Disclaimer: Nothing is mine except for the plot and Ivan.
A/N: You know, it's amazing what you can learn from watching movie commentaries. I'm ashamed to admit this, but I just found the commentaries from Dracula, Velkan, and Frankenstein's monster on the Van Helsing DVD the other week. I know. Sad. I've owned the DVD since it came out too… But anyhow, I learned a new word, and I've been using it ever since because my mom and I thought it was so cool. Bumnut. It's an Australian word (at least in Albury) for "egg". Credit to Richard Roxburgh of course! Thank your for your reviews of the last chapter! The only thing holding me back from updating this sooner was that I couldn't figure out a name for this chapter, but fortunately with help from my mother, I was able to get it on tonight. Time for the thank you's!
Dr. Lust Thanks for your review! I hope this one is worth the wait also. We'll begin to see what happens to Carl here, so stay tuned. Hope you enjoy!
musiclover209: Yay! Suspense is one thing that I'm working for. Lol! Yeah, poor Carl. You'll have to keep reading to see what happens! Thanks for your review, and I hope you enjoy this one also!
Celtic Aurora: Well that's not good! Lol! Love that line! It's one of his best, for sure. Thank you very much and welcome aboard. It's good to see yet another supporter of the Van-Helsing-being-an-angel theory. Thank you again, and I hope you enjoy!
Elwyndra: Ha! I can spell your pen name without looking now. Lol! Anyway, thank you so much for your review! I really appreciate all of them! And I'm afraid to say that they're not going to get any less evil. Thanks so much for your review, and I hope to see more from you soon (hint: Blood Red Diamonds)!
Halo: Poor Carl, our favorite advice-giving friar! Well that's not good! But don't worry. He's in good hands. Speaking of which, I think there will be something that you like in this chapter… Lol! Thank you for your review! I'm glad Gryphon makes you smile. He's growing on me too! And we will learn Ivan's response in this installment. Yes, I remember when Roberta said. "bite me", or at least she wouldn't mind if Drac bit her. Lol! I'm glad you're hooked on him like I am. Long live the ponytail!
Okay, with all said and done, let's move on with the next chapter!
Chapter 6: Twisted Agreement
Ivan nervously paced the laboratory, not knowing what was happening. A plan had been formed between Dracula and Gryphon as they practiced his new ability of being able to turn invisible and visible at will, and he had been left out. Gryphon had gone into the town with the hound when morning had approached, and Dracula was now sleeping in his icy lair, leaving him alone. He had never been more afraid in his life, but the feeling was being tamed slightly when a desire to escape also rose up inside of him. He had to return home, to return to his wife and sons…
The scientist turned around to look over his shoulder at the quiet sound of his name, and his eyes widened in surprise when he saw who had entered the lab. "Michelle…" he whispered in surprise.
It had to be some trick of his mind from being kept up for the past couple of days or even an illusion from Dracula. No matter which it was, he saw his wife walking toward him. Her elegant movements matched her countenance, for she appeared more beautiful than when he had left her. Her face possessed a healthier, younger tone, her smile brightening her eyes as she stopped before him.
Unable to believe what he was seeing, Ivan slowly reached out his hand and took hers. She felt real… "Michelle," he muttered again in relief as a smile appeared on his face.
But then, that smile vanished. "Your hand is like ice," Ivan said in concern as he looked her over, holding her thin fingers in his hands. Then, he noticed that her smile was strange- eerie and almost cruel. Her eyes were as cold as her hand as she met his gaze as though they were taunting him.
"What happened to you?" the scientist asked quietly, pulling Michelle close to him in an embrace as his wife put her arms around him. A moment passed where neither of them moved. Then, Ivan gasped when he noticed something startling about her.
"You have no heartbeat."
Michelle grinned as his horrified whisper echoed in her ear, and her canine teeth began to grow longer into fangs…
"Not now, my dear. Wait until evening."
Ivan quickly pulled away from Michelle as her teeth shrunk back to normal, unnoticed by her husband. He spun around, seeing that Dracula had appeared in the laboratory even though some light was still coming in from above. "What is she doing here, Count?" the scientist demanded. "What's wrong with her? You told me that you would save her!"
"I did," Dracula replied casually, moving in the shadows as he avoided the light streaming in through the skylight above them. "Her illness ails her no longer."
"But something is still wrong with her," Ivan persisted. "I know it. I can see it!"
Dracula suddenly vanished and immediately appeared behind him. "I saved her the only way I could," he said quietly.
Ivan turned and looked at the lord of vampires for a long moment, wondering what he meant. Then, his face paled when the realization sunk in. "No…" The scientist quickly turned to face Michelle, who merely laughed at his terror in an almost shrieking way. Her empty eyes… her cold hand… it all made sense to him now.
He turned back to Dracula, who was smirking. "You bit her?!" he cried.
"You asked me to save her, which I did," Dracula told him lightly. "You never were specific on how."
Ivan was at a loss for words as he watched Michelle walk past him and took Dracula's hand. Then, with one final smirk, the vampire lord led her out of the laboratory.
"Is Drac awake? I thought I heard his voice."
The scientist slowly looked over his shoulder and saw that Gryphon had entered the lab. "He was only in here for a moment," Ivan answered impassively. "Who knows what he's doing now…"
Gryphon approached Ivan, a sympathetic look on his face. "I have to tell him that our plan was a success," he muttered, placing his hand on his shoulder. "But you look down. What's wrong?"
Ivan didn't meet the other man's gaze, his eyes glued to the stone floor as a thin line of tears formed in them. What was he supposed to tell him? Dracula had defied their agreement and had turned his wife into a terrifying, soulless monster just like him?
"Come on. It can't be that bad," Gryphon pressed, shaking him a little.
"Dracula is heartless," Ivan murmured, mainly to himself.
Gryphon's eyes narrowed. "Well, yeah. He's undead…"
"That's not what I meant!" Ivan snapped, pushing him off. "Look, you're not making things any better. Please just leave me alone."
The albino man took a step back, seeming slightly hurt. "All right. I'll… talk to you later…" he said before turning himself invisible.
Ivan sighed, putting his head into his hands as a tear fell from his eyes against his wishes. He heard a soft whimper as the hound wandered into the laboratory and rubbed his head against his leg. The scientist smiled a little as he scratched him behind the ear, but then it vanished when the dog when off to look for Gryphon and his thoughts turned back to his wife…
… and what Dracula had created out of her. To him, Michelle was as good as dead.
Dracula slowly sat up, looking down on his sleeping bride beside him in hopes that he hadn't waken her. He sighed as he watched her peaceful form. Though he had bitten her, made her one of his kind, she was not connected to him since his own blood was not within her. She did not belong to him. He did not love her as he had his previous brides… Seeing that she was still asleep, he rose from his icy tomb and entered the laboratory once again. His mind was restless, and he needed to calm it.
The vampire quickly scanned the large room and saw that it was empty. Ivan must have gone to his room, and he wasn't sure where Gryphon or the hound had wandered to. Dracula took a couple of cautious steps forward, his gaze moving up to the skylight above him. Though it was around midday, not much light filtered through to his castle, and he was pleased to see that a thick layer of black storm clouds had formed in the sky. Good. This would enable him to move around more freely.
"Oh, so you are awake. A bit early for you, isn't it?"
Dracula turned to look at one of the catwalks attached to the ceiling and saw that Gryphon was looking back down on him from above. "What's wrong with Ivan?" the man wondered.
"I cannot sleep. Did you bring him back?" Dracula asked, ignoring his inquiry.
"Yeah," Gryphon replied. "The friar is in the other tower," Gryphon answered.
"Thank you." Dracula swiftly vanished from the lab and reappeared on the middle of the staircase that led up to the second tower. Using his inhuman speed again, he appeared in a narrow hallway with a barred door at the end of it. He wandered over to it and looked inside, seeing that the unconscious form of a man in friar's robes was lying inside the stone chamber. The hound, who was keeping guard, raised his head and perked his ears at the trace of his master's scent and the slight sound of his footstep, his tail wagging happily at seeing him.
Would Gabriel really come for him? The question entered Dracula's mind, but he quickly pushed it aside. From what he knew about Van Helsing, the hunter would never leave behind anyone he cared about.
And when he arrived, he would have his revenge, not only for murdering him twice, but also for the unjust deaths of the women he had once loved.
"In the name of God, open this door."
Van Helsing heatedly cursed himself as he stood before the looming, black doors that were the entrance to Castle Dracula. With his injured side, it had taken him until shortly after midday to reach his destination when he could have normally made it in half the time. Carl… The hunter blamed himself for what had happened to the friar and was furious for leaving his friend in the hands of Gryphon for so long… along with whatever else laid beyond these doors.
Feeling a strong surge of anger, Van Helsing cried out in frustration and pounded his fists against one of the heavy doors. He gasped in surprise when he heard a loud creak and felt the door shift a little under the force. He couldn't believe his luck.
His instincts screamed out at him, telling him that the door was open purposely, that he was being expected, but he ignored it. He had to save Carl. Using his remaining strength, Van Helsing pushed the door open and slipped inside.
The heat coming from the giant flaming torches lining the center of the vast hall greeted him, granting a nice reprieve from the harshness of the cold and rain outside. Van Helsing ran past them, searching for the staircases that led up to the two towers of the castle. He stood between them when he found them, one at each end of the hall. One he knew led up to the laboratory where he had fought and killed Dracula three years before. He wanted to avoid that part of the castle if possible since the lord of vampires was not the only one who had died there. Anna had also been killed at his own hand, and he doubted that Carl would be there anyway.
As for the other staircase, he wasn't sure where it led. Carl and Anna had been the ones to go there the last time they had been here. Maybe that's where Carl was? It was worth a shot. Putting on an extra burst of speed, Van Helsing began to run up the unknown stone stairs.
Carl moaned as his eyes slowly fluttered open. Where was he? He tried to lift his head, but an instant pain caused him to lay it back down. Now, he remembered. A visible Gryphon had knocked him unconscious, and there had been a gigantic dog along with him. Where was Van Helsing?
Suddenly, he heard a low growl, and the friar pushed himself up on his arms with a sharp intake of breath as he ignored the throbbing in his head. He gasped in horror when he saw the large, dark gray dog that had been with Gryphon lying near him. "Well that's not good," Carl muttered, backing up against the wall fearfully as the creature glared at him menacingly.
"Do not worry, friar. He will not harm you while I am here."
Carl looked up when he heard the familiar, soft yet powerful voice, its owner standing on the other side of a barred door- the only way out. His eyes widened in terror when he met the dark, lifeless voids that were staring back at him, a hint of amusement amongst the emptiness.
Van Helsing ran through a labyrinth of twisting, narrow, cobweb-filled hallways, his instinct telling him that he was heading in the right direction to find the friar. Though he had never been in this part of the castle, the hunter felt as though he knew where he was going. A low growl soon reached his ears, and he followed the all too familiar sound as he went down a side hallway. Gabriel soon reached a stone room that was locked by a barred door. When he looked inside, he was met with a horrifying discovery.
Carl was sitting curled up against the wall, his face drained of color as he shook fearfully. The hound that Gryphon had had with him when the friar was captured paced before him, a mad, hungry glint in his eyes. The hunter knew that he had to reach him somehow, to save him from becoming the creature's next dinner…
The friar's head shot towards the door, relief swarming through him at the sight of his friend. But then, horror replaced the smile. "Van Helsing!"
Van Helsing knew that he wasn't alone even before Carl's warning. He could sense the evil coming from the hound locked in the room with the friar, but there was a much stronger evil radiating from behind him. The hunter quickly spun around with his crossbow raised, but his eyes widened in shock or terror, he wasn't sure which, when he recognized the man standing before him. His empty black eyes shone, his golden hoop earring sparkling in the dim light coming from one of the flickering torches hanging on the wall beside him. His midnight hair was pulled back behind his head, and a smirk lit up his pale face.
Count Vladislaus Dracula laughed a little at seeing Van Helsing's confusion and shock. "Hello, Gabriel."
A/N: Yeah, another cliffie. You should be used to them with this story by now. Lol! This was going to be longer, but I decided that it was already long enough so I divided it. The next chapter will be their actual encounter. Thanks for reading! Your reviews are much appreciated!