|Van Helsing 3: The Fallen
Author: Beguile PM
Gabriel Van Helsing is sent back to Transylvania to destroy the great Elizabeth Bathery. Meanwhile, his past catches up with him and forgiveness is offered. But nothing comes without a price, and even the angels aren't philanthropists.Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Supernatural - Chapters: 14 - Words: 51,688 - Reviews: 158 - Favs: 21 - Follows: 10 - Updated: 03-14-05 - Published: 09-20-04 - Status: Complete - id: 2064860
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: The characters and concepts pertaining to the movie Van Helsing in this story are the property of Stephen Sommers. This is an amateur writing effort. There was no money made off the writing of this story.
Author's Notes: I'm BACK! This is amazing. Thanks to everyone who read and or reviewed Van Helsing 2: Shards of Avalon. I appreciated all the feedback. I'd also like to thank my beta, Grissom, who worked very hard on making sure that this was free of spelling and grammatical errors. I really appreciate it!
To everyone who is new to my stories: This is a sequel to Van Helsing 2: Shards of Avalon. I strongly urge you to read that story first before tackling this one since many things have changed for the monster hunter and his friar friend.
As a final note, I have paired Van Helsing with Mina Harker. If you don't like Van Helsing/OC pairings (even though I hardly think Mina Harker is an OC, even when you consider the liberties I have taken with her character), I would steer away from this story as well. Anyone who has a problem with this, DON'T SAY I DIDN'T WARN YOU. If you have a problem with my insertion, take it up through an e-mail, and don't poison my review page with your comments about Mary-Sues.
Chapter 1: The Nightmares Are Getting Worse
A loud explosion erupted through the Knights of the Holy Order's Headquarters. Every friar, monk, priest, and cardinal jumped in surprise, throwing dirty looks at the area it had come from. No one was surprised. It came from Friar Carl's table. The smallish and bumbling friar had been experimenting with Greek fire again, testing his new device which could, in his meticulously chosen words, could actually 'throw flame'.
"It's quite simple, really," he had tried to explain to Gabriel Van Helsing. The monster hunter cocked a brow.
"I thought there was nothing simple about you Carl," he replied jokingly.
"You might be surprised," Carl said, moving through the many devices he was in the process of inventing or hadn't invented yet and were simply 'saving them for a rainy day' so to speak. "It involves the same type of projection device as your cross bow only instead of shooting arrows this shoots a stream of Greek fire at a desired target and..."
"I know, I know..." Gabriel said. "Charred werewolf. How incredibly charming Carl."
"I thought you'd enjoy that," he replied.
The rest of the Order heard nothing else on the subject, except of course for the occasional explosions that could be traced back to the Friar's work table without much difficulty. They thought perhaps they would be used to them by now. Carl was certainly famous for his explosions. His inventions always seemed to have something to do with projectiles and flames, two things that were dangerous when mixed with a man like Carl. Carl was one of the few scientists in the Order who actually enjoyed not having any eyebrows. "That way they never get burned off," he told Van Helsing in one of the monster hunter's earlier years. Scientists were rare enough in the Order as it is. Most Friars, Monks, Priests, and any powerful religious figure for that matter would find the devotion to science highly sacrilege. But Carl saw it as a different way to honour God, and several times, forgot completely about God and devoted himself to the ways of the scientists before him.
Carl was small, it was true. He was shorter than most his age, and he was fairly young. It was unfortunate that he had reached his full height. However, what he lacked in height he made up for easily in what most of the Order would call insanity, but what he called genius.
His curly orange hair was cropped short, as was custom. If it were any longer it too would be singed off in his explosions. His eyes were blue and his face was boyish although his intelligence proved otherwise. As much as the Order wanted to admit that Carl was a menace to all things living, they realized how much they needed him whenever Gabriel went on a mission.
And there was the one fact that Carl was the only man Gabriel trusted, besides maybe Jinette, and even trusting Jinette was a little out of character for the monster hunter.
The explosion that issued forth that day was larger than anything they had experienced before, even in the past. Carl pulled off his goggles and apologized, as usual. He ignored the death threats by muttering that no one truly respected a true genius at work. He turned back to the table and looked at the contraption. The design, his mind suggested. Carl shook his head. In his opinion, the design was flawless. The mechanics, his mind asked. Carl shook his head again and rubbed the grime away from his chin. He couldn't find anything wrong with the mechanics.
Except that the Greek fire had a nasty habit of exploding before even leaving the barrel of the weapon.
Well if you got the enemy to wield it the weapon would work perfectly, he thought, tapping his badly bandaged fingers on the table, ignoring the pain that shot up his knuckles and into his hand. But that's just a silly idea. Van Helsing is more likely to part with his soul than a weapon.
Carl picked up the nearly destroyed weapon another time and groaned before tossing it into his growing scrap heap. The twisted pieces of metal resembled some kind of unholy demon now, after a week of working constantly, grounded in the Vatican while Gabriel whiled away doing whatever a monster hunter did when he wasn't hunting monsters. Since returning from their mission with Morgan le Fey, there had been a few local hunts and several out of the country. Business was slow, which for the Vatican was good news. It meant that Gabriel was slowly working out the evil in the world. It meant that the constant explosions coming from Carl's work table were truly worth all the racing pulses and aching fingertips the Friar and his 'fellow' workers had to put up with.
"This good for nothing..." He mouthed the string of curses with his head hung low, just in case someone could read lips. Van Helsing had told him his cursing was getting better since they had returned from England and even taught him some new ones. It was a small, overlooked retaliation against Jinette, and Carl knew how much Gabriel loved small, overlooked victories. He loved them just as much as he hated large, explosive victories, ones that usually resulted in making his criminal record even more colourful. "If that's possible..." He muttered under his breath, thinking out loud as he set about making another weapon, starting again from scratch.
"Friar Carl." Jinette's commanding voice summoned him from his thoughts. Carl looked up, his face still covered in the black residue from the explosion - everywhere except large circles around his eyes as if he were an inversed raccoon. Jinette was not a tall man, or a proud man, but he certainly knew how to run the Order effectively. He was completely bald, a fact he tried to hide with his small, flattened red hat and his small frame was well hidden under his baggy and loose red Cardinal robes. The short Friar nodded. It was his only response. "Did Van Helsing say anything to you about leaving the headquarters?"
Carl didn't move. He just shook his head.
"I would imagine he is in his apartment, Cardinal," he began, his voice wavering a little. Jinette didn't seem to notice.
"I have checked there," he began, "And in the training chambers and throughout the rest of the Order. I have half of the Order looking around the city for him and have so far turned up nothing. Perhaps you could to tell me where he has gone?"
"I can't tell you what I don't know." Carl replied innocently. "I knew he was here this morning."
"Morning has come and gone." Jinette said sternly. "It is nearing evening and something has come to my attention. Did he tell you nothing about where he was going?"
Carl shook his head, unable to say another word without giving away his lie. The Cardinal's eyes narrowed menacingly, and he seemed to peer directly into Carl's soul and see everything.
But Jinette just tightened his lips and simply said, "I think he is taking advantage of this 'vacation'. And if I discover that you are lying for him Carl, there will be consequences."
Carl could only bite his lips together to keep himself from saying anything incriminating. The Cardinal leaned back.
"Tell me the instant you see him." He said. "This is urgent."
Carl managed to say, "Yes, Cardinal," without sounding too conspicuous. The Cardinal eventually walked away, looking around the heads in the Headquarters for any sign of the large fedora Van Helsing had permanently perched on his head. Carl imagined that in the list of important things in Van Helsing's life, a weapon came first and then came his hat. After that, the rest was just icing on the cake.
"Good Lord, Gabriel you are going to be the death of me," he said, making sure the Cardinal was out his sights before he crept away from his table and fled from the Headquarters. He knew exactly where Van Helsing was. And he knew exactly what he was doing there.
Her husband had been a lie, and she had maintained it well since she arrived in Rome a year ago. Her real husband, Jonathan Harker, had died several years ago in her old home in London. Now, she was married to a sickened doctor named Henry who had fallen ill at his practice in London. The physician demanded that they get out of the city and she had chosen to come to Rome, believing that 'being this close to God may speed his recovery'. The lie was starting to wear thin as neighbours were beginning to notice the dark stranger who was always visiting and the fact that they had never seen her husband actually arrive in the apartment at all.
She lived in a small home not far from the school she worked at. The female schoolmistress was hardly at home in a country that was still living under the rule of the Catholic Church. Women were not smiled upon, least in the work force. Her ruse about her sick husband gave her a slight amount of pity though, since her dear husband was too weak to even stand and walk around, let alone work.
"Home sweet home..." She had tried to convince herself, but the home was hardly the size of the house she had once lived in London. It was smaller and cramped with all of her things but it was nonetheless comfortable, just the sort of place a school teacher could be happy.
Mina looked up and down the street carefully before opening the door. She couldn't see her dark stranger anywhere. He usually came to her when the Vatican bored him, and all that week he had been coming in the evening, just after the Cardinal stopped looking even for a moment, and he rode to her on horseback, her knight in shining armor as it were. There was no sign of him tonight though. She sighed and walked into her house, locking and bolting the door behind her.
Stacks of books and boxes that still remained unpacked were crammed into the small living room. Beyond that was her bedroom and her kitchen and that was all. The stairs to the upper levels of the apartment were on the side of the building. Her neighbours were artists. The man enjoyed painting naked, especially in the summer, while his spouse (or partner, she wasn't entirely sure) posed in much the same manner, her dark curls moving over her olive skin and covering most of her private areas. He once asked Mina to pose for him, but she had graciously refused again, on the grounds that her husband would not approve. He rolled his eyes and shook his head.
"Your beauty is being wasted," he said, his dark eyes gleaming. "If you change your mind..."
"I would never change my mind about such a thing." She said. The man shrugged and went back upstairs.
She set down her bag on the couch and removed her coat and scarf. Winter was coming back again, even though it was hardly evident. In London the streets would have been covered in a light dusting of snow as carolers sang songs of Christ's birthday.
Italy was no different. They too were preparing for the birth of their King. They did it respectfully though, as if everything tied back to the Church.
When the oil lamps were lit and the house was flooded with some orange light she heard the footsteps upstairs. Mina shook her head as the woman laughed and summoned her husband to her in Italian, speaking to him in a loud voice of all the things they were to get up to tonight. Mina escaped to the bedroom to drown them out. With the door closed, she could no longer hear the sounds of the couple above her, but she could hear the sound of footsteps coming to a halt in the dark recesses of her room.
A small smile came across her face. She set the lamp down on the desk and crossed her arms.
"You came?" She asked the faceless silhouette in the shadows of the bedroom. The figure nodded and took a step forward towards the light from behind the shadow of the wardrobe. The face of Gabriel Van Helsing stared back at her, glinted with the glow of the lamp, his eyes shimmering in the dark.
"I came," he told her, as if it weren't evident by his presence. "The Cardinal wanted me to train. I wanted to come here."
Mina smiled softly and took a step towards him.
"How long do you have tonight?" She asked him.
"Carl said he would come and get me is anything came up." Gabriel replied, taking a step towards her. The two were at odds with each other as their eyes ate away at the other's flesh, digging deep into their bodies. "But I highly doubt anything will."
"What makes you say that?" she asked him, taking another step. It was always cautious in the beginning, as if the two were starting over night after night. She was just a foot from him. One more step and they would be face to face.
"I've been here every night since I came back from Spain," he said, hesitating before taking another step forward. His face was inches from hers now and he was looking her straight in the eye. "Plus, the company seems far more interesting here than there."
"I'll have to tell Carl you said that," she told him, smiling coyly.
"Oh, will you?" He asked her. Mina nodded and placed a hand on his shoulder. Gabriel placed his hand on hers. "I don't think you will."
"And what makes you think that?" Mina asked him.
"People call intimidating." He said. Mina laughed and shook her head, leaning into his embrace with her head on his shoulder. It was nights like these that made up for all the absences she had to endure over the year of her move to Rome. Gabriel would wrap her in his arms and suddenly everything was right with the world.
Until, of course, duty called. And then Mina would be second to a stranger.
The winged figure in the clouds was larger than he, but it was all in the wing span. Gabriel could see that the body was smaller and human and could not compare to his own. The large spear he held in his hand seemed to dare Gabriel to attack without a weapon. It threatened to tilt forward at any moment and pierce his chest, running him right through.
"You have disobeyed for the last time, Gabriel," the winged creature said. His face was unseen in the darkness. Even when the lightning crackled through the clouds Gabriel could not get a clear view of the face that stared at him with a deadly glare in his eyes.
"I have not disobeyed," Gabriel shouted back to the creature.
"You have disobeyed!" the winged creature shot back. "You said it was the last time, Gabriel. You said it was the last time almost four centuries ago and here you are, doing it again. You gave me your word it would never happen again!"
"And what am I to do?" Gabriel shouted with a flap of his own wings, holding him in the air. The lightning flickered again as the storm drew closer. Rain pelted against his bare flesh but he was not cold. He was not hot. It was odd to feel none of these things at one particular moment in time. "Am I to simply forsake the calls of the living and only hear the sounds of the dead?"
"It is your calling, Gabriel," the winged man replied. "It is your job. This is what you were created to do."
"I don't believe that," he challenged the creature. The creature in front of him gave a flap of his wings in Gabriel's direction as a sign of his anger. "I don't believe that this was all I was meant to do."
The spear vanished as the thunder boomed. Lightning bolts struck closely by the two, and yet the face remained a mystery still.
"Then perhaps your sentence will help you find that other calling, Gabriel," the man said. With a flap of his mighty wings he was speeding in Gabriel's direction. Gabriel turned and moved past the man with surprising agility, just dodging the man's body with his movements. It wasn't long though, before his 'enemy' swerved back and tackled him, grabbing hold of his wings.
Gabriel threw his opponent off him and into the air. He swung back around and kicked the angel back. The man twisted back and flew back to Gabriel once again, this time striking him with enough force to knock the wind out of him. It did not, however. It simply made Gabriel go still for a moment, enough for the man to reach back for his wings again.
Gabriel grabbed the smaller man and tried to pull him from his body. The man however dug his shoulder into Van Helsing's gut, making his body go rigid. His opponent swung around to his back and firmly planted both feet on Gabriel's lower back while his hands gripped the wings at their joint.
"I hope you will learn your lesson, Gabriel," the man said and started to pull.
Only pain followed. And then there was the sensation of being released to the waiting ground below.
It took him a moment to realize where he was. He found the small bedroom filled with bookcases and a single wardrobe and desk and immediately knew to look at the other side of the bed. Mina lay on top of the covers in nothing but her underclothes, still sleeping. He looked down at her pale flesh, to her overturned wrist with the piece of the Excalibur sheath buried under the skin. He wiped the sweat from his brow, taking a deep breath of the cool night air that flowed inside from the slightly open window. It chilled him to the bone even though the temperature was moderate even in December.
His shivers made Mina wake up. She blinked and quickly came back to the world of the living and frantically moved for the window.
"Sorry." She said, shutting it quickly before closing the curtains once more. "You were a little warm before you fell asleep so I opened it." Gabriel nodded, saying nothing. Mina was always trying to mother him in the small sense of the word and the big sense. She was handy to have around whenever he needed to be bandaged up or needed a place to go MIA for a few hours. It just got irritating that she would dote over him as if her were a child. And that didn't sound immature, did it Gabriel? his mind asked him. He told it to shut up.
Mina's eyes narrowed as she peered into the darkness of the room, lit only by the dim lamp by the bed. She walked back to Gabriel and placed both hands on his cheeks, feeling the sweat drip from his brow. Her cool fingertips made the shivers intensify and his teeth chatter.
"God, Gabriel, you're burning up," she said as she moved to the small basin of water she kept next to the lamp. He couldn't even protest as she dipped the cloth into the cool water and squeezed out the excess.
"I'm fine," he finally said, but she hushed him quickly.
"Don't," she said.
"Don't say you're fine," she said, running it over the back of his neck. "I know you're not." He rolled his eyes and relaxed against her shoulder, taking a deep breath of the faint smell of her perfume before opening his eyes again.
"The nightmares..." he said. "They're getting worse."
"How bad?" she asked with genuine interest or concern. Gabriel thought it might be both.
"I can't see faces," he said as she moved the cloth over his brow again. "Just a storm and then a battle, and then I fall onto the Vatican step below." Mina dipped the cloth back into the water when it had become as warm as his flesh. She ran her fingers through his hair.
"The angels?" she asked. He nodded. Mina fell silent again, setting the cloth on his bare neck and pressing it close to his skin, holding it there for a moment. Gabriel sat up, taking the cloth under his own hand and hanging his head as the dizziness faded.
"I'm ready to give up my old life." he confessed. He had been considering it ever since Mina had come to Italy with him. He was always called away to something else while she spent her time living a lie for him.
Mina watched him pull the cloth from his neck. She sighed.
"But...?" she asked, knowing it was coming up after he had said that. Gabriel shook his head.
"I get the feeling someone doesn't want me too," he confessed. Mina looked away. "Ever since I started thinking about leaving they've been getting worse. And they leave me like this when I wake." He was growing frustrated. She could tell by the way his face flushed at the crushing defeat that was beginning to settle in on him. She ran a comforting hand over his arm and lowered her eyes.
"Lay down," she told him.
"I should go..."
"Lay down," she said, hushing him again. Gabriel didn't want to protest. He did as she requested and lay back down on the bed, the wet cloth still attached to the back of his neck as it cooled the fever inside him. "You should stop thinking about it." Mina kissed him on the forehead, trying to read his temperature and show affection at the same time. "Just get some sleep."
"I shouldn't..." He still said, even as his eyes closed again. The feeling of Mina's fingers smoothing along his cheek and sound of her breathing calmed him down. Gabriel found sleep within moments, but was not at peace for long. There was a tapping on the window, causing him to shake himself awake. Mina was already at the window, holding the lamp. By the time she had opened it, Gabriel already knew who was outside.
"Can you two take your hands off each other for a moment to answer the door?" Carl demanded angrily.
"Sorry Carl." Mina smiled and invited him in through the window. By the time she had turned Gabriel was already up and dressing. He pulled on his grey sweater over his bare chest and his coat over that. She said nothing of his current condition. Nearly all physical traces of the fever were gone, but there was still that glazed look in his eyes. "He was just leaving."
Gabriel pulled his hat on, glancing at Mina.
"I'm sorry," he said, not wanting to get overly sentimental in front of Carl. Mina just nodded.
"I'll see you when you get back," she said.