Dracula did not read romance novels. He wasn't really one for novels in general, especially written by humans. Science. Philosophy. Medicine. Not flights of fantasy.
But the humans have a word for this…and it isn't quite scientific.
That word is 'love.'
…But that can't possibly cover it.
But 'love' was always a silly little notion. Love was flowers and candy. Love was sappy letters and maudlin advances. 'Love' was sensitive and easy to break. 'Love' was soft.
But this… this is anything but soft.
This is a thing that does the breaking. It is painful, and sharp in the way it pierces him so thoroughly. It is tethered so tightly around his heart, that if he tried to sever its bonds his heart would burn, and quite possibly break.
This is daggers and I'd die for you. This is a stake stabbed through the chest.
And that is not what he knows of love.
The the baby boy murmurs quiet nonsense beside his sleeping mother.
Vlad stands over the cradle—(a cradle his parents made out of metal, and cotton, and dedication)—the fabric soft against his fingers.
His mother. A human. Completely, and thoroughly. No turning necessary. He could have turned her…but that would have sullied the pink of her cheeks, the red of her lips, the blue of her eyes.
So many humans are out for blood without thirst involved. He needn't corrupt one that didn't experience such desires.
Just an ordinary human, who was either brave or very stupid… or maybe a bit of both to walk straight into the demon's castle. Maybe she was just curious. …He hoped it wouldn't kill her one day, like the cat who meant well.
His mother. Lisa. With golden hair, and certain shimmer to her words too.
His father. Dracula. A vampire. The vampire. The king of night and all its hordes. A scary story, full of blood and death and the moon was full that night.
—(Could he even be a father after all that killing? Was there a father behind all that bloodshed? Dare he even try to keep something alive, when these hands were constructed to kill?)—
And Adrian. Just born, already with one foot in each world. Half human. Half vampire. The stars dripped from the ceiling, and the sun spilled in through the window.
Would they hurt him for it?
Would this fact grant him safe passage into both worlds, or make him hated by both? Had he cursed this being to a life of not belonging? Or had he given him an opportunity no one else had; to belong to both?
Would being Dracula's son make him a villain? Or would it make him a prince? Would the humans fear and hate him? Would the vampires bow to him?
Would being Lisa's son make him a hero? Would the humans accept him as one of them? Would the vampires exile him as a half-breed, impure, no matter if his father had a castle, and a crown, and fangs all too ready to sink into their necks?
Barely noticeable now, he has golden hair like his mother, and fangs like his father.
…He wonders how this creature, so full of light, could come from the king of night.
Then Adrian starts crying.
The king of night is uh…not equipped for this. He's never comforted a crying child before. He's made more than a few cry in his time, but he's never been on the other end…it seems the much more difficult side of things.
He has half—(okay, more than half)—a mind to wake Lisa for help. …But Lisa has done enough for today. Surely he can handle one crying baby.
Vlad is careful not to let his nails pierce the child's skin as he scoops him up, cradling him in his arms.
Adrian is so small. It doesn't feel like he's made of thumping, pumping blood and bone. He feels as if he's made of glass, and Dracula fears he'll shatter in his hands.
Dracula has killed so many things in his life. He has killed humans, and animals and, yes, another vampire or two. But he doesn't want to kill this one. He is so desperate to keep him alive he thinks he might die himself before he saw anything touch him.
Lisa stirs, and Vlad moves the child further away so as not to wake her. He sits in the chair in the corner of the room, by the basket full of toys he will soon play with, and the alphabet charts he will soon learn with.
Dracula did not read romance novels. But he had once heard a lullaby, and he wonders if he can remember the lyrics.
At the gentle song, slowly Adrian calms down in his father's arms, and looks up at him with those golden eyes.
And Dracula wonders if the world was always this big.
Vampire's eyes are usually so cold and dark. But he is only half dark, and his eyes are full of sunlight.
He looks up at his father, this dark thing, the killer, the monster king. The creature they said could never learn to love.
And Adrian smiles.
When Dracula returns that smile, it is not an evil sneer tugging at his lips. It is like his face breaks, pouring out all the joy inside him. He leans forward and rests his forehead gently upon Adrian's.