A/N: I own nothing. Van Helsing, Carl, the Knights of the Holy Order all belong to Stephen Sommers. :( This is purely for fun:D
I kicked off my shoes and sat quietly in front of the blazing flames of the fire. Causally placing one foot on my leg, I rubbed my aching heals, ignoring the popped blister in between my toes. A long sigh escaped from my mouth and I didn't have the power to hold it back. I rubbed the leftover sand from my eyes.
As if on cue, he entered the room and closed the oak door behind him. He causally walked over and sat down beside me. He placed his feet up on the pedestal and crossed his arms, his fingers linking in between each other from under fingerless gloves. His eyes also gazed upon the dancing flames in the fireplace. He seemed to slip into that same saddened trance. His mind focused on matters far beyond my recognition.
Back home, I might have been mooching out in front of the computer, talking to a friend on the phone, or helping mom make dinner while ignoring my own growling tummy. I could smell the home delivery spaghetti and meatballs with garlic bread warming on the hot plate beside the stove. I missed that smell. Here, the only thing I could smell was rotting wood and tiny wisps of smoke from the sparks of the fire.
I don't remember how I got here. It doesn't make any sense to me. I was going on a walk in the woods after school. My backpack had slipped from my shoulders and slid down a hill. As I moved down to get it, I slipped and fell backwards before slinging into some kind of hole. I closed my eyes, waiting for impact, but it didn't come. I just kept falling backwards until I finally hit my head on a large stone. I heard what sounded like someone screaming and blacked out.
The next thing I knew, I was laying in a dark room in a small bed. I opened my eyes and moaned in pain, feeling the cotton bandage wrapped around my head. I looked up and my eyes widened in fright. Several men were standing over me, draped in the darkness of the small room. I figured that I was about to be gang rapped… but one of them lit and candle.
Standing over me, were several men in dark brown robes, staring at me with sympathetic eyes. Around one man's neck, an onyx rosary gleamed in the dim light. Churchmen. I tried to sit up, but one of them placed his hand on my shoulder and pushed me back. He spoke gently in a language I did not understand. He tried to cover me with the comforter, but I struggled against him. Another man came forward.
"Calm down, my child." He said, "Easy now, you've taken a nasty fall."
I stopped struggling and looked up at the man. My hands went to my head and I felt the strip of cloth wrapped around my head. A sticky substance was already poking though.
"You speak English?" I asked, my voice soft.
"Of course." He said, smiling at me. At once it became clear that the church didn't have the best dental plan.
"But what as that I heard a few-"
"Latin." The man who had spoke before said, "I am sorry. I was not sure what was the origin of your tongue."
"Latin?" I asked, shaking my head, "No one's spoken Latin in over 100 years."
Every person in the room stared at me with a puzzled look on their faces. They looked like doctors encountering and new and interesting germ. One man stepped forward and sat beside me on the bed. He reached out to touch my t-shirt and I pulled back.
"What do you think your doing?" I asked, clutching my chest.
"I'm… I am very sorry." He said, in a genuine voice, "I never meant to violate you… I've just… never seen such strange clothes before."
"What?" I was starting to wonder if I was caught in some strange dream or if I had hit my head harder than I thought, "It's just a cotton t-shirt!"
"Cotton?" He said, taken aback, "It must have been very expensive to be made like this. Where did you get such a fine material?"
"It was only ten dollars at Target, what are you guys talking about-" Suddenly, it became clear to me that something was wrong with this situation. There were no light bulbs in the room, only candles. Everyone wore clothes that I might have seen in a museum or on display in a costume department. The bed I way lying on was far from Luna quality and everyone was staring at my wristwatch with fascination. Far from blending in, my jeans and t-shirt were already sparking debates between those who were standing in the room. I rubbed my eyes and looked up at the priests.
"Where am I?" I asked.
"You are in Saint Peter's basilica." Once priest said proudly. My mouth dropped.
"The Vatican? But that's in Rome!"
"You are in Rome." Another preset said, "Poor thing, you must have taken a nasty fall."
My mind was in a tizzy. Nothing about this made sense. Finally, I asked the only question I knew could give me answers. It was a long shot, but I was desperate.
"What year is this?"
Even as I look back on it now, time travel didn't feel anything like what I might have expected. No spinning vortex or bright colors or feelings of strong wind. No falling clocks or Alice in Wonderland objects bouncing from the walls. Just falling backwards in the forest… incredible.
Living in 1890 was actually not that bad. Indoor plumbing had just been invented and the Vatican was certainly rich enough to afford that luxury, thank goodness. The food was always well prepared and religious tolerance was accepted with great fever. I was amazed. Seeing a Christian priest and a Jewish Rabbi sitting together at dinner and speaking of religion with great zealous, but without any stabs at each other's beliefs. It gave me a sense of peace and hope that one day; others might live in the same way.
The fact that after so long of searching though the internet and though books, I had actually found the legendary Knights of the Holy Order made my heart leap for joy. The Knights of the Holy Order had always been a feverous passion of mine and finding myself smack dab in the middle of their golden years filled me with rapture. A holy group dedicated to ridding the world of evil such as vampires, werewolves and warlocks. I was in heaven.
I was given a comfortable little room at the end of a small corridor and was told I was welcome to stay as long as I pleased or until I had found a way to go home. I had accepted at once. This place was just too remarkable to leave.
Everything would have been perfect, had it not been for one little detail.
After spending one day in the Knights of the Holy Order, it became clear to me that I was the only woman there and everyone was under the impression that I was a weak little thing, unable to do any kind of work. I tried to prove them wrong, joining in conversations about such writers as Shakespeare or Moliere, but no one seemed to care. I spent most of my time in the library, doing research on different technological explorers and their contributions to the world of science, but no one seemed to take it seriously. I even tried working in the armory for a day; forging swords and speaking to monks about efficient weapon designs… but the looks everyone gave me the impression that if they found this to be anything, they found it to be… cute.
I knew enough about the order to know that nothing they ever did was cute.
The whispers about me didn't help either. I would walk down a hall, exploring everything the Vatican had to offer and whenever I passed a group of monks walking together, I could hear their murmurs.
"Do you suppose she's some kind of angel? Sent here to give us a message?" One would say.
"Have you seen her clothes? They are not of this world!" Another would point at me and stare. I felt like I was back in the sixth grade, being heckled for the fact that I wore clothes from the gap and didn't have a Louis Vaton handbag.
"The last person they found like that-"
"Look!" I turned around to face them, "I am not an angel and I'm not a UFO sent to interrogate you about mating rituals on the planet earth! I'm just a 17-year-old girl who has no idea what the heck happened to her! I'm a 21st century girl trapped in the year 1890!" I had tried to be moderate, but something told me that came out way too harshly.
Not that it mattered.
"What is a UFO?" One of the monks asked with great zeal. "are there many where you come from?"
At dinner, I found that everyone was always dying to ask me questions about where I came from and I answered them as best as I could. I felt like some sort of science project on display for the world to see. It was hard to enjoy my beef stew with someone asking me what the purpose of the "N" on my sneakers was.
"If you are all quiet though!" One of the heads of the Order, by name Cardinal Jenettie snapped, "I would think the poor girl would like some peace and quiet."
"You have no idea." I would mutter under my breath.
As the days and weeks passed, I found myself constantly missing my family. I wanted my mom and dad to be here to see this place. The history I had worked so hard to unearth was right before me… and I was alone to enjoy it. All my faith and peristance had paid off… and I was on my own to experience it.
In order to keep myself from going insane, I became accustomed to reading late at night when everyone was asleep. I would creep from my room into the library and find a great roaring fire still light from the afternoon. I would throw another log on the fire and listen to it crackle as I enjoyed the works of Dickens and Poe. I had never realized the pure joy of books until then. It felt so different than it had before.
Then, once the clock chimed 9'oclock, the door to the library would open and HE would enter.
He'd close the door gently and walk over to gaze deeply into the fire. I never spoke to him, not because I didn't have anything to say… but because I was afraid to waste those striking flames. They certainly deserved his attention more than me.
The first time I saw him was on a Friday during mass. The Order catered to each faith, holding religious services every Friday evening, with the Christian mass being the largest. I had been at the Order for more than three weeks by that time. It had been years since I had been to church, but hearing that it was going to be said in Latin was different. The Cardinal had invited me to attend mass that Friday and never being one to refuse an invite, I accepted.
One of the priests had been reading a passage from the bible in Latin when a door creaked open. I had been dozing off actually, getting slightly board with the bible stories I had heard as a child and that one little creak woke me from my trance. I looked over to see who had come in.
The moment he walked in the door, my mouth went dry and every bone in my body seemed to crack. After all those years of searching... I had found him.
He walked in and knelt next to the pew, crossing himself before moving to take a seat beside me. He took off his wide-brimmed fedora and looking up at the priest speaking at the head of the church. Truth be told, he looked at board as I was. His hair was flattened against his head as it flowed down in curls and lips were chapped from the outside cold. His heavy clothes clung to his body as he sat patiently, listening to a word of God.
I was entranced. Completely forgetting that it was rude to stare, I kept my eyes on him and refused to remove them for fear that he would vanish and I would need to start my search all over again.
"Please God," I prayed, "Don't let this be a cruel joke."
His eyes turned to me, looking like harden steel. I quickly looked away, as though just remembering that I shouldn't stare. He kept looking at me. Gathering my courage, I turned and gave him my kindest smile. He did not smile back. He never smiled.
After mass, I watched him approach the Cardinal and speak to him in secret about the mission he had just returned from. They went behind one of the columns of the church and spoke in hushed voices. I had wanted to speak to him, but just as quickly as he had appeared, he had vanished.
I expected that I would not to see him again, at least not for a while. He usually left for a new mission the day after he returned. But every night he was at the Vatican, even if he had to leave on a new mission the next day, I saw him in the library. He sat in the sofa by the fire and gazed into it. The flames shimmered in his eyes, reflecting determination and a certain gentleness I had only seen once in a full moon.
I would continue to read, every once in a while looking up to see him still staring at the flames. His eyes shimmered as the flames sent whips of heat his way.
He would leave for days, weeks, even months at a time in order to accomplish his newest mission. By the time the Cardinal finally allowed him a few days of rest, I had been at the Order for six months. There had been no progress in getting me home and I missed my family so much. But somehow, being in the presence of those who worked for the order… and being in his presence soothed my aching heart. Over those 6 months, I had grown significantly. My hair was much longer and braded behind my head. I was now well read in the works of Dickens, Poe, even Shakespeare. I had become knowledgeable in swordsmanship and was now studying proper arsenal craftsmanship.
The knights stopped seeing me as "cute" and now began to see me as an equal, despite my age. I was not even close to becoming a hunter, or even a knight, but though my time spent here, I felt like I had found my place to call home.
After a month rolled around, the order decided it would be right to get me some new clothes. I couldn't stay in jeans and a t-shirt forever after all. It wasn't anything fancy. Some tan pants and white shirts. A vest or two and some really comfortable boots. I was given an old cloak for the evenings and dress for special occasions. The dress wasn't exactly Oscar worthy, but it was one of the loveliest things I had ever seen. It was light pink with a white bow in the back. The sleeves were flowing and there was a silk rose at the waist of the dress. Nothing overly fancy, but very nice indeed. It fit my style and my way of life.
Though from time to time, I felt those awkward teenage tendencies pop back to life, especially around him.
Whenever he returned from a mission, I would be hiding behind the door, watching him speak to the Cardinal. More than once, I had seen them argue about why he had brought back only the head of the gargoyle as opposed to the whole body. Usually, when he was finished with the Cardinal, he would emit something of a snort and leave the room, going down to his own sleeping quarters at the bottom of the church.
On the days he returned, I would brush my hair out and make sure my lips were not chapped. I would make sure my clothes were free of stains and that I had showered the previous evening. That afternoon, I had worn my white shirt, blue vest and tan pants. I made sure my hair was in a braid and sat out on the steps reading "Oliver Twist" when he arrived. He had a black bag slung over his shoulder and smelled of incense. His eyes were blood shot and it was clear he needed a goodnights sleep.
Perhaps out of nervousness or just pure want for him to notice me, I flipped my hair back and crossed my legs. I had hoped for the last six months that he would notice me, but so far, no luck. I just wanted to speak to him, get to know him, understand what was going on behind those sad flaming eyes. No such luck.
He never noticed me sitting there, or if he did, he didn't mention it. His eyes completely bypassed me. I would sigh and close my book.
"This is hopeless," I thought.
One night, after dinner, I went to the library a little earlier than usual. I had entered as usual and gone over to take my favorite place on the couch… only to find it already occupied. He had arrived early as well!
I contemplated asking him to move, but it seemed very unfair, as he had gotten there earlier than me. Being careful not to disturb him, I quickly dashed past his gaze and took the space next to him. I sat down quietly and opened my book, reading by the firelight.
"What's it like to travel though time?" He asked. His voice nearly made me jump. It was the first time he had ever spoken to me. He took off his hat and placing it on the arm of the chair and made eye contact with me for the first time.
"It's… okay, I guess. Can you… tell I've travel though time?" I asked, mentally slapping myself. In my attempt to make polite conversation, I had let my mind run away with my mouth.
"You do stand out." He said, looking at me with earth brown eyes, his lips forming the slightest hint of a smile. My heart stopped. Had he just complemented me?! "What year are you from?" I licked my lips and tried to ignore the huge lump in my throat.
"That's a long time away from now. Is it any better than this?" He questioned.
"War, ignorance and technology." I tried to summarize it, "It's not as quiet as it is here… but I miss it. I miss my family and my friends. I wish they could see this. I have been hoping to see this place for such a long time… and now, I've found it. All the years of searching have paid off…and I don't have anyone to share it with."
His eyes softened as I sighed, staring back at the flames, "This place is everything I hoped it would be… but it still isn't home."
"I hope you find a way back." He said, "I'm sure they miss you."
"I hope to get home." Even before it left my mouth, I could tell that was only half true. I wanted to stay, experience the life I had always wanted. I had already found the place… the man I had been searching for! Why should I leave that?
I turned to look at him. His eyes had gone back to the fire. He seemed to forget that there was another person in the room. His eyes reflected the flickering orange and red lights.
"What do you hope to see?" I asked, jokingly. He said nothing, continuing to gaze at the fire. I was perplexed. He hardly ever said anything, but he usually answered questions. I cleared my throat.
"What do you hope to see?" I asked again, this time more serious. His eyes turned to mine. He shrugged.
"I'm not sure." I decided to take a chance and move closer to him, perhaps trying to see what it was he was hiding from the world.
"Why do you keep staring then?"
"Because it's there... and because it has a purpose."
This made me sad. How could he say he didn't have a purpose, "But you have a purpose."
"What purpose?" He scoffed, "Killing? Having to wash the blood of countless victims off my hands?"
"But they were evil!" I protested, "Creatures that would do harm to others without any remorse! They aren't innocents!"
"They were once."
The silence that followed was unsettling. I wanted to say something, but nothing was coming to mind. Finally, I lowered my eyes.
"They didn't choose to be killers."
"Neither did I."
I was fighting a battle that could not be won. No matter what I said, he would continue to contradict me. I gave it one last shot.
"At least you release them from being killers."
That got him. He blinked and looked back at me, his eyes questioning mine.
"Why are you trying to make me out to be some kind of hero?" He asked. I smiled at him.
"Cause that's how I see you."
Perhaps it was because our hands had accidentally touched or the fact my eyes had started to water that made us both blush, I'll never be sure. I brushed the tears from my eyes and looked at the flames, trying to make since of what I said. Had I just told him that I cared about him? Had I opened my heart… or was it just my feeble attempt for him to talk to me that caused me to say that? I watched a burning log crackle in the fireplace and spoke.
"I've always wanted to know what it was like to touch fire." I turned to see if he would return my comment.
He looked back at me, his eyes a different shade of brown that I had ever seen them. His lips moved slightly, forming a face I had never seen on him before. He was Smiling! Really Smiling! Had I caused that? Oh, who cared? He was smiling at me!
"I've tried, it's not fun, believe me."
I stuttered out of shock. It's not everyday the person you care about smiles at you in such a way. "No…I mean... if I could have the power to hold fire without getting burned, I wonder what it would be like. Like the flaming sword of Michael."
He smiled again, "The flaming sword. The sword of an angel."
"Like the one sitting next to me?"
I didn't have time to stop the words before they came out of my mouth. I knew I had gone too far this time, but his eyes didn't seem to say so. He looked back at me and moved closer to me, taking my hand in his. His hands felt softer than I would have expected. I sat still for a moment, wondering what he would do next.
He looked me in the eye again and then back at the flames, "Do you want to go home?"
I nodded. He lifted my hand to his lips and kissed it gently. The feeling of his lips against my skin made my cheeks glow a bright crimson.
"So do I." He placed my hand down and moved to go. I reached forward and grabbed his arm.
"Please don't go." I whispered. "I don't want to lose you again!"
Van Helsing's eyes softened. He understood now. He placed his hand to my cheek and I pressed my face against it. I felt something wet on my cheek and realized I was crying. I let it out. I knew I couldn't keep it bottled up inside anymore. And this was the only chance I had.
He knelt in front of me, his eyes locked with mine the whole time. They glowed as brightly as the flames that crackled behind him. He brushed the tears from my eyes and sighed. I wasn't sure if he was gonna say something… or, God forbid, I had scared him away.
Finally, he stood up and left the library, leaving me to cry myself to sleep in front of the dying flames.
The next day, he left on his mission. I had woken up early and was there to wish him off, but he didn't say anything to me. I knew I had ruined everything, but just before he left, he handed me a piece of white parchment. He smiled and mounted his horse, before riding off into the east. As everyone else walked back into the Vatican, I unrolled the parchment and read what was written on the inside.
"You will never lose something you will always have.
A/N: I hope you all like this! For anyone interested, yes, "An Unexpected Visitor" IS still going and when I get the chance, I shall update:hug:
Kudos, GBY and LYL!