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?
Hector spent the next week and a half in bed, recovering from the relapse that going outside had caused him. I stayed close to him, keeping him fed and dry and letting him snuggle in when he wanted to. He spent most of the time asleep, but during one of his rare waking periods, he asked if he could create another Innocent Devil.
"What kind?" I asked him as I ran my fingers through his hair. I was lying next to him in bed, and he was looking at me with tired eyes.
"A flying type." he mumbled sleepily.
"Why the sudden need to make another?"
"I just need to."
I sighed. "We'll see after you're feeling better."
He nodded once, closed his eyes, and went back to sleep.
After everything that had happened, I felt that I couldn't tell him no, so once he was recovered, the material hunts began again. He didn't have as much energy or enthusiasm this time, and the bond was filled with an undercurrent of sadness and disappointment. I knew why, but Hector refused to speak of it.
Once he had the materials, he preferred to work quietly on the new sculpture, and a bird of some kind quickly took shape. I asked him what it was, but he only shook his head and refused to answer me. I gently rubbed his shoulder, and he titled his head to lie on my hand for a second before he refocused on his work.
The creation of the new devil proceeded just as it had with August, but unlike before, the new devil came to life with a burst of intense white flame that was so bright, I was forced to look away. A wave, not unlike what one feels when there is an explosion, rolled over me then, accompanied by a short burst of heat. I felt the bond with Hector narrow as the summoning exhausted him as it had before, and the light cleared just as birdsong unlike I had ever heard before fell on my ears. I was vaguely aware of movement overhead and the sound of flapping wings as I streaked forward to catch Hector as he collapsed. I gathered him up and started for home, aware of the bird following me, singing a soft soothing tune as it went.
At home, I fed Hector and tucked him into bed to sleep off the exhaustion. Isaac immediately claimed the spot by his feet, August took up station on the other side of the bed by the window, and the new devil perched on the headboard, still singing. It was a larger than Isaac, and its body was covered by feathers the color of sunlight, tipped here and there in orange. Its legs, feet, and beak were white, but its eyes were a bright, swirling combination of white and yellow, and reminded me of dancing flames in a fireplace. I wondered if he had spun the creature's appearance out of his imagination or if he'd taken inspiration from somewhere. I would have to ask him once he was awake. He'd fallen asleep before we'd reached the ward line, and it was unlikely he would wake before the next night, so I gently smoothed his hair back from his face and left to go hunt.
Hector woke just after sunset the following night, and his devils announced their joy for the Belmonts to hear as he groggily sat up and called for me. I was already there of course, and he reached out to be held and fed. I scooped him up and settled into the rocker to feed him. The new devil then fluttered over to rest on my shoulder, and Hector smiled sleepily at it.
"Solaris," he said as he laid his head down and closed his eyes to go back to sleep, "His name is Solaris."
That certainly answered the question of why he wanted to make a new devil, I thought, but before I could ask him anything else, he relaxed and went back to sleep. I looked up at the bird sitting on my right shoulder, and it regarded me with glittering, intelligent eyes. "Hello, Solaris."
The bird trilled, a line of notes that sounded like a string of tiny bells, and lightly squeezed my shoulder with its feet. I ran my eyes over its form, and then I reached out Silvanus, sent him a mental image of what Solaris looked like, and asked him if knew what kind of bird he was, or if Hector had spun him from the cloth of his imagination.
Solaris is a Phoenix. Silvanus said.
From Greek myth?
Among others, yes. Firebirds in one form of another are found in myth and legend in many places all over the world. The Greek version is the one Hector likely took the idea from, though I say he changed the colors a bit to give himself a little bit of sunlight in the only way he can.
That explains what happened when it was brought to life.
I explained the burst of light and heat, and the small explosion, which made Silvanus laugh.
It sounds as though your son's new pet is quite the firecracker. If Hector adhered to some of the legends then Solaris could be very useful to him in the future.
I could hear his amused smile. You'll see, Joachim, you'll see.
The bond between us closed down to its normal level, and I spent a few minutes wondering what a firecracker was.
The next handful of years moved on quietly. Hector recovered from his relapse, and Solaris seemed to find sitting on his shoulder her favorite thing to do. The bird's singing was enchanting, and Belmonts tended to stop whatever they were doing and listen when Solaris started up. She sang Hector to sleep in the mornings, and even I found the music very soothing to hear
In 1676, seven year old Simon began hunter's training, and the instant he touched the Vampire Killer, the flash nearly blinded those nearby. There was a stunned silence that ended when sixteen year old Sasha abruptly turned and stomped away, ignoring Desmond's calls for him to come back. He stomped right up to my front door, and no sooner than I let him in, he started ranting.
"It should have been me, Uncle Joachim!" he snarled as he paced the living room, his heavy footfalls rattling paintings and shelving on the walls as he went. "I've been waiting my entire life for Sara to choose me, and instead she chooses Simon instead!"
"It is Sara's choice, Sasha." I told him firmly, "And lower your voice in my house, young man. If you wake Hector, you'll have bigger things to worry about than being passed up by Sara." Sasha glared at me, but I was unperturbed. If I could face down Walter when he was in a rage, then a teenage boy in a snit was nothing. The staring contest didn't last long however, because right then Desmond came through my door, and with an iron grip on Sasha's shoulder and a growled "Move, young man!" he hustled him out the door. I huffed in annoyance and went to check on Hector. I could sense through the bond that he was undisturbed, but I preferred seeing him with my own eyes anyway.
Sasha came back scarcely an hour later, his face flushed with embarrassment, and gave me a meek apology for being so rude. I imagined that Desmond had slapped him down hard, but I didn't ask. I merely accepted the apology and warned him never to act that way in my house again.
"I just told him what had happened to my father." Desmond told me later. "And made it clear that I would never allow it to happen again on my watch. I think I might have scared him a little."
"Did you raise your voice for once?" I asked.
Desmond chuckled in response. "I was yelling at the end. Hopefully though, that will make the lesson stick."
Simon thrived under the training, and like Trevor, he used his vampiric heritage to its fullest to give him an edge. He could also fire off fireballs through the whip, just as Christopher before him. If Sasha felt any more jealousy over his little cousin's success, he kept his mouth shut.
Simon equally enjoyed the book work he had to do – learning how to run the Belmont estate, and all the math, reading, and manners that required. He went on visits to the other neighboring lords and ladies with Desmond and Daciana, and even traveled to the capital city of Bucharest to meet the newly ascended Șerban Cantacuzino.
I should make things clear here. Wallachia, and by extension the Belmonts, were under Ottoman rule at the time. The land's various rulers (and went through several of them in quick succession.) only stayed on the throne so long as they kept the various sultans happy. To our great relief, as well as that of everyone living on the Belmont lands, we were left alone. The nobility were often the target of various princes and sultans, but the Belmonts were passed by. It was known that that last fact infuriated the rest of the nobility, but no one dared move against us. Everyone knew who Dracula was.
There was also a rather humorous legend starting to make the rounds that Dracula was really Vlad Dracula resurrected as a vampire. Though there wasn't a shred of truth to it, Desmond made no attempt to stamp it out. Let the Ottomans think their hated enemy was still around and that the only thing between him and them was the Belmont clan. It kept us safer.
In 1681, word came that the Cronqvist family had gone extinct, at least the main line of it. Mathias had been an only child, but he'd had several cousins that could have inherited, and everything had passed to one of them once the dust had settled. I had paid no attention to it, but Leon had, and he'd been grieved to see the family that had welcomed him as an orphaned four year old collapse from infighting. He had tried to help, but with Mathias and his parents gone, he'd been rebuffed. With the last male member of the line gone, the crown seized their lands and what remained of their wealth. Desmond could have claimed them, since Trevor was a grandchild of Mathias, but explaining just how he was related would have been very difficult, not to mention dangerous, so no attempt was made. Silvanus made sure to rifle through the family's crumbling manor house and remove any magical books or items he could find, and he had also taken a few paintings. One of Mathias, one of his parents, Wolfram and Edeline Cronqvist, and one of a young man that I had never seen before.
"The Belmonts need to know their history." he said when I asked him.
"I'm sure Desmond will be thrilled to have a portrait of Dracula hanging in the house." I replied as I looked at the paintings with crossed arms and skeptical eyes.
Silvanus chuckled. "Mathias was once human, he was once a good man, and at one time he and Leon called each other 'Brother'. And besides, like it or not, he is Trevor's grandfather; that makes him a Belmont ancestor just as much as Leon is."
"And the other paintings?"
"Wolfram and Edeline were the only parents Leon could remember, since his own died when he was so young, and helped shape him into the man he grew up to be. I think he would be pleased to have a portrait of them hanging somewhere."
"Fine then," I conceded, "but, who is that?" I gestured at the last painting. It was of a younger man, perhaps into his early to mid 20's, and his painted face was gazing back at me serenely with green eyes. Wavy auburn hair fell to his shoulders and framed a tanned face with a strong angular jaw covered with just a hint of stubble.
"Ah," Silvanus began, "I'm not surprised you don't know him. Joachim, meet Gabriel Belmont, Leon's grandfather, and the founder of the Belmont clan."
I was startled. Of course Leon had mentioned his parents on a few occasions, so I knew he wasn't the family patriarch, but many thought of him that way, since so little was known of the generations before him. Silvanus was quick to notice my surprise, and he gave me a faint smile.
"How do you know all of this?" I asked as I looked at the portrait. I could see the resemblance to Leon in the shape of the jaw and the structure of the face now when I really looked.
"Because that particular branch of the Cronqvist family was magical, had been for hundreds of years. Magical families have the tendency to keep tabs on each other. Magic does not care as to whether a child's parents were married or not, and young Gabriel easily could have inherited it. He did not, of course, but his father raised him alongside his legitimate son, Wolfram Cronqvist, and the pair knew they were brothers."
"Which would explain why Wolfram and his wife were so quick to take Leon in years later," I said, "since Leon was his brother's grandson." I cut my gaze over to Silvanus. "That still doesn't explain how you know all of this."
Silvanus gave me an enigmatic smile. "I have my ways. Young Gabriel was ennobled for a reason, after all."
What did that mean?
"You knew him." I stated.
"I did. Quite a charismatic young man, if I must say."
He laughed. "Don't worry about it, Joachim. Gabriel earned his title fairly. It wasn't his fault that he deed he was credited with turned out to be much simpler than the king thought."
Desmond was happy to have the portraits, even the one of Mathias, and they were promptly hung in the lord's house. Some people were bothered by Dracula having a portrait, but Desmond used the same logic as Silvanus had. Mathias, at one time, had been a good man, and he was Leon's cousin and Trevor's grandfather, so the painting stayed.
In 1682, 13 year old Simon went with his parents to visit the mountain village that his mother had lived in. Desmond hadn't been happy about his heir running off to some remote place, but he couldn't deny the child a chance to learn where his mother had lived for so long. Bernhard castle was in ruins, and what remained of the family was scattered to the winds. That remote village that had sheltered Alda was the closest Simon could get to his mother's heritage.
Of course Simon knew of his relation to Kerwin and Matatias, and he did share a feeble bond with them, but with so many relations between them gone, he could only feel them when he was in the same room with them. Matatias didn't like Simon much sadly, which was due to Simon's resemblance to Watler, someone that Matatias didn't have good memories of. Walter had never liked his grandchild and other than allowing the adoption to go forward, had never claimed the child as such. We tried to explain to Matatias that Simon wasn't Walter, but Matatias' child mind couldn't move past the resemblance. We could only hope that he would get over it with time.
Anyway, Simon and his parents were gone for several months, and when they returned, Simon was gushing about all the things he had learned from the monster hunters that lived in the village, and he had also taken a liking to their style of clothing. Desmond had been appalled to see Simon in leathers and furs that left a lot of his skin bare. Simon had waxed lyrical about how much freer it left him and how it barely restricted his movement, something which, admittedly, was a problem with clothing of the era worn by the nobility. Desmond's own hunting clothes were a lot less restrictive, but no skin outside of his face and hands were showing.
There was also the concern that Simon's chosen garb left him open to physical injury and vampire bites. Hence the reason every Belmont kept their necks and wrists covered while hunting, to make it harder for a vampire to bite them. Simon seemed to have no concerns about such a thing, and he showed when he turned 14, was given the title of Vampire Hunter, and started going out with Desmond on real hunts, that he had reason to not be worried.
"Nothing can get close to him." Desmond declared, a day after Simon's first real hunt. "He moves deceptively fast, but he hits so hard. The Vampire Killer does far more damage in his hands, than it ever did in mine."
Alda smirked but said nothing, and I gave her a knowing look. We knew where Simon had inherited that speed from.
Two years later, in 1684, Simon and Desmond returned home from a neighboring lord's home, and Simon was covered with the scent of another woman, in addition to sporting an absolutely goofy smile on his face. Arrangements were quickly made between Desmond and the other lord, so Simon could court the lady that had caught his eye.
The lady in question turned out to still be a girl, 13 year old Linde Rosier, the middle child of her parents's five children, and the only daughter. As she was still young, her father wanted to wait a few years before things went further, and Desmond agreed.
"I'm just making sure this isn't puppy love or something similar." he explained. "Alda assured me that his heritage is unlikely to steer him wrong, but it never hurts to be careful."
Desmond gave me a faint smile, and I was struck then by the realization that he had gotten old. His red hair had gone white, his eyes had faded, and his face was marred with wrinkles. I did some quick figuring and was shocked to realize that Desmond was nearing a century in age himself. It seemed like just yesterday that he'd been a small boy, crying to me about how mean everyone was being to his papa.
I stepped around to his side of the desk, and before he could ask what I was doing, I pulled him up out of his chair and wrapped him in my arms. He gave me a faint smile and allowed me to hold him. I think he knew what I was thinking about.