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{{To the Night}}

Softly, barely making a sound, two lithe and light female bodies landed on the cold stone of the abandoned castle that was haunted by more then just sad memories. Their wings, only shades lighter then snow, spread against the wind as they threw their heads back mournfully.

A single word rose from their lips and they spoke as if in the same voice. And perhaps, after being together for so many years, they did. "Marishka!"

Suddenly the vampire bodies shifted and long flimsy gowns clad now human flesh. But still they mourned. Clinging to each other like lifelines they screamed. Their thin and frail arms, hiding their immense power, wrapped around their bony bodies as they cried out into the night the name of a fellow Bride, a sister.

"Marishka!"

The birds from the trees screeched in testimony to the pain of the young women, immortal and mourning. The wind howled and pulled at their hair, red and black missing blonde, and tugged at the light colours of their elegant smooth clothing.

Chained to the wall, bronze fur glowing pale in the moonlight, a lone wolf raised his head to look at the mourning women, his ears perked. His sharp teeth were bared slightly, but only just. His eyes reflected an emotion that was far from bestial. They were dark and deep and perhaps a little triumphant as he listened to the symphony of pain. But a tinge of grief and sadness may have flashed in his depths.

The younger of the two remaining Brides of Dracula, Aleera, pulled herself away from the embrace of the eldest, Verona. She threw herself to the edge of the castle, her fiery head cast back into the heavens. "Why!? Why most you take everything from me!?"

Aleera, the youngest Bride with or without the third, was not known for her generosity. She was often trying to devise a plan to keep her Master to herself, away from his other Brides, and she was the last one to feel the yearning for children. But that didn't mean she didn't love her fellow Brides, her sisters in arms. She didn't like to share what she thought of as her, not even with Death himself.

"Marishka!" Aleera collapsed to her knees, teetering over the edge of the castle. "My sister!" She beat her fists against the ground, fighting the pain that overwhelming her cold, dead heart. Unlike their Master, the Brides were still venerable to emotions and grief and loss was certainly some of them.

"Calm yourself!" Verona commanded, dragging her younger counterpart away from the edge. "Marishka would not want you to die without avenging her!"

The redhead would not listen, but she allowed Verona to pull her back into an embrace. As rain suddenly slashed down on their heads, Aleera cried in Verona's arms. Verona had been the mother of the two, now one, Brides and cuddled the young vampiress like she would a newborn. She had been the first to yearn for children and it was her passion for maternity that had convinced her other two sisters to crave for it as well.

Now she took on the rule of mother for her sister in need. Aleera sobbed against her sister's chest, clutching the flimsy fabric clothing Verona's shoulders. She wished she could go out and find Anna Valerious—last of the gypsy royalty—and rip out her throat. She wished she could eat the organs of the man who had killed her sister. She swore she would make them both pay.

But nothing would bring her sister back. Nothing would save poor Marishka, lost long before Dracula had changed her into a vampire.

She and Verona had never truly told Marishka of her life as a human. Dracula had ordered them not to and they lived to do his bidding. They were not to tell her of her life as a whore, forced to take that suffering by her father, who had beaten her on a regular basis. They were not to tell her that on her first night as a vampire she had ripped out her own father throat and sucked him dry. These things would ruin what little sanity she still retained from her changing—which had been rough for she had fought Dracula at first—and her previous life as a human.

That was why, Aleera supposed, Marishka had been so cruel in her second life. By playing and toying and torturing her victims until they begged and pleaded with her for mercy she extracted revenge for what had been done to her as a human.

"Please come back, Marishka!" It was useless to beg for that Aleera knew, but nothing could stop her from invoking the heavens on behalf of her dead sister.

Nothing Verona did eased the taunt pain in her chest.

Suddenly, there was a sharp bark farther away from her. Aleera's head shot up and she looked over at the wolf, for the first name taking notice of him. Her eyes darkened to black as a rage swelled within her bosom, taking complete control over her. She pried herself away from Verona and stormed over to the wolf.

"Damn you, Valerious!" she cried and hissed, baring her fangs, at the wolf who in turn showed no signs of outward aggression. He just looked up at the woman with calm, neutral eyes, as if he didn't fear her, the Bride of his Master.

This was Valken Valerious, last son of the Valerious line. The prince that had suffered the bite of werewolf on behalf of his beloved sister and now suffered being the beast. Not long from now would he be completely under the control of the curse, complete bending to Dracula's will.

Aleera hated him. He was a Valerious. A Valerious was responsible for her Master's moody disposition. A Valerious had all but murdered her sister. But there was much more to it then just the hatred.

It was also jealousy.

Both she and Verona were very aware of the fact that Marishka had been fond of Velkan. It was the way she acted around him. She had put her marks on him, teased him, fought with him but it was more in a playful manner then an outright act of revenge. And perhaps, for his part, Velkan had been a little fond of her too. Not much, a very large part of Velkan Aleera was sure had hated her, but he must have been fond of Marishka to take the teasing and tormenting and pain she had put him through.

She could remember coming home early from a hunt a day ago. Marishka had been sitting on a slim cot, which doubled as the human Prince's bed, stroking his rising and falling fur. Aleera and Marishka had had a soft fight about it—not wanting to alert their Master, who was currently trying to be soothed by Verona—with many hisses and bearing of fangs.

Marishka had said that she had been waiting for Velkan to wake up and Aleera had been foolish enough to believe her. She had wanted to ignore the look in the blonde vampire's eyes when she had laid them on the wolf Prince. She had wanted to ignore the way the Prince looked back at the Bride.

But she would not this time.

She moved swiftly, kicking him in the stomach before he could defend himself. The wolf whimpered a bit but Aleera had the impression that if Velkan could have smiled, he would have. They both knew that whatever she did to him, whatever marks she put on him, it would not compare to what Marishka had done to him, what he had done to her.

"It will do no good to kill him," Verona's voice finally touched Aleera's ears, bravely choking on tears. "We still have work for him to do. The Master will be most displeased."

Yes, the Master. She mustn't displease the Master. Not now. When he awoke from his slumber he would no doubt ache from the loss of Marishka. She and Verona must be there to soothe him, as well as have him soothe them. Only then would the pain of losing a fellow sister, a Bride, fade.

She motioned for Verona to go on ahead, that she would catch up. As her fellow sister walked towards their Master's chambers, Aleera leaned down close to the Prince's wolf ear.

"She did not love you, if that is what you are thinking," she whispered into his ear. "She was incapable of love, Prince Velkan." She knew that wasn't true. Marishka was a unique Bride with a unique past. She could love, hate, enjoy, tease.

But Velkan had no way of knowing that. If he had thought Marishka had loved him before there would no doubt be misgivings about it now. And that, for now, was all she wanted.

As she walked away, she glanced once more at the werewolf over her shoulder. "For taking my sister, I shall take yours. But have take heart, Prince." She raised a delicate pale finger and touched her cold skin over her bare chest. "I shall weep over your sister like she was mine."

Once the wolf was sure the Bride was gone he got to his paws. His ears were low on his head and his eyes were human and mournful. He crawled away from his spot on the wall and towards the cot he and Marishka had shared once.

Velkan may have been a werewolf at that moment, but his mind was still human. And, despite his fighting it, memories of the young vampiress flashed in his mind.

Marishka had been confusing, the most confusing person he had ever met. One minute she could be ripping off your fingers, the next she was holding onto you as if she would be blown away otherwise.

He wondered when they had gone from enemies to companions.

It must have been his first night in Dracula's castle. Verona and Aleera were with their Master, but Marishka had been in no mood for sex. Instead, she had tormented Velkan enough so that he changed into a werewolf. They fought, wildly, and had somehow ended up on his cot, their limbs tangled together.

The blonde Bride had raised her head, her eyes dark and illuminating, and stared at him. Then, instead of fighting him again, she had laid her head on his furry chest and cried softly. Velkan had not known vampires could cry and hadn't been able to do anything but hold her.

Dracula controlled his Brides, their will was his for the taking. They might of have enjoyed their feeding and murdering, but that was because Dracula himself enjoyed it. Marishka enjoyed it especially, but Velkan suspected that might have been because of her past as a human. Something, obviously, must have happened to her for her to love to cause so much pain and destruction.

The next night, their last night together, he had kissed her in human form, raging with hatred and rage and lust… and maybe love… just a tinge of it. And Marishka had kissed him back, feeling warm for the first time in many years. They had stripped each of their clothing and did something neither of them had wanted to do in the beginning.

When he had awoken the next morning, Marishka had been gone and gone for good. In a sick sense he was glad his last image of her was of her flushed and panting with passion, a dark look in her eyes, only a little different from bloodlust.

He wondered why he cared so much for the damned vampire. She was a heartless monster, who enjoyed killing and tormenting even more then her Master.

But he had the strangest sensation that he was connecting with the human woman still within her. He had the feeling that he was pulling her away form Dracula, down a different path. Perhaps, before his final moon, she would have used the cure on him, she would have freed him.

Then what? he asked himself. If Dracula had found out about Marishka's betrayal, and even about their midnight rendezvous, he surely would have killed them both.

Now Marishka was dead so what did it matter? In the end she had chosen to fight for her Master, to die for him. She would not have done that for Velkan. Despite what they had had together they were still just bedfellows and she was still Dracula's, she still obeyed him to her last. Now matter how much he burned from that knowledge he could not deny its truthfulness.

He would mourn much in the next few days, he knew. For his father, for his sister… and now for Marishka. The only solace he had was knowing that Anna was a survivor, that if anyone could beat Dracula she could. All he could do was pray to God that He sent help to his sister.

But now his was fully concerned with mourning for Marishka, who had been so close to becoming his Marishka. Who had almost broken free of her Master and stepped into the light. Who had almost seen the good and fought for it.

A howl pierced the frigid night air, breaking the lull of silence that had descended on the ancient castle, resting now from the mournings of the Brides of Dracula.

The howl became more and more human as a tearing of skin joined the scream. Suddenly, the howl turned into a word that the castle would hear for many hours to come, from the Master and the Brides. "Marishka!"

And Velkan's howl went to the night.

Fin

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Word Count: 2, 261

Time: forty minutes

Beta: SolonFyre

Couples: Brides/Dracula, Marishka/Velkan

Genre: Angst/General

Status: one-shot (complete)

Author: Lizzy Rebel

Characters/Style: Brides, Velkan angst fic

Notes: Finally answered my muse's demands for a Van Helsing fic. Please note that this based on the assumption that it took Van Helsing and Carl a few days to reach Transylvania and during those days Velkan and the Brides had some time to 'get to know each other'. Please review and tell me what you thinks (even flames are accepted) and be sure to look out for another up coming fic.