1 Through Fire by purpleyin

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1.1 Chapter 1

1.2 Day 1

1.2.1 And the fire burnt, hotter than black and with new life

Chilling all and with old ways it broke them down

Into bricks and mortar, a castle in ruins

With only love left to fight for it

01:20am Delhi, India

Somewhere over the ….hills a figure lay in a plain bed with a mosquito net swathing around the edges. The body tossing and turning violently in a disturbing deep sleep. Inside fire was alight with burning heat and torture for eternity, firmly gripping her mind, talons curling into the flesh white and strong, it became Numari.

10:55am Schloss Ritter, Germany

Travelling hundreds of miles over mountains, forests and plains, east to the fair land of Germania. The air rushed by quick and fast as if nothing could stop it, it had a quest. Perhaps to get there, where ever its there was. However it would not slow and splitting off over a large expanse of green, a large grey/brown building could be seen which on closer inspection was a great castle. Now in ruins in parts but still better than it had been. Today as with a reasonable amount of time, there were no signs of work being done on it but instead an eerie silence except for the air passing it forever on the quest.

Cold stone met the skin as Gabriel's body, slumped too far over one side of the bed, hit the floor. A blunt realization of where he was and what had happened was needed but so far Gabe's mind only presented him with 'stone' and 'sleep' leaving the gradual awakening to bring with it the tide the answers sat upon.

"Ugh" /oh god, what a night/

Actually he couldn't remember what he dreamt which in itself was strange. He propped him self up and glanced at his alarm clock, the one that hadn't managed to wake him, it was 11 o'clock. By now Gerde would be shopping and he'd have to go down and make his own breakfast. Gracious as she was, she was also too polite to wake him up, not knowing that most of the time that was what he'd have preferred. When he reached the last step on the stairs the telephone rang. A shrill screech penetrating his fragile ears. Gabe wiped his face with his hand simultaneously brushing his hair off his face and trudged back upstairs to the library.

Picking up the phone he was greeted by a friendly foreign accent.

"Hello, I need to find 'Gabriel""

Confused by her voice, he didn't know what to think but replied anyway

"Yeah that's me. What can I do for you?"

"I am Doctor Tumber from Delhi Regent Hospital, I am ringing about a Miss Grace Nakimura."

Gabriel's face drained physically and he dragged the phone around and sat in his chair, careful not to sink down too quickly but unaware that his body would have neither noticed or cared.

This was the call he'd been dreading. It wasn't that he didn't think she couldn't look after herself but just that he didn't think her going alone was very wise, she could have gone with a friend and also… a longer note or better letter explaining things a bit more clearly than the one he'd seen attached to Sidney's screen. Hell, Grace was the one who was fancy with words and she hadn't been able to give him a straight reason even with her presence absence, much like it had been for months, a bitter tone iced on his last thought.

The feminine Indian voice continued warily, noticing the silence on the other line.

"Your telephone number was more or less the only thing in her possession other than her passport and a locked diary. We have not been able to contact her next of kin, if you do know their whereabouts please tell me."

Gabriel swallowed hard staring blankly at the grained desk and the rough copies of 'The Second Son'. Swallowing harder this time, he latently asked

"What's wrong with her"

"Your friend is very ill… although we ..don't ..quite know ..what is wrong but she is critical"

His face flinched involuntarily at this, it sounded almost ominous. Critical, a word Gabriel had been unfamiliar with most of his life. Thinking about it frightened him, critical as in so important you couldn't believe. Did it mean she was life or death. Funny to describe it as life or death because the word really implied more that death was nearer and life was the 'critical' change hoped for.

"Where exactly is the hospital?" he asked sounding more like usual as he picked up a small pad and pencil lying near by.

"Righhhht…Uhuh"

12:30am Schloss Ritter, Germany

Gerde hurried in from the cold wind carrying several shopping bags full of groceries.

As usual Gabriel was nowhere in sight. Mind you, he has been rather subdued lately reflected Gerde. As she approached the fridge she picked up the note attached. She could read English ofcourse but it took her awhile to realise what it said.

"GERDE, gone to India, grace is ill, sorry but I had to go,

couldn't wait. Will ring later, staying at Hillmoore hotel in Delhi.

Gabe XX

Gerde sat down on one of the kitchen chairs and thought about this. It was great he'd found Grace but at the back of her mind she'd always thought about what if Grace doesn't want to be found yet. She just hoped Grace would be ok, if she wasn't god could only tell what would happen to Gabriel. After all he'd been scrambling at clues and contacts for the past few months and only to find even the smallest trace of her. Luckily no cases had come up during this time, she was quite sure that he needed all his strength if one did and strong was not really how she would have described his present state of mind. It was almost as if Grace was the case, vital and not to be lost. Her mind boggled at the reason for Gabriel's 4-month quest for her, granted it wasn't all he'd been thinking about because she'd noticed a few copies of the first chapters of his new book but she was sure the thought was never out of his mind. He hadn't touched alcohol in months, he'd stopped drinking any at all since roundabout the end of his last case… when Grace disappeared. She recalled that Grace had commented on it once saying "that it was best left for special occasions if there was any need for it at all". Perhaps he wanted his head to be clear just in case he found what he was looking for.

The thought crossed her mind that maybe Grace was the one. Gabe had always taken her for granted but since she was gone she was the first thing he'd say was missing.

Helping Gabriel with research wasn't all she had been told to do by Wolfgang, as a Schattenjaeger's guide she had been taught to look out for Gabriel and to help fulfil the destiny of the Schattenjaeger's. The line could not die out. She herself would have had a child by Wolfgang if it had been possible, not just because of her love for him but because she knew what Schattenjaeger meant to him. He had once told her that "every Schattenjaeger has a one, indeed that every person has a one but that to a Schattenjaeger it is vital, they are needed to carry the family through history and are as important as the Ritter's themselves."

Putting her head in her hands she remembered when Grace first met her and how she'd jumped to conclusions about her and Gabe, when she found out the truth she'd apologised sincerely though and Grace although defensive and mostly logical and controlled, hadn't been able to keep her feelings sealed tight.

Gabe didn't know ofcourse but then if you looked close Grace didn't either. The only other time she'd got emotional was in the months Gabe was fighting the werewolf in him and Gabe did not remember much of that time.

/oh what shall I do/ Gerde thought as she sat hunched at the table /I can help neither of them, and they can not help even themselves/

15:00pm over Austria, Verkunden Airlines Flight 259

Wringing his hands together impatiently he sat uneasy in his seat. The air pressure higher than normal made him even more uptight and volatile. Looking as though he would explode he called over a flight attendant impolitely

"HEy, air hostess"

The petite hostess walked over serenely, standing by his seat she answered him joyfully in a way that only staff know, when the customer is wrong but cannot be corrected. "I am Julie, one of your flight attendants on this flight. How may I assist you mein Herr" the end of the sentence was less of a question and more of a statement, implying that you did want help and that she had not been called over pointlessly.

Looking slightly sheepish about his rudeness he politely asked for a drink

"What would you like? We have a fine selection of alcoholic beverages" the stewardess stood smiling sweetly obviously hoping that he did not decide on the later, judging from his previous behaviour.

Much to the delight of her he asked for spring water. It was not that he was going all health freakish but he simply didn't trust any other kind of water and didn't feel in the mood for soda.

Touching the silvery edge of the screen in front of him, it curving round the dark grey panel inside with a sheen reflected in the window from where the light caught it. The sky was darkening, it was about 5pm now but with the changing time zones he wasn't so sure. By the time he'd get there it'd be night and visiting hours would be over. But there was no way he was gonna leave Grace alone tonight, no matter what. Looking out onto night it was perhaps not need that could not be left alone but pride instead.

1.3 Chapter 2

Day 1

1.3.1 It was not what they knew but how they didn't use it

1.3.2 The question there so lay unasked

1.3.3 Leaving only pride to ask muted ears and deafened mouths

And tales to grow deeper, sinking further into darkness

12:05pm Schloss Ritter, Germany

Gerde paced in the hallway, gently even though there was no one to hear her quick footsteps on the carpeted stone. The mind like anything else is usually best busy and with the absence of any tasks to be completed Gerde's mind was working overtime. Along with the absence of any message from Gabriel this had severe ramifications on her mental health. Her mind worked as anyone's does but between Gabriel and Grace, hers worked more as the latter's. This meant instead of calmly occupying herself with anything useful, it preferred to think of all possible outcomes with an emphasis on negative aspects. Unlike Grace however, there was no composed exterior to meet this unfounded condition but the blunt truth that wracked and writhed her every thought.

Amongst the hurried thoughts of hers, her brain faintly remembered the active world and what exactly the ringing vibrations meant. There was a hollow knock on the door followed by merry exclamations of eagerness. Gerde walked dubiously to the door and cautiously opened it as a crack. The crack widened considerably when met by the ample force of Mrs Smith.

"Oh my dear Gerde, how are you? I was just in the area and thought I must pop in."

Gerde was met by the imposing yet entirely sincere smile of Beryl (?) and smiled back courteously and opened the door fully, allowing her to enter the castle although she was already more than halfway in.

"Actually dear, I have a message for Gabriel. Although I am staying in Munich this time." Continuing she peered around as if this helped find the entity of significance "Where is he?"

Looking confused to as who she was enquiring about she replied " Who, Gabriel?"

"Yes my dear." By this time she was most definitely feeling a wave of satisfaction at the eventual comprehension.

To say that Gerde and Mrs Smith were different was a dangerous understatement. Gerde knew English but it had taken enough time to adapt to Gabriel slang, his easygoing southern lilt and Mrs Smiths joyous fluid accent as well as her way of thinking were unanimously under appreciated by the part of Gerde's brain that was trying to make sense of it all.

"Its very important I speak to him"

Gerde responded evenly that he was not there and had gone to Grace in India, as she was ill.

Mrs Smith's eyes widened at this revelation and she exclaimed "oh my giddy goat" much in a manner that you'd expect from her, regarding that she was a demonologist, also with a praise slightly unorthodox even to a live wire type personality.

"Oh no. This is not good." Her gaze showing her fear and disappointment "They'd walk through fire to get to each other" the hushed comment pulling her stare to the side and the note Gerde had left by the phone.

Gerde smiled briefly before she explained "I think you are exaggerating slightly"

Shaking her head firmly as she spoke "No my dear, that is what they will do"

Upon Gerde's face was a look of someone who was trying to calculate a complicated mathematical equation- in their head.

"Tell me then what Gabriel, my angel; has been doing then

The enemy you know can be more dangerous sometimes than a friend you don't

1.4 Day 2

1.4.1 Pictures torn to despair

Showing the truth to the blind, who only wish to see

1.4.2 And more to the painter who did not wish to draw so deep

His own life onto the paper leaving others so undecided

1:30am Delhi, India

His arrival in India had been met with a black but bustling city and not the one he needed to be in. It had been a 5-hour drive to Delhi and that was after he'd found an actual cab willing to take him there. It was also a rather costly journey. And despite the fact that the scenery was most likely very captivating, it remained to be seen in the midnight atmosphere. After only an hour or two the cab had become stifling despite the windows being open. Perhaps it was only his nerves and unfamiliarity with the country that had caused this distress but this too was alien to him. Bar the hours when he woke up in a cold sweat, heart pounding over the latest Ritter inheritance to storm his sleeping consciousness.

He slid out of the door of the grimy yellow cab. He had no idea where it had been gotten from. It certainly didn't fit his picture of India but he wasn't exactly complaining about it. Well not really.

Walking into what seemed to be the main entrance it dawned on him that he could neither read nor speak the native language and it wasn't good to rely on English being well known. The reception was bustling but not in the traditional sense of the word, different somehow from what he'd seen of American hospitals. Fortunately the receptionists (if they were necessarily that) were preoccupied by a crowd of distraught people, all vying for attention and recognition. For help.

Walking down the long corridor, which held a remarkable resemblance to every other hospital corridor in the world, he paid attention to the people moving around him.

Grace was critical. But not on life support. He passed by a room; it had about 20 nurses and doctors dealing with about 8 or 9 patients. A few howls of agony could be heard. He concluded it must an emergency room. He carried on walking but with the vast number of possible rooms a hospital has, he wasn't getting anywhere fast. A young female doctor strode past at a steady pace. It took little more than seconds to realise the name badge said 'Tumber' on it. Maybe not the Dr. Tumber he wanted but it was worth a shot. Turning round he ran to catch her up.

"Um.. Dr Tumber."

"Yes." She said altering her direction to face him side on.

"Hi. I'm Gabriel Knight. I spoke to you on the phone about Ms. Nakimura"

"Oh yes. I remember. Her condition has not changed. Visiting hours are also over."

"Ok. Could you tell me how to get to her room coz I cant read the signs."

" May I see some id? Simply to prove you are who you say."

Gabe struggled to find his wallet in his backpack, infact it was the only bag he'd brought with him and he'd hidden hid wallet deep down just to make sure it was out of reach to any strangers. Finally he produced a black leather wallet, worn with many creases. The kind of worn that makes an item comfortable to them and look dull and old to others. He slipped out his U.S driving license. The doctor examined it briefly, glancing at his unmistakable hair and concluding that it was him, if only for the fact his hair would be hard to fake, if you'd want to that is.

He listened to the instructions trying to memorise them but secretly hoping he wouldn't need to remember them for long.

"Just one more thing doctor. Where are the toilets?" he grinned hoping for a short but concise answer. As he moved away carrying up the corridor he thought about how useful that phrase was. It was just what he needed and luckily the toilets looked in the same direction as Grace's room was, just right to fool the doctor into thinking he'd paid any attention to her advice about visiting hours.

Stepping into the empty elevator he stood hands in front of him clasped waiting for his floor.

He knew Grace was ill but nothing prepared him what he saw when he walked in her room. The room he'd arranged and had paid for. She lay silent and still under pale green hospital sheets, the sheets themselves reminding you where you were if anything else in the room failed to. Her hair was longer now, would have been about a few inches below her shoulders had she been standing up. Even in her ill health it still looked like a silky black waterfall, crashing over the mossy looking pillow her head rested on. It was also half pulled back in a ponytail. It looked pretty on her and was a style that reminded him of the Virgin Mary. A humorous comparison at any other time. He couldn't imagine Grace calmly accepting the news from the angel Gabriel about her bearing God's child, not without a few answers back, most probably sarcastic and cutting.

Her face was pale, the kind of pale that looked bad enough on an average reflection And worse still on hers. Her mouth and eyes lay closed, the only sign of life the rise and fall of her chest and the flexing of her nostrils as she breathed slowly.

A chair in the corner is dragged over to the right side of the bed, the man glancing for a second at the view out the window, of a few lights in the street below. The noise from outside barely audible with the window and door closed.

He sits elbows supporting him and shifts his expression while thinking silently before speaking quietly but loud enough for her to hear him.

"Grace, its me."

"You gotta get better you know. "

"I've been looking for you for months and now.." his sentence dropped of there.

/feels like a damn telephone conversation. One with a dead end at the other side/

A bit like when he'd practiced speaking to girls when he was younger, only Gran had never been home when that had happened or more accurately he'd never practised when she was there. Anyway he hadn't needed much practise anyhow. He didn't feel like having some more now.

"Come on Gracie, wake up, please" his voice was the embodiment of pleading but in a way only he could pull off without it actually sounding like he was.

"I've missed you. You're a great friend Gracie. Practically my best and I don't need to worry bout the schattenjaeger business with you. You already know." This was getting more and more like a speech and a frank one at that.

He thought about the last comment for a while, it probably wasn't an appropriate choice for a conversation.

Feeling he was getting nowhere at all, he decided for a more dynamic way of communication. Once he was around the other side of the bed he lowered his head until his lips touched hers and kissed her gently. Almost afraid of breaking her in some way.

Nothing.

No response, not that he'd expected any with her track record. But then there had been nothing. Her eyes hadn't opened and she hadn't tried to push him away, albeit weakly, as he'd have expected. She just lay there, no response, barely human, barely there or living.

Several hours later Enita Tumber opened the door of room 302 to find a one Mr. Knight sleeping uncomfortably in a straight wooden hospital chair. The chairs were not altogether uncomfortable but had never been made for sleeping in, this was somewhat of a design flaw considering they were used in a hospital but then again they hadn't been designed for one specific customer.

She closed the door with a loud enough click to wake him up. A few minutes later while she was recording her observations she heard a low groan and some strange noises coming from his corner. Looking up she saw him holding one hand on his head in exasperation, he also looked rough but so did all of the night visitors. She wasn't surprised that he'd taken no notice of what she'd said but then she wasn't a strict enforcer of that rule, merely of the medical and ethical rules. He wasn't doing any harm by being here; it no doubt made him feel at least a bit better.

"Hello again" he shifted himself up in the chair to a sitting position.

"Hello, Mr.Knight" she smiled at him. A smile always helped.

He sat up straight and look serious all of a sudden.

"what's wrong with her?" his eyes penetrated hers and for more than a moment she could see all his pain and worry. She felt bad because she didn't know. Not quite like when there was nothing they could do and the helplessness she felt then but almost as bad because she could neither ease his pain nor did she know the answer. As if the plain fact they didn't know was just as bad because if they knew something then maybe done about it. But until that was so all she could do was say that there was a possibility, bad enough because there may not be just as they could say there may be.

"We have not been able to determine that yet. All brain activity is normal and the only injuries we could find were some cuts on the top of her right arm."

She moved the sleeve up and he caught a glance of some deep cuts there. He couldn't tell what had made them but then he hadn't gotten a good look and wasn't an expert on that anyway.

"Your friend is in a coma but she is able to breathe by herself and all bodily functions appear to be working normally. She is ..sleeping.. in a way."

By now he had his hands clasped like when praying in the front of his face, each eye looking over each side of them. He brought his eyes up to the doctor to see her response to his next question.

"So, she's not suffering?"

"No" she shook her head gently at this and smiled lightly at him.

Seeing no signs of a lie on her features he once again stared at the figure on the bed.

"Mr. Knight, do you know how to contact any of her friends or family?" the tone of her voice hinted at its importance.

"Sorry, no. I knew a few of her friends but not how to find them. I'm real sorry bout that"

"it is ok, but if you do find out then please tell me. Her possessions are by her bed, you may look after them if you like."

"ok"

as the doctor exited the room he saw a previously undiscovered backpack over in the corner by her bed. He was actually surprised he hadn't seen it before. Picking them up he says goodbye and gets a cab to his hotel.

His room was plain, no telly but a phone and a bed and a table. A bathroom too, even though small. The bathroom immediately catches his attention and he turns on the taps, splashing his face with the cold water. He dries his face off with a rough towel and picks up the phone.

In gemany the phone rings in the castle. Rings and rings but no one picks up and it goes to answer phone.

"Gerde, its me. Called to say I'm ok and grace… is sorta ok. I'm staying until grace gets better.. whenever that is…hope you listen to the messages. I know you always do. Bi"