VDC



Prologue



1968



An eerie sort of music trickled through the halls of the big house. The girl had always felt that the spirit of the legendary possessed the house, and there was reason to. It had belonged to Abraham Stoker at one point, the famous novelist who fathered the vampire myth in modern Europe. She herself had seen the precious scraps of paper bundled together that formed the basis for the novel Dracula. Unlike the common man, the Harkers, the eccentric professor Van Helsing, and the rest of the novel's characters were all real beings to her, people engaged in a fantastic tale. Dracula had been her very favourite story from the time she was old enough to read.

Many a time she had spent ransacking the attic upstairs for more information about this mysterious event, each time seemingly more fruitless than the last, until one night, this night, in fact, she came across a discovery that would change her entire life, death, and beyond.

The floorboards creaked vocally as she trod barefoot across them, her nightgown a few inches above the eternally dusty floor. The familiar scene of her hideout met her. A pool of moonlight filtered through the filmy circular attic window, lighting the little room sufficiently enough that her young eyes spotted something unusual.

In the corner, a rusty, ancient nail lay across the floor board. The girl looked up, wondering from whence the nail came, and noticed for the first time, a bend in the wall, that went lengthwise to the wall beside it. This was an odd sort of architecture, leaving a groove that was perhaps big enough to fit a cabinet drawer. She had never ventured into the deep corners of the little room, for fear of dead things, and spider webs. While she might be bold enough to spend her free time in the attic, she had a fear of spider webs: they never seemed to come off her hands whenever she touched them.

Though, there were no spider webs here, it seemed there was naught but dirty old wallpaper. Then, her quick eyes spotted the hole in which the nail had rested. What had shook it loose, she didn't know, but now was very much inclined to find out. Nimble hands prodded the spot on the wall, and she nearly jumped as it moved under her touch. Pulling away the wallpaper, she noticed that a small wooden board had rested against the wall, held shut by the nail, until it's weight had caused it to fall out, the only thing holding it in being the thin wallpaper. She peeled away the remainder of the wallpaper, and eased the board out, revealing a small, dry box, set duly in the wall. Inside rested two brown leather bound books, and a bundle of yellowed papers, tied by a red ribbon. Eyes wide, she pulled them out, cradling them to her chest as she made her way back to the centre of the room.

Pulling the first book open from the middle, she read slowly, lips silently mouthing the words -

"His eyes resembled that of a wolf's, cold, grey, and neutral. His hair was a soft shimmering halo of gold around his head. His face was angular, and handsome. Youthful. And I could nearly feel that icy stare on me. And when he smiled, I shuddered, for his teeth were not as human teeth, but long, and sharp."

She paused, staring unblinkingly at the page as the words seemed to blur before her eyes.

"He would later introduce himself to me as Vladmir. Vladmir Dracula."



. . .

1994



Helen Harker blinked several times, long dark lashes fluttering over dark green eyes. She sat up, slowly, having been awoken by the "You Have Mail" chirp of her laptop, which sat on the opposite end of the bed upon a plush chair.

Brushing her dark red hair to one side, she slid out of bed, and went over to the offensive machine. Touching a metallic-green fingernail to the cursor pad, Helen clicked open the new email.

It was from the Attorney General's Status Records Archivist. Re:"A.L"

Helen smiled thoughtfully to herself, reading over the words.

"I am much inclined to perform that favour you mentioned in return for the most generous gift you gave me. Just give me the time as to when you want it performed. Yours truly...."



How eloquent, Helen thought. The generous gift had been a 100,000 bribe. The favour was deleting the name "Alexander Vladmir Lucard" from the Luxembourg "Status: Alive" list.



The first thing Alexander Lucard noticed when he strode through the sliding doors was the woman, sitting calmly at his desk. The second thing he noticed was that she was beautiful...in a vaguely familiar way. Red-auburn locks curled around her pale complexioned face, accenting slanting green eyes. She in turn surveyed him, eyeing the way light bounced off his golden hair. His high cheekbones gave him a graceful, handsome expression, warm and comforting until her eyes met his. They were cold, and stormy. Unyielding.



Deadly.

His smile didn't reach those eyes.



"Can I help you?" Slavic, insidious.

Helen steeled herself.

"I doubt you will, however, it would be a lovely change. This has been a most difficult venture, Mr. Lucard."

Her tones were sultry, softly English. Lucard arched one golden brow, tilting his head.

"And what venture is that?"

"Taking possession of your company and estate, naturally."

Lucard's jaw tightened, but other than that, there was no visible reaction.

"And how do you intend to that, my dear miss..."

Helen's eyes sparkled.

"Harker. Helen Harker."

The vampire blinked, taken aback. The familiarity of her face suddenly became clearer.

"Harker. A descendant?"

"Great grand-daughter."

Lucard pursed his lips, and turned to face the window, linking his hands behind his back.

"This is your revenge, then? Spare me the melodramatics, Miss Harker, I have enough enemies following me through time."

"Revenge? No...no, no, that's not it at all." Helen stood, placing her hands on the bar and leaning against them.

Lucard turned the face her.

"WHAT exactly are you attempting to accomplish, then, Miss Harker?"

"I've altered your will...I bribed the National Status Archives. At the drop of a hat, I can have you declared legally deceased."

"And?" Lucard demanded, becoming more and more incensed.

"And then it all goes to me. The company. The castle. Your cars, your estate, your wealth."

"Poetic justice, then?" He hissed, advancing on her, hands resting next to hers on the desk as he leaned in close, eyes locked on hers.

"If you claim to know what you know of me, you know I can kill you. without hesitation."

Helen bit her lip.

"I am in constant contact with my insurance agent, I've left instructions, that if after a month...no one hears from me..."

"Clever," he whispered, a tinge of a smile touching his lips now "but not clever enough. I can make you move away...disappear. Would you risk it, my dear?"

Helen felt the violent desire to jerk back. His proximity was frightening. And his eyes were shifting slowly to an eerie golden.

"I wouldn't risk it. I..."

"Yes?" he prompted.

"I would revoke all of it...if you would give me one thing."

He trailed one finger along the carotid vein in her neck.

"And what is that?"

Her eyes met his.

"What she refused."



Astoundingly, they parted on good terms. Helen Harker left satisfied that she had struck a bargain, but very much intending to follow it up later that night. Packing a palm sized bronze cross into her purse, she left the church.



Alexander Lucard sat with his head resting upon the back of the leather sofa. His shirt was halfway unbuttoned, an a decanter of brandy beckoned from the antique coffee table beside the couch. Decidedly, he leaned up, and poured himself a glass, the sound of brandy draining into his glass satisfying and familiar. The day had been a blur, moving quickly. And now he was here, trapped with thoughts, and memories he could have done with forgetting. But popular media culture never allowed that. His name was upon a thousand book covers in a thousand bookstores in a thousand cities. He couldn't escape the story. And now...



How could Helen Harker have discovered the truth? A rare specimen of a woman. So like Wilhelmina Harker, and yet...sharp, hard, and cold in a way the demure 1800's belle had never been. But, oh, how she had cut into his soul with those mournful eyes. Helen was different. Helen may not have held his heart. But she had powers of equal devastation. Something the vampire could certainly appreciate.



Vladmir, no, we shouldn't, not here...

Oh, yes, darling. After all...it's not as if your Jonathan made any use of it.

Please, please, Vlad, just...oh, God...

Give to me, lovely, my darling, my one, my only...



Indifferent grey eyes watched the fire, until the sound of shuffling steps broke his reverie. Felix lingered by the door. Lucard smiled ruefully at him for a moment.



"Don't take any calls tonight, Felix."

"Very good, sir." he answered gutturally, and tactfully made himself scarce from the room.



The vampire turned his attention back to the fireplace, watching the endless licks of flame dance back and forth, the crackling sound enchanting him like the most sophisticated of music.



Click, click, click.



The feminine sound of high heels echoed in the high room. Lucard closed his eyes, and muttered something indiscernible before turning to face a resplendent black-clad Helen Harker.

"What could you possibly want now?"

Helen crossed her arms, and looked at him, an impatient look designing her features.

"I want what I came for, Mr. Lucard."

"I told you I would think about it."

"What is there to think about? It's not EVEN a yes or no question, it's when and where."

Lucard let out a heavy sigh, and then stood, turning to face Helen.

"I just want you to understand, Miss Harker," he said gently, moving close to her and sliding a hand into her hair before tightening it painfully. Helen winced, and cringed, fearful and defiant all at the same time.

"I agreed to nothing. You're toying with my patience, and IF I decide to make you into what I am, it will be on my terms, and my circumstances. Are we perfectly clear?"

"Y-yes.." she gasped. Lucard released her, fingers pausing to curl one lock of hair.

"Good."

Helen massaged the back of her head and looked at him, brows furrowed with anger.

"And what circumstances are those?"

Lucard leered, eyeing her suggestively as he tilted his head, his lean figure falling back into the couch.

"I have not decided yet."

Helen's mind raced for an edge, something she could use to shake up the arrogant bastard. Soften him up.

"I know all about what happened, by the way."

"Do you indeed?"

"Mm." Helen said, taking a seat on the love-seat opposite. She readjusted her skirt, watching him warily.

Lucard smiled, for no reason, merely to make her wonder.

"What is it you think you know, then?"

"I know...all of it. When I was younger...perhaps, nine or ten. I lived in the old house, in London. The Harker house. I found the diaries...the Journals, in a compartment in the attic."

Lucard considered, pressing his steepled fingers against his lips.

"Stoker only took his inspiration from fragments."

Helen nodded slightly.

"I had known about those since the time I was young...I had read them, and my grandfather-"

"Quincy?"

Helen's brow furrowed.

"Yes. Quincy. Quincy Morris Harker. Of course he's no longer living. Neither are my parents."

"And you are the last of the Harkers?"

She nodded, eyes narrowing.

"That is a comfort," he murmured thoughtfully.

"And you're still alive, which is...truly a pity." she retorted, her temper straining.

Lucard smiled slightly, brushing her hair away from her neck.

"About your grandfather."

"He told me only what my great grandparents said...they had met a great evil, and defeated it."

"Defeated?"

"That's the word they used."



Lucard grimaced, eyeing the throbbing vein in Helen's throat. His thoughts were traveling back, far back into the past.



1894



Wilhelmina Murray had first noticed him examining periodicals in the thin streets near Park Square. A sense of familiarity tugged at her for some reason. Adjusting her dark green ribbed corset, she moved boldly forward, brow beautifully creased. Dracula glanced up at her for a moment, blinking like a startled animal before his expression masked, becoming confident and smiling.



"May I help you?" he asked in a low confiding voice.

The manner of his speech surprised Mina, for his words were curiously accented.

"No, I was just...wondering if there was anything of interest in the times today," she said, fiddling with her skirts.

He grinned bemusedly and indicated a headline with one white-silk clad hand.

"WOLF ESCAPES FROM LOCAL ZOOLOGICAL PARK."

Mina pursed her lips prettily, dismay apparent on her face.

"How dreadful. Poor animal, wandering all alone..."

"I'm certain it will come to no harm. Wolves shy from humans. They're likely to turn him up in the countryside." he said reassuringly, patting her dainty hand with his own. Mina fought the urge to yank back her hand: even through his gloves, his hand was ice-cold.

Dracula noticed this, drawing his fingers along her knuckles.

"And to whom do I owe the pleasure...?"

"Wilhelmina...Mina Murray."

"Indeed," he smiled softly. "My name is Vladmir."

The light shimmered off his hair in the most distracting way.

Curious, she thought, eyeing his unctuous smile.

Dracula watched her as she left, thoughtful.



---

A question from Helen interrupted his thoughts.

"What ever happened to Lucy? Lucy Westerna."

"Stoker obviously misplaced details on that. The Demeter broke off a few miles from the shore and drifted dead into the harbour before I managed to disembark at Whidby. I followed Mina there, only to be distracted by the...expendable Miss Westerna."



"This isn't a good idea, you know," Lucy giggled naively, amused by her new affair. She had spent much of her time letting men fawn over her, it was rare to meet one that knew what he wanted, and how to take it. Vladmir Dracula had cornered her in a quaint alleyway in the centre of Whidby, and had done just that.

"You were not a good idea, orchid..."

He smirked, mouth against her throat. She ducked down and pressed her lips against his. He lifted her up against the wall and groaned slightly, his teeth aching for the bite.

Dracula saw no reason to deny the irresistible impulse, dipping his head down to her throat, and letting his fangs slice into the tender flesh. Lucy whimpered, fingers clutching in his golden hair.



---



A slight smirk rested in the corners of his lips. Helen noted this, eyeing him. He stared back at her, chuckling slightly.

"Not so unlike her, though no one has ever entrapped me so, my dear Miss Harker."

Helen stood, her patience routed.

"I hope you mean in the legal sense."

Lucard nodded silently, all traces of amusement gone now. He seemed thoughtful, tentative, even.

"I'm certain you've placed to be, Helen," he said softly, forcing his bloodlust down.

"And our deal?" she intoned, annoyed.

"Later," he snapped, waving her away and turning his back.

Helen sneered, and retreated, denied of her objective yet again.



Dracula watched as Lucy faded away. Every time he drank of her, she had a new taste. The blood of sundry mortals, supplicating her and him for the time. The last effort of life.



He had entered her room. Old Mrs. Westerna would've died of fright if the quick white hand had not twisted the life from her neck.



The garlic flowers lay upon the floor. Lucy's nightdress was torn asunder, the white curves of her breasts visible.

"Come to me," he whispered. Lucy moved forward, lips parted, her pallor lovely and deathly. Dracula pressed his face into her breasts, going down on his knees before her as he further ripped aside the garment. Lucy's pink tinged nipples were visible in the half-light. Tilting his head, he captured one in his mouth, bringing forth a moan from her as he suckled on it, tongue lavishing at it in soft wet circles. Pulling back to a whimper of protest, he gazed up at her.

"Do you want it, my orchid? Do you want the forever I can give you?"

Biting her lip, Lucy nodded. Dracula wrapped his arms around her lower back.

"I have to take all from you first."



He closed his lips over her nipple again, fangs slipping slowly into her flesh, eliciting a groan of pain and pleasure mixed. Sucking hungrily at her breast, Dracula brought it full circle, pulling back at the last moment. Lifting her limp body onto the bed, he settled between her legs and gazed into her eyes, one fang slicing the inside of his cheek. Leaning down, he pressed his lips to hers, forcing blood into her mouth. Lucy's throat convulsed as she drank, fingers clutching stiffly at his back, only to slide off the black silk material of his shirt. His tongue invaded her mouth, his hips grinding into hers, before he finally wrenched back, mouth stained with his own blood. Lucy inhaled sharply, blood flooding her eyes as she finally closed them, asleep for now. Dracula heaved himself off her and ran a hand down her curves, with one singular thought in mind.

Mine now...



Lucard rested his head against his knuckles. It seemed an hour before Helen turned to walk away. Without thinking, the vampire seized her hand, pressing his lips against it.

"Leaving so soon?"

She eyed him dolefully, and sat down again.



The vampire smiled obtusely, the very expression informing his guest of his perfect control of the situations. Helen knew that now. She also knew he had weaknesses. The way he licked his lips told volumes, speaking of thirsts unquenched both physically and spiritually. She couldn't think of it any other way, besides mentally (he appeared mentally sound) or emotionally; the only emotion he'd displayed so far was greed.



I'm not much different, Helen thought, thinking back to the Journals. Specifically, her journal.



November 17th



Fortunes of my insecurity, that I keep this under lock and key, for if it were discovered and escaped into the open, the results would be..catastrophic. Still, I must confide to something, and as long as this journal's existence remains unknown, I am safe.

Still, I will not use his name. He has told me he loves me. Oh, how frightfully confusing this all becomes. One day by a post stand, then next in the arms of this..creature. A thing of indomitable urges and endurance.



He satisfied deeper cravings in me in away I never thought possible. It seems an erotic story in the pages of a penny dreadful. Oh, to compare one's own life to fiction. What a fearful venture, and my deep regrets night after night when these brave men are risking their lives for me. And I risking their lives by accepting such words love, and fraternising with the Enemy.





Helen nearly memorised the singular entry. She eyed Lucard, who eyed her back.

"Do you wish to know what happened?"

Slowly, Helen nodded.





---



After the ordeal of Whidby, Lucy was quite at peace, innocently slumbering in an open sarcophagus, Relaxed against a nearby wall, Dracula making a thorough examination of his fingernails when she arose, her eyes glittering girlishly as they met his.



"How do you feel?"

Lucy giggled. "Dead!"

He smiled.



By the second night, the Count was wishing she had made her own way. She always slept in the crypt, drew attention by feeding upon children and spent hours upon hours begging for another little kiss, a caress.



It was starting to become annoying.



"You never want to come near me any more!" Lucy pouted, lips pursed prettily.

"I have things to attend to."

"Attend to me!"



Dracula fixed a stare on her, one that silenced her for the wrath in his gaze. His expression then softened.

"Later, orchid, I promise."



Lucy knew in her idle heart that Dracula was attending to visions of Mina, that wretched whore. And that insufferable Renfield. Rather unwisely, she confronted him with these speculations.



"Did you think we would be an eternal pair? That I would bind myself to you of ALL creatures?"

Shocked, Lucy only stared dumbly.

"Selfish brat," he hissed, advancing on her. He slid a hand into her hair.

"Alas, they come for you, Lucy. Your dear Arthur included."



He tilted her head back and kissed her forcefully, tongue invading her mouth. Lucy whimpered and wrapped her arms around him. He lifted her onto the sarcophagus, fingers drawing down her bloodstained shift as he whispered in her ear.

"I would have you one last time..."

"And then?"

"Replace with me your Arthur."





Later, as the motley group of would-be vampire hunters confronted Lucy, Dracula took form behind Arthur Holmwood and whispered softly into his ear:

"She was a pleasure, your fiancé, but now I leave her to you."

Before the man could reply, Dracula had vanished.

And ten minutes later, Lucy Westerna was dust in the wind.



---





"You knew he'd kill her," Helen accused.

"She didn't matter." Lucard replied, nonchalant. "If she had left the crypt at Whidby...stopped drawing so much attention.." the vampire shrugged. Helen rested her head against the armrest, staring into the fire.

"And what about Renfield?"

"Almost nothing about Renfield. He introduced me to her, you understand. Stoker was charmed with the character."



---



"Master...see her? The one with the glass eyes and whore's lips."



Ah, yes, he could see her, beautiful and pale in the wan light. And how she embraced her husband, such devotion. Dracula longed to make such devotion his.



He went to her as she slumbered, Van Helsing's proceedings having brought the hunters to Carfax. Pressing is face into her soft chestnut curls, he kissed her throat, holding ever back from the moment of the bite. No, he would be more cautious this time. The prize was far more valuable. He would raise no suspicion until the last moment.

As she started to stir, Dracula drew back, albeit reluctantly, and dissipated into the air.



Rematerialising on the battlements of the insane asylum, he stalked the tar roof. Renfield waited there, giggling demonically. Dracula eyed him for a moment, and then divulged in a soft, deadly voice:

"Do not jeporadise my security, Mr. Renfield, or I shall be most angry."

The lunatic nodded vigorously and gave a military salute. The vampire disappeared.



Renfield shivered for a moment, before absentmindedly stuffing a spider into his mouth, and waiting patiently for his attendant captors.



---



"It never was about Renfield, you understand." Lucard said softly, his gray eyes meeting her own vibrant green ones.

"He was a mean to an end after all."

"And...what about..Van Helsing?

Lucard stared at her dead on before allowing the smallest chuckle to escape his lips.

"Ah, Abraham. You know, his descendants used to plague me ever so often."

"Did you kill them?"

Lucard smiled.

"No. After Gustav Helsing died, his three charges, Maximilian, Christopher and Sophie, all moved to other parts of Europe, and I believe are now back in the United States."





---



"I am aware of your doings, Count." Van Helsing intoned from his seat across the hall of the expansive Piccadilly manor. Dracula lent him a seemingly harmless smile. Abraham suppressed a shudder.



"Are you indeed? If that is the case, Herr Van Helsing, you ought to stay out of my way, oughtn't you?"

He said peaceably, turning his back to tend to a drink.

"I would know you, vampire." Van Helsing said softly.

"It would take a lifetime to know me, Professor." Dracula said nonchalantly, without even turning face.



The aging vampire hunter stood.

"I think I have..studied my lifetime to know you."

The vampire turned to face him, setting down his wine. He stepped up to his opponent, overshadowing him by a few inches.

"I will have her, Van Helsing." he said in a soft, low voice.

"You will not. She knows of you now, demon." Van Helsing's voice quivered audibly.

"Does she?" Dracula sounded particularly delighted.

"She does, and has holy fear in her heart. You shall not touch her."

"Oh, dear old man," the vampire said, sounding half petulant and half exasperated as he patted the professor's shoulder in a consoling manner.

"You shall not stop me."



He watched her slumber, nude in the wan moonlight. His eyes traveled over the parabolas of her flesh, the hourglass shape of her figure. From the pink tips of her nipples, down to the soft supple curls between her legs, she was perfect. A Renaissance portrait that could be touched, harnessed, held. Dracula gazed at her, feeling himself stir, a longing filling his being. Suddenly her eyes fluttered open, and she stared at him for a moment before realising the present situation, and moving to cover herself.



"How on Earth-" she began, pulling the sheets up to her chin. He silenced her, pressing himself forward, and placing one hand upon her mouth.

"I saw you in the square yesterday, and I wanted you then. I'll have you now with or without your consent, my darling," he said quickly, his silken clothing peeling away by some unnatural power, revealing an expanse of white marble muscle, tensed as if awaiting the pounce.



Wilhelmina Harker's eyes were wide with fear, and a strange sort of excitement filled her.

Dracula leaned forward to kiss the hollow at her throat, lips drawing along her collarbone, moving downwards over her breasts, brushing the sheet away as he went. She lay still and quivering, protected by nothing but air.

"You're the one they're hunting..." she whispered voicelessly. He kissed the space between her breasts gently, eyes staring up at her.

"Does it matter?" he leaned up, threading his fingers through her hair.

Mina bit her lip, and then looked down to meet his eyes.

"No, it doesn't."

Dracula smiled, devious, his eyes turning amber as he slid between her legs.



---

Helen bit her lip, staring into the finally dying flames. Lucard was struck with a vision of Mina doing just that, beautiful with soft sloe green eyes, her expression wracked with guilt.



---



"What is it that one man, mortal and so fragile, possesses that I do not, Wilhelmina," Dracula demanded, as imposing and regal as ever.

Mina turned to look up at him, resplendent in lace, her eyes bright and wide.

"A soul, Vladmir."

He stared at her, brows furrowed, the sadness in his eyes suddenly overtaken by an absolute rage.

"Very well then," he snarled, seizing her shoulders.

"Vlad, what are you-"

"How would you like to forfeit your humanity, my dear?" Dracula growled, using his other hand to force her head back.

"You've already forfeited your soul in my bed."

Before she could scream, Dracula clamped his jaw over her throat, lips sealing around the torrent of blood that escaped from the denting wounds his fangs had wrought in her flesh.



---



Helen watched him quietly, and startled as he spoke.

"And they found us...as Stoker described. Forcing her to drink from the artery above my heart."

"She never wanted to be a vampire." Helen whispered.

Lucard smiled his dark smile.

"And I never wanted to be dead."

"But when they tried to-"

Lucard interrupted by running a hand over her hair.

"Do you want to know?"

Helen leaned in, placing her face a mere inch from his.\

"I want to know everything, Alexander."

"Alexander," he mocked.

"Dracula," she confirmed. Teasingly, he drew his fingers across her lips, smile utterly cruel.



---



Dracula ripped his way open from the box, surrounded by the knife wielding hunters. Quincy Morris yanked back the trigger of his winchester, sending a bullet into the vampire's shoulder. Mina drew back behind a drift, watching the snow become spattered with blood.

Sinking claws into Quincy's throat, Dracula paused only a moment as Van Helsing sunk a knife into his opposite shoulder.

Harker lunged inward, bowie knife raised. Dracula shielding himself with Quincy Morris' body, which jumped obscenely as the bowie knife slicked into its spine. He then threw the man bodily from him, falling back as blood drained from him in fountains. His eyes were wide and glassy as met Wilhelmina Harker's.

"I love you," he mouthed, closing his eyes as they pulled the cross down from the gypsy cart. They bound his limp form to it, hammering nails through his wrists, and the tops of his feet.

Mina pressed her face into the snow, and wept.



---

"They crucified you..thinking what?"

Lucard shrugged.

"That such a 'holy act' would do the job. It was..agony like none I have ever felt before, but I survived, able to wrench myself free once the sun was down."

Helen stared into his eyes, lips pursed.

"But they left their mark." he held up his hand, the palm of it marred only by a white mark burnt into his flesh. Helen took his hand, and pressed her lips against the mark.



He hesitated no longer, sliding a hand into her hair and kissing her full on. She bent into his arms, all thoughts of their deal, her conniving blackmail gone. Only desire now. Lucard lifted her, never one breaking the kiss, his tongue thrusting and dueling with hers, and she could feel herself drifting apart, floating, reality whirling around her. As soon as it had started, it stopped, and they were sprawled upon a massive bedspread, silken and decadent. Unclad, as well, which she considered ever so convenient before all thoughts were driven from her mind, the moment he drove between her legs.



His mouth was all over her spasming, tension wracked flesh, and oh, that lovely, sudden sharp pain as his teeth went into her neck. Helen arched, gasping, ecstasy and pain flooding through her. Lucard sliced open his own neck, lifting her head to the wound, gasping with pleasure as she latched on and drank, sucking, taking, so demanding, so greedy. Such ubiquitous greed, and it was perfection, because that very quality Mina had lacked, the quality that made him, this woman drinking from him possessed in glorious abundance. But was it real? He would have to ask himself that, if she really truly understood the depths of his selfishness...and after they came in unison, the questioning would return. And in the end, doubt, he knew, and his need to survive, would overcome.



When Helen awoke, Lucard was gone. A small note rested upon the pillow opposite hers.



"Very well, my dear Miss Harker, you have your wish. I trust it will be enough. If you want the company, you will have to wait until I am bored with it. In fact, it would be my fondest wish if you left after reading this.



Alexander Lucard,



V. Dracula"



Helen tossed the note aside and dashed resolutely from the bed, in search of the less-than elusive Lucard. She found, eyes facing down, his white shirt gray compared to his flesh, hanging off his shoulders. He turned to face him, pallor increased by the light. Helen felt well fed by comparison. His golden hair stood out unbelievably to his face.

"I would rather you didn't gloat, Helen. I'd rather-"

"That I leave. I know, Alexander, I read the note. But you overlooked something, and maybe a lot of somethings. Mina Harker didn't love you because she was good and pure and selfless, and all of those things. She felt pity for you, she felt regret, and guilt for allowing you near her, which she did only because she needed to understand about herself..."

"Please, don't.." he whispered. But she pressed on.

"But the thing is, Alexander, the only kind of love worth having...the only kind of love you can tolerate is the recognition of one's self in another person. You're labouring under a delusion, but didn't I entrap you? Didn't I manipulate and use you, in ways Mina could never?"

"What do you mean?"

"I'm not her."

"Helen..."

She stepped up to him, and kissed his lips softly.

"I'm yours."

Lucard stared at her incredulously for a moment, before pulling her into his arms, and resting his face in her hair.

"Do you promise?"

"I promise."

He kissed her forehead tenderly.

"Let's go kill something."



Finis

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