Rating: R for language, and mentions of RAPE and M/M SLASH. Don't like, then don't read.
Disclaimer: Castlevania and its characters and situations are the sole property of Konami. I am making no money or profit off of this fanfiction and no copyright infringement is intended.
Summary: AU. What if Joachim Armster had lived through his fight with Leon Belmont? What might have been different? Well hang on, because Joachim is going to tell you all about it. From his kidnapping and forced turning to his rescue from the ruins of Walter's castle, and from Trevor's birth and to Richter's death of old age, he tells all - and blames it all on Leon while he's at it.
Section Summary: Part 8 covers from Christopher's death to well... that would be a spoiler, now wouldn't i?
Simon's baptism went smoothly. He laid in my arms and slept, and he only cried as the water was being poured over his head. Once he was back in my arms, he quieted and went back to sleep. How much of that was me, and how much of it was the bond he shared with his mother, I didn't bother to ask.
I tried not to think of Trevor; I really did, but it was impossible not to with all the memories the ceremony brought up. I could almost see Trevor lying in my arms instead of Simon, and I had to blink away tears multiple times. Only a few present knew why I was reacting in such a way, as my raising of Trevor had been largely forgotten. The only reason anyone knew then was because I had told Desmond all those years ago.
Simon was also quiet through the party that followed, though he was taken up to his little bed barely halfway through. I watched Alda as he carried him from the room, and I couldn't help but remember how Trevor had had no such celebration. Nobody but myself, Sonia, Jonathon, and Lamont had cared, and a party had just not happened. I made a mental note then, that if I ever met Adrian in the future, I would find out what he had been thinking. I still had a hard time believing that he hadn't known that Sonia was pregnant, and I just couldn't understand any reason why he would abandon his child and then later refuse to acknowledge him, even with a bond between them. It had worked out well for Trevor and myself, I supposed, since if he had claimed Trevor as an infant, I never would have had him in my life like I did, and that was something I wouldn't trade for anything.
The first year of Simon's life went by, and he grew into a beautiful child. He could charm anyone with a smile, and more than a few of his relatives just seemed to love running their fingers through his wavy red locks. To my shock, his eyes were nearly the same color as Walter's, with Simon's being only a few shades lighter, though I fully expected them to darken with time. I shoved that to the side and did my best to ignore it. I wasn't going to have my godson growing up wondering why his godfather was nervous around him.
Thanks to the bond he shared with her, he was closest to his mother, and he could often be found on her lap, snuggled against her, but he adored his father and grandparents as well. Though the bonds were weak, he could feel Kerwin, Matatias and Celia. He rarely saw them, but he seemed to enjoy their company as well, and Celia just cooed about how adorable he was every time she saw him.
Hector was also fascinated by Simon, though he barely saw him as well. He still slept during the day and was awake while Simon was in bed for the night, but there were a few times when Alda or Anghel or Desmond would bring him by during the daylight hours, and Hector would drag himself out of bed to visit. Though Alda's presence in the house still made him nervous, he would happily ignore her in favor of her son, and I could feel his genuine delight through the bond. He and Rosaly had wanted children, I found out, but she had died before they could have them. And since it was highly unlikely that Hector would ever father a child with the state he was in, this was the closest thing he could get.
As for me, I quickly found myself falling in love with my new godson, and within a few months, I couldn't understand why I had been so nervous about the entire thing to begin with. The lingering ache of Trevor's loss was there as always, but it was easily drowned out whenever Simon smiled at me or reached up to be picked up. Like Trevor, he had little claws and a pair of short fangs, and off and on I did see his mother giving him a few drops of her blood. Silvanus explained to me later that some quarter breeds did feel the thirst as infants and young children, and it would fade as he grew. Blood wasn't actually needed, but Simon would fuss without it, so why make the child unhappy for such a small thing?
Of course, it couldn't last, and when I received word of a council meeting that was to take place the summer of 1670, I immediately wondered what to do with Alda and Simon. They weren't my children, but they did live on my territory.
"They'll have to go with you." Silvanus said when I visited him to ask. "You are their lord, and they answer to you, so they must go with you."
"Even Simon?" I asked, less than happy with the idea of taking him to that place. "A fifteen month old infant, Silvanus?"
"Even Simon. Leaving him behind now will create nothing but trouble once he's grown. If you announce him now, then you won't have to worry about others throwing a fit when he wanders onto their territory years from now."
"What makes you think he'll ever do that?"
"Perhaps Simon is the one Sara has been waiting for."
I slumped down into my chair at that; that hadn't occurred to me at all. Though it stood to reason that if Trevor had been chosen, then it could be very likely that Simon would be as well. I shook my head then; that wasn't important.
"I'll be taking my fifteen month old godson, and his half breed mother around other vampires, including Actose." Dear God, what would Actose do? Would that twisted bastard think of doing to Simon what he had done to Hector? What he had tried to do to me? I shuddered as nausea made my stomach roll, but Silvanus' hand came down to gently squeeze my shoulder, steadying me. I swallowed the nausea down and tried not to think about Simon...
"Joachim," Silvanus said firmly. "Actose will not lay a hand on Simon."
If I had been human I would have been hyperventilating. "But he's... Actose will..."
Silvanus gave me a shake. "Joachim, Actose will not touch Simon. Do you understand me. I will cast the same protection spells on him as I did on Trevor, so that anyone that wishes him harm will not be able to touch him. What's more, Actose is not interested in infants and young children. He prefers older children and adults."
I shuddered again and looked at him across his small kitchen table. "How do you know that?"
"Oh come now, Joachim. Half of his children any given time are female. Do you honestly think he's never gotten any of them pregnant?"
I stared at him aghast, and he dropped his hand and leaned back in his chair. "If he liked children, he would be surrounded by them, but he is not, so that leaves only one possible outcome."
"That's -" Horrible. Disgusting. Atrocious. Too terrible to contemplate. "-illegal!"
Silvanus took a sip of his tea. "I know, but he covers his tracks well, so Ladislas and I cannot prove it. He rarely lets his children leave him, and those that do are too cowed to say anything."
"Someone needs to end him." I turned my head to look at Silvanus. "So why haven't you?"
"Perhaps for the same reason I never did anything about Walter. Or for the same reasons, I defied the laws when I took Walter in all those centuries ago. I feel some sympathy for the children that Actose tortures, but they could overpower him by working together easily, yet none of them have ever made the attempt. What does that say about them?"
"He did, one child acting alone. Why do you think Actose made sure to starve him so badly? To kill his Innocent Devils? To ensure that Hector would never be able to stand up to him. Did any of the others attempt to aid Hector? No."
"They won't help themselves, so why should you?" I said quietly as I realized the point he was trying to make.
"Exactly. My parents would probably be ashamed to hear me say such a thing, but honestly, I have my own family and friends to worry about. Ladislas feels the same; Rachim is his first priority. If you suddenly had the power to destroy Actose with no threat to yourself, would you? If he did nothing to threaten your or Hector, would you act? Or would you leave him be?"
I sighed and slumped back down in my chair again. "I'd probably just leave him alone, unless he threatened Hector or the Belmonts."
Silvanus nodded in agreement and conjured a plate of cookies. I absently took one and ate it. "Was he always like that?" I asked after a few minutes. "Always so cruel?"
"I do not know." Silvanus replied as he took a cookie for himself. "He came to this area about a century after Walter arrived, and Walter never understood why I didn't respond when he took a section of my territory for himself. I once claimed an area twice the size of Wallachia as my territory, but I needed it because I had such a large family to feed. With them gone, and having only Walter sharing my home with me, I no longer needed so much land, and I just didn't have the energy to care. I know Actose lusted after him, but he knew that I was not to be crossed, and once Walter was on his own, he couldn't touch him due to the Ebony Stone.
"I wonder sometimes if perhaps that is why Actose was so obsessed with you and Kerwin -"
"Oh yes, Actose lusted after him too, but he did not dare touch him. Walter would have shredded him, and he knew it. I think that having Corvonus set fire to Kerwin's home was part of an elaborate plan to get to him, and it was something that Walter was well aware of. Of course, with Walter untouchable, and Kerwin too protected, that left you." Silvanus looked at me over the rim of his cup. "And he's obsessed after you ever since. Oh, he doesn't dare threaten you, since he knows that I will respond, but I doubt his obsession has cooled any over the years."
I nodded. "Hector once said that on the day Actose took him, he said that he would be a perfect replacement."
"You and Hector did look quite a lot alike, even before the adoption."
I nodded again. My adoption of Hector had darkened his eyes so they were closer to the deep blue mine had once been, and his face was a little thinner and more aristocratic. He was clearly recognizable as my son, and I smiled faintly despite the subject at the thought. I reached out and gently touched his sleeping mind.
Tată... he murmured sleepily, and I smiled again. I then looked over to see Silvanus giving me a knowing smile. I stood up to return home, and upon my arrival, I found Hector curled up under the quilt in bed, Isaac at his feet. August, a favorite of the children, was out romping through the forest with them. I kicked my boots off and laid down next to Hector, and as always he quickly scooted over to me and snuggled in. I would worry about the council later; enjoying the peace and quiet with Hector was far more important.
Of course, I had to tell Desmond that his daughter-in-law and grandson would have to go with me to the council. As expected, Desmond hit the roof.
"Absolutely not!" he insisted. "I don't care how powerful you are; they are not going in there!"
"Alda has to follow the laws, Desmond, just as I do. I don't like it either, but if they don't go now, it could create problems later." I deliberately didn't say anything about Simon possibly being the heir everyone had been waiting on. That would happen when it happened.
"It's too dangerous!"
"I don't like it any more than you do, Desmond, but they have go. Nothing will happen to them; Silvanus and I will see to that."
"I said no!"
Alda came into the room them, and she scurried over to Desmond, whose face was nearly as red as his hair at that point, and whispered something in his ear. I tuned it out, but whatever she said, it made him abruptly deflate and drop down into his study chair. He ran his hand down his face, and then he glared up at me.
"You will bring them home safe." he growled, and I nodded.
Simon, Alda, and Anghel – he wasn't going to let his wife go alone – traveled with me, Hector, and Silvanus. Kerwin, Celia, Matatias, Ladislas, and Rachim were in a second carriage. Simon enjoyed the trip. He chattered to his parents, to me and Hector, to Silvanus, clapped his hands, giggled, bounced on his father's knee. Silvanus had cast the protection spells the night before, and they caused my fingertips to tingle when I touched him. Anyone that sought to hurt him would be in for a very unpleasant surprise.
Hector slept most of the way, since we traveled during the daylight hours, as did Rachim, but he and Hector often perched on the roofs of the various inns we stayed at along the way and chatted all night. Sometimes, as we were going down the rode with Hector asleep draped across my lap as well as Silvanus', I would catch Alda looking at him with a sad smile on her face, perhaps thinking of her own parents. I never asked.
We reached the castle with no difficulty, and I felt the stares as the trio of Belmonts followed me up to our rooms for the weeks. Hector and Simon were put down for naps while Alda, Anghel, and I unpacked, and Anghel was very much on edge as we did so. I could understand why – a human from a family of vampire hunters in a castle full of vampires. I had already ordered him – and Desmond had done the same before we left – to never go anywhere without me for his own safety, and he had quickly agreed.
Thankfully, the week went smoothly. There were curious glances in Alda's direction, because of her obvious resemblance and similar scent to Walter, and we all heard whispered rumors through the corridors. Actose ignored us completely, something that Hector was very happy about, but I noted that the one child, the one that he kept covered in blankets, was not with him this year. At least, I didn't see him anywhere, but I wasn't about to ask.
Simon was mostly ignored, as he was merely a quarter breed with no power. His parents didn't like the sneers that were directed his way, but Alda kept her mouth shut and warned her husband to do the same. A few of the others did stop to coo to him and compliment his parents on having such a beautiful child, but those were few and very far between.
All of us gathered for meals and gatherings in Ladislas' rooms in the evenings. Simon went from one person to another in search of hugs and cuddles, and we all obliged him, even Ladislas while Hector and Rachim played Latrunculi, a strategy game that Silvanus had taught them. Eventually, Simon would find a lap, usually his mother's, though he fell asleep on Ladislas's once, to fall asleep one, while Hector would curl up next to me and Rachim would do the same with Ladislas, and we would all take that as a cue to drift back to our rooms for the night. Once there, Simon would go from me, to Hector, to his father, and then to his mother for good night kisses before he would be carried off to bed. Hector would usually fall asleep next to me before I would carry him off to bed as well.
Our last day there, I found Hector by one of the windows, staring out over the grounds as the sun began to set. His eyes were squinted nearly shut to protect them from the still very bright sunlight, even though it was behind the castle.
I came up behind him and place my hands on his shoulders. "Hector?"
"Tată," He looked outside for a few more seconds, and then he titled his head slightly to look at me. "when do you think I'll be able to see the sun again?"
I did some quick math in my head. It had been 191 years since Hector had been turned, and even if he had been strong and healthy, it still would have been a little too soon to test it. With him being on the frail side, he would probably have to wait another century or two at the least.
"Not for a while yet, little one." I said as I let my hands run down his arms. "You're still too young."
"I just want to see it again."
"I know. Just be patient, and you'll be old enough in good time."
He turned away from the window and I found myself holding him suddenly. We stood there in silence fr a few minutes, and then I picked him up and carried him to bed.
We made it home safely, and life returned to normal for a while. Occasionally I would see Hector looking longingly out the windows, but he never brought up the subject again.
Simon grew into a precocious child that charmed everyone who met him. Thanks to his mother illusions, visiting lords and ladies never saw any hints of his vampiric heritage, and more than a few people suggested to Desmond that Simon be made heir.
"What will happen will happen." Desmond said simply as Simon sat on his knee.
A year after the council, I was over at the Lord's house for lunch. I was at the table with the now two year old Simon on my lap, and he was nibbling off of my plate. It was nowhere near proper table manners, but I didn't care. Neither did anyone else really. He was still a baby; table manners could wait. Hector was in bed asleep at home, and I was enjoying the conversation around the table when I felt Hector waking up. I reached through the bond to soothe him back to sleep, but he did not settle back down. Instead he got out of bed, and I stood up and handed Simon off to his grandmother.
"Unca stay!" Simon wailed, and I ran my claws through his hair.
"I'll be right back, little one. Uncle has to go check on Hector." Simon wailed again, and I patted him on the head before I walked out of the dining room. I was heading for the front door when I realized just what Hector was doing out of bed, and thankfully my body kept moving even when my mind froze in horror.
I ran for the door, and I made it outside just in time to see him step off the porch into the afternoon sunshine.
Immediately smoke began to billow off of him as he began to scream, and I saw him turn back towards the house just as flames erupted on his arms and shoulders. I streaked towards him just as he burst into flames.
"Hector!" I ripped my jacket from my shoulders and threw it over his head and shoulders to try and snuff some of the flames. It did nothing to muffle his screams as I grabbed him and threw him through the open door into the living room and ran in after him. I heard August and Isaac bellowing as I summoned the blanket from the back of my favorite chair and used it to smother the rest of the fire. With it out, I yanked the coverings away and tried to ignore the sight of my son, burned beyond recognition, screaming in agony. I could feel a lesser version of what he was feeling, and his screams filled the bond as I sat him up and mashed our mouths together. He clutched at me with burned hands as I forced blood down his throat, and it was as much of a relief for me as it was for him when he began healing. I gave every drop I had, and thankfully it was enough.
His screams had cooled into crying when I picked him up from the floor and stood up. His clothing had burned away, as had his hair, so I carried him into the bedroom to dress him. He held onto my tight as I sat down on the edge of the bed with him -
"I just wanted to see it again." he sobbed.
- and I was seized by sudden anger. Yet again, he had risked himself. Yet again, he had nearly gotten himself killed. And this time he had deliberately disobeyed me to do it!
Before I could think, I yanked him down across my lap and began to spank him.
"I told you that you were too young! What did you think you were doing! You deliberately disobeyed me! You could have been killed! You never do anything like that again, do you understand me, Hector Armster! You could have died, you stupid child!" I punctuated each sentence with a smack to his bare ass, and he squirmed and cried and kicked, and I could feel him reaching through the bonds to Kerwin, Celia, and Silvanus for rescue. But they only scolded him for being foolish and disobeying me and told him he deserved what he was getting. Finally, he went limp across my lap and sobbed, and after a few more smacks, I stopped and summoned what I needed to dress him.
I noticed that he was bleeding from his nose, ears, and nether regions again, but frankly I was too angry with him to worry about that. I dressed him, tossed him down on the middle of the bed, and pulled the quilt over him. He reached out to me, but I only brushed his hands off and walked out of the room.
"I'm too angry to deal with you right now, Hector." I slammed the bedroom door and sat down in the living room, nearly gagging at the stench of burnt hair and skin as I did. The windows were open, so all I could do was wait for the smell to vent. I ignored Hector tossing himself around in bed as he cried himself to sleep. I slumped down in my chair as my maid scurried about cleaning up the mess on the floor and resisted the urge to rush back to Hector. I needed to calm down first, then I could deal with him later.
I think I must have fallen asleep in the chair because when my own thirst woke me later, the sun was fully down, and the house was dark and quiet. Hector was still asleep, and I felt guilt wrap around my heart as I stood up to go check on him. He was in the middle of the bed on his stomach, tangled up in the covers, and blood from his nose, mouth, and ears had stained the pillows and sheets. Isaac had tucked himself under his left arm, and August was dozing in the corner. I sighed, and then I quietly backed out of the room before leaving the house to go hunt.
When I returned, I returned to the bedroom, sat down on the bed, and scooted over next to him.
"Hector," I called his name just above a whisper as I touched his cheek, which had a smear of dried blood on it, "Hector."
Isaac growled at me but made no move to attack, and I could feel August staring at me as Hector whimpered and began to stir.
"Tată," he whimpered as he shifted under the blankets.
"Wake up, little one. I know you're thirsty."
"I don't feel good, Tată."
"I know, baby. Let's get you fed and cleaned up, and then you can go back to sleep."
He opened his eyes then, and he looked so tired as I scooped him up and tugged him over onto my lap. He shivered, and I lit the fireplace with a thought as I lowered my head to feed him. He was limp and the only move he made was to swallow what I was giving him. He did not even attempt to hold onto me, and guilt twisted my heart again. Once he was fed, I laid him down to change him and clean him up, and he whimpered again, shivered, and closed his eyes.
"It'll be all right, little one." I stripped him down, cleaned him up, and redressed him as quickly as I could, and then I wound him in a blanket and called of the maid to take care of the bloody sheets. I also had her fetch the warming pan to warm the bed back up before I laid Hector back down. Once the bed was clean and warm, I laid him down in the middle of it, and he weakly grasped my shirt with both hands.
"Yes, little one, I'll stay." I kicked my boots off and laid down next to him, and he snuggled in, still shivering. I pulled the quilt over us, and then summon a second from the chest in the corner.
"I'm sorry I was bad." Hector whispered as I tucked the second quilt around his shoulders.
"It's over with, Hector. I'm sorry too, for leaving you when you were clearly not well. I never should have walked away after spanking you." I didn't regret punishing him; he had done something so incredibly stupid and dangerous, but I had pushed him away when he reached out to me afterward. That never should have happened.
"Do you still love me?" he asked as he began to cry, and I pulled him closer and began to run my hand over his hair.
"Of course, baby, of course I do." I opened the bond as wide as it could go, and let him see everything: how badly he had scared me, how terrified I had been watching him burn, my relief that he had survived it, my lingering anger at his disobedience, disobedience that had nearly gotten him killed, and just how much I loved him, despite that.
"Nothing could ever make me stop loving you, Hector." I whispered as he cried into my shirt. "Nothing at all. You are my child, my son, and nothing could ever make me throw you away. I'm sorry for leaving you alone; I never should have done that."
"Shhh, go back to sleep. I'm here."
"You'll be here when I wake up?"
"I will." I kissed him on the top of his head. "I'm never going to leave you, Hector. I might walk away when I'm angry, but I will always come back to you."
"I love you."
"I love you too, little one, very, very much."
Hector sniffled a few more times, and the bond narrowed as exhaustion pulled him under. I held him against me and closed my own eyes, and I ended up falling asleep there, holding Hector close.Chapter 8-2 -- Chapter 8-4
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