In The Night
Chapter 3 - Belief and Trust
"You first," Carl requested immediately, dropping into a seat in his crammed quarters.
"Me?" Van Helsing snorted. "I don't have anything to talk about."
The friar watched him pace the room for a moment then said dryly, "Sure, Mr-Who-Chased-A-Friar-Through-A-Library-With-Intent-To-Kill."
Van Helsing did not look amused. "I have nothing to say."
"I don't believe you," Carl said flatly.
There was a brief silence in which the entire room shook accompanied by the rather loud sound of an explosion. Carl knew where it was coming from. He pushed his chair back into the door and reached a hand back to lock it.
"Your lab just blew up again," Van Helsing noted. "Perhaps you should check it out."
"No. I will have you unburden yourself first. Your display in the library was more than a hint that you need to talk."
The hunter glared at him for a moment, but seemed to be working past some indecision. Finally, he squeezed into the tiny window seat that was opposite Carl and shifted uncomfortably. "Since returning from Transylvania, I have suffered side affects from being bitten by Anna's brother. I am not completely cured. You will recall that I was sent on assignment to Lichtenstein four months ago. While tracking down my target, I lost control of myself and assumed the werewolf form."
When Van Helsing verified that he had Carl's attention, he let his eyes glow gold and his jaw and nose to lengthen into a snout. Carl was utterly riveted.
"Good God," he breathed in amazement.
Van Helsing resumed his natural form calmly, albeit shaking with exhaustion. He confessed, "Holding back the rage takes all my energy."
"Well," Carl said after a moment, "is there something else you want to talk about, hm?"
"Anna," Van Helsing said simply.
Carl threw his hands up. "Praise the Lord you're finally talking about it. So was it passionate love?"
The hunter shook his head adamantly. "I only knew her for a short time, Carl. I don't know what it was. I might have felt something, but I can't really tell. But things are better left forgotten…"
"My turn!" Carl said suddenly.
Van Helsing looked at him in surprise, feeling a little put out. There was an intense expression on the friar's face as if he was trying to remember something. Carl scrunched up his eyes then declared happily, "I've remembered her name! Eowyn. I also remember she was as good with a sword as me."
"Carl, I hate to break it to you," Van Helsing pointed out, "but unless Cardinal Jinette is a liar and an ungodly man, you've never learnt the sword."
Carl decided to pitch his sanity to the winds.
"I think I learnt it in my previous life," he continued hurriedly. "And I think that your dreams about battles past aren't just dreams."
Carl waited for the hammer to fall, waited for his friend to tell him he was insane and to mind his own damn business. The panelling and glass around Van Helsing creaked as the hunter leant forward. "I believe you."
"You do?" squeaked Carl in relief, humming with reprieve.
Van Helsing merely nodded.
The stillness of the room was only slightly affected by the distant cries of Knights of the Holy Order putting some order into the disorder arranged by Carl's laboratory. The only light came from a lone gas torch (one of Carl's lovely new inventions) held in the unwavering hand of Van Helsing.
"What are we doing here?" whispered Carl loudly.
The hunter gave a nondescript reply, "I want to find out something."
He moved a few steps away from Carl and extinguished the torch, throwing the pair of them into darkness. The friar blinked quickly, trying to obtain some sort of night vision. He made to step forward and stumbled over something on the ground. Carl's fingers grabbed it and a searing pain went across his fingertips.
He's just scrabbled at a sword! Carl found the hilt with his right hand and jumped to his feet. He said timidly, "Van Helsing? Are you there? I found a sword on the floor and I was wondering if you wanted to have a look at it."
There was no answer. Carl hovered uneasily for a moment, then turned around slowly. Unexpectedly, he heard Van Helsing let out a cry from nearby and come at him. If Carl's reflexes had been as slow as his mind, he might have been skewered.
As it was, Carl nearly dropped the sword when it met another. He said furiously, "Are you crazy?? You could have killed me!"
"Well, you're right about one thing," Van Helsing observed. "You do know the sword. No, I'm not crazy. I knew you could parry."
Carl was perfectly composed as he spoke through the dark at him, "You took an awful risk. Just because I was having dreams about wielding a sword didn't mean I could."
"So I did," Carl agreed.
A flash of light blinded the friar as Van Helsing turned the gas up again for the torch he was carrying and the flame turned from dim blue to a dark orange. The hunter said casually, "I'll see you in the morning."
"It is morning," Grumbled Carl.