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The battle long over, Sypha, Trevor, and Alucard decided to spend a few days to lick their wounds. They spent their mornings exploring the surrounding woods and splashing in the river’s waters. At night, Alucard fixed them dinner and Sypha pulled Trevor with her to the guest room while Alucard wandered the Belmont’s library. Today was the last of these simpler times for them. Sypha and Trevor were itching to travel. Not to mention that the fight against vampires and demons was still far from over. As long as the creatures of the night remained a threat to humanity, the speaker-magician and vampire hunter were still needed in the world.

Sypha should have been packing. After all, Trevor and Alucard had been gone all morning, hunting for food and other supplies. Sypha couldn’t bring herself to pack up the wagon yet. She wandered through the ruins of Dracula’s castle, drinking in every inch of a world that both terrified and intrigued her. There was so much information right here at her fingertips. Dracula, as terrifying and murderous as he was, was also Alucard’s father and a great scholar. He was a mysterious man, one Sypha couldn’t help but be curious about as she poked her nose into his private studies. She felt guilty for going through them. Alucard had been kind enough to give Sypha free reign of the books scattered throughout the castle. Still, it felt as though she was invading on the only remains Alucard’s lost parents.

Sypha sighed, hitting her head a few times on the edge of a bookshelf. She was in Dracula’s personal library, feeding her brain with every word she came across. Or, she would be if guilt did not gnaw on her every second she dared to pick up one of Dracula’s books. The book that had triggered the guilt was currently pressed tight against her chest, as if its cold, untouched pages would be warmed by the heart beating beneath her robes. She had found a child’s drawings scribbled in the margins, surely a young Alucard’s work. Sypha found herself wondering what kind of life Alucard had with his parents before the passing of his mother. He never liked speaking about it. Or maybe he did? It was probably just too painful to remember sometimes. In Alucard’s doodles, Sypha could see his love for his parents. The stick-like figures always smiled. There were flowers at their feet and a few drawings even of a young Alucard being hugged by his father. 

Pulling her head from the wood of the shelf, Sypha set the book on a shelf. Her fingers lingered on it for a moment before she pulled away and continued to scan the shelves. There was one book near the doorway that caught her eye. It had a vivid blue cover, no title etched anywhere on the outside. She plucked it off the shelf, brows creasing as she flipped it open. Most of the pages were damaged, some burnt, and others with water smudged ink. 

“How terrible,” Sypha thought and she gently stroked the book’s spine. 

Sypha came to a page that had some undamaged ink. There was a single word, one Sypha had never heard of or seen before.  She traced her fingers over the words before slamming the book shut and stuffing it under her arm. With a flick of her sleeves, Sypha left the library, hoping to find Alucard somewhere within the castle.

It didn’t take long for Sypha to hunt down Alucard. She could hear him and Trevor’s bickering from far across the castle. It was the usually teasing from the sound of it, Trever boasting about his skills with a whip while Alucard taunted how he could do better. They were in the kitchen, enjoying a bottle of wine between the both of them and some berries and nuts they must have found during their hunt. Though it seemed that Alucard was the only one partaking in the healthy snack, Trever perfectly happy to simply fill his gut with the red of the now half-empty wine bottle. 

Sypha stepped into the kitchen, walking past Trever and around the table until she reached the empty chair beside Alucard. She sat down without a word and slipped the book out from under her arm across the table to Alucard.

The half-vampire raised a brow at the book, recognition shining in his eyes. A small light of hope bloomed in Sypha’s mind in response to his reaction. Perhaps there was a chance Alucard really would know what the mysterious word meant. 

Alucard hummed as he carefully picked the book up. He handled ir with even more care than Sypha, only adding to the mystery.

 “This is one of Father’s forgotten texts.” Alucard flipped through the book, separating the few pages that stuck to each other with the tip of his nail. “The church tried to burn it ages ago but he had saved it, brought it here for his collections.”

Trever leaned forward, lifting his head as he tried to get a good look at the book too. He had been whining earlier in the week how bored he was of looking through the endless books between his family and Alucard’s. Now it seemed that was no longer the case. 

“Is it any use?” the hunter asked, probably thinking it carried clues to defeating vampires hidden somewhere in the damaged pages. 

“Depends on the person, I suppose and what information you seek,” Alucard answered simply. He set the book down, looking between his two friends. “This book is about sexual orientation or preference.”

Trever chuckled into his wine.

“Ah,” he hummed. “That explains why the church wanted to burn it.”

Alucard’s lips curled in an amused smile. He continued flipping through the book, movements slow as he carefully pulled sticking pages apart and smoothed them out against the palm of his hand. 

Sypha took the book from Alucard before he could finish, growing impatient. She believed in giving the book the care it needed of course, but that could wait until after her curiosity was thoroughly fed. She flipped through the pages until she reached the word that had caught her attention. She tapped at it with her finger, head tipping when Alucard’s eyes seemed to widen at the sight of it.

“What’s bisexuality?” Sypha asked. “I’ve never heard of it before.”

Despite all her travels with her grandfather and the other speakers, she had never heard of this sexuality. Well, she didn’t hear much about sexuality in general. Most of those texts had been lost long ago along with the speakers who memorized them.

“Bisexuality is the sexual orientation in which a person feels sexual attraction towards more than one sex or gender.” He glanced between Sypha and Trever before looking down at his hands. “There are those who may feel romantic attraction as well.”

Alucard waited for Sypha or Trever to say something but both simply stared at him, waiting for him to continue. Alucard did, doing his best to help the speaker and hunter understand. A few questions formed in the back of Sypha’s thoughts and she opened her mouth to ask them, pausing when a soft chuckle drew her attention from her mind back to Alucard.

“My mother used to read this to me actually.” A fond smile had slipped over Alucard’s lips. “I suppose it was her way of telling me she accepted me.”

Sypha raised a brow. The cogs in her brain whittled together for a brief moment before a light finally switched on. When she glanced in Trever’s direction, she found a similar look of realization on his own face.

“Oh, so you’re bisexual?” Sypha asked, eyes on the vampire still staring down at his hands.

Alucard bobbed his head and smiled at her, finally looking away from his hands. His smile was something Sypha easily mirrored and she glanced in Trevor’s direction to see his own reaction. The hunter had stolen the bottle of wine for himself, pouring everyone a drink. When he caught Sypha watching him, he raised a glass at Alucard before taking a sip. 

Alucard rolled his eyes but raised his own glass before taking a sip of the bitter red wine. He set it down, fingers tapping lightly on the glass.

“I think Father had some more copies of this book and a few others stashed away if you’d like to borrow them?” he said, eyes traveling back to Sypha. “We can see if we can find them before its time for you and Trevor to go.”

Sypha’s eyes lit up. 

“I’d love that.”

Trevor finished the rest of his wine, standing up from the table. 

“Well, lead the way, Alucard. Your Father’s books have my attention too.”

Alucard smirked at Trevor, though, as Sypha looked closer, she could see a gentle fondness in his eyes. He waved a hand at them, quietly leading them from the kitchen upstairs to Dracula’s study, leaving the ruined book behind.