It was a quiet, still sort of night. The air was cold and damp as it always was at this late hour, and the noise of London was distant and muffled despite the open windows. All was peaceful. Even so, when there was a slight sound and a shadow passed across the window, Mina Harker noticed immediately.
"Is someone there?" she called out shakily.
A figure revealed itself in the cloudy moonlight. She recognized him at once, despite the number of years it had been. She had not encountered him since that terrible crisis at the beginning of her marriage. He was the source of many nightmares as well as daytime musings, even after all this time. It could have been a hallucination — she had heard of such things happening at this point in one's life — but she had never been prone to those. "Count."
She tugged at the blankets over her. She would have sat up, if she had been able. "I did not sense you nearby." That strange connection had disappeared since his defeat, but she had always assumed that it was due to the distance between them. If it had still been there, then surely she would feel it now. "Your… power over me is gone?"
"I believe so."
"Then I will not… turn?" It was something that had worried at her for her entire life, whether the events so long ago would doom her after death.
"You will not."
Mina turned her head to face the window more directly. "Why have you come?"
There was a pause. "To be certain of it."
She had not known what answer to expect, but that had not been it. "You had better come in."
He stepped fluidly though the window to kneel at the side of her bed. Mina studied him blearily. He looked exactly as he had before — and yet he did not. Physically, he was the same. But he had the same air about him that had shown through once or twice before in her presence, the demeanor that had sparked her compassion and made her wonder whether they might end by freeing his soul. Perhaps even immortals aged in their own way.
She tried to speak, coughed, tried again. "I was right, then. At the end… you let me go."
His gaze took her in for a moment and then turned to the side. "It would have destroyed you."
He spoke the truth. She remembered clearly the terror of her short time in that state. She would not have been able to withstand an eternity as something unholy and trapped in darkness. Rather, Mina wondered at the fact that it mattered so to him. And yet it was not too far a stretch; his dismay at her grief had been overpowering, and his assurances too swift and comforting. She understood. "Thank you."
He met her eyes again, and they were silent for a time. "Was it… a good life?"
"Yes." And it had been. She had been blessed in many ways. Her life had not been without its troubles, but it had been a life of freedom, full of love. "I had a good husband, and I lived to see my darling children grow up."
He nodded, shoulders dropping slightly.
For an instant, Mina thought she was slipping. The world briefly seemed farther away, and she worked to draw in air. Only once she managed to tentatively cling to life again did she notice that he had taken her hand in his.
He was leaning closer now. "Are you not afraid?"
She knew the answer at once. He seemed frightened, but not her. "No. I lived long enough. I am ready for Heaven." She hesitated. "Only…"
"You will make sure?"
He said it so solemnly that she could not but believe him. She was assured of her journey, then, but not of his. She stared upwards. "Will you come? Eventually?"
There was pain behind it, and she managed to tighten her fingers against his. "Are you that afraid?"
"Death will never claim me."
"But there is something better to be found after."
"For you, Mina. Not for me."
"There is still hope." She would keep hope for him, at least. Surely if he was capable of this, then he could still be saved.
He only shook his head. He moved closer as she had to fight for breath again. His eyes bored into hers. "I can take the pain away."
She could only gasp words out. "No. Just…" She moved her free hand, and he grasped it gently. The world around her was sliding out of her focus, until all she knew was him, kneeling by her side and holding to her with both hands. She had been right about him from the beginning, despite his cruel sins and her own fear. She was losing the fight now, but it was not so terrible.
There were worse ways to die, Mina thought, than to be watched over by one who loved you.