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Take My Hand (And Show Me Where We’re Going)

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Something was wrong with Sypha. He wasn’t the only one to notice it. Alucard mentioned she seemed off somehow a couple of times and Trevor himself had noticed how unusually quiet she’d been in the last week. At first he’d thought it was just exhaustion.

The baby had been teething and she’d been busy working with Greta on the new laws for Belmont because apparently things need to be in writing. But he knew it was something far more serious when he’d woken up in the night to one of the children crying beside him and she wasn’t there.

Alucard already had him in his lap, soothing the child with a cooing murmur. Apparently he’d had a nightmare. When Trevor stood, the blonde’s tone didn’t change but Alucard switched to French, a sure sign he didn’t want to be understood by their son. The words were alarming. 

“I don’t know where she is, Trevor; I cannot hear her heartbeat. I don’t want to worry the children.”

“Did she leave a note?” he asked back in French, scrambling to pull a shirt on and wake up fully.

“Not here,” Alucard said sing-song. “Perhaps in the kitchen? She’s been gone for a while now, her scent is faint.”

“Alright let me check,” Trevor said again, the French rolling off his tongue as he rubbed a hand over his face and tried not to sound as frightened as he was. God, he was tired. 

Not as young as you used to be, Belmont, he thought as he crept down the stairs.

There was a note but it was brief and by a candle that had guttered out. Back soon -Mama/Sypha. It was written in a rush and the chalk was smeared. He held the slate in his hand and closed his eyes. Where was she? This wasn’t like her at all.

With a start he realized that he hadn’t heard the baby either. The volume that their son had been sobbing at should have woken him.

There was a soft footfall behind him and Alucard stepped into the room. “He’s tucked in with Bea, and she told him she’ll practice swords with him in the morning so the monsters will be scared of him. I think he’s fine now.”

Wordlessly, Trevor handed him the slate and the dhampir looked up swiftly. “Something is really wrong, Trevor,” he said and the brunette nodded. It was a matter of twenty minutes to ask Greta to come stay with the children while Trevor changed the sheets on the bed so she could sleep there.

He pulled together a couple of things and threw on warm clothes while Alucard darted through the sleeping village, listening and scenting for her.

He picked up her trail by the baker’s hut and together, Trevor and Alucard tracked her. It wasn’t hard, she hadn’t tried to hide her passing and her fragrance was unique. About twenty minutes in, Trevor stopped to catch his breath and the dhampir looked up, taking in the brunette’s winded state before returning to his side.

“Sorry, it’s just been a while, and fuck, I’m getting old,” Trevor said with an apologetic grin.

“You’re just exhausted,” Alucard said gently. “You and Sypha both. Between the new baby and the demands of the village…”

“Oh, like you aren’t,” Trevor retorted. “Don’t think I don’t know that you let us sleep every time one of the older children needs a cup of water or has a nightmare. And you’ve been managing the crop planting all on your own this spring too!”

Alucard tossed his hair in that way that always made Trevor grit his teeth with annoyance and desire. “I’m immortal; we don’t need sleep,” he said loftily.

“You’re half-immortal. The human side needs care too, Alucard.”

“Maybe if you would turn that righteousness towards taking better care of yourself then…” his face lit up. “Trevor! I know where she is!”

Trevor grumbled as Alucard took off. Care to share Fangs!? he thought but ran after him, watching the translucent blur streak ahead, the pause to turn and confirm he was coming before continuing on. It took another five minutes for him to figure it out, and that was only because of the faint steam and warmth in the air.

She’s... she’s at the hot springs?! He thought incredulously. He might have thought Alucard was full of it, but he could hear Sypha humming now.

“Sypha?” the blonde cried hopefully as they rounded the crop of stones beaded with moisture and mounds of moss.

“Well, shit,” she said matter-of-factly. There was a splashing and then a rustle. “Over here. I’m coming home now. Just go back; I’m right behind you.”

Trevor’s anger surged, the relief overwhelmed by a rage fuelled by hurt and disbelief. “Are you fucking joking me, Sypha?! You are out here splashing around in the middle of the night?!”

Alucard turned back to him, wincing. “Trevor maybe…”

“No! Fuck that!” The brunette pushed past him and jogged forward. The dark, steaming pool spread out before them and there, at the far end was Sypha, pale, and naked, towelling herself off. The belly from their newborn was completely gone now and a small part of his mind noted that she seemed thin.

“I think you need to tell us what is going on!” Trevor roared as exhaustion, confusion and anger speared nasty barbs into his heart. I thought something had happened, I thought…

“I needed some time to think, to be alone,” Sypha said brittlely, clutching her cloak to her chest. “I’ll come back now, just don’t…”

“Don’t what!” Trevor bellowed as Alucard came up behind him, silent. “Don’t be furious that you--!”

A thin wail rose up and he broke off. Sypha sighed heavily. “Don’t wake the baby.”

The way she said it was a slap. It jolted him, and for the first time in weeks he really saw her.

Sypha was thinner than he remembered her ever being. She moved like she ached and her eyes, her hair and her skin--they were all dull and dry. But more than that, more than anything, it was her voice. He’d never heard her sound so defeated, not since Lindenfeld. 

She dropped her cloak, went over to what looked like a pile of blankets and lifted it. He could see it was the lidded carrying basket. She’d piled blankets and her clothes atop it to keep their baby warm.

The baby’s wails intensified and she bent down to gather him up. “Hush, it’s alright. Shhhh now,” she said and he heard her voice break. It snapped his anger clean, like an icicle knocked off the edge of a roof. Sypha never cried.

Alucard moved past him, drawing off his cloak and coming alongside her to place the fabric over her bare shoulders. “Sypha,” he said softly and he heard her stuttered sob now.

“Please don’t,” she said as the tears rolled down like lowering flags of surrender. “He’s right, it’s not fair. I shouldn’t have left.”

“Tell me what’s wrong,” Alucard murmured. “You left because something is wrong. Tell me, please. Let me help you.”

“I’m really trying,” she said through tears as she soothed the crying baby. “I am but it’s… it’s so hard and there’s so much to do. I know that… I know.”

“Know what?” Alucard asked as he covered one of the rocks with a blanket that had been on the carrier. Calmly, he sat on the rock and gestured for Sypha to sit with him.

The redhead moved beside him, drawing the blonde’s cloak around her against the cold and cradling the baby to her breast where he rooted and latched. She sighed again, a deeply tired sound that sounded jaggedly unhappy.

“I know that you,” she glanced at Trevor and looked back at Alucard. “Both of you have duties and responsibilities and the village is relying on you.”

Yes they are, Trevor thought, but...

“I’m so alone,” Sypha said in a quiet rush and the tears came in earnest now, her words tumbling out in little slaps and sorrows. “You are both so busy, we are all so tired and I know you do what you can. I should be able to do this, I shouldn’t be feeling like this, and--,” she had to stop for a minute and take several breaths.

Alucard didn’t speak, didn’t move. He just put out his hand and placed it on her knee. 

“I feel lost.” Sypha said, staring at his hand. “I feel completely overwhelmed and I am sorry for it.” Her laugh was tinged with a warble that sounded regretful but angry. “I’ve tried to just grin and bear it but I can’t.”

Alarm sliced little cuts into Trevor’s confidence and he held his breath, afraid of where this conversation was going. Afraid of what this might mean.

“Is it the children, or us, or the work you do with Greta, or--?” the dhampir asked and Sypha cut him off. There was a cruel edge to her voice that was difficult to hear because she was talking about herself.

“It’s me. I’m floundering, Alucard. I should be grateful for what I have and I am but--,” she looked away. “Sometimes I am so heavy with sadness and frustration and I want to just escape. I love our home and our family but sometimes I feel trapped by it. It’s like there’s never just a moment to breathe.”

The sentiment was so sharply parallel to how Trevor felt sometimes himself, that he exhaled loudly with understanding. I understand how you feel, he thought.

Sypha looked up and the guilt on her face wounded him. “I’m sorry, I know that’s horrible. Many women would look at my situation and be grateful but--.”

“You are not many women and we never want you to be,” Alucard interrupted.

“Yes, I know, I just meant that I don’t know why I feel so desperate sometimes. Why I wake in the middle of the night and have to get away, just for a little while. Go somewhere where I am alone,” she sounded frustrated and looked down. “Well, almost alone.”

The guilt came now, a hot blanket of discomfort and understanding. Trevor spoke. “Sypha, how many times have you left in the middle of the night?”

She didn’t meet his gaze. “This would be the fourth, I am sorry.”

No my love, he thought, admonishing himself for not seeing this sooner. I am sorry, so very sorry. Sypha should never have felt left alone to bear it all, or feel that she couldn’t ask for the help she needed because they were busy with the village.

“I am sorry,” Alucard said quietly. “I’m sitting here trying to remember the last time that I was home in time to help with dinner, or putting the children to bed.”

Sypha shook her head, using her free hand to wipe her eyes. “I have help. We have Sarah and Mertal. Greta comes by sometimes, but…”

“But it’s lonely,” Trevor said, his voice startling all three of them.

“Yes,” Sypha said. “I miss you both, so much, and I tell myself it’s not fair, I see you all the time but…”

“But it’s not being with you, though, is it?” Trevor finished for her. “And it’s not having time to yourself to read, or be calm, or not be responsible for everything, or come relax in the hot springs.”

Sypha’s little laugh was sad. “Actually, I was bathing. I haven’t bathed in almost a week. Too busy or too tired.”

Trevor offered her a little smile. “Two weeks and counting,” he said. “Can’t be bothered if I could be sleeping.”

“That’s… horrifying,” Alucard said, his nose in the air. “I thought you smelled questionable but good lord, have you no respect for basic hygiene Trevor?”

“Not all of us can bathe, dry and dress in the blink of an eye, Alucard,” Trevor said, narrowing his gaze. Alucard’s snooty disdain for his lax hygiene had always been a point of contention between them.

“I would have filled in for whatever you were doing so you could bathe. I would have considered it a priority!” the dhampir retorted with annoyance.

“I just assumed you were--.” Trevor broke off and thought about what he was about to say. Slower, he started again and said it with new intonation. “I just assumed you weren’t available.” He looked at the two people he loved enough to die for. “I assumed. We all assumed. No more assuming.”

Awareness spread across Alucard’s face and Sypha gave Trevor a hopeful smile. “We need to keep talking,” Alucard said. “If we aren’t talking, we aren’t able to help each other.” 

He looked at Sypha. “I am asking you to tell me what you need, when you need it. If you need time alone; I want to help you have that.”

He turned to Trevor, “If you need to bathe, I am asking you to tell me so I can help make that possible for you.” He paused and then flashed a grin. “Hell, I am helping myself too, because I love you but, good lord, there is a limit.”

“Oh please,” he quipped back, falling easily into the snarky banter. “You love my stink.”

Alucard rolled his eyes. “No. I most certainly do not.”

“It’s harder than I can imagine saying this,” Sypha whispered and Trevor was immediately diverted. “I don’t want to hurt either of you.” He saw Alucard go still as well, pinning his golden eyes on her. “But I’ve needed to say it for a while.” 

“Whatever it is,” Trevor said and Alucard nodded, “please tell us so we can work through it together.” He came over and sat on the ground in front of her, putting his hand out to touch her other knee.

“I’ve wanted to ask you both to scale back the work you’ve been doing in the village.” She added swiftly, “Just a little! That’s all.” 

She swallowed. “I know it’s not fair because I just started the law work with Greta, but I love that. It gives me a chance to use a different set of skills and get away for a while and--.”

Alucard moved his hand to her cheek and smiled. “Sypha, your work with her is a significantly smaller time commitment than what I am currently doing. Let me be blunt. I’m trying to do too much right now and I am just becoming aware of how absent I’ve been. I miss you and I miss the family.”

Sypha leaned into his hand and kissed his palm. “I am not in love with Belmont Village,” the dhampir continued as he put his other hand out to Trevor, who took it with a gentle squeeze. “I am in love with you two. There’s no question, I would rather be with you and our family.”

He took a breath. “There are a couple of projects I can step away from immediately without an issue. The planting is another three weeks before it’s done and I am caught there, I can’t--.”

“No, I don’t want you to give it all up,” Sypha protested. “That’s not what I am asking for, I promise!”

“I don’t hear you asking for that, Sypha,” Alucard said with a smile. “I am telling you what I would like. I would like to be here more, and give you more opportunities to be out and about. Not a trade, but an understanding.”

“An understanding,” Sypha seemed to be tasting the word. “I like that.”

“Just so we are clear,” Trevor chimed in. “I am all for this, and would happily step away from duties and projects to be home more.”

And as long as we are being honest, Trevor thought. “Speaking of understandings and being more present, I had a thought about two months back.” His lovers looked down at him and he shifted, a little nervous.

“I love our children.” They both nodded. “What Sypha said about feeling trapped though? Sometimes I feel it too.” He rushed on, wanting to get it all out so that they understood. “I would die for our children and I am not saying that I have any regrets, that’s not it, it’s just that sometimes I want time to just be with you.”

Alucard’s face split into an amused and thrilled smile. “Why Trevor Belmont, you want a date night!” he crowed happily.

A ‘date night’? The brunette thought, confused. “I don’t know what that is?” he responded.

The dhampir’s smile settled back into a contented twist of his lips. “It was something that my mother created with my father. Planned evenings where I was cared for by my nanny. They would say their good nights in the afternoon and I wouldn’t see them again until the morning.”

Trevor’s eyebrows climbed. “That’s a lot of sex,” he said without preamble and Alucard looked pained.

“I’d rather not think about that, thank you, but that wasn’t the point of the evenings. I know for a fact that sometimes they just sat in the library and read together. Sometimes they went for a walk, or left for a ride on a beach, or a trip into town to see a minstrel show.”

“Wait, so they didn’t have sex on th--?” Trevor started to ask and Alucard interrupted.

“Alright! We get it, you’d like some sex on our date nights!” he huffed and Trevor grinned. 

Hell yes I would but actually, my point was more…

“The point was,” Alucard continued, disapproving frown and side-eye squarely on Trevor. “They planned these evenings to ensure that they had time alone together to do what they wanted, and to remain connected as a couple.”

“Alucard,” Sypha asked hesitantly. “Do you know why you were an only child?”

His smile was gentle. “My mother had a complicated labor with me.” Sypha nodded but then he continued. “She did say that, while she would have loved to have one or two more children, having only one meant that she was able to pursue her own studies and vocation in medicine without interruption.” 

Sypha looked thoughtful. If you want a vocation, Trevor thought, I don’t want you to feel you can’t have it because of our family. He gave voice to that thought and Sypha started crying again.

“I cannot tell you what it means to me to hear that, Trevor.” She shifted carefully so she could bring his hand to her lips. “But I am happy with our family and, it sounds like with these changes, our lives as they are.”

Alucard was looking at him intently and gave an abrupt nod. His eyes were watchful when he spoke. “I am wondering though, if perhaps we shouldn’t have a conversation about whether we want any more children or not.”

Trevor’s eyebrows shot up. His immediate feeling was uncertainty. He hadn’t really thought about it. Then he saw Sypha nodding slowly.

“I confess I have thought several times in the last month on that very topic,” she said softly. “But I would not want to make such a decision alone.”

Dread filled Trevor’s belly and he had to know. “Sypha, have you thought that before our son?” he whispered fearfully. Please do not tell me you may not have wanted more children, but did just to please us!

She looked startled and shook her head adamantly, “No! No, this is the first time!” she said fiercely and then corrected herself. “Rather, the first pregnancy. She gestured to the sleeping baby hidden under her cloak. “He was so soon after August and you know how hard that pregnancy was.” 

Trevor nodded. Sypha’s carrying of August had been very difficult and she’d been confined to bed for a month before a labour that had been terrifying. The healing had been very slow but a combination of enforced bedrest and Alucard’s medicines had returned her to health.

The first time they’d made love after August’s birth, she’d gotten pregnant. It’d been a shock and a bit of a fearful waiting, but thankfully their son had been gentle on her body by comparison to the previous child.

“I had not come to any conclusions,” Sypha continued. “But I have thought of it.”

“I had not thought of it,” Trevor admitted. “But I would be alright with it.” He flashed a grin. “After all, I did get my six.”

Alucard clucked even as Sypha rolled her eyes. “And then some Trevor Belmont!” She nudged aggressively toward Alucard, “And the ones you two didn’t plant, he brought home!”

She mimicked the dhampir’s low, smooth accent. “But Sypha, he’s only eight and his family died of the plague and--!!”

“Oh please!” Alucard retorted. “You make it sound like you didn’t immediately make up one of the rooms for him and tell him that it was his space and he could stay as long as he wanted!”

“My point is,” Trevor said, using his hands to shush them. “We have a number of beautiful, wonderful children who came to us in a variety of ways and I am very happy with our family.”

Sypha’s face was luminous. “I am too, Trevor.”

“As am I,” Alucard murmured, face poignantly proud. They fell silent for a moment and the moonlight shone pale fingers combing through the steam that clung low to the ground. Sypha spoke again. 

“It sounds as if we are in agreement, but I just want to say that we don’t have to decide right now. I have had more time to think about this than you two.”

“There will always be orphans that I wish to help,” Alucard said, “but I also want to be the best husband and father I can be. We’ve decided this is what we would like to do and feel we can do well. I am content with that.”

“Couldn’t say it better myself, Fangs,” Trevor agreed and smiled. A giddiness was taking hold of him and he felt happier than he’d felt in weeks. Just being with them, talking like this and feeling connected, was the most important thing to happen to him since their son was born.

Sypha shivered slightly and looked at Trevor. “Could you please bring me the carrier? He’s asleep and I need to get dressed.”

Together they nestled their son back into the carrier and carefully covered the basket with blankets. Sypha returned to her pile of clothes when Alucard spoke. “It occurs to me that Trevor still stinks.”

Hey, that’s not my--! He suddenly realized what the dhampir was suggesting. A sly smile spread across his lips. Maybe date night sex was a possibility after all.

He looked at Alucard, who was looking at Sypha. She’d paused in pulling on her shift, the lines of her body pressed against the linen. 

“Should we give him a bath then?” she asked with a huge grin.

“Did you bring enough soap for that task?” the blonde asked seriously and Trevor snorted.

“If I am bathing, I am not bathing alone,” he declared, already pulling his boots off and dumping his cloak, whip and belt alongside them.

“Really Belmont, all of you stinks,” Alucard said softly and that should have warned him. A scant second later the shove had him flying before he hit the warm water with a massive splash. 

Damn it Alucard! He thought furiously, surfacing with a sputtering outrage. The only thing that kept him from shouting was the sleeping infant.

“Now, now Belmont,” the dhampir said as Trevor stalked toward the edge of the hot springs. “This was just practical. Your clothes needed washing too.” Sypha had put her clothing down and was walking back toward the pool.

“You’ll regret that Tepes,” Trevor said through clenched teeth. “I’m going to make you pay for every freezing mile back that I have to--!”

“It’s good for your constitution,” Alucard said as Sypha came alongside the blonde and asked him to pass her the soap on the stone beside him.

When he turned, Sypha very casually pushed Alucard into the water, boots and belt included. He managed to save half his body from being doused, hovering on his side, half-submerged and gasping. “Sypha! That’s--!”

His words were cut off by Trevor launching himself on top of the dhampir, dragging him under and giving him a significantly weakened punch, the water hampering his movements.

When they surfaced, he saw Sypha serenely collecting the soap that had bobbed back to the surface and putting it on the ledge.

“Belmont you absolute imbecile! I could have saved one boot a--!” Trevor pushed him under again but found his position quickly reversed when Alucard found his footing and held him under.

Well shit! Trevor thought and grabbed for his knees, thrashing wildly when the blonde let him go.

Triumphant, Trevor shot up only to get a solid punch in the mouth. For a moment, he saw stars and then Alucard’s unholy grin, fangs fully descended and eyes sparkling. Hello pretty boy, he thought and decided that kissing him might be more fun. 

His mouth missed its mark, finding a wet, pointed ear tip instead. This will do too, Trevor thought, and nipped as Alucard gasped in surprise.

The strong arms that had been tugging him away from the blonde’s body gentled, and he felt Alucard’s shudder as he nipped again. There was a kiss on his shoulder and he felt Sypha’s small hand on his hip.

“I’ve missed you both so much,” Trevor said and was a little embarrassed by how needy his voice was. He felt Alucard’s sigh against his chest, and the press of Sypha against his back.

“I think it’s safe to say we’ve missed each other,” Alucard said quietly and shifted, one arm reaching out for Sypha.

They stood there for a moment, a wet tangle of limbs and clothes, just feeling each other breathe.

“I’m sorry I yelled,” Trevor said, and meant it.

“I’m sorry I didn’t say something sooner,” Sypha mumbled against his back, squeezing him with her arms.

“I’m not sorry for this,” Alucard said and pulled them to the side, dunking them under the water with a laugh that echoed into the night.

---

Touch my skin and tell me what your thinking
Take my hand and show me where we're going
Lie down next to me, look into my eyes and tell me
Oh, tell me what you're seeing

So sit on top of the world and tell me how you're feeling

What you feel is what I feel for you
Take my hand and if I'm lying to you
I'll always be alone, if I'm lying to you

See my eyes, they carry your reflection
Watch my lips and hear the words I'm telling you
Give your trust to me and look into my heart
And show me, and show me what you're doing

-“Take My Hand,” Dido