Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters and have nothing to gain from this except the satisfaction of my Muse.
Chapter One: Awakening
The first thing Anna Valerious became aware of was the warm downy sheets and soft mattress beneath her. Slowly, she became aware of the cotton nightdress she was wearing. She moved her head and felt the familiar tickling feeling when a strand of her hair fell across her face. Anna revelled in the comforting warmth of her bed, enjoying the cosiness that surrounded her. She kept her eyes shut, thinking as she slowly woke up. Today, she would see the blacksmith about her new sword and wait until nightfall when she and Van Helsing would - Van Helsing!
Suddenly, it all came rushing back to her. Castle Dracula, Van Helsing becoming a werewolf, her battle with Aleera, rushing to save Van Helsing, and... she couldn't remember after that. Anna began to panic. Why was she in bed? What had happened? Where was Van Helsing?
Her eyes shot open as she sat up straight in bed. A vicious stab of pain shot through her torso and she cried out and fell back down onto her pillows, gasping for breath.
Slowly, Anna pushed herself back up onto her elbows.
She looked around. She was in her room at Valerious Manor, it was night time and a huge fire was roaring in her fireplace.
The pain returned to her body, but it was less severe than before. She pulled up the nightdress to reveal a wide bandage around her middle. It was white, but marked with random patches of dry blood.
Anna rubbed her forehead and dry blood to flaked from a wide cut.
Ignoring the persisting pain, Anna pushed back the blanket and moved to climb out of bed. Trembling, she stood up. Her body felt stiff, like it hadn't worked in days. Waves of dizziness began to wash over her and she gripped the bedpost for support.
Slowly, she painstakingly made her way to the door and pulled it open. She looked down the corridor. The torches cast a warm glow over the empty passage.
"Hello?" she called. There was no answer. Anna felt disappointed. She had hoped to find Van Helsing waiting for her. But then again, she had no idea whether he was alive or not.
Anna sighed and left her room, walking towards the den. She peered into the room and her heart flushed with warm joy. In front of the fire, in a huge high-backed armchair, lay Van Helsing. He was fast asleep,
Anna's eyes moved over him and stopped on his lips. She smiled, remembering the kiss between them at Castle Dracula. It had been so intense and passionate, and it had given her a new strength to go on because she had realised that she wanted to escape Dracula alive, if only to be with him again. Anna imagined with sheer joy having Van Helsing touching her again, pressing his lips to hers...
Anna snapped out of the daydream and gazed back at Van Helsing. Suddenly, a gust of cold wind hit her and she realised that had nothing to keep her warm save her thin cotton nightdress. Anna was overcome with a desperate need to be in Van Helsing's arms. She moved over to him and leaned over to whisper in his ear.
Gabriel looked deep into her blank eyes, searching for a sign of life.
"Give it up Gabriel, she's dead. You killed her!" Mocked a cruel voice from behind him. He didn't have to turn around, he knew who it was.
"Leave me alone, you bastard!" Van Helsing yelled at Dracula. "It's your fault she's dead."
Dracula laughed. "Poor Gabriel. You won't even admit that you killed her. You killed the only person you've ever truly loved.."
"She's not dead –she can't be!" Van Helsing spun around.
"Oh, but she is Gabriel – you killed her."
"No! I saved her – I killed you!" Van Helsing yelled in anguish
"Don't deny it Gabriel."
"Go away!" Van Helsing turned back to Anna's lifeless body.
"Gabriel..." Dracula teased.
"No! Anna! You can't be dead!"
"Gabriel..." Dracula's voice whispered into his ear.
"I'll kill you for this Dracula!"
"Gabriel!" He grabbed Dracula by the throat and held him up to the wall. "Gabriel..."Van Helsing tightened his grip, but Dracula only laughed. "That's right, kill me Gabriel." Van Helsing's ears were filled with Dracula's hollow laugh, "Gabriel..."
"Gabriel stop, please!" Dracula's voice changed to sound like Anna's.
"No! I won't fall for your tricks!"
"Van Helsing!? Have you gone mad?!"
Van Helsing's eyes snapped open as he woke from his nightmare. He gasped. He had Anna by the throat, holding her up against the wall. Her hands were gripping his, desperately trying to free herself. Carl was beside him, gazing up at Anna with fear in his eyes. Gabriel slowly lowered her to the floor, looking to Carl then back at Anna. Blood was flowing from several small cuts on her neck, no doubt from his nails.
"God! Anna! I'm so sorry! I didn't mean to hurt you! I though you were...someone else."
Anna's breath came out in short gasps. She looked up at him and nodded silently. Anna looked from Van Helsing to Carl, then back to Van Helsing. She looked like she was going to speak when suddenly her eyes rolled back into her head and she collapsed forward, right into Van Helsing's arms.
A/N Don't you just love a good cliffhanger? This is my first Van Helsing story, so please review to tell me whether I should continue or not! I'll always try to update ASAP coz I hate it when people take ages to add new chappies.
So, please, if you like what you've read, a few words will get you the next chapter and a virtual case of MnM's from me!