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Give Unto Me

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Summary: Dawn. Elizabeth. Two names. One person running from the darkness of a past she will never escape. Running for her life, and for the very survival of her world. Can the legendary Van Helsing save her from the dark? Or will she be consumed forever?

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Movies > Van HelsingLethologicaFR1826,7740178624 Feb 1024 Feb 10No

Chapter One: Nightmares

Chapter 1: Nightmares

Disclaimer: All characters belong to their respective creators, or in other word’s not me. The only figments of my imagination are Sin, and all of Elizabeth’s friends.

Bounce.

I was bored.

Bounce. Bounce.

I was very bored.

Bounce. Bounce. Bounce.

I was about ready to eat the ball.

Being the brilliant planner that I was, I’d somehow managed to run out the door without any of my things—homework and otherwise—before coming to baby-sit the three little terrors. I shuddered. At least they were asleep now… Not that I didn’t love them, I really did. It’s just that, with all of the hanging, and the jumping, and the yelling, it got really, really tiring. So tiring that I sometimes forgot just how much I loved them.

I sighed, bouncing the little rubber ball again. I’d be here until the early hours of the morning, at least. I can only thank the gods that it’s break, and not just the weekend. I can sleep away the day tomorrow… instead of freaking out about homework.

I had already raided their movie pile, but of course I couldn’t find anything there. I didn’t speak Italian. Or understand it. My only hope was that… I sat bolt upright. No! There was no way in hell I wanted that to happen! I bit my lip, shaking my head. How foolish! Then the doorbell rang, and I jumped. That really was more of a coincidence than I was comfortable with. I felt torn between cheering and ripping my own heart out.

Tiptoeing over to the front door, I crossed my fingers; maybe it would be my mom with some of my stuff. As much as it would be exciting—and a fine way to end my boredom—meeting new people had never been my thing. Making sure that the bolt-chain was firmly in place, I raised myself onto the balls of my feet, trying to see through the little window on the door. Then I quickly shrank back down, blushing. The man outside was cute. And he so didn’t look like the boys. Or their parents.

Swallowing thickly, I looked again. The man was smirking as he tipped his hat; he’d obviously seen me. Sighing I finally opened the door a crack. Anna would never forgive me if I left her cousin outside half the night.

“Yes? Can I help you?”

The man looked a cross between shocked, amused and annoyed. The annoyance seemed to quickly win. “Do you usually open the door to strangers?” Gods above, his voice was amazing. Just like his shoulder length wavy brown hair.

I smiled impishly up at him, falling into my usual cocky charade. At least he wouldn’t see how nervous I was. “No. But Anna told me you might be coming. You are Gabriel, right?” He had to be. He just had to be. Otherwise…

“Yes. Don’t worry.”

I let out a breath in relief. “Oh, good…” I quickly closed the door, unlatching the chain. When I opened it again, it was all the way and I stepped aside to allow him to enter. Goddess knows I wouldn’t actually tell him to come in. The dreams came too often for that. “I’m Elizabeth.”

He was smiling good-naturedly now, although his hazel eyes still seemed annoyed. Or was it a little angry. I shivered slightly; he felt like a predator, and that look in his eyes, the intensity of it… But, strangely enough, he didn’t feel like he was dangerous to me. “How do you know I’m telling the truth? I could be a murderer, for all you know.”

“You could be. But I know you’re not.” Not unless he didn’t come over the threshold, that is. As much as I’d learned to trust my instincts, I had been wrong before.

“Oh?”

“Well, if I add up the facts…” I started ticking off on my fingers. “One, I was told you were coming. And what’s the probability that you would actually be someone else on the one day you were supposed to be coming, especially when I’ve never had anyone else drop by unexpectedly in my years of baby-sitting for this family? Very low, I’ll tell you that!

“Two, a murderer wouldn’t call attention to the fact that he is one; that would be just plain stupid! And the fact that you did mention the possibility would mean you might be worried about something happening… maybe to the boys?”
I started pacing, my heart thumbing in my chest. I couldn’t believe I was actually running on like this. In front of a stranger, no less! But now that I had started, I couldn’t stop.

“Three, if you were a murderer, what would be the probability that we would actually be having this conversation? Close to none; you’d probably have killed me already. Psychologically, if you were some kind of criminal, you would have to be crazy to just come up to the front door like this, and then to hold an actual conversation with me… you don’t seem mad to me.

“However,” I was on a role now. “I suppose you could be mad, and I just can’t tell. You know, you could be one of those completely cunning, sneaky little bastards. But there’s more evidence pointing to the fact that you are who you said you are!” Or he could be… special. After all, he hadn’t crossed the threshold yet. I always had to take that into consideration.

Not that I could tell him that.

I finally stopped pacing, and looked up at him. One of his perfect brown eyebrows was raised. “Oh? Is that all?” He seemed amused. I scowled for a moment, before my eyes widened and I blushed, looking away.

“Well, you just don’t feel bad to me…” I mumbled. I gave him an uncertain smile. “Sorry about that. I guess you can say that’s what the IB does to you. Always needing to analyze everything…” I grimaced, chest aching as I turned and made my way back to the kitchen. Only less than five minutes and I’d already made a fool of myself. “Could you close the door behind you?”

I paused just outside the kitchen until I heard the click of the door. “I really am Gabriel Van Helsing.” I could hear laughter in his voice. But somehow I knew he wasn’t laughing at me.

“I know.” I gave him what I hoped could pass as a confidant smile as I leaned against the doorjamb, craving the support.
“I wouldn’t have let you in if I didn’t. Would you like anything? Anna wanted me to tell you that they have green-tea.”

He sighed, placing his hat down on the hall table. “Thank you. That would be wonderful.”

I approached him, slightly wary. I couldn’t forget that I didn’t know this man. I couldn’t afford to. “I’ll put your coat away, if you’d like.”

There was no way I could have missed the dim panic in the widening of his eyes. “No. That’s all right. I’ll do it myself.” Something wasn’t right. I frowned and pretended to turn back to the kitchen, but I kept an eye on the man. I pressed my lips together when I saw the sharp glint of silver strapped to the inside of his long leather coat. What was he doing with a silver knife?

“I’ll start the tea then. Unless you want to do it.” I couldn’t help throwing him a challenging glance. He only smiled sheepishly over his shoulder from his place at the closet.

I’d already put the water on to boil when the man—Gabriel, I reminded myself—finally stepped into the kitchen. I gave him a quick once-over for hints of hidden weapons, trying to ignore the way his grey sweater clung to his strong shoulders. “Are the kids asleep?” He sat at the table, looking over the colorful papers that littered it with interest.

I nodded and sat across from him, trying not to fidget. “Yeah. But John comes back down sometimes. Nightmares.” I blushed when he showed me a neon orange sheet sketched with the image of a scantly clad, black skinned woman with horns, his eyebrows raised. My heart skipped a beat as I remembered the twisted, malevolent sneer I had drawn for her. “I was trying to entertain the kids. They were being more rowdy than usual.”

“So you drew them this?”

I shook my head emphatically. “No. No, no, no, no. Of course not! They were the ones drawing.” Maybe he would drop it. I so didn’t want to talk about this right now. Not when I was alone, in someone else’s house, with a stranger.

“So one of them drew this?”

“No.” I ducked my head, and I could feel my heart beginning to race, my face burning as everything else went cold. I knew I should have put it away when I was finished. “That came later.”

Gabriel shifted back in his seat, crossing his ankle over his knee as he raised the paper up to eyelevel, cocking his head to the side. I could all but imagine his eyes tracing over the long, curving lines of the woman’s—no, creature’s—abnormally long limbs, and the great smooth mass of its hair. As I sat, stiff and staring, I remembered the twisted smirk, the blood red claws that showed black in my sketch and glowing orange eyes. I watched as it slowly slipped towards me, raising overly thin claws to my face… “How did you come up with this?”

I was jolted out of my daydream, and I dully looked up at him. He was still staring intently at the drawing. “Sometimes I find myself drawing my nightmares.” The kettle started whistling lowly, but I didn’t move.

He lowered the paper, frowning when he saw me. I knew what I looked like in the grip of terror; pale lips, white skin, eyes wide and glazed over. Like I was going into shock. That was why I was always so careful. But I couldn’t be on guard all the time. And when it’s dark and I’m alone… “Are you alright?” I started to breathe shallowly, and fast. He was around the table in an instant. “Hey.”

The kettle’s shrieking rose to a fever pitch, so like the shriek of the beast, and I clamped my hands around the edge of the table, hunching forward. I heard Gabriel curse, as if from a distance, but the only thing that mattered was the rising screams. The shrieking laughter. My knuckles turned white, then I couldn’t take it anymore and my hands rose to smother my ears as I curled into myself. It had to stop! I needed it to stop. “Stop. Make it stop!” Gabriel cursed again, leaping to his feet to shove the kettle off the heat.
Then he was kneeling beside me, and his presence encompassed me. It was a presence so powerful it was tangible, and finally I felt safe. Not even the dying screams, their message clear, could penetrate it. I’ll find you again… I promise. But I already knew that.

Weak with relief, I slid off the chair and Gabriel moved to support me. “Hey.” Reeling from the sudden change, I just slumped against him, trembling. “Elizabeth?” When I didn’t answer he shifted me in his arms, cradling me against his chest. A part of me reveled in the feeling of his strong arms around me. A part of me screamed against him. Carefully rising, he sat me on the edge of the table. “Hey. It’s alright. What ever it was, it’s gone now.”

I still clung to him, savoring the feeling of safety that all but radiated from his strong form. My hands plucked weakly at his sweater, completely drained. Then I couldn’t hold it anymore, and I cried.

I cried for the painful pounding of my heart. I cried for the shame of being brought to my knees before a stranger. I cried for the return of my waking nightmares. But more than anything else, I cried for the knowledge that I would never be free.

And I cried for the sake of crying.

Forcing myself to calm, I slid away from him and off the table, wobbling only slightly. When he reached out to steady me I pushed him away. I hated myself for letting him see what it was that I went through almost every day. What I struggled against. Something that I never even let my own family see. Something that they hadn’t wanted to see…

I stumbled over to the sink and rinsed my face, erasing all traces of tears. If John came down, I didn’t want to frighten him. Then I stood still for a moment, my back carefully to Gabriel. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have done that.”

I could feel his eyes boring into my back. Then, quietly, “It’s alright to cry.”

I shook my head. “No. I don’t know you.”

“Either way, there is no shame in feeling fear.” That was almost a growl. I whirled around and looked him in the eye, defiant. What I saw there made me catch my breath. There was frustration there, and suspicion. My withdrawal had annoyed him… did he want to help me? Then I realized what he had not said. But that was more than just fear. How much did he know, could he guess? I thought back to the silver knife. Maybe he knew more than I wanted to think.

But was he dangerous to me? He felt so… safe, and I had long ago learned to trust my instincts, but… I also knew how easy it was for some to deceive. Could I afford to take such a risk?

The uncertainty must have shown clear in my eyes, because his own softened. “Do not fear me. I won’t hurt you.” He took a step towards me, and I took a step back. He sighed, putting his hands up. He wouldn’t touch me. “I can help you… whatever’s going on, you don’t need to handle it alone.”

I stubbornly turned away.

He took another stop towards me, but this time I stood my ground. Striding quickly over to my side, he stopped behind me. Slowly raising a hand to my shoulder, he paused, trying to gauge my reaction. When I didn’t pull away, he gently turned me to face him. The kindness in his eyes made me want to cry again. “You can trust me. Let me help you.”

“Why?”

“Because the boys like you.” That hurt. I didn’t know why, but it did. “And I don’t like to see anyone suffer if I can help it.”

I laughed wetly. “A hero complex.” The idea filled me with despair, to such a degree I had not felt in so long. I clenched my jaw so hard it ached, a tear clinging to my eyelashes. Then my body was wracked by a harsh sob, and he pulled me back into his arms. And again I felt safe.

For a few, blessed moments I was at peace, wrapped up in him. Allowed to cry. That ended when the sound of small footsteps rushed down the stairs. I tore myself away from him, hastily drying my eyes and pasting a bright smile in place. And not a moment too soon. John came slinking into the room, rubbing his eyes.

“Elizabeth?”

“Another nightmare, John?” I went to kneel beside him, gathering him into my arms as I pushed all of my pain back and put all of my own fear under wraps. This boy did not need to see me afraid.

Me, his protector.

I rocked him slowly, running a gentle hand through his hair. It had always soothed me as a child. I could feel Gabriel’s
eyes on me. I had to fight to not turn and stare back; John was more important right now. I pushed Gabriel completely from my mind. “Oh, John, you know they can’t hurt you… what did you see?”

“It was the dragons again…” He buried his head in my shoulder, trying to block out the images that I knew would still haunt him. When he continued his voice was muffled by my shirt. “They came in and ate me. But first they ate you, and Billy, and Ben. And there was blood everywhere!”

I pulled him closer when I felt his small body shudder. I was honestly starting to get worried now; he’d had that dream so many times that they had to mean something. I just didn’t know what. “Listen to me John. You’re safe here. No dragons are going to come, no dragons are going to hurt you.” I tiled his head up, giving him a kind smile. “Didn’t you know that some cultures see the dragon as a beast of safety, and luck? The dragon would protect you, not hurt you. And even if a bad dragon did come, I would protect you.”

John only nodded miserably, his head still resting against my chest. “But the dragon hurt you, too.”

“You should know by now that I am not so easily brought down!” I jostled him, making him giggle, his mouth twisting into a miserable smile. I stroked his dirty blond hair again. “You think you can go back to sleep now, Johnny?”

He nodded again, but still clung to me, his arms tight now around my neck. “Sing me a song, Elizabeth? Please?”

“Alright.” I laughed, and got to my feet, my arms secure around him. A part of me felt Gabriel follow us up the stairs, but the rest ignored him. After I had settled the child back in bed, I sat beside him. “What should I sing?”

“That song you sang me that last time.” John sat up, reaching for me. “You know, the ‘give’ one.”

I lay him back down, and stroked his hair. He needed the contact. “The ‘give’ one?” He nodded emphatically. I thought for a moment. “Do you mean Give Unto Me?”

He shrugged, and hummed a few lines. “That one.”

“Give Unto Me.” I nodded, and laughed. “I’m surprised you liked it.”

He shrugged again, blushing. “I do. It’s nice. Pretty. And it talks about nightmares going away.” Then he slid his small hand into mine, and I gave it a comforting squeeze, echoing the pain in my heart. The poor boy… this was why I had to be so strong. For him, if for no one else. But he was looking up at me expectedly, so, taking a deep breath, I sang.

“I've been watching you from a distance
The distance sees through your disguise
All I want from you is your hurting
I want to heal you
I want to save you from the dark

Give unto me your troubles
I'll endure your suffering
Place onto me your burden
I'll drink your deadly poison

Why should I care if they hurt you
Somehow it matters more to me
Than if I were hurting myself
Save you
I'll save you

Give unto me your troubles
I'll endure your suffering
Place onto me your burden
I'll drink your deadly poison

Fear not the flame of my love's candle
Let it be the sun in your world of darkness
Give unto me all that frightens you
I'll have your nightmares for you
If you sleep soundly

Give unto me your troubles
I'll endure your suffering
Place onto me your burden
I'll drink your deadly poison

Fear not the flame of my love's candle
Let it be the sun in your world of darkness
Give unto me all that frightens you
I'll have your nightmares for you
If you sleep soundly

Fear not the flame of my love's candle
Let it be the sun in your world of darkness”


I looked down to see John fast asleep. A tender smile curving my lips, I brushed his hair from his forehead and kissed him softly. “Night, Sweet Boy. May fair dreams be your fair pillow.”

“Quoting Shakespeare?” I jumped, whirling around. Gabriel was leaning against the doorframe, arms crossed and a strange look in his eyes. I had completely forgotten he was there.

I brushed past him, putting a finger to my lips. Understanding me, he followed me silently back down the stairs. “Thank you. I didn’t want him to wake up again.”

He regarded me silently for a moment, the strange light still in his eyes. Then, “You’re good with him.”

I smiled absently, rubbing my arm as I stared out the window. I didn’t turn back to look at him. “I like kids. And he’s wonderful, really.”

“Still.”

“Mm.” I continued working at my arm, hissing softly when I hit a particularly soar spot.

He was behind me in a second. “Does your arm hurt?”

“Hm?” I looked up at him, my hand stilling.

“Your arm.”

I self-consciously lowered my hand, fisting it behind my back. “No. It’s fine. It just acts up sometimes, is all.”

He frowned. “What happened?”

“Don’t really know. It’s been like this almost as long as I can remember. I don’t think I’ve ever actually hurt myself. Or at least I don’t remember doing it…”

He gently took my arm and rolled the sleeve up. He ran the fingers of his other hand lightly over the bare skin. I shivered. It felt… good, and strange. “Do you think you were born with it, then?” It didn’t completely register, his question. I was too busy staring at his clever hands with fascination. He was pressing into what seemed like random points of my arm. And it was helping! “Elizabeth?”

This time my head jerked up. “Huh? What?””

He was looking at me with mild amusement. “Were you born like this?”

“Oh. No, I don’t think so.” He raised an eyebrow in question. Alright then, might as well… “I just woke up like this one day. Never figured out what happened.”

I shrugged nonchalantly. I wasn’t about to tell him that I still remembered the nightmare I’d had that night. The black demon lady had cornered me in a dead-end. Then she crushed my arm when I tried to escape. I’d woken up shortly after, a deep pain twitching in my arm. I’d been glad; I still shudder to think what may have happened next.
His hands stilled over my arm, but didn’t relinquish his hold. I stared at him curiously, wonder what he was doing now.

“Better?” His voice was soft, and I only nodded, not wanting to break the silent spell that had fallen over us. The safety.

“What was that?”

“Pressure points.” He saw the Goosebumps starting on my arm—I got cold easily—and rolled my sleeve back down. Then he dropped my arm. I instantly missed his warmth, and seriously contemplated gabbing his hand—

No.

He was how many years older than me? No. I may already be a legal adult—just barely—but I was still in school, and what interest could I possibly hold for him anyway? He was just being kind. Because the boys liked me. I inwardly shook my head; I was best to cut thoughts like that in the bud. It could do me no good to pine after a man almost ten years older than me… at least. So no touching!

But I could still look.

And imagine.

I peeked up at him, blushing slightly. “Thank you.” Then I sighed, and sat down at the table again, pulling one of the sheets of paper in front of me, shoving the rest into a pile even as I started sketching. The moment was so thoroughly over. “If you would like the tea, then go ahead. I’m sure you know where the cups are.”

He nodded, and only moments later he was sitting across from me with a steaming mug caged between his large hands. He tilted his head, trying to make sense of the upside down sketch. Silently I turned it around to face him, then started sketching again. It didn’t matter which direction I drew in; I was, after all, just developing my latest Art project.

“What are you doing?” Gabriel obviously didn’t feel the tension that I did.

Or the sheer exhaustion.

I sighed, rubbing my eyes tiredly. The combination of my earlier emotional breakdown—which I still hadn’t forgiven myself for, by the way—and the late hour all but had my head spinning. “Homework.” I knew I was being short with him, but I just didn’t care anymore. I had too much to think about right now, what with the nightmares and all. And spilling my guts to a stranger.

I’d apologize in the morning.

“For what?”

“Art.”

Gabriel fell silent then; he must have sensed my sudden hostility. I bent my head down to the paper, forcing my concentration. I ignored him.

I’d just deal with everything in the morning.
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