Disclaimer: The characters and concepts pertaining to the movie Van Helsing in this story are the property of Stephen Sommers. This is an amazteur writing effort. There was no money made off this story at all. It is for entertainment purposes only.
Chapter 14: Desperation
Where are you Gabriel?
I know you're out there. I feel it in the air, every time the wind blows, and I hear it in my heart, but my thoughts keep telling me that you're gone, au revoir! Good riddance to the woman from London as you ride off to meet your blood soaked mistress and ravage her to her heart's content. Is God attempting a blatant, "I told you so?" or am I just being paranoid? How can the heart and the mind be so divided over their convictions and why am I so afraid to know the truth of what has become of you inside the forests of Transylvania?
I always understood that life's lessons were hard sometimes, but I could never understand how hard they would become. It almost seems that over the course of one's life, the forces that pull and push upon existence grow more difficult as time passes rather than growing easier from previous experience. I am uncertain about everything and questioning all possibilities, but what else can I do? All I have is a memory of yesterday and a hope for tomorrow, and the two are doing battle with each other today.
I've never been one of God's favourites and I know that. I've never appreciated His majesty and I recognize that. But why he plays such wicked games with me I'll have no idea.
Perhaps it is the devil taking hold of my life. Perhaps it is the darkness that claws from within finally breaking through this feeble human flesh, and finally reaping its evil throughout my life and I am powerless to stop it. For I am its servant Gabriel. I never wanted to be and fought the fact that I could be but every second that we're apart I can feel it grow stronger.
You are my constant sunrise Gabriel, blocking away the moonlight, taking away the blood scorched sky and basking me in the essence of Heaven. You are the closest to God I will ever be.
"After Azrael fell from Grace he was taken by a vampire and recruited into Elizabeth's court, remaining hidden to us for some time," Michael didn't seem to want to admit the last part of his sentence, but it emerged. Gabriel hardly took notice. His mind was already moving too fast for his own good.
"The fallen and the vampire…" He said under his breath. The two ultimate evils of the universe: disgraced in the eyes of God and honoured in the eyes of Satan. Apart they were some of the darkest forces known to the Church, but together, a vampire and a fallen angel could reap havoc unlike anything the world had ever seen. "What's in it for me?"
Michael laughed, smiling whimsically. "The infamous question of Gabriel: what's in it for me? I would have thought you'd had learned your lesson for selfishness."
"Don't start playing holier-than-thou Michael, what's in it for me?"
"Everything," his ex-superior said, staring him down with his icy blue eyes. "The return of your memory as well as your title. No more running around for the Vatican..."
"Just running around for him," Gabriel finished his sentence. "To leave one prison only to enter another."
"How dare you!" Michael said loudly. The temperature started to drop as the angel advanced. "You have done nothing these past years to deserve forgiveness from Him Gabriel."
"Than why offer it to me at all?" Gabriel asked, taking a step towards Michael menacingly. The dagger was just a few feet away from him.
"It was an order, Gabriel. Unlike you, I know how to follow them."
The two stopped, nose to nose, staring each other down, the divine creature sneering as his fierce eyes exploded with colour. Gabriel was still collected but his fists were clenched and his dark eyes were wild with fury. Their breathing was hidden under the whistling of the wind, but their chests were rising and falling quickly, easily seen by any onlooker.
"Kill Azrael and He will see that your sins are forgiven," Michael said, calming himself. Gabriel's eyes narrowed.
"That's all?" There had to be a catch, and suddenly it dawned on him. "What about Mina? What about the Vatican?"
"The Vatican is currently under lockdown," he revealed. Gabriel didn't relax though. Michael never mentioned what their current state was. "They are unfortunately under her control."
"And Mina? You mentioned her?"
There was Michael's catch. The one thing he knew would deter Gabriel from the mission and prevent him from doing his job. Once upon a time, Michael had warned Gabriel not to become attached, but he knew it was impossible. Gabriel worked too closely with humans not to find himself attached.
"The vampire Azrael is her sire, Gabriel," Michael said slowly. "When and if you destroy him, Miss. Harker will be destroyed as well."
I should have known…
Silence fell over them again as the winds calmed, moving slowly through the trees. The temperature rose slowly, making the shivers that wrecked Van Helsing's body stop entirely. Michael stood near the trees, his face never once shrouded in darkness despite the shadows that covered him. In the pitch blackness of the night, Gabriel could see his halo shimmering, a mark of his divinity.
"I can't do it," he said, shaking his head. "I won't."
"You cannot allow your affections to get in the way."
"I cannot destroy the innocent."
"What makes you think Mina Harker is innocent?" Michael asked, lowering his voice. "Need I remind you of what she is, Gabriel?"
"What about who she is?" Gabriel demanded. "What about that?"
"A murderer, Gabriel," Michael said. "A murderer of four women, several children…innocent people."
"That was a long time ago."
"Thou shall not kill, Gabriel, the third commandment."
"And if I don't do it, what? You'll whisper her name in Jinette's ear and have me stake her first, get it over and done with? What the hell happened to free will, Michael? You're not giving me a choice, you're giving me a mandate!"
The man was silent, his blue eyes intense, never once blinking or drifting from Gabriel. The Angel and the human were at odds with one another, silent, because one knew the other was telling the truth and the other knew he couldn't lie.
"That's what you've been doing, isn't it? Whispering like a bird in Jinette's ear with missions for me to complete and monsters for me to kill? These past five years have been planned, up until now?"
"God has a plan for everyone," Michael said placidly. "But try not to think of it in terms of whispering. I've tried whispering in your ear too Gabriel. I've tried to speak to you as well."
"Humans know how to ignore," Gabriel replied sarcastically.
"As I've noticed." Michael said, again placidly. "But you always were impulsive Gabriel. You were always violent."
"So nice of you to remember," he replied, his jaw tightening.
"You could as well."
Gabriel sighed deeply. He didn't have an answer. Or maybe he did, he just couldn't verbalize it. The choice seemed so clear yet out of his grasp, remaining just inches from his fingertips and growing further every second. His mouth went dry. His eyes burned.
"I will give you time to consider it," Michael stated quickly. Gabriel turned back to face him, watching as Michael's wings became visible, folding elegantly over his head. They were a beautiful white, making the falling snow look gray as they tumbled down overhead. "But do not take long Gabriel. He too has patience."
"Stop taunting me," Gabriel snapped cruelly. "Pass that along to Him."
"He knows all." Michael flapped his wings. "I'll see you soon."
Gabriel stood his ground as Michael flapped his wings again and vanished. The hunter stood for a moment, shivering, watching the place where his superior had once stood, before folding his arms and walking back to the house.
He needed his clothes. He needed a weapon. And he needed to get moving again. The snow was falling, and he knew something bad was going to happen.
The howl in the distance did nothing to ease his fears.
After a bath and a change of clothes, Mina felt more like a human being. She stepped out of the bedroom she had taken temporary residence in and pulled the coat around her tighter. The night was beautiful, without stars or a moon, but filled with thick snowflakes that tumbled all around her, coming to rest on her hair and eyelashes before melting and trickling down her cheeks like tears. She stepped forward to the rail of the balcony, resting her hands on the frigid stone.
It wasn't the smartest idea to stand outside on such a cold night but the darkness of the castle was eating her alive. It was filled with ghosts and shadows, the spirits of the dead whispering down the halls to those who could hear. The imposing portraits that hung down the corridors haunted her. She needed to get outside, away from the loneliness that closed around her and into the open air.
Of course, the solitude gave her time to think about Gabriel, and that wasn't any better. She felt guilty about it. She felt as if she had failed him and couldn't convince herself that she hadn't.
Vincent's voice came from behind as he spoke in his own language, the harsh consonants ringing in her ears. Mina whipped around to find him leaning in the archway, dressed much differently than he had been in the forest. His coat was black, adorned with silver buckles that glimmered in the distant firelight. He had pulled his hair back into a crimson ribbon, his dark curls hanging down his back. "You're as crazy as my daughter, standing out here."
"She's beautiful," Mina said, ignoring his previous statement that she couldn't understand. "How old?"
"Eleven next month," he said as he stepped forward. Mina suddenly realized why he wasn't so angry anymore. He had been drinking. She could smell it on his breath. "Takes the time to remind me every chance she gets."
"Children are a handful."
"Do you have any of your own?"
"No," she replied quickly as he stood next to her. "I had hoped for some…" she trailed off, unable to finish her statement. "Things are complicated right now."
"Sorry to hear that," he said, looking off to the fire. He's drunk, she thought. He had moved from being a paranoid leader in the forest to a sympathetic gentleman. "My wife always wanted one, only she wanted a boy."
"I wouldn't want a boy," Mina confessed quickly, unsure if she even thought before she spoke. "They never seem to grow up anyways."
Vincent laughed, and laughed hard. She was worried he wouldn't stop. "My wife…used to say the exact same thing…" he chuckled again. "She had reason to. She was a better hunter than Dominick and crazier than you."
Mina's face was unreadable as Vincent continued. "I met her here, married her in the square, just over there, held her baby in my arms when it was born, and watched her die, not long after that."
There was silence. The only sound was the whistling wind, billowing against the walls of the castle. Vincent was lost in thought, searching the town for the spirit of his deceased wife or some other invisible force that called him to look away.
"Answer me honestly, Miss. Harker, do you love the man you're with?"
She did a double take. Did Vincent just ask her that?
"That is highly inappropriate," she said quickly, "even when inebriated, you should not ask such things." Mina's lips pursed in frustration. How dare he ask her something like that, out of the blue, drunk or not, and expect her to answer? There was no excuse for that type of rudeness.
But Vincent was undeterred even when scolded him, and asked her again. "Do you love him?"
The vampire was silent, looking at the man who had just admitted something as personal as his wife dying to her, his eyes finally meeting her, begging her to answer. Mina found there were no secrets in this place with the dead running around, whispering in people's ears. She looked out to the forest and thought of him as she spoke.
"I don't know," she said quietly, unsure of why she was answering. "Sometimes I ask myself the same question. I mean, we're entire opposites, he and I, like the day and the night, I suppose." She paused for a moment, waiting for the words to come only to find that they were emerging naturally now. "He runs from the moonlight and I from the sunlight and somehow we meet halfway, until he disappears again, fades from my life once more, running rampant after the shadows of Europe and Asia while I wait for his return." She sighed deeply before continuing. "And even though I want to leave him and want things to end I know I can't, because he is the world now, the only thing that keeps me from slipping into some dark abyss."
Pain filled her chest as a lump rose in her throat, but she could not cry. Not here, in front of the intoxicated man whom she had just poured her heart out to. Not now as she painfully admitted her doubts about Gabriel and the way she felt for him. Crying was the natural response and it was something she could not allow herself to do.
But Vincent said nothing. He opened his mouth to speak but was never given the chance. "What is it?" Mina asked quietly, staring at him as his eyes widened and mouth opened in surprise. He ripped a pistol from his coat and pushed her aside before firing at the wolf that leapt in Mina's direction.
"Come on!" he shouted, dragging her off the balcony, slamming the door behind him. The wolf growled and beat its paws against the glass, cracking them more every time he hit it.
Mina ripped her arm from his grasp and ran for the hall.
"CARL!" She shouted. Vincent fired two more rounds before coming after her, taking her by the forearm.
"What are you doing?" she demanded. "We'll need weapons."
"You're right," he replied, grabbing her forearm again. He didn't seem drunk anymore. "The armory is this way."
"She will take you as far as the mountains," Francis said, handing Gabriel a roll of parchment. "After that, you'll have to follow the map."
"This path leaves the main road," Gabriel stated, giving it a quick glance. Francis just nodded.
"In the winter it's impossible to reach the castle by the road. You'll have to go around the back and go in through the canal that runs under the castle."
"And wade through the bodies," Lilith said sadistically, pulling on her coat. "She used to drop her victims there once upon a time." Francis shot her daughter 'the look' and Lilith fell silent.
"Her face is the weakest part of her body," Francis continued, shifting through the weapons on the chair, picking up a thin, sharpened rod. "Lodge this between her eyes and pull the trigger. Guaranteed to make her scream." Gabriel took it from her and pulled the trigger, just to test it. The rod split open and four prongs flew upwards from its base. It would shred her flesh to pieces. He snapped the trigger back and slid the rod into his coat.
"Thank you," he said quickly, not wanting to transform the moment into anything emotional. Francis shook her head and smiled childishly. Gabriel looked over his shoulder at Lilith, dressed warmly and carrying a sword. "Let's go."
Carl was already bounding through the foyer of the castle swiftly. He loved hiding underneath his many pounds of robes from the Vatican but found the civilian's clothing much easier to move in. Unfortunately, he couldn't hide his weapons as well, and they stuck out in all directions from under his coat. Screams could be heard from outside as he ran forward and into the cobblestone streets.
Two balverines spotted him and growled, their red eyes gleaming as drool dripped from their jaws. He clenched his teeth, reaching inside his coat for something…anything…that could defend him.
"CARL!" Mina looked down from the balcony, pulling the bow from her shoulder. One of the balverines lay on the ground, stunned from the arrow in his side. The other was looking even angrier, if that was possible. "Carl, I need silver!"
Carl looked through his coat, stepping backwards cautiously from the approaching wolf. He finally ripped a carefully wrapped package from his coat and tossed it to her on the balcony. "CATCH!" He shouted, diving for cover as the wolf jumped.
BANG! The wolf flew backwards from the bullet Dominick had fired. The body went rigid and burst into flames, falling back over the other as it fell. Another bullet took down the other. Dominick laughed, throwing his curls back over his shoulder as he pulled another gun from his coat. "Are you two going to hold the fort or actually join in?"
Mina ran past Vincent, who was busy taking care of the third balverine. She was halfway into the room when he took her forearm again.
"You aren't going to take the long way are you?" he asked, turning around before jumping over the rail of the balcony, rolling as he landed to avoid being injured. Mina looked longingly over her shoulder to the stairs and hallway, before turning back to face Vincent, now running to the square. "COME ON!"
"Oh God," she said, putting on foot over the rail, clutching the ebony long bow to her chest, along with the package of silver arrow heads. Her boots nearly slipped on the edge but she gripped the rain tightly, fear keeping her from letting go. She closed her eyes and leapt forward.
Time slowed as she drifted downward. For a moment she felt as if she would hit so hard both her legs would be broken, but when she finally did, it was gentle, as if she had merely stepped down and not jumped. Recovering quickly, her adrenaline surging, she ran off after Vincent and Dominick, towards the final balverine.
She didn't notice the vampire flesh that covered her hands. It disappeared slowly, along with her red eyes and fangs.
It was ironic that Carl came upon the balverine first, just as he moved into one of the alleys away from the castle. The screaming in the square had died down now, signaling the disappearance of the beast from the public eye. It did nothing to ease Carl's fear though. It strengthened it, making his breathing quicken and heart race.
He saw the shadows on the wall before he saw the balverine itself. The snow blurred his vision, but ultimately, the white wolf could not have gone unseen for long. It was massive, larger than a werewolf with a narrower jaw and sharper teeth. The wolf ran its claws over the surface of the building, leaving narrow, jagged scars along the wall. Carl bit his tongue but scarcely noticed the pain as he pulled his pistol from his coat.
The balverine took off in a run, bounding towards the friar. Carl mimicked Van Helsing's movements, recalling each one with precision. He cocked the hammer and fired, listening to the hum of wire as it coiled about inside and finally sprang out the end.
The wolf was thrown a foot or so backwards by the bullet that had struck him. Carl grinned and gave a little jump for joy. The balverine was motionless for a moment, staring at Carl with a stunned look in his eye.
And that's when the wires inside the pistol started rotating again and Carl was able to realize his error. He had shot the balverine, alright, but he had hit it with the grappling gun.
And now he was being dragged closer toward the very thing he had been trying to kill…
Author's Notes: My posts are going to be a little sporadic. My e-mail is totally screwed over and my computer is riddled with viruses. The computer at my dad's house does not have Microsoft Office, so bear with me. However, enough of me.
HyperCaz: So happy I didn't lose you! I apologize for my lack of responses. As I mentioned, I have been a little detached for the past couple months. It's nice to know you're still interested.
Hope you're still on the edge of your seat.
Fanfiction Fanatic: I can't wait till Hotmail is wanting to work for me again. Nice to continue hearing from you! Long time readers of my work always make me smile.
Runts Gal: Thank you very much for your review!
J: Sorry! Should have mentioned that in the previous author's notes. Grigori is another name for the Fallen Angels. As one of the first (besides Lucifer) I figured Azrael would have picked a name that was most applicable for him. Plus, Grigori made him easily disguised because it sounded like a real name.
I was very much inspired by Constantine for that conversation because you're right, John Constantine and Gabriel are a lot alike; especially in the problems they have with Christ anyways. I really liked the movie and Keanu Reeves portrayal, for the most part, even though he did lose it every now and then.
Fenestrae: Mud wrestling would just be too cool. Get Dracula and Anna Valerious in on it and you've got the Pay Per View Event of the year! I would so pay to see it.
Star Magel: I am so sorry about that! It was supposed to be Croatia on the other side of the Adriatic Sea, but it came out Czechoslovakia and I've been kicking myself ever since! So sorry to have confused you. I don't even think you could have reached Czech by ship, not without a lot more time on your hands.
Veronas Mistress: I don't know about a sequel. If a really good idea came along, then YAY! But as far as I can see, the Van Helsing trilogy will be complete and the rest will be left to the imagination. Any suggestions?
xImmortalx: The plot thickens doesn't it? Michael is an angel. In the angel hierarchy (according to several sources) goes: Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael as the three highest Archangels. Michael rules over the Seraphim and sits at God's right hand while Gabriel rules over the Cherubim and sits at the 'left hand of God'.