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Thank You For Hope

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Having the mind of a spell caster meant that everything related to the elements and what she could summon from herself. It had always been that way for Sypha, since the moment she'd set the edge of her wool cloak on fire at seven years old.

Elements were vital, real, and comfortable. They were as much a part of herself as the curve of her hip or the crooked third toe that bent to kiss its partner. 

Partners. That was what she had now and they were the bones in her life. Just like the elements, she had needed to learn how each one could bend, sway, ignite and build. It had taken time, and lord knows so much patience on her part, but it'd been worth it. They were everything to her. 

Fire had been the first element in her life; explosive, frightening, hot. So too, with love. From the moment she'd found herself in Trevor's arms, looking up into his rough concern, she'd felt the flinty spark between them.

First she'd tried to deny it; refusing to simper, bat her eyes, or play to his ego. She'd just been unapologetically herself, even aggressively so. To her shock, he’d welcomed it. Just like fire, the desire had only licked more insistently at the kindling of her heart. Then the tenderness came. 

Essential as the flames were to survival, he became her anchor in a thousand different ways. He was the hot blaze in her life; bright, warm, comforting and occasionally singeing her with his sarcasm or temper. 

Like the flames he made her think of, his passion for her was scorching and constantly smoldering. There was no question when they came together, it was a belonging, consuming and devoted joining that sparked new possibilities. 

The ashes of their arguments, no matter how bad, always held a burning ember that built back the bonfire of love. Fire and Trevor. First loves, and bold ones.

Ice had been the second magical element that had manifested for her and perhaps the trickiest. It was surprisingly volatile and required patience to master. Multiple puddles, like an angel had been weeping, had reminded her of when she failed.

It took an accident for her to understand ice, and only because of a deceptive sheen on a frozen river that looked solid but was dangerously treacherous. Her assumptions had almost cost her everything and when understanding came, it was in a sudden, overwhelming crush.

She’d assumed too much about Alucard when she’d first met him. Proud, cool, regal and haughty, he’d been achingly beautiful, but--she’d thought-- too full of himself. She’d misunderstood the frailty, the longing, and the loneliness completely. 

It had taken a devastating failure at Lindenfeld and a chance encounter in Târgoviște to bring her back to him. She would never forget the moment of clarity as they rushed down the hallway to come alongside Alucard in a blast of fire and adrenaline.

When he’d spoken, hearing his voice again had crystallized everything. Like a landslide of bitter cold, she understood just how wrong they had been to leave. She could sense the shock, smell the alcohol, and understood the clinging sourness of deep grief. But his words had been lightly teasing, his voice the same as always.

At that moment she understood that the river to Alucard’s true self ran deep and hidden, far more than she had thought. When she’d said, “You don’t seem to be doing very well,” she had meant it. Her child would be born before he would be able to tell her that he’d known what she was really saying, but didn’t have the courage to acknowledge it.

Understanding ice had been a moment of great triumph and boundless beauty. The seemingly endless possibility of creation caught in a glittering moment and only contained by the boundaries of her imagination. So too, was loving Alucard.

He was as limitless as the movement of water from solid to liquid to gas and back to solid again. Like the ice she struggled with, he refused definition or mastery, instead offering a partnership that would challenge, excite, and water her heart for eternity.

There were times that the icicles that occasionally fell from the caverns of his heart would smash into her with stabbing pain but those too, would melt into water that would cleanse and eventually dry completely. 

So much more often though, she would discover a new gleaming room within the stunning ice palace of light, depth, complexity and magic that was Alucard.

Ice and Alucard. Complex loves but profound ones.

Lightning had been the last element to come to her and one that she sometimes forgot about in favor of the others. She often thought of it as her secret weapon, something that no one would see coming and worked on almost everything. That’s probably why she thought of it as the best representative of herself. 

Sypha was used to people dismissing her initially. She wasn’t sure if it was because she was small, or a woman, or a Speaker, but it happened a lot. It was a mistake on their part of course, but it almost always worked to her advantage. Like the element, she had the ability to shock and awe in transformative ways, and to send people running if she had to.

She was skilled in bringing light from darkness, life from destruction and a reminder of authority when it was needed. In the same way she could summon lighting to change the landscape around her, so too, could Sypha shape the world around her by sheer will alone. 

She knew that some of the villagers thought she was bossy, arrogant and that Alucard and Trevor were hen-pecked. But these were also the same people who were wary of her because she was powerful and she was fearless. Sypha didn’t believe in making herself small for anyone. LIfe was too short and besides, she was terrible at it.

Anyway , she thought as she looked over at her family in the fading light. Neither one of them would let me get away with trying to make myself smaller for someone else. 

And speaking of something smaller… She looked out over the garden.

It was something else to see her two husbands like this, chasing after fireflies with the children as the castle wall cut off the setting sun and threw the gardens into deep gloom. She could hear Trevor roar with laughter as two of the boys cornered him and tried to wrestle him to the ground for his glass flask. He’d caught five insects already and swore it was the skilled reflexes of a Belmont.

Alucard was silently hovering above a small clump of children who were staring in earnest hopefulness. “Three, two,” he murmured. “One!” With a sudden billow of his cape, the firefly swarms dived away from him and directly into the path of the children. High-spirited screams of exhilaration erupted as the chasing began.

He looked over at her and waved. The little child in her lap waved back and sniffled. “How’s the knee?” she asked her daughter and the watery blue eyes looked up at her. Sypha’s heart squeezed. At barely five, Isabeau still came running to her mother when she was hurt.

“It stings,” Isabeau said with a sniff and Sypha cooed sympathetically. “I think I could play again but I need bee kisses first.”

Sypha smiled, and planted the first kiss, right beside the scrape. Then she moved to the other side and kissed it too.  “First you collect the pollen,” she said and her daughter smiled. She repeated this two more times, until the wound had been circled. 

“Next you dust the flower!” the child chirped happily and Sypha scooped her up, the little girl giggling as she carried her toward her father. “Bee kisses, Papa!” she called to the blonde grinned and flew over, landing alongside Sypha.

“Bee kisses for our brave Bea!” he crooned softly and looked at Sypha.

“We are on the dusting,” she prompted and he nodded, ruffling Isabeau’s ruddy locks.

“The flower is dusted but what’s this? The bee requests an additional kiss?” He leaned down and took the girl from Sypha. 

“The bee always wants more Bea sweetness, right Papa?” their daughter asked, struggling to hide her delight under a thin veneer of seriousness.

“Of course he does,” Alucard agreed, playing the game.

“Oh, oh! I think there’s sweetness here!” she pointed to her cheek and the dhampir nuzzled in, giving her a series of pecks.

“Yes there is! The bee says thank you, kind maiden,” Alucard said with a gentle smile.

“The bee needs to make honey now!” Isabeau said with a shout, peering out into the darkness. There was an answering bellow to their left, coming from the tomato patch.

“Buzz! Buzz! Buzz!” Trevor yelled, and they could hear the laughter of the other children. “I’ll be right back guys, gotta go be the bee for Bea!” Moments later, his tousled head appeared, rounding the plot of green and jogging toward them.

“The bee dusts the--!” he started to say and Isabeau growled fiercely.

“Oops, the honey, right, sorry!” He leaned in and took her from Alucard, raising her above his head.

Sypha’s heart rose with her daughter, a giggling, small form silhouetted against the setting sun. The image burned into her heart. Their child; adored by her fathers and adoring them back, as the children from the village ran around the plants. Some lived here with them now and spread joy throughout the castle.

Trevor brought her back down. “And the bee shares the honey with Bea!” he crowed and rubbed his nose against hers.

“Père! Père!” (father) the little girl yelped. “Your beard tickles! Stop!”

“It’s the curse of the bee! He has fur, oh nooo!” Trevor playfully teased, pretending to swoop in for another nose to nose moment. Isabeau squirmed and he let her down. Bee kisses completed, she scurried off to join her friends.

“Ten more minutes!” Sypha called as a warning and Alucard chuckled. 

“Not endearing yourself to them today, are you?” he asked quietly.

Sypha snorted. “I’m a mother first. You two can be the friends.”

The blonde shook his head. “I can be friends to many, but Papa to only one. I’d rather be Papa, no contest.”

Sypha put her arm around his waist, and gave him a squeeze. “I couldn’t agree more,” she murmured, pleased.

“I can be both, thanks very much,” Trevor said sassily. “I’m fun, and I can be stern when I have to be.” Sypha crowed while Alucard snorted. “Hey!” The brunette opened his arms, clapping a hand on the blonde‘S shoulder. “You’re just jealous!”

“Once again, Belmont, you overestimate your appeal,” Alucard said sarcastically and Trevor grabbed the blonde’s chin, leaning in for a kiss. 

“Do I, Mr. Floaty J?” he asked, making an old joke in reference to something he’d said in their first encounter. “You seemed to think I was very appealing last night.”

“Trevor, really,” Alucard said, eyes darting from side to side. “There are children around!”

“Do you think they know what a kiss looks like?” the brunette teased and pressed his lips against Alucard’s in a gentle slide.

They are so beautiful together, she thought, watching how Alucard melted into him, his hand moving to urge Trevor closer, even as he held her close. His firm hold was bringing her into the embrace, as though somehow Trevor could kiss both of them at the same time. 

Not that he wouldn’t be willing to give it his best shot, she mused. As if he read her mind, Trevor eased back from Alucard and swooped. As his lips touched hers, she smiled into the kiss, content to follow his lead in the embrace.

Here was the fire--warm, comfortable; the hearth of the home. Trevor’s heart was the biggest, strongest and kindest she’d ever known. Every time she thought that there couldn’t possibly be more room in it, another candle in the dark would appear. There were thousands of them tucked in there; their flames flickering a path of adoration. 

There were more than she could count. A kind word when Bea was pestering her and her patience was thin. The offer of a massage when her legs hurt. One more, ‘It’s okay, I’ll go,’ when one of the children cried in the night. A coaxing grin for Alucard when the dhampir was gloomy about the passage of time. The inevitable adoption of yet another cat in the barn. Unquestioning support when someone in the village challenged her unfairly.

He was a miracle to her and she told him. “I adore you, Trevor Belmont,” she murmured against his mouth.

“Of course you do,” he grinned. “I’m the dancing bear; only this time it was for honey!”

She snickered, “Want some honey, do you?” she murmured and his chuckle was knowing.

“Good Lord, you two, now is not the time,” Alucard coughed. “Children are watching.”

Syha contained her giggle. Sometimes the blonde had a latent prudish streak, especially around the children. It was charming and a lot of fun to tease him. Trevor threw him a look and let Alucard go, circling to Sypha’s right so he could hold her hand.

“Awww thanks Alucard, you cost me a kiss,” she teased and the blonde sent her a side-eye.

“I’m just saying, the young ones might not… Sypha, what…?” He broke off, staring at her with a dumbfounded look. “You--”

It dawned on her abruptly and she widened her eyes. “Wait! Don’t say it yet!”

He knows, she thought. I was going to tell them at supper! “Just hold that thought for one moment,” she begged and prepared herself.

Alucard looked so flustered. Pleased, thrilled, worried, confused. Trevor was looking back and forth between them, saying secrets weren’t fair. In her mind’s eye she made a painting of the moment, the setting sun, the laughter of the children. The richness of the garden in the pale blue-gold light.

Alucard in his cape, a simple white shirt and black pants, trying and failing not to grin. His smile was so wide that his fangs peeked out, as he clutched her hip and his cape brushed her shoulder.

Trevor, completing the circle of their bodies as he demanded to know what was going on. His simple tunic, scuffed boots and a couple of stray leaves from playing caught in his brown shag like he was a garden Dionysius. The clear blue of his eyes glimmering across the span of hearts to Alucard’s golden ones as both men turned to her.

“Bea will be a big sister soon,” she said, finally using the words she’d been bursting to share for the last week. “In about seven and a half moons.”

“Six and three quarters,” Alucard murmured gently and she laughed, even as Trevor stared at them.

“We’re-- we’re having a baby?” Trevor asked. All his bluster had fallen away and there was a giddy excitement in his face that made him look youthfully innocent. “You’re pregnant?”

“Yes, she is.” Alucard told him. “I can hear the heartbeat.” His brow furrowed. “It’s a little fast actually but it could just be a response to Sypha’s excitement or the shouting of the children.”

Trevor grinned widely. “Maybe it’s a dhampir heartbeat, Alucard; doesn’t yours beat a little faster than normal?”

That’s what I was wondering too, Sypha thought. There’d been a couple of unusual things about this pregnancy so far and she’d suspected who the father might be.

“I--,” Alucard looked dumbfounded for a moment and it was an absolute pleasure to watch his brain halt all activity while he just experienced the emotion that the suggestion elicited from him.

There was so much love that piled alongside the long lashes framing eyes shining with wonder. Hope perched like a watchful guardian on the curve of his lips as he smiled with undisguised adoration. There was a dose of anxiety in the quirked brow and still more love hiding in the dimples, cascading from his cheekbones and passing through the arm that had tensed around her waist. A slight tremble around his lips; sorrow came and went so quickly that she almost wouldn’t have believed it was there.

But she’d been expecting it. She knew Alucard was conflicted about his dhampir identity. Already, she felt him drawing back from the joy of the moment with a grief that was like a creeping frost which would leave you shivering.

Trevor spoke. “Remember how scared I was about Bea? I didn’t want her to inherit my broodiness or my terrible awkwardness with words or my trouble with reading magic or my difficulty making friends? Just to name a few?” He pointed out into the rapidingly darkening dusk, where the lights of the fireflies winked like small green heartbeats.

“Look at her now,” he said with deep contentment.

They were silent for a moment, and she knew they were all watching a child with auburn hair, flashing blue eyes and a smile like her father when he went into battle. 

The garden was filled with life. Sypha grinned at the screaming flight of one of the older children chasing after the younger ones. Another group had located a bird fountain and placed their flasks upon it to watch the lighted tubes float ethereally on its surface. 

The wizard felt Alucard’s emotional thaw alongside the easing of the tension in the arm on her back as the rhythms of their life soothed him. He’ll talk to us now, she thought.

“Your broodiness doesn’t bring an immortal curse though, Trevor,” Alucard whispered and his voice was a contrast of resigned regret and smoldering joy.

“I would have to disagree on that,” Sypha said with a fair amount of cheekiness. “Sometimes the lack of hygiene when he’s in a bout is definitely a curse.”

“Hey!” Trevor said with a laugh. “It’s a well-honed tactic to terrify the night creatures.”

“Well, it certainly does this one,” Alucard agreed with great feeling, and the small smile went a long way to assuaging her fears.

“We all have aspects of ourselves we are afraid to pass along, Alucard,” she said gently. He looked down at her, eyes a little guarded but hopeful. “We are not alone, remember? We are family and we will do this all together.” He nodded slowly and bent to kiss her forehead, a light brush as soft as milkweed down.

Trevor chimed in again. “God help us all if this baby is as pretty as you though, Bea will have fits.”

Ooof, Sypha thought. That would be a challenge. Isabeau was very comfortable being the prettiest, the best, the most talented. Sypha loved that she was so self-assured, even as it made her roll her eyes sometimes.

“She’s beautiful,” Alucard said staunchly, “she doesn’t need to look like anyone but her--.” He caught sight of their daughter gleefully throwing a tomato at an older boy. “Bea!” he called admonishingly, “No tomatoes!” The little girl called back a pleading case for an exception and Trevor turned.

“Bea! You heard your Papa!” he shouted and the tomato hit the ground with a sulky pout. “See?” Trevor said as he turned back, “I can be stern!”

Alucard laughed and Sypha simply arched her eyebrows. “An absolute pillar of parental authority,” she said drily and called out the five minute warning. A chorus of protests and groans greeted the announcement and she rolled her eyes.

“Sypha?” Alucard asked quietly as the activity resumed in earnest around them. She looked up to find him staring intently at her and she could feel Trevor’s eyes on them. He was pale blue in the waning shadow; delicate features, lean strength, celestial eyes. 

“Thank you,” he looked over at Trevor and put out his hand. The brunette took it. “Thank both of you. I never thought…” His voice faltered and Sypha felt the sting of impending tears across the bridge of her nose. The dhampir took a breath and continued. “I never thought I would have the chance to be part of a family again after Mother and… and you two never hesitated, even when I did.”

Oh beloved one, she thought with dismay. You do not have to feel unworthy.

“You’ve thanked us before,” Sypha said tenderly, putting her hand on his face. Trevor cupped his other cheek. 

“Remember? When Bea turned one?” Trevor reminded him, thumb stroking over his cheek.

“I know, but I need to tell you again. It--I’m staggered by it, everyday,” Alucard said and a tear fell; a neat, round drop that held a universe of words that didn’t need to be said but would continue to be expressed their entire lives. “I will never take it for granted... that you chose me.”

Trevor smiled at Sypha and looked at the dhampir until he caught his gaze. “Don’t you think I feel that every single minute of my life?” he asked. “A nobody orphan who lives in a magical castle with a wizard and a dhampir, who has a family that he can’t possibly ever deserve and a peaceful life that his parents could only have dreamed of?”

“Maybe that’s the thing,” Sypha said quietly. “You both think of love as something you have to earn to be worthy of. Think of the way you love me. Is it because of who I am? Or what I can give you?” Alucard looked thoughtful and Trevor’s brows knit.

“Did you fall in love with me because I am a brilliant, clever, sexy, powerful wizard?” Alucard laughed quietly and Trevor cracked a grin. “Or did you fall in love with me because I am a naive, bossy, absurd, stubborn nomad?”

“Can’t it be both?” Trevor asked, puzzled.

“It is,” Alucard murmured, looking at her.

“It is,” she agreed, nodding. “And that’s part of loving. I trust you two to see me, the real me.” She paused, tossing it in to lighten the mood. “Mostly the good though. I’m definitely partial to that side, thanks.”

Trevor snickered but nodded. “My point is, yes,” Sypha said, looking at them in turn. “We chose each other, but for who we already are. You don’t have to earn anything, it’s already yours by virtue of being yourself.”

She touched her belly. “Your family is yours, just by virtue of you choosing to accept it and caring for it.”

Alucard let go of her and his hand reached out, hovering for a moment before, with a little tremble, it descended to cover hers. Trevor put his hand over Alucard’s and softly, they all touched her belly, hands stacked atop each other like a vow.

“You deserve happiness,” Alucard said softly, looking at Trevor.

“You deserve a family,” the brunette said back to him.

“We deserve what we have,” Sypha agreed.

She looked at them, the two men who’d crashed into her life half a dozen years ago. They were as different as you could imagine, yet inexplicably fit to all the rough edges, polished slides, soft curves and jagged corners of herself and each other.

This love was the manifestation of a truth a young girl learned about her magic not so long ago. Elements that once had seemed so different, alarming and overwhelming had become a part of her identity. Just like the elements that she cannot live without, she cannot live without her lovers. They were as inseparable to her as her own flesh. To lose them would be to reach out with a phantom arm, only to feel the abrupt loss each and every time she’d fail to touch what she sought.

The elements that should seem at odds with each other, and the lovers that reminded her of them, had come together to reside peacefully within her life now. 

Ice would give way to the fire that melted it into a source for life. Lightning would illuminate the darkest night and herald the coming of change, rekindling flames in new territories. Ice would temper fire when it burned too brightly, even as it smoldered constantly, waiting for the moment its embers could come back into being; bigger, brighter and bolder than ever. 

As the night fell and the children were brought into the castle, the echo of voices bouncing off of stone and the scents of food, children and life surrounded them, Sypha thought again, we deserve happiness; we deserve family.

She hoped that would stay with both of her lovers. It was a truth they could hold, keep, and allow to grow. It was a truth as constant as the elements that coursed through her body and as powerful as the love she had for them.

We deserve what we have.

---

Ég halla þig á, í ró (I leaned on you, in silence)
Það stóð allt í stað, og þú (All remained still, and you)
Þú söngst til mín svo hljótt (You sang to me so quietly)
Í tunglsljósinu ég sé þig á grúfu (In the moonlight I can see you lying down)
Í tunglsljósinu þú breytist í blátt húm (In the moonlight you became blue twilight)
Ég þakka þér þá von sem þú gafst mér (So I thank you for the hope you gave me…)
Ég þakka þér þá von… (I thank you for hope)

“Svo hljótt,” (so quietly) - Sigur Rós