The Long Game

By Some Miracle

"ALEXANDER! NO! ALEXANDER!"

This is how an angel fights. This is how an angel cries.

Outside now, out on the docks, still trapped in the stalwart embrace of that stubborn man who will not let her go. She screams for him, tears streaming down her face. She struggles in the arms of the distraught Renfield. Begs, pleads, beseeches him to release her. She claws him, hits him, curses him to let her go. She must reach her beloved. She must save him or die with him. She is a vicious, wild thing. She struggles to break free from the iron embrace of the large man. Her anguished, desperate screams rend the night. She screams until her vocal cords bleed and her voice dies.

But Renfield holds fast to her. It defies all logic. Such a large, powerful man struggling to hold such a delicate thing. But she has a strength born of love and devotion. And she damns him to Hell for not letting her go. She bruises him, bloodies him. But he does not complain, does not condemn her for her vicious assault on him.

Much as he once did for Alexander when he was in his own fit of rage, R.M. Renfield, Esquire, holds fast.

And he does not let her go.


Flames.

He has always known it would end in flames for him. It had started in flames and it would now end in flames. This long, strange journey of his life. Vlad. Dracula. Alexander. In the end, it is just him.

And the flames.

He does not scream. As the flames kiss his skin with their searing lips, he bites down on his own until the blood flows forth, sizzling as the fire licks them hungrily. His face twists in a hideous visage as the pain shreds every single last nerve in his body. But he does not allow himself the release to scream. That is his final gift to his beloved Mina. He refuses make her endure his dying screams.

Until finally, after an eternity of agony, his pain stops.

And when it does, he looks and sees her. Her in the sunlight. Standing beneath a tree with pink and white blossoms. Her in a flowing white dress. Unburned, unharmed. A smile upon her lovely face and in her sky blue eyes. She reaches out her hand in invitation.

Mina. Ilona. Their pure, beautiful spirits are one in the same for him now.

And he, finally free of all constraints, takes a step toward her. And takes her hand in his.


This is how an angel dies.

That which she has loved most burns to ashes and ruins. As does her heart, her soul, her life.

When her voice is no more, when her body collapses from exhaustion, Renfield gently cradles her in his strong, protective arms and wearily carries her away. As he trudges, his silent tears run down his handsome dark face and drop onto hers, tracing clean trails of saltwater streaks on his flesh and hers. He spirits her away to a safe place, Carfax Manor, away from prying eyes, uninvited questions.

And still he does not let her go.


Strange reports circulate the city of a young woman with lovely blond hair and bright green eyes walking through the early morning streets of London. Rumors whisper that when the sun's rays touched her, she inexpicibly began to smoke and burn. A few eyewitnesses, early morning vendors they were, swear that through the flames they saw her with a peaceful, contented smile upon her melting face.

Mixed reactions abound from those who hear this extraordinary tale. Some declare it the final act of a vampire filled with regret and seeking peace and absolution. Others declare the entire story to be utter nonsense created by cruel jesters to frighten the good people of London.

Mina hears nothing of this story in her self-imposed isolation. It is one of the few things Renfield keeps from her.


Much to the relief and confusion of the Order of the Dragon, the flood of vampires invading London suddenly stops. Reports, sightings, dry up. Wither and die. Evaporate like mist in the rising sun.

And these men, these pompous, arrogant men, toast to themselves and their victory. Their victory which they truly did not earn by their own actions.

They sit and they scheme and they talk and they gather wealth and power upon to themselves.

And they conveniently forget that all men are born to die. When they do, all their wealth, all their power, all their prestige remains on Earth. While they rise to meet their Heavenly judgment.


Alexander's man Renfield, now becomes her man Renfield. Ever loyal, ever present. He keeps her from dying, though she wants to. He refuses to let her die. He does not leave her side.

She wants to die.

He makes her live.

Without her knowledge, Alexander had charged Renfield with gifting Mina his entire estate in the event of his untimely demise. All his money, his holdings, now belong to her. Compounded with the estate left to her by her father, Mina is now quite a wealthy woman indeed.

Which interests her not at all.

Since Renfield refuses to let her to die, she opts for escape from all she has ever known.

She entrusts full responsibility of her wealth to Renfield with the stipulation that a generous, self-replenishing trust be created to allow Joseph Kolwalski to continue his work with the Resonator and the Geo Magnetic Energy Project.

She travels to foreign lands to escape her loss and pain. Renfield remains at her side as she searches for a reason to live.


And she finds one.

Mina Murray is pregnant. During a time of humanity, during a time of peace, she and her beloved Alexander created, together, new life. She refuses to contemplate the possibility that it may be unnatural, unhealthy. For her, it could only be a child, made of deep love and celebration of life.

It could only be hope.

Renfield watches her belly grow. And he prays. For her. For the child. Perhaps a little for himself. He silently prays.

And waits for the time to come.

They travel to the beautiful, untamed land of New Zealand. They lose themselves there. They find the warm ocean water of the northern island. They find the artic blasts of the southern island. They find peace. They finally settle in the northern area of the north island where the lovely landscape and the warming sun capture Mina's heart. She knows he would love it here. Her Alexander. He would bathe himself in the warmth of the sun.

In due course, a boy comes into the world in the natural, quite painful, way. And Mina, still a fighter to her very core, bears it as best she can, eager for the reward of holding her blessed child.

He appears normal. His mother loves him so strongly it is a wonder that her heart can take it. And Renfield continues to watch, even as he falls completely in love with the tiny babe. He continues to watch and wait.

And pray.


Mina names the child Alexander. And the boy grows, healthy and strong. He is a perfect combination of his mother and father. He has bright blue-green eyes, a brighter smile, and a laugh that makes all who hear it smile. When he is angry, he clenches his small fists but does not strike. When he is sad, he crawls into his mother's lap and freely cries. When he is happy, he runs and plays and delights in the world around him. He loves the feel of the sun on his skin.

A better mother and father he could not find his this odd couple. They raise him in peace and intelligence. Respect and love. Life and light and joy. Mina adores the boy and practices self-control not to entirely spoil the child with her love. Renfield is a father figure to him and he takes his job very seriously. And when he looks at the boy, the large man glows with happiness.

Renfield oversees to the financial business matters. He is respected and esteemed by those with whom he conducts business. Mina practices medicine as she always had dreamt of doing. She travels to her patients and they come to her. No hospitals, only a small clinic in her home. Her kind, gentle nature makes her loved by all who meet her. She heals the sick and tends to her small, special family.

When the boy is grown, he asks about his real father. And they sit him down in the bright, warm sunshine. They tell him the truth together. The good, the bad, they tell it all. Mina brings out the journal she kept of Alexander's pursuit of sunlight and humanity. She reads it aloud. The sleeping angel on her tongue awakens and pours forth the entire story from start to finish. She weeps her memories down her face. Renfield wipes at the corners of his eyes during the telling as well though he tries to hide it.

And, by some miracle, the boy understands and he is okay.


Through the years, she can almost see Alexander looking down on them and smiling. She sometimes thinks she hears his voice on the wind and feels the touch of his gentle, strong hands in her dreams. In the deepest, darkest part of the night, sometimes she swears she can almost feel him there beside her in the darkness. In the small hours of the night, she sometimes wakes and reaches out for him before remembering he is not there.

Though she misses him greatly every day, she finds a way to be happy. To live for him, for herself, for her son. She is content with her existence. She finds no reason to take another lover. Her life is filled with all the love she can hold.

And through their life, their happiness, their love, the spirit of the good part of Vlad Tepis, of Alexander Grayson continues on. As though he is a dark angel watching over them still.

For the long game never truly ends.

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