Title: Eternity and a Day
Prompt: Request from DanaIsis
Fandom: Van Helsing (Slight AU)
A/N: Onward with the second part. Hope you enjoy it :]
How am I supposed to tell Velkan about this? I can't even begin to explain how many times I'd asked myself this question on an hourly basis. Jaelle had forbade me to do any outdoor work, or lifting of any kind, leaving me bored stiff inside of this cottage all day. So I'd been taking this opportunity to plan out my confessions, the tone had to perfect, and I couldn't sound scared; but that was proving impossible. Taking a deep breath I rested my hand against my stomach, caressing it slowly as if the vary child that was growing inside of me was already here, nestled asleep in my lap. I furrowed by brow as I desperately felt for anything to confirm for myself that there was infact a child within my womb, but, as Lucine had told me a night ago…it was too early for me to tell, it just seemed rather odd to me that she was able to feel the child and not me; I was almost jealous in a way. Conflicting emotions were the worst part of his whole ordeal; I didn't know whether to be afraid or happy, or how much emotion to show. To my knowledge Jaelle and Lucine were the only two people in the village that knew, and I wanted to keep it that way for as long as possible for one too many persons in this village don't know how to hold their tongue; and there was just one supernatural beast in particular that didn't need to find out about my situation. And that's where the anxiety sets in…what if he already knew? I wasn't sure how Dracula acquired any of his knowledge, and I most certainly didn't know if he could just 'sense' that another Valerious may be on their way. My heart beast against my chest as I pulled the blankets tighter around me, gripping the small metal rod I prodded the fire that was before me, beckoning for it to strengthen just until I had enough heat; the fire, much to my surprise, roared to life in one swift motion, the small twigs catching ablaze almost instantly.
Sitting back in the rather sturdy chair my mind began to wonder again, focusing on the same things as I usually did; Velkan and how much I wanted him back here, back here with me and his son or daughter. I know he'd want a son to continue on the Valerious name, but, I wouldn't mind a raven haired little girl that looks strikingly like me running around the village, or, wherever we relocated to once this was all sorted out. Relocation; that was just another issue of many, Velkan wouldn't like the fact of leaving Romania, and not to mention his sister behind, and what if relocating didn't work…what if Dracula followed. It was becoming apparent that no matter how the situation was handled, that danger would be lurking in every possible corner…perhaps I would need to leave… It wasn't a second later that the door opened, the wood creaking on his un-oiled hinges in a sickening almost eerie way; I looked up quickly, my perception of the beast I was just thinking about radiating in my mind, fear coursing though my veins. Even though I recognized the smiling face that was starring at me my heart still continued to beat rapidly, palms sweating. "Analiese," Jaelle's lips twitched slightly, and I could almost instantly tell that she was trying to withhold excitement. "They're back." The words left her mouth slowly, and it took me a few moments to realize what she had just said. My lips parted in a silent whisper as I began to stand up from the chair quickly, the muscles under my skin trying to find the smile that was threatening to explode upon my features at a moment's notice. Velkan; this name rolled of my tongue slowly as I slipped my bare feet into a pair of the ratty old shoes that were sitting before me.
A warm sensation coursed through my veins, spreading from the center of my heart and radiating out of my pores, my fingertips, shining out of my teeth as I rushed towards the door; Jaelle moved from her spot quickly, the older woman knowing that she would be trampled otherwise. My earlier predicament, the very thing that I had been worry over for the past four days was suddenly forgotten as my eyes scanned the group of men and horses that were standing in the middle of the village; all looking worn, solemn faces glanced at me before they quickly turned away, almost as if they looked upon my face they would turn to stone. I wrinkled my nose in confusion at their actions, all the while my heart beat against my chest as it propelled me forward. Where is Velkan? I turned in a circle, maybe I missed him, or maybe he went to put up the horse. Ignoring the cold as it hit my skin I rushed from the warm air that was flooding through the house, my legs compelling me across the gravel that was covered with a dusting of snow; Velkan was usually the first one here, always leading the group…maybe. The thought crossed my mind for a split second; perhaps they were bringing the beast back to village, to show that they had in fact killed the beast. My deep brown eyes continued to stray across the land, looking for any sign of a straggler coming up the lane, through the trees, the faint sound of hooves against pavement…anything. A head of curly brunette hair caught my attention, the tendrils billowing the rather frigid breeze, without a second though I pushed through the thickening crowd, ignoring the tears and tearing of fingers as women and children were reunited with their loved ones; sons, husbands, fathers…
"Anna!" I called, being able to breathe again; I looked behind me as I listened to a few children squeal in delight 'father! Momma, father's back!' My hand rested against my stomach for a few seconds, wondering if our child was going to say that to him one day, well, hopefully Dracula will be rid of by the time he or she was brought into this world. The woman with the angelic face turned around quickly; her eyes wide, mouth open slightly like she was surprised to see me standing before her. "Where-where's Velkan?" the words left my mouth before I could even ask how she was doing, but, all of that would be answered at the tavern later. Usually after a hunt the men told their stories of near death experiences at the other side of the town, near the stables; it was the only time the children were allowed to accompany their parents to it.
"Come with me," she said quickly, her gloved hand wrapping around my wrist. The sudden contact frightened me, the look on her face, the smile that didn't exist…" I have much to tell you-"I let her drag me a few inches forward, her movements jerking me towards the company of my own cottage. I dug the nonexistent heel of my slipper into the frozen ground, halting us from going any farther. I couldn't understand why she was acting this way. Unless they were actually brining the beast back into the village, perhaps Velkan informed her of my already weak stomach when it came to things such as that, I wanted to laugh, little did he know that my stomach surely wouldn't be able to handle it now.
"Is he coming with the others?" Anna looked back in the direction of the thickening crowd, nodding her head quickly she turned her attention back to her earlier destination, pulling me along once again. I went with her willingly, seeing that it was no use in trying to stop her once she put her mind to something. "I have something of much importance to tell him." It was almost as if she didn't hear the words that were flowing from my mouth; either that or she really didn't care about what I had to say.
"I'm sure it can stand to wait a few moments." She hissed, pulling me into the cottage. I noticed Jaelle's as we entered the structure, she looked confused, and her cheeks had a read tint to them. The only other time I'd seen her like this was whenever she was trying to keeping something from me, brushing it off as nothing I could sense my wrist again. The blood came flowing back though my arm, no doubt there would be a small bruise where Anna had needlessly dragged me around like a doll, or better yet a child…I was perfectly capable of moving on my own. I looked at her for a few moments, trying to decipher what was hiding behind those eyes of hers; she was always a hard one to read, and granted, I haven't really gotten to know her the way that future family should.
"Oh," I replied meekly; I looked around the small structure for a few moments. This wasn't what Anna was used to; makeshift walls, tattered blankets, straw pushed under the beds to cushion it…she hadn't exactly said it before, but, I got the feeling that she thought that Velkan should have someone…that was on their level. "Well, would you like some hot tea? I just brewed it...its fresh." I quickly busied myself at the can that was hanging above the stove, the tea leaves floating in the already boiling water; the aroma was sweeter than I had remembered it.
"No!" I jumped slightly at the sound of her voice; shrill, almost bordering a scream. I was too afraid to look at her face as I turned towards her, hanging the pot back up on the small nail that was penetrating the wall. Her hand was laid out on the small wooden table, eyes closed, and hair covering her face; knuckles white. Her recent outbursts were already attracting a skeptical approach from me, and truth be told I was apprehensive about even approaching her. "No," she repeated again, releasing a breath. "I'm-I'm not very thirsty." She brushed the hair out of her face quickly. I continued to stand there, starring at her as if I would suddenly be able to read to her mind; she looked up at me, her eyes pleading. . "Will you please, sit?" she gestured to the unstable chair that was sitting across from her at the opposite side of the table. As if this wasn't my own home, I took a seat slowly; my mind raced with unanswered questions, each depicting a different 'worst case scenario' I thought she would have began talking as soon as I sat down, instead an awkward silence filled the void between us. I wasn't sure what she was preparing the tell me, and I wasn't sure if I wanted to know.
"Anna, what's- what's this about?" I managed; this would be the opportune moment for Velkan to walk through the door. I could see him now, hair a disheveled mess, face dirty, clothes tattered. He would probably have a few good limps from a struggle…I always told him to be careful; if you can't catch the beast then that's the end of it. Don't try and apprehend something that can't be caught. But nothing came through that door, nothing but the cold wind that was seeping in through the cracks, and the sound of the children that were still celebrating in the seats, the birds that were chirping in the bleak of winter. She looked at me for a moment again, but she never did look at me.
"There is no easy way for me to say this, Analiese." Her fingernails drummed against the fading wood, the hard nails tapping erratically mimicked the beating of my heart; I felt as if I was underwater, something pressing against my lungs…it was suddenly quite hard to breathe. "Velkan is dead." She forced the last words out though gritted teeth and a shallow breath, her shoulders rounded as if she was trying to keep something within her. The words echoed in my mind, the word dead reverberating off my skull, bouncing off of each side…but not sticking.
"No," I shook my head; I wasn't aware that I was standing until I felt my feet hastily dragging me towards the door, lungs and heart heavy. Fear poured out of every available pore in my body. I could faintly hear Anna behind me, calling my name. "No, you don't know what you're saying, Anna." My voice was small, breathless as I tossed the wooden door open. My hand shook, legs wobbling as I ventured out into the cold; I knew people were around me, I could see them, their silhouettes…but I could no longer hear them. I could hear nothing but my heartbeat. "He promised me he'd be back!" My voice was loud, and it was only then that I realized that I was yelling, screaming almost. I could feel the salty tears trailing over my lips, my nose, falling off my chin. I could hear Anna trying to console me, saying my name over and over in hopes that it would disintegrate my irate mood. By the time she had made it over to me I was already running towards the stables, tearing though the hay, peeking over the doors; Velkan's name fell from my lips several times. He wasn't in the stable, he wasn't in the streets, and he wasn't in my home…our home. He wasn't here; I backed away from the middle of the foyer of the barn until I felt my back hit something hard, the wall; I slid down it slowly, my hands covering my mouth as I screamed, screamed for him, screamed for Anna… Anna came, bending down she held me close.
"Where is he?" I sobbed.
"I'm so sorry, Analiese, I'm so sorry."
"Miss Analiese," I could hear the voice, but then again, I couldn't. All of the voices had begun to sound the same over the last couple of days, but, I haven't spoken nor replied to them. In fact, I haven't moved from my spot on the bed since the news of Velkan's demise was broken to me. "You need to eat." I pulled the covers over my shoulders like a stubborn child, facing the candle that was flickering on the wall; my stomach growled. I squeezed my eyes shut; whenever I heard that sound it reminded me of the beast that took my only love away from me. All was silent for a few moments, so silent, in fact, that I thought Jaelle had left me be until I heard her weathered voice once again, brining me back to reality. "Think of the baby." The baby, the baby, the baby; my heart broke tenfold every time I thought about raising this child without him. I wanted my child to know who their father was, I wanted to see them together in the stables, I wanted to see them chasing each other around Castle Valerious, and I wanted this child to learn from him. I however was beginning to see that my child was on the brink of growing up the way I did; homeless, without parents or anyone to care for them.
"He won't know who his father was…" I croaked, sitting up in bed slowly; keeping the blanket around my shoulders I looked at Jaelle. She was tired, eyes heavy with worry and face weathered with age and stress. And yes, something told me that this child was going to be a boy. "Or, or what he did."
"You'll need to tell him then." She replied softly, her rump perching itself on the edge of the tattered seats; she placed a calloused hand on my wrist, holding it tightly with reassurance. "Teach your child who Velkan was." I looked down at my lap for a moment; I had plenty of stories to tell him. I would tell him about how he won me over, how he invited me into his home, how he fought the forces of evil in order to make the world a better place for his son. But something suddenly struck me…
"What if I forget about him?" the words were laced with worry as I looked back up at her, tears gathering at the corners of my eyes once again; this was a daily occurrence for me. My child would need to be of age to comprehend most of the stories, but, what if I forgot about his feats, his face, his voice…
"Oh," she shook me slightly, pulling me against her she rested her cheek against the top of my head; I could smell the food that was resting on the bedside table. "Don't you worry about that, you won't." Jaelle always looked on the positive side of things, always the voice of reason.
"How do you know? Did you forget about your husband?" I remembered him, vaguely, that is. If I couldn't remember the man that practically served as a father to me…how was I supposed to remember that man that won my heart? Jaelle rarely talked about him, he only came up a few times in a conversation.
"No, dear, no." she answered solemnly; I turned away from her grasp and looked at her. I could have argued that, I could have stated that she never talked about him; but her eyes said it all. I saw love, regret, sadness…she remembered him, it was like he was still here.
"Does it ever go away?" I inquired.
"Does what ever go away?"
"The pain." I choked. I couldn't hold the tears back any longer; I wiped them away quickly though, only knowing that if I let them go on that they would consume the rest of my day. The pain was real; it was a if someone had drove a knife though my heart, ripped it out and stepped on it. "My-"I took a deep breath, voice shaking. "My heart feels as if it's been torn in two. I-I don't want it to last forever." I awaited a witty answer from the old woman that was still holding me against her like a feeding babe, stroking my hair, shushing me as sobs wracked my body.
"Well," she sighed, "It never goes away." I looked at her, listening intently. "It may numb, but," she stopped again and shook her head, shrugging slightly; I'd never seen Jaelle so…venerable. "You'll carry it to your grave." Forever, that was my answer, the aching in my heart would never go away, it would never fade, it would never stop… "But, we'll have plenty of time to talk about mending the heart later, right now," She let go of me and reached over, grabbing the plate of food. I could see now what it was; Eggs, dried meat, and what looked to be a form of fruit. There was no use in struggling against it, I was hungry…and apparently so was my child. Taking the plate of food from her hand I slowly began to pick at it, my stomach growling once again as I swallowed each piece, savoring it, for I knew that food in the winter was hard to come by.
"Analiese," I turned mouth full of food as looked upon Jaelle; something was bothering her. "You need to leave Romania…you do realize that." I swallowed the last bit of food that was in my mouth slowly, that was a subject that was still resting at the back of my mind, but, it was something that needed to come to light. I nodded my head in agreement, acknowledging my predicament.
"Yes, I do, but," I paused for a moment, "I do not know where to go." That's not the real reason why I didn't dwell on the subject; a part of me still hadn't grasped the concept that Velkan was dead, a part of me wanted to stay here and wait for him…
"We'll figure that out later, but you need to leave soon." The old, fast paced Jaelle was back; the one that kept me moving. I shook my head, sighing slightly.
"Jaelle, give me time to cope…please."
White, cold, ice; my feet were cold as I stepped onto the chilling surface of the ground. Sprouts of grass littered the ever white surface. Feet? No shoes covered my toes as they buried themselves under the ice, yet, they were not cold. I'd seen what happens to those that stay in the cold too long with no protection; their fingers and toes turn an odd series of colors. I looked down, jaw dropping instantly as a gasp escaped my lip; though my feet were still there I couldn't see them, my stomach, it was big….but it wasn't like this when I went to sleep. A chill skittered up my spine, a cold wind nipping at my face. A sound…a voice; I turned facing the ticket of trees behind me… trail. The trail was covered with white, the overhand forming a canopy of ice as it stretched across; a sound.
"Who's there?" I demanded, my voice echoed. A rustling, somewhere off the trail; leaves floated in the wind. "Hello?" all was silent, my heart beast against my chest. "Hell-"
"Analiese!" it was a scream, another sounded shortly after; that voice, I knew that voice. I loved that voice. My heart sank, lungs feeling like bricks as I looked ahead, eyes wide, stomach huge. A growl, a snarl; it was menacing, disturbing. No, no it couldn't be. "Ana-"Velkan's scream filled the air again…he was calling…for me.
"Velkan!" I screamed, my throat itching; my feet pounded against the powdered ground as I followed the screams, my name lacing some while others were short lived and filled with anguish. I could feel tears dripping from my eyes; I feared that they would turn to ice. "Velkan! I'm coming! Where-"the trail seemed to go for miles, and it felt as if I had been running for days, the trail ended; a thicket of trees surrounded what should have been a way out. And a beast, standing on its haunches, teeth barred, and ears back. Claws sharper than swords and a smell so foul people in London could smell it. It looked at me, a growling emitting from its throat. My breath hitched in my throat as I looked at the body between its claws, mangled, barely recognizable…but that voice.
"Help…me." That voice. His voice. Velkan's voice.
Just a dream, just a dream, it's just a dream. I continued to sit up in the bed, hand sprawled out across my chest, on my stomach, toes wiggling. I could feel my bottom lip quivering violently as I tried to regain my composure, to clam myself as my heart raced. I looked down at my hand as it caressed the nonexistent bump. I wondered if my child had the same dream. Or even if unborn children dream… If so, I only prayed that they dreamt of only good things. This was a nightly occurrence for me, waking up in a cold sweat, mumbling his name…reaching for his hand. I glanced near the candle that was still burning on the wall; I would have to make a new one soon. Sighing, I lay back down, pulling the covers up over my shoulders. I wouldn't be able to sleep tonight, although, talking to my baby, even though he couldn't hear me, seemed to put me in better spirits.
I opened my mouth to speak a soft word or two, but, a sound prevented me from doing so; a knock…a tapping at my door…
A/N: Sorry for having this out so late; I still don't know how I feel about it, but, I fear to say that this fic only has one more chapter left! Glad that you all enjoyed it!