Another take on Carl and Gabriel and how they come together. If the Muses smile on me, this one will actually explore the developing relationship and how they grow together..

Thanks to NikoruSanzo & Kydasam for giving me amazing feedback and support on my other stories. I hope this one pleases you. It won't likely have the insanity of Carl & The Big Bad Wolf or Friars Who Run With Wolves... butthere may be some one shots from them in the future...

As always, I apologize for missed typos and spelling wackiness.

THE VATICAN

Carl grumbled with frustration. For a man who could dream up inventions to deal with dispatching any number of difficult and complicated monsters, he was having no luck coming up with a way to get through to Van Helsing. He had tried to besubtle only to discover that subtlety is entirely wasted on the Hunter. He had tried flirting, but suspected that perhaps he wasn't doing it quite right. Not his fault really. It's not like the lab provided much opportunity to develop such skills – especially since most people working there were far too jealous of him to want to flirt with him. He was beginning to think that perhaps the best way would be to wrestle Van Helsing to ground and ravage him but Carl was highly doubtful that he could actually get the older man down, let alone get his clothes off. It was really very aggravating.

As if conjured up by Carl's thoughts, Van Helsing appeared in the lab. Carl sighed and prepared himself for another frustrating session with the Hunter. Van Helsing came over and plunked himself down on Carl's worktable with his usual careless regard for Carl's space. He grinned at the look of sheer peevishness that crossed the friar's face.

"Damn it, Van Helsing. Must you always fling yourself around my work area? There is delicate equipment here"

Van Helsing just chucked and said "Well your work area is about to get a break from me as I'm heading out to Ireland for a mission". Carl was torn between happiness that his work area would be spared the disruption and disappointment that the Hunter would not be around for Carl to lust after. Apparently the latter thought showed on his face as Van Helsing said "Don't look like that Carl. You get to come with me"

"What??? Like Hell I am. I am never going out on field work with you again" Carl said vehemently. Van Helsing just chuckled. "Now Carl, what have I said about swearing? It's unbecoming of a friar"

"I don't give a damn about what's unbecoming. I'm not going with you." Fieldwork was always a nightmare for Carl. For all that they were in close quarters and there was time alone with the elusive Hunter, it never seemed to gain him anything more then serious case of thwarted lust. Carl couldn't count how many times he had to "go collect firewood" on one of those damn assignments. He was not putting himself though it again – no way.

Van Helsing read the stubborn look on Carl's face and decided it was time to be decisive. "Look Carl, Jinette has said that you have to come with me. So we can argue about this some more or you can just give in and start packing. Now what do we need if we are hunting Boggarts?"

Carl glared at Van Helsing for a few moments then with a grumpy "humph" turned towards the table. "Boggarts are particularly tricky as they can shift shape. Any projectile weapon will kill them but you have to time the shot carefully. They are also known for their vicious nature so you really should avoid getting into a close battle with one." As he talked, he gathered up various weapons and piled them on the table. Van Helsing grinned at the sulky look gracing Carl's face. He knew it wasn't kind of him but he really loved getting Carl all worked up. And there was no better way to twist Carl's knickers then to tell him he had to go on assignment. Unfortunately Carl looked up from his weapon stockpiling to see the grin and this only added to his aggravation.

"There's no need to look so smug. You may have won this round but I assure you, I will be speaking to Cardinal Jinette about these interruptions to my work. Really, my time is much better spent here, not traipsing around the countryside with you." And with that parting shot, Carl stormed out of the lab to go pack some clothes for the trip. Van Helsing just laughed and began packing up the weapons. They went through this every time.

Up in his tiny room, Carl grabbed items and threw them into his saddlebags. That's right. He got dragged out often enough that he had been given his own. He could just kill Van Helsing. He knew this was all his doing. Really, what had Carl done to be tortured like this? The man didn't even have the decency to notice when Carl was flirting with him! This was positively the last time he'd let himself be dragged out like this!

Carl made his way down to the stables where he knew Van Helsing was waiting. Seeing the saddlebags in his hands, the other monks knew that Carl was off on another mission and gave him a wide berth. Everyone in the Vatican knew how much he hated these trips. Van Helsing had the horses waiting when Carl stomped into the stable yard.

"Ah Carl, there you are. You'll like Ireland and the fresh air will do you wonders. You are looking rather peaked from lack of sunlight." Carl glared at Van Helsing angrily. What did he mean he looked peaked? Was he saying he looked terrible? But as Carl continued to glare at Van Helsing, he couldn't help but notice that the tall Hunter looked magnificent. He was healthy and fit and enough to tempt a saint. In comparison Carl must look rather shabby. Carl's mood became rather depressed and he said, "Let's just get this over with" and clumsily got onto his horse. Van Helsing looked puzzled at Carl's sudden mood change but shrugged and got on his horse. Carl's moods had been very strange lately and he was hoping some time alone with the friar would help him find out why.

IRELAND

The trip, as usual, had proven to be hellish. They had taken a boat to Ireland and the weather had been somewhat stormy. Van Helsing, of course, was fine but Carl had suffered from re-occurring bouts of seasickness, which left him looking like something the cat dragged in. It didn't help that Van Helsing kept dragging him up on deck saying "the sea breezes will put some color back in those pasty cheeks of yours" Had Carl not felt so weak, he would have punched the man but he just didn't have the energy to spare. He contented himself with giving a withering glare that was tragically undermined by a sudden wave of dizziness. Van Helsing had been very solicitous then, and had helped him back to bed. Had Carl not being feeling so utterly wretched he would have taken advantage of the situation but he had never felt less amorous then he did in that moment.

When they finally docked in Galway, Van Helsing left Carl sitting in a sheltered alcove while he secured rooms for them. Carl was grateful to be on dry land and motionless. He closed his eyes and dozed until Van Helsing came to claim him. "Come on Carl. Let's get you into bed" Carl groaned – why did Van Helsing have to say the words he always wanted to hear in exactly the wrong way? It was so unfair! He allowed himself to be dragged along behind Van Helsing without bothering to keep track of the way. Frankly Carl felt so exhausted that he didn't care where they stayed as long as he could sleep for at least a week.

They reached a plain, but serviceable, inn away from the docks and Van Helsing lead him swiftly through the common rooms and up the stairs. By this time Carl's head was swimming and he wanted nothing more then to lie down. Van Helsing glanced over his shoulder and clearly concerned by what he saw said, "Just a little bit further now and then we'll get you out of those robes and into bed." Again Carl groaned and thought, "He says these things just to torture me. No one could be this oblivious." Van Helsing, now more worried, yanked open a door and pulled Carl inside. "OK, let's get you out of those robes" he said and began to briskly pull them up over Carl's head. Carl's frustration only rose at this continued perversion of his fantasies. "Tell me God, does this amuse you? Because it sure isn't amusing to me!"

Van Helsing having removed the voluminous robes proceeded to drag Carl over to the bed. "In you go" he said, pulling down the covers. "Get some sleep and I'll scout about and see if I can learn more about these Boggarts." Carl climbed in wearily. Sleep seemed like the best thing to do right now.