Where There is Darkness

By: Highlander II

Category: Alternate Universe, Fantasy
Archive: Please ask.
Spoilers: Van Helsing
Rating: NC-17: (skip) Non-consensual sexual encounters, mind control, bondage, spanking/caning, character death.
Summary: What happens if Van Helsing doesn't defeat the Dracula beast and is taken prisoner instead? Carl and Anna have to locate Van Helsing and rescue him from Dracula's clutches before The Knights of the Holy Order learns what is going on and sends another army of operatives after the rogue monster hunter. In the meantime, Van Helsing has to survive his incarceration without losing his mind.
Disclaimer: I own nothing but the words on this page; the characters belong to Stephen Sommers and Universal pictures.
Notes: Written for scifibigbang 2010. Art by: sanadafaye
Feedback: Highlander II

Part VII

"You! Stop right there!" Anna yelled from across the entryway at the portly man hurrying for the door, his arms laden with scrolls and books.

The man stopped a meter from the door. Moments away from escape and he had been caught. Master would not be pleased with him at all.

"Are you going to tell me you left your notes in your saddlebags this time?" she growled, hands perched on her sharp hips.

Sergei shook his head. "No, Mistress, I... I..." He didn't have a good explanation for where he was going with the pages in his arms and anything he might invent, she would surely see through immediately. "I've been compelled to take them, Mistress."

"Take them where? By whom?"

Damn. She was not going to make this easy for him. "I- I don't know, Mistress. I'm only compelled to take them to where I'm led."

Anna frowned. "If you don't know where you're 'compelled' to take them, then how do you know that someone is compelling you to do so?"

Sergei stammered a moment, then decided to admit what he was doing. "I was ordered to find information about Velkan and report back to my Master."

"And who is your 'Master'?" she asked with a snarl.

"I only know him as 'Master'," he replied.

She growled at him and directed him toward the interior of the castle. "Dining room. Put everything on the table and have a seat," she ordered.

Arms folded over her chest, Anna stood over him, nearly breathed down his neck. He found it to be quite an uncomfortable position. She flipped through his pages of notes – none of which she would be able to understand because he had written them in code. That would explain the scowl on her face when she looked at him again.

"What is this?" she asked and pointed to his books and notes.

He stumbled a bit, but managed, "They are notes on research I was doing."

"For your Master?" she prompted.

"Yes, Mistress," Sergei answered with a nod. "I am sorry, Mistress. I was only doing what I was ordered to do."

Anna scowled at him again. "What is your Master going to do with all of this?"

"I don't know."

"These answers are not helping your case at all, Sergei."

He lowered his head, eyes focused on the floor. "I do not know what else to say. I have done what I was instructed and it has upset you."

"It has more than 'upset' me, Sergei. You have violated the trust of the Valerious family," she snarled.

Sergei said nothing in response. He knew this was the end. Master would not be pleased that he hadn't returned with the information and Anna would not let him leave the castle again. He was certain of it.

As he had suspected, he would not be permitted to leave. Anna had called several guards to haul Sergei to a cell and lock him there until she had time to deal with him.

"Again, Mistress," he said as he was lead away in shackles, "I am sorry."

Anna didn't respond. He turned away from her and watched his feet pass over the floor as he was led to the cell where he would be spending quite a considerable bit of time, he was sure.

Dracula prowled the corridors, making his way to the cavern set weithin the west tower. The cavern where Van Helsing had found his other pet. That had been a beautiful stroke of luck. His bitch had been in heat and had done a fabulous job of seducing his new pet into mounting her.

He had hopes of breeding his own werewolves, but he wasn't sure if it would even work. If the bitch became pregnant while in wolf form would she stay in wolf form or would she shift back to human once the full moon had passed? If she wasn't carrying now, he might not find out for at least another month.

When he arrived at the cavern, the cage was open and his tawny pet was nowhere to be seen. Obviously she was out hunting That made him quite happy. At least one of his werewolf pets was doing what they were supposed to do.

He called several Dwergi to clean the cage and provide fresh water. He wanted her to be comfortable. There had been times when he had considered making her his new bride, but he was afraid she'd lose the werewolf side of her personality, so he left her as she was. Periodically, he would let her play with his other captives so she wouldn't be lonely.

Lonely. He was frequently lonely in his icy palace, now that his brides were gone. There hadn't been anyone that struck his fancy since then, save Anna. But even she would have been hard to control. Instead he would have to settle for having Van Helsing as his pet.

"Carl?" Anna greeted him in the square. "I see you've brought friends." This particular development didn't please her as much as seeing Carl had. Especially considering his 'friends' looked an awful lot like Knights of the Holy Order. She already had some of those.

Carl snorted derisively. "They claim to be 'reinforcements'," he explained.

Anna frowned, brow furrowed deep. "How dangerous do they think Dracula is?"

Carl shook his head, his mood solemn.

"They're here for Van Helsing," Anna concluded, "Do they think he wants to stay?"

Hidalgo stepped up, towered over Anna and said, "We don't know what to expect. That is why we require the extra manpower." The man spoke in nearly flawless Romanian. It was an impressive display of arrogance.

"Surely you don't need an army to rescue one man," Anna countered.

Hidalgo exhaled heavily over the princess. "This is not a rescue mission. Van Helsing is being taken in for questioning. If he isn't killed before we find him."

Anna watched the operative stalk away toward Mesoraco. She leaned in close to Carl. "They're going to kill him aren't they?"

Carl shook his head. "I hope not. I'm going to do what is necessary to bring him back alive." He rubbed a hand across the back of his neck. "I hope their orders aren't in a direct clash with my plans."

"We can only hope." She paused for several moments, then, "Carl, we have to find him first."

He nodded. "And before they learn, what I found out about your family."

"What?" she gasped. Before Carl could say anything else, she was pulling him into the ramshackle barn that had yet to be repaired after the vampire attack. "What did you find? Do I have another brother? A sister?"

Carl shook his head, "No." He waited a moment for townsfolk to pass by. "You and Velkan have the same mother, but different fathers."

Anna stared, dumbfounded at Carl for several seconds. He watched the disbelief and pain pass over her face. No words came.

"I'm sorry, Anna. It's what I found." He hated bearing bad news.

"Who?" she asked through a steep inhale.

Carl shook his head. "I'm not sure I should tell you. It won't help anything."

"Carl," she chastised, stubborn.

"Fine," Carl said. "Velkan's father is..."

A loud trumpeting horn sounded from across the square. Carl ducked behind a feed trough. Anna swore and grabbed the nearest implement that could be used as a weapon.

"What's going on?" Carl asked, trying vainly not to tremble in fear.

"Bukovac," she hissed at him across the barn. "They started creeping into the village after the vampires left." She stood firmly in the door with her farm-implement poised for attack.

Carl grumbled to himself: "Bukovac. Of course. Of course it would be one of the few creatures Van Helsing has never had to face." He knew of them, but hadn't had reason to do extensive research on the creatures.

Unfortunately his current position didn't afford him the opportunity to perform some research on them now. All of his books were too far away. All he knew of them was that they strangled their victims. And they lived in or near water.

"Do you know how to kill it?" he asked Anna.

She snapped her head around to face him. "I've killed a few. Usually we run them back into the water."

Carl nodded. "Do you need me to help?"

"No. Stay here. Yell if you see someone in trouble." She stepped out of the barn, walking quietly along the outer wall.

Oh good. Because I really wasn't interested in fighting today anyway, Carl said to himself with a sigh. He kept watch through a break in the wooden boards. The Bukovac - just one - had wandered into the village and was making a hell of a lot of noise.

He could see the villagers - some taking up arms to aid in the fight, others cowering behind closed doors and peeking through windows, others still rushing children and slower villagers to safety. The men from The Order helped Anna and her group of hunters patrol the village. He was happy to stay back and watch and learn.

Several minutes later Anna and her party returned to the square. Minus a large multi-armed creature. Surprisingly, Anna wasn't yelling at any of the men from The Order. In fact, she seemed to be almost cordial with Hidalgo. So cordial that they passed the barn and continued to the castle, forgetting Carl was still there.

Well then. Carl scoffed to himself playfully. If Anna was happy, Carl could forgive being left alone in the barn post-monster hunt.

He left the barn and started for the castle in hopes of finding a bite to eat before sequestering himself in the tower or the library to do more research.

Anna and Hidalgo had dinner at the end of a long table in the dining hall. The other men had eaten earlier as a group. Hidalgo had asked Anna for a less public meal. Her first response had been a polite decline, but he pressed gently until she changed her mind.

Once she sat down and talked with him, she found she had several things in common with him - weaponry, hunting - she discovered it was easy to talk to him. They both were missing family members - her parents and a brother, him a sister and his father.

Midway through their meal, Anna remembered that she had left Carl outside in the barn. She rose from the table, nearly knocked her plate to the floor. "I am so sorry. I have to... I forgot something I need to do."

He caught her arm. "Carl's fine. He's in the library."

"Oh," she conceded and returned to her seat. "Good." She shook her head, face flushed with embarrassment. "I can't believe I left him. I don't do things like that."

"I'm sure he'll understand," Hidalgo told her.

They continued to talk through much of the night. Hidalgo walked Anna to her chambers when Mesoraco came through the dining hall insisting they retire for the night. They talked a bit more before Hidalgo bid her a 'good night' and took his leave for the room that had been converted to a guest chamber for the men of The Order.

Anna lay down on her bed, stretched out to catch whatever cool air came through the room. It was still winter outside, but she was flushed warm. The last time she had felt that way was the night she had kissed Van Helsing before he took off to fight Dracula. But that had been a different heat within her. That had been a great rush of passion. The way she had felt with Hidalgo was more intense, almost tactile. That was new. She had not had much opportunity to socialize recently and not much more when she had been growing up with her brother and father. Werewolf hunting had left little time for much else and her mother had passed away before she could teach Anna the finer points of life as a gypsy princess.

Anna found her mind focusing on her conversation with Hidalgo from earlier and his fighting tactics. That had drawn her initial attention - the smooth way he attacked and parried during the skirmish with the Bukovac. The other interesting attributes came later. Those surprised her since she had not considered any of the men who had come to her village as potential mates. There seemed to be no good reason not to consider it now.

End Part VII