Disclaimer: Here's a surprise for all of you! I do own Van Helsing! The DVD that is! sigh Seriously though, I do not own Van Helsing, please do not sue me!

The moon shown high in the sky, the little sickle of light barely spreading any light at all. The forest below, normally dark and foreboding, looked even more ghostly in the absence of lunar glow. The ground was frozen in patches, the pine trees had spots of frost on them, and the tiny creek was frozen over. This place was almost too perfect for the danger lurking within.

Gabriel Van Helsing crept along the forest floor, crunching pine needles under foot. His hat pulled low over his face and scarf wrapped tightly about his neck, the short puffs of his breath showing plainly white against the black night. He fingered his shotgun, not liking one moment of this, the forest was supposed to be quiet, but it was almost too quiet. Like the entire frozen wonderland was holding its breath in anticipation.

Growling softly he kept moving deeper into the dank trees, he knew his quarry would make itself known soon enough. Dark eyes glanced about, the only thing save his hair that wasn't covered. The face mask itched, but he figured it was better then freezing.

A memory came, unbidden, of another dark woods he'd crept through, but he hadn't been alone then. His chest tightened, he stopped in his tracks,


he shook his head to clear the thought. It didn't help much, instead that familiar aching pain filled him. She'd died a year ago, though to him, it had been yesterday, so often had she frequented his dreams. Swallowing against the same old lump in his throat, he straightened his shoulders and marched foreword.

Up in the trees above him a shadowy creature watched, it's blood shot eyes glowed with eerie intelligence. It crouched low, it's muscles coiled and ready, patiently it waited, just a little further.

Gabriel stopped under a grand tree, one he'd classify as being 'older then Dracula' he smirked at the thought and looked about.

"Where is that Griffon?" he asked the tree, amazingly enough the tree answered, though it probably was not the answer Van Helsing wanted.

The Griffon exploded from the tree, hitting Van Helsing square in the chest with its monstrous paws. The snapping eagles beak was inches from his face, its eyes were full of madness. Gabriel's shotgun lay out of reach, and his hands were full of feathery Griffon face. Snarling he put both feet against the creatures abdomen and kicked out.

The Griffon sailed away, screeching horribly, Gabriel felt the unmistakable tickling of warm blood running down his chest. He didn't bother to look down, the Griffon was on its feet and stalking back toward him. The shotgun was to far for him to leap for, so there was really only one other option.

"Come on then" he hissed at it, Tojo blades fell from his sleeves, he clicked them on and pulled the handle to get them spinning. The Griffon circled him warily, the lions paws making no sound on the soft forest floor.

It had fallen into the nasty habit of carrying off little children, and so the order had "requested" Van Helsing take care of it. Which he'd been only to happy to do, sitting in his room didn't do anything but bring back painful memories as his mind drifted.

The bird pounced, claws extended and mouth open, greedy for Gabriel's flesh. The monster hunter had other ideas, he held the Tojo blades ready, at the right moment dodging out of its way and swiping downward. He had underestimated his opponents intelligence however, even as he dove away the Griffon twisted it's head and dodged. Gabriel would pay for his mistake, the eagle beak caught his arm and clamped down, warm blood oozing out of the deep cut.

His cry of pain seemed to frighten the bird, it squawked and jumped away, sharp beak stained dark crimson. Hissing in pain, Gabriel clutched his wounded arm, then he saw something glittering out of the corner of his eye. Without hesitation he picked up the shotgun and turned it on the Griffon. It leapt at him also without hesitation, claws digging in to soft skin. But it had made it's mistake, the rifle was now directly against it's heart.

The boom of the shotgun blast echoed in the still woods, the silence was deafening. The Griffon tumbled off of Gabriel, now drenched in its blood, moaning piteously, finally collapsing a few feet away. It shuddered twice, then lay still, never to move again.

Gabriel staggered to his feet, bleeding from various places, as if in mourning for the beast, snow started to fall. Picking up his battered hat, and the Tojo's that had gone sailing away. The monster hunter stumbled away from the creature, heading back to the docks, back to Rome.

Carl greeted him cheerfully when he entered the underground cavern of the order. Till he caught sight of the wounds and Gabriel's expression,

"Van Helsing? Do you want me to call for a doctor?" he asked concerned. Gabriel merely handed him his bag and headed for his room. Carl called after him,

"You're running yourself ragged, look at you! You haven't taken a break since, well you know!" he followed after the weary hunter.

"Carl, not now" he mumbled, ignoring the small Friar, he lengthened his stride.

"When if not now! You're reckless, even more so then normal! You don't seem to care anymore whether you live or die!" Carl shouted frustrated. Van Helsing stopped,

"That's right Carl, I don't care. Now please, not now" he left the Friar to gape after him in shock.

Van Helsing sat in his room, the very picture of dark depression. In his hand was a well worn picture of a familiar gypsy Princess,

"I had quite the night the other day, Anna. There was this Griffon you see, he'd been carrying off the local children." Van Helsing told the picture, smiling as he imagined her reaction.

"Not to worry though, I took care of it, he won't be taking little children any more. He got my pretty good though, big claws on that thing," the picture smiled up at him. He stroked a finger across her face and sighed,

"I miss you," he told it, then set it on his pillow. Grabbing the neck of his sweater he pulled it up and over his head. His arm was tightly wrapped, the smaller scratches on his stomach and chest had been covered. Only one had to be stitched, and he'd already taken care of that. With one last look at the picture he stood from his bed to get into his nightclothes. He hoped Anna was happy in heaven.