Disclaimer: The character of Xander Harris is owned by ME Productions and Joss and all those other people, probably even the actor(s) who portrayed him on the show. The author makes no claims otherwise. Despite this being a crossover the character of course was not named in her brief film appearance, so I feel it is acceptable to refer to her simply as the 'Bride' and that she does not belong to me either. But her respective creators and so on and so forth. I believe they're a big name film studio, something to do with numerous horror classics. Starts with a U ends with a EL.
The cold chilling atmosphere of the rain soaked night filled the local citizenry with dread as they hurried home for the night. In this, the oldest lands of the superstitious fuelled peoples, there was no true security from those that walked the night.
The undead were no longer simple myths, they were truth, living breathing truths that many in the ancient mountain range of Europe continued to cling too. Demon hunting was a noble and well respected profession in the towns of the Carpathian mountains, and other ranges littering the landscape of the oldest settled regions of the land.
The sloshing footsteps of a lone traveler filled the night air, slowly he trudged through the biting cold downpour of the frozen autumn rains, slung over one shoulder was a simple traveling bag. Hung around his neck was a crucifix of ornate silver, holstered at his hip were a pair of guns, to the unobservant they would appear to be ordinary weapons commonly found among the criminal element. Or those who sought to protect themselves from same.
To an intelligent and observant person however they would notice that these weapons, despite resembling real pistols, in actuality were cleverly concealed water pistols. Inside no doubt a weapon far more potent in use against the undead, his sleeves also seemed to be concealing something from view, something which glistened with metal and bore strange looking spiked protrusions.
Tugging the brim of his hat over his face to protect his vision from the harsh downpour, the man slowly headed towards the closest inn, a quaint old world building of stone and mortar with a sign dangling in the breeze written in German or perhaps Austrian.
As he passed into the village proper he noted the faded and weather beaten sign proclaiming the township he currently found himself in.
The proprietor of the inn glanced up in some nervousness as the front door to his establishment flew open, it was not fit for man nor beast out there, let alone the dangers of the night. Whoever was braving these harsh conditions must have been a stranger.
Slick with the rain and dripping onto the floor the man shook himself briefly, the glint of hard metal made the proprietor nervous, until he recognized the aged and well used axe head for what it was. Then his heart started beating properly again and he smiled bravely.
“Don’t see many of your kind out this way, sir.”
The man pulled off his hat revealing the scars of his chosen profession. He smiled a crooked, lopsided smile, and proceeded to hang his coat and hat on the pegs near the door. “I’m not surprised.”
“What can I fix you, brave hunter?” The proprietor was eager to help out one who challenged the forces of hell on a nightly basis.
The young man’s smile twisted slightly with pain, but he chose not to remark on the inn keeper’s title. Instead he marched over to the fireplace to warm himself by the heath. “I’ll need a well warded room for the evening, and I mean well warded, even with that storm out there I don’t trust some stupid blood sucker not to barge in here for a quick meal.”
The proprietor nodded. “This is a five-star establishment, sir, and I’m not referring to those fancy ratings that the tourists base their decisions on. We have the finest anti-Vampire wards, as well as demon repelling hexes and curses that five pigs and a goat will buy.”
“They are the best at warding against the denizens of the night,” the inn-keeper stated with a brief chuckle. He puffed his chest out with pride.
The hunter smiled and eyed the menu briefly. “I’ll want a good meal too, traveling through these mountains can be a tad harsh, also… Would there be any troubles with the ‘locals’ hereabouts I might be required to settle?”
The inn keeper frowned slightly. “None of late, the town of Frankenstein hasn’t had any problems locally since the Frankensteins’ finally died off, most of the troubles they caused of course weren’t entirely in your line of work, good sir.”
The young man chuckled and pulled up a chair so he could sit. “Well in that case, I’ll eat whatever you’ve got on the stove, perhaps a nice rack of lamb or veal. And then I’ll be needing that room.”
Nodding the inn-keeper quickly left for the kitchen.
Almost unseen by the young man a strange shrouded woman sat in a corner of the inn practically forgotten, she had arrived not long ago, though to her it sometimes felt like eternity. Studying the stranger briefly she wondered if perhaps he might be able to help her in his own way, he was a handsome man in spite of the scar, and the fact that he was missing an eye did nothing to upset her.
Nursing a cold cup of tea she noted his choice in seating arrangements, so that he could keep his eye on the door should anyone else dare to venture inside. Hidden as she was in this shadowed corner it was more than likely that she had not been noticed.
“Lonely souls passing as ships in the night.”
“I beg your pardon?”
“Some quote I probably mangled, how are you tonight?” The young man glanced briefly in her direction.
“Lonely would be an appropriate word for my condition. Ever so.” Her words barely a whisper, her voice still beautiful despite her advanced age, slowly she placed her cup down.
Nodding briefly he offered the seat next to him. “Two lonely people shouldn’t shun company on such a desolate night.”
Laughing bitterly she remained where she was. “I prefer the dark, others do not take well to my face.”
Quirking his brow slightly with curiosity he inclined his head briefly. “As you wish.”
“Quite eloquent for a young man who doesn’t speak the native language very well.”
Chuckling now at her comment he slowly propped his feet up to warm them. “Yeah, I get that a lot, at least around these parts they don’t call me the ruddy American.”
“America. I have wished to see it, but I have very rarely ventured far from these boarders.” She reached for her cup once again to take another sip.
“Really? May I ask why?” he said.
Laughing once more, a gesture that was quite foreign to her, she finished her tea and studied him carefully. “You hunt monsters.”
“Sort of, mostly I’ve just been slumming on the dark continent to try and bury the pain of my loss.”
“Then you should know by now that not all take kindly to those with a different set of circumstances.” Once again her tone was bitter.
The young man frowned slightly. “Have you killed anybody?”
She scoffed at this. “Hardly, I was never as vile or hopeless as my ‘husband’.”
“You’re married?” He was surprised honestly at this remark.
“No, there was never any true ceremony. He simply expected me to be what he wanted, a companion, one who would share his life for all of time. Unfortunately I wasn’t about to see things his way. And it had nothing to do with his appearance I assure you, I simply was too new to understand, too young. Now… He’s not even the man he was then, and the last I heard some organization in England had seen to his proper incarceration.”
The young man nodded as though understanding her. “Alexander Harris, most people call me Xander though.”
Her head moved at his introduction, her eyes shone with a bit of mirth. “It is an old superstition that one should never give their names out so freely, you never know who might want to use it.”
He shrugged. “I find that my reputation keeps most of them away, and if not, well…” He plucked a large axe from beneath the table and plopped it down hard on the aged wood. It was a surprise that he’d managed to conceal it from her. She’d always prided herself on being observant. “I told you mine.”
Sighing slightly she thought briefly of a name, any name that might appease him, but something in his eye told her that he would see through her charade. “Later, in your room I shall reveal my name. It is far too open here for my liking.”
“That’s rather presumptuous of you.”
She smiled beneath her hood the flickering firelight in the room gleaming off perfect white teeth. “You aren’t the only one who can see through the pain, through the disguise. Perhaps it would do me good to finally open up to one who may be able to help me in the end achieve what I truly desire.”
A sad ghostly smile graced his lips then. “Sorry, even I can’t work that kind of miracle. I deal in magic, not science.”
Gasping she stared hard at him. Could he know? And how could he know? “What could possibly give you that idea?”
Chuckling mirthlessly he watched as the inn-keeper finally arrived with his hot meal. “I told you my name, and what you said I thought you knew. Eh.” He shrugged. “Most in the profession call me the One who Sees.”
Xander opened the door to his room well past midnight, the knock had finally come. Slipping carefully into the room the woman he’d met downstairs stood studying him cautiously with cold blue eyes. They glistened within the shadows of the robe appearing almost cat-like in the limited light.
“You came, I was afraid you wouldn’t.”
“I almost didn’t.” Hesitantly she watched as Xander closed and locked the door.
“You’re safe here, I promise.” His solemn words filled her with trust.
Slowly, with agonizing reluctance she pulled back her hood, revealing a face of pristine beauty. Marred by the numerous sewn patches of skin grafted together in her construction, they did not decay, giving her an ethereal beauty yet ghastly all at the same time. Her long shock of black hair hung down these days, as opposed to when she was first created, the static remaining from her birth having long since faded.
Reaching out with one hand he cupped her cheek. “Warm and quite lovely.”
Were she capable of it she might have blushed, instead she averted her eyes and with a quick jerking motion she pulled away from him. “Mary Shelly, my name, Mister Harris, is Mary Shelly. Or at least those are the names some of the parts of me used in life.”
Nodding briefly he indicated a nearby chair. “I’m willing to listen if you’re willing to talk.”
Smiling, the creature that once an eccentric old man called the Bride of Frankenstein took a seat, and then she began to regale the young demon hunter the horrible tale of Doctor Frankenstein. And his monstrous creation, that only wanted someone tender to hold, and who realized in the end that they did not belong in this world.
Unfortunately for the woman calling herself Mary Shelly, death refused to take the creature built by Doctor Frankenstein, just as it refused to accept her into its realm. For they could not be killed, and the monster in his insane rampages through the countryside had resulted in a legend. A tale of dark deeds and foul murders. Mary however preferred to remain out of the public eye, instead living as best she could on what little she could steal from local criminal elements. Or the undead leeches she’d taken to handling for the sake of her adopted community.
But, if Xander Harris Demon Hunter could not find a way to end her existence, perhaps he might give her new meaning. After all she’d never truly desired to be the ‘Bride’ of anybody. But she could learn to be accepted perhaps, if he could accept such a hideous creation as she.The End..?Author's Notes:
I always kind of wondered why she got such a bad rap, and why her husband kept getting to re-appear in sequel after sequel. I mean the Bride was built the same way according to her only film appearance, the only difference being that Doctor Pretorious grew her brain rather than stealing it from somewhere. An organic process. So why shouldn't she be just as immortal as the ever-living Monster of Frankenstein?
Anyway, hope you enjoyed this, it's light and fluffy, for an attempt at tragic prose... At least I think it's a bit tragic. Perhaps someone else will enjoy the potential at creating a sequel, I feel I've done enough in the spirit of the holiday for this one.