just finish wrapping your bandages and you'll be free to be carried to lunch. What Vlad was trying to say," she continued, as I felt her tape down over my wound, "is this is our home and you are welcome here until you are fully healed and can remember everything."

"Wait," I protested. "I can't stay here! I have to go home! I have to find out what happened to my pack, my family, my mother." Lisa's face softens at my cries and she moves her hands up to my shoulders and gently begins to rub them.

"I know, honey. But do you even know where home is?" That stung more than the injury my stomach sustained. She was right. I didn't know where my forest was or even of the name of the village I would visit nearby. I have no idea how far I traveled to get here. I had no way of knowing how to get home. "Stay here. We can help you recover your memory and until then this is your home and you will be accommodated accordingly right love?" Vlad, or Lord Dracula I should say, nodded stiffly at his wife's gracious offer. I could stay here, in comfortable luxury as I try to piece together my lost memories. That couldn't be so bad, could it? But what of my pack, what if they needed me? Even if they did, I can't do anything for them if I can't find them. I don't even know if they are alive and something in my gut tells me they aren't. But I want physical proof of that. The best thing I can do for them and for me is to heal and remember and then act. 

"Okay," I whisper out. Lisa smiles pulling down my shirt and helping me up into a sitting position. 

"Why don't you and Adrian head down to the dining room where lunch is being prepared. We will meet you shortly after we've finished cleaning up in here." All I could do was nod as Lisa and Lord Dracula began cleaning up. I felt arms wrap themselves around my dangling knees and another around my shoulder before I was being lifted once again. Did I really even need to be carried if my stitches were out? Not that it really matters, I'm not sure if my legs would support me. My whole world feels like it's plummeting and there's nothing I can do but struggle and fall. 




Luciana remained quiet in Adrian's arms as he made his way down to the dining hall and she remained quiet through her meal once he had sat her down at the long black table covered in red cloth. He hadn't known her very long but he was sure quiet didn't suit her. The conversation from earlier must be weighing down on her mind and Adrian wanted to relieve some of that pressure, he just wasn't sure how. He tried to keep his eyes on the plate of food in front of him but he kept finding himself tracing the strands of her long black hair as pooled over her shoulder when she dipped her head forward to sip her stew. When her eyes flick to his, his flicked to the table. Various soups and bread were spread out on the table, along with cups of water. Adrian smirked a bit as his father brought the water to his lips. So it seems we are keeping things civilian he internally mused. His father and mother who was seated across from him were idoly chatting, voices low. Luciana to his right hadn't moved much, expect to sip her water and soup. He was beginning to feel rather bored, but for once was at a lack of words. Butting into his parent's conversation wouldn't do much to entertain him and besides he was most interested in was the girl next to him with the mysterious past. However, integrating her now would be rude, she's clearly upset and doing so would cause a nasty glare and follow by a nasty lecture from his mother. Luckily, Adrian didn't have to formulate a way to strike up conversation with her, she did the work for him.

"So...what next?" Her voice came out less rough than before, thanks to the soup and water no doubt.

"I'm sorry dear, what do you mean?" His mother questioned, goblet of water in hand.

"What can I do now? Is it back to bed until dinner? Am I still not allowed to walk around?" Lisa pursed her lips, thinking through her next words. This is his chance though and he certainly wasn't going to miss it.

Elbow on the table, chin resting in his palm, Adrian turned his head with a smirk and said, "Well if you are so terribly bored I could take you on a tour of the castle." Her eyes instantly lit up. "Carrying you of course." And they immediately narrowed. It took every inch of his willpower not to break out into laughter on the spot. Teasing her really was easy.

"That is an excellent idea!" Luciana whipped her head back to his mother who was overly ecstatic about a tour. "It will keep you from laying in bed for the rest of the day but will allow you to heal up."

"Do I even need to be carried?" She protested. "You already took the stitches out! That means there isn't anything to fear being torn."  

"You could still cause internal bleeding or contract an infection. Your wound is still healing and will need a couple of weeks even after removing the stitches before it will be completely restored. I will allow you to start walking and stretching tomorrow but right now you are still too sore. So you either let Adrian carry you around or you can be taken back to bed and remain there." That was enough to shut her protest down and she turned back to glare at Adrian, who was still smiling at her.

"Well, then," he said standing from his seat, "shall we?" His smirk grew at her grunt and eye roll but she allowed him to pick her up once again. This would be the perfect opportunity to question her without his mother's prying ears. He was far too curious and she was far too restless, this conversation would be inevitable.  



 

 

 

Chapter Text

"Okay, set me down." 

Adrian stopped, tilted his head and cocked a golden eyebrow. "Look, I'm not stupid," I sighed. "I know you have a reason for wanting me alone and it's not to be carrying me around your massive castle." He smirked and almost looked like he was about to rebuttal but then stopped before letting my feet down. The warm feeling of his arms lingered on my skin even after he pulled away. "So let's discuss the details of what you want and what you are willing to give to get it."

Adrian chuckled and crossed his arms. "What makes you think I'm willing to negotiate?" 

I rolled my eyes. "Oh come on, just tell me what you want." 

He huffed, rolling his shoulders so that some of his long hair spilled over. "I want to ask you some questions." Well, that makes sense. 

"Okay, I want to ask you some questions as well. So why don't we exchange one question at a time? I'll ask one, you answer and then you ask and I'll answer."

Adrian nodded. "We can postpone the tour until tomorrow since you are so against being carried around." His tone was sarcastic and that stupid smirk placed itself on his full lips but I couldn't stop myself from giggling. "There's a small study right here, we can sit there and talk if that suits you." He placed a hand over his heart and bowed slightly after he pushed open to the door, allowing me to walk through first. He was a brat but a gentleman nonetheless. The study wasn't large, in fact, it was rather cozy. Two chairs faced each other in front of a small already lit fireplace and a table was placed between them. Above the fireplace hung a large rectangular mirror decorated with a frame of fake white flowers. A couple of bookshelves lined the left wall and the right had two windows that were closed by black shutters. I took a seat crisscrossed on one of the fabric (and really fucking soft) chairs, Adrian sat in the other one, casually draping one leg over the other and placing his chin in his hand. 

"Alright, I'd like to go first." Adrian just nodded slightly in response. "Okay, there is something that has really been concerning me since I met you." Adrian narrowed his eyes and raised an eyebrow. "Why the hell do you wear those belts thingys like that?" I gestured wildly to Adrian's belts that were strapped across his hips. He lowered his head to follow my gaze and then looked back at me with a face full of bewilderment. 

"Uh, well, I usually don't wear them around the house." Adrian seemed a little embarrassed, which is a first so far. "They are meant to hold my sword."

"You only need one strap to hold a single sword."

"What if I want to change it up on the spot and wear it on my other side?" 

"Are you fucking serious?"

"Deadly." But he was smiling. "Now it's my turn." I rolled my eyes but waved for him to ask away. "What is the purpose of the moon on your forehead?"

"What moon?" Adrian raised his eyebrows in confusion and then tapped the center of his head with one long, slender finger. I got up from my seat, approached the mirror and pushed aside my bangs. And there it was, a black crescent moon right above my eyes in the middle of my forehead. "Holy fuck."

"I'm taking it you don't know how it got there?" I shook my head at Adrian's assumption still fixated on the mirror. 

"It definitely wasn't there in my last memory." 

"So why does it occasionally glow?"

"Hey!" I whip around, no longer concerned with the moon. "That is more than one question! It's my turn." Adrian rolls his eyes but leans forward in expectancy for my next question. "Why are all your windows blacked out?"

"To block out the sun."

"What? Why?" 

"I do believe that counts as more than one question." Fuck. Who made these rules? "Do you know why it glows?"

I sighed, rubbing my palms together. "I'm not entirely sure but I do have a hypothesis." Adrian leaned back in his chair and I let out another sigh. "When I try to recall certain memories I receive a headache and I see the glow above my eyes." Which I now know is some weird glowing tattoo.

Adrian tilted his head back in forth in contemplation. "So it would seem that glowing symbol has some ties to your memory loss." I nod in agreement. It would make sense but we'll have time to figure that out later.

"Why do you need to block out the sun in your castle?"

"Because too much could kill my father, of course," Adrian smirks placing his chin back in his hand. Oh, of course, smug bastard. He doesn't hesitate before asking his next question. "What is your fondest memory?" 

"What?"

"Your fondest memory, one you could never forget, tell me it."

"uh...I-" I stuttered for a moment before my mind lands on a memory I couldn't ever forget. Fuck it, we did agree to exchange questions. "It was midday, the sun was warm on my bare skin," Adrian's eyes widen at that and I can't help but smirk back at him. "Elena was next to me asleep, her legs intertwined with mine. We were in the middle of the poppy field, enjoying the warm summer weather ... and each other..." I trailed off smiling over at Adrian. He seems a bit taken aback by my response.

"Elena was a woman?" He questioned, which was technically two but I'll let it slide. I can understand his confusion.

"Yes, she was a village girl in a town not too far from my forest ... and she was my partner." Was. Why do I feel such contempt at that?

"So you prefer women?" Adrian's elbows were resting on his knees now and he seemed more interested in this than our previous conversation. 

"That's more than one question, Adrian." His eyes widened again before he lefts out a grunt. 

"You are right. I apologize. Ask your question." The first one to pop into my mind was about the sun and Lord Dracula but that kind of feels wrong now after his last question. So I suppose I can change tactics a bit. 

"Is the Tepes family the only ones living in this ginormous castle? It does seem rather large for three people, even three nobles."

"That answer depends on what you consider living." His answer was nonchalant but damn was it getting on my nerves. There he goes again with his cryptic bullshit.

"Can't you explain anything clearly?"

"I do believe that is more than one-" I was up and out of my chair, stepped on and the over the table and now had my hands on either side of him, gripping the armchairs.

"I don't fucking care!" My voice was low and hoarse which seemed to take Adrian by surprised. He leaned back a bit and stared up at me. "Explain it! All of it! Why does sunlight hurt your father? What do you mean "consider living?" And why the hell did you ask if I was human earlier?" He flicks his eyes away from mine for a moment looking into the fire but when they return to mine they are no longer golden. His hands clamped over mine, startling me and restricting my movement. He grins, revealing his fangs again but they seemed longer, more noticeable.

"It's simple really. We're vampires."

 

Vampires. Vampires? 

"There are many creatures on this Earth, Luci but there are only two that you musnt trust. Humans and Vampires. They deny their connection with nature, claiming to be of higher stature and spend their days killing anyone or thing they do not understand. Unlike other deadly creatures of our forest, they hide their true nature. They will lie and torture and deceive. They imprison us and even their own kind to further their lust for power. Never trust them, Luci. Promise me you never will." 

 

My vision blurred and then focused and then blurred again. My head was pounding, the light was dimming above my eyes and I was... being held? My head was resting on someone's shoulder and arms were wrapped around my back. I must have fallen over. I pulled back slightly, ignoring my spinning vision and pounding head, to see Adrian looking at me with a stone face. His nose was inches from mine and even from this distance, I couldn't tell exactly what he was thinking or feeling. 

"Remember something?" He whispered and I felt his breath on my face. Had I? I don't have a physical memory of the conversation, but that voice was my mother's and that experience was mine, an old one too for sure. I don't remember knowing anything about vampires but I can't deny my mother's voice. And more importantly, why did she say humans can't be trusted as well? Aren't we humans?

"I don't know," I finally whisper back. "Nothing makes sense anymore."

"Shall we retire?"

"No," I say a bit too quickly and a bit too urgently. "I want to keep talking to you." Adrian smiled small and genuine.

"Well then would you prefer to continue in my lap or shall you take your seat across from me?" A smile replaced by a smirk and my soft happiness replaced with unrelenting anger. This little brat.

Well, fine. He wants to play lets play.

I lean forward bringing my lips to his ear and whispered, "Oh please, the only place you'll find me on your lap is in your fantasies." And before he can react, I pull back breaking his hold around my back and placed myself back in my seat, cross-legged. So much has happened in the few hours since I've woken up and many things needed solved and answered but right now my only concern was making sure this brat seated before me didn't win at whatever this little game is we're playing.