There was so much blood.
It seeped out of her would-be lover, rushing and running and ruining her skirts as it dyed the fabric an even darker, terrible red.
He looked up at her and smiled. He, Dracula, lord of her dreams and nightmares, smiled at her ever still as he slipped from his un-death into something beyond.
What had she done? He had look at her and smiled and begged for her to kill him, to save her, to save himself. Because he loved her, he had said he loved her, he had wanted to die rather than give into his nature and turn her or watch her grow old and wither away.
And she wept. She wept and wept and her tears split down her cheeks and landed on his cold face and her hands shook as she forced them to unclench from around the stake in his heart.
There was no last gasp of breath or fluttering of eyelids. He was as dead as he had ever been, but whatever remnants of a soul of personality were forever gone now.
The blood stopped pooling.
Mina blinked and her eyes refocused and she gasped and surged backwards, sliding on the floor, sickly and sticky with blood. Her tears froze like ice on her cheeks.
She felt as though she'd just woken up from a terrible dream, as if all these past months she'd been sleepwalking. His voice had called to her over and over and she'd told him no but he couldn't accept it. He hadn't accepted it. Her mind was not her own as she opened the windows to the balcony and invited him in. It had not been her own since he had arrived in London. He'd taken her and put his hands on her and stolen her blood and her time and her love. He's stolen her control of her mind and her body. She did not love him. Had she ever?
White light, pure and blinding, shone through the window behind her, dancing along her dress, gleaming on the red satin and redder stains. Gleaming as if it was finally safe to come out now the monster was gone.
She struggled to find her breath, hands clutching at her clothes, trying not to dirty them any more than they already were. She pressed a shaking hand to her temple as it throbbed. She felt like throwing up. She felt like pushing the stake through herself. She felt like-
"Mina?" A soft voice broke through the darkness of her swirling mind.
He was there, he had come, and what astounded her most was the lack of hatred or betrayal in his eyes. Those beautiful eyes had no malice for her, only concern.
"Jonathan," She breathed out. Then sobbed. And then sobbed again and tried to drag herself across the floor to him.
He bent down caught her by the waist, pulling her up and into his arms. She clutched at him so tightly she was sure it must be painful for him, but he held her just as tight and didn't let go. Her knees buckled as her feet touched the ground and Jonathan lent backwards, feeling through her skirts for the backs of her thighs, and pushed her up and she wrapped her legs around his waist. He was strong enough for a man that the others didn't tease him, but hardly strong or muscular. But he held her up, arms starting to strain, for as long as she needed. He's always be there, wouldn't he? For as long as she needed him.
Her breathing started to calm down eventually, it had to, lest she fall dead herself. Jonathan's hands were steady on her wrists as her feet tentatively touched the floor.
"I... He asked me to... Jonathan, I killed him. I killed someone..." Her voice shook as she searched for any trace of disgust in his eyes. And she found none.
"What you killed wasn't a person, dear Madam," Another voice murmured out of the dark.
Mina clutched at Jonathan's shoulders as she peered over them. Abraham was stood not but a few paces behind Jonathan, gaze fixated on the dead best on the floor.
"What you did... It was no different than killing a wolf or a bear that is trying to attack you. For that is what he was doing, and what he would have done to all of us," His eyes were drawn back to Mina and they were always so full of so many emotions she often felt overwhelmed looking into them.
Overwhelmed and sympathetic.
He crossed the short distance between them and placed on of his hands over hers. Jonathan's own hand was but a breath from them, still wrapped around Mina's wrist. Abraham stroked a thumb over the back of her knuckles and she pulled her hand out of Jonathan's group and thought about how often Abraham kissed the back of her hand and oh how she wanted him to do it again and tell her she was going to be alright. She had the sudden notion that she wished to be held between the both of them, the only two who had always stuck by her, never thought she was going mad or didn't know her place.
Abraham's hand has hers all to itself and he hesitated, looking at her watery eyes, before bending down and raising her hand to his lips. "What you did... had saved us all. If anything, I am in your debt."
Mina felt the urge to laugh and scoff around her tears. "If anything, I feel I have repaid you, for all you have done for the both of us."
He had done his best to save Lucy, her dear sweet Lucy. It had taken time for her to accept that the vampire they had killed was hardly Lucy anymore, but she was glad Abraham had done it. That thing hadn't been Lucy. That wasn't how Lucy wanted to live. Crawling around the streets in her bloodstained gown, stealing poor little children from their mothers, taking them and biting them and killing them! No. That hadn't been Lucy at all.
And that's what he would have had her become, wasn't it? For all his talk, he was the one who had done that to Lucy. He's stolen her away. The call she'd answered, the call that was meant for Mina... what manipulative nonsense. If he'd only wanted Mina to answer then why had he allowed Lucy into his arms? He'd not only fed from her, but he'd turned her into a vampire as well.
Was that proof he'd loved Mina more then? Because he had, in the end, been unable to bring himself to turn her.
So Lucy's life had been some little pawn to him. Some little toy for him to play with and then throw away once he upgraded to Mina. And now Lucy's body was lifeless and defiled, her white burial gown forever red. And Quincy, oh god now Quincy too. After everything the boys went through with Lucy, they never fought or got jealous, they'd all just remained good friends. It was hard to find men like that. He'd been so loyal and such a good friend to her, and now he was cold and alone, lying on the stone steps that lead into this wretched place.
"We must get her out of here," Abraham said to Jonathan but his voice felt far away.
Jonathan said something in agreement but she couldn't make out the words. Colours swirled and danced and when they cleared, in what could only have been minutes later at most. She was now sat on the ground, her back pressed against a wall.
Jonathan and Abraham were both knelt by her sides. They seemed to notice she'd come back to herself and Jonathan grabbed her hand.
"You're going to be alright, darling," It wasn't a question, but Mina could feel how Jonathan wanted to turn to Abraham to confirm this.
"You were already weak from him having fed of you those weeks ago, that recovery will take time, just as Jonathan's has. I can only imagine that the reason you were so able to stand on your feet just then was because of his power over you. Now that it is gone..." Abraham trailed off, his eyes lost in some memory. "Let me say that... I know that you can recover from being under his spell. It will take time, but you will heal."
"We all will," Jonathan squeezed her hand.
She wanted to ask Abraham so many questions. How could he know that? Was that what happened to Roseanne? Or, perhaps...?
"What do we do about...?" Jonathan glanced over to where Dracula's body was laying.
"We burn it. Just to be certain."
Jonathan shuffled on his knees, ready to put an arm under Mina to help her up, but she reached out with her other hand and held onto Abraham.
She looked between the both of them.
Her Jonathan, sweet and young and beloved above all things. They'd made it through everything, somehow. They'd been strong and stuck by each other and she loved him even more for it, not that she'd thought she could have been any more in love with him than she already was.
And Abraham, this new friend. The months he had spent taking care of them all, of Lucy and Jonathan and her... She saw the pain in his eyes when he spoke of Roseanne and Dracula and she could only assume from what Renfield has said, that Dracula has killed her. Sometimes his mind would slip when he was talking and he revealed more than he had planned to. Mina had gotten the feeling that Dracula hadn't just been after Roseanne. It wasn't unlikely, after all he'd said he wanted both her and Jonathan. They matched each other in wits and loved that he look her no less seriously for being a woman. He saw her intelligence and he matched it with joy.
But sometimes... sometimes she thought he watched her. Sometimes she had thought about how his hands had lingered on her shoulders when he had wrapped her cloak around her before they had gone to the hospital. She felt cruel and wicked. She loved Jonathan, and she had been forced into pretending to love Dracula, and now there were these feelings bubbling up when she was around Abraham.
Was there something wrong with her?
She thought about Lucy and how she'd delighted in all three of her boys and how they all were delighted with her. She'd never quite understood it, but Lucy was happy and so were they. And they had seemed to make it work. And she would be lying if she said she hadn't been aware of the feelings she'd had for Lucy, feelings one has for someone more than just a friend.
"I cannot help that I love falling in love," Lucy had said to her once. "What punishment could there possibly be for sharing my heart with more than one person, when they so ardently share their own with me in return? None of us are deceiving each other." She'd worried her teeth into her lip then and Mina had assured her that she didn't think it was wrong at all, she just didn't think it was for her. She loved Jonathan and Jonathan loved her, and she didn't think Jonathan wanted to or was capable of loving anyone else...
But he had told her in the middle of the night once, how he had leaned back into Dracula's embrace. He'd been wracked with guilty, shoulders shaking violently and tears spilling out of his bright eyes and she couldn't have been angry with him. How could she be angry with him for being allured by him when she had done the very same?
Somehow, as she'd been thoroughly lost in her thoughts, Jonathan had led her out of the castle and back to where their carriage waited for them. Jack and Arthur seemed to have salvaged one of the coffins from the castle and had sat it atop the carriage. She could only imagine that Quincy was inside.
Jonathan ushered her inside, as the two boys climbed onto the front, and she didn't miss how Arthur's hand was coiled up in Jack's coat.
The inside of the carriage almost felt foreign to her now, her mind full of old stone and broken wood. Jonathan slid himself into the end of the seat and pulled Mina into his lap.
She felt like she could have fallen asleep, but jumped as the door swung open and Abraham hauled himself in, almost falling into the seat opposite them and hitting the ceiling twice to signal the boys to start moving the horses.
As the carriage pulled away further and further, Mina started to make out an orange glow in the distance. Flames licking at the sky.
Abraham's leg was bouncing up and down and he scratched at the back of his hands, a nervous habit she'd caught him doing often.
"Abraham," She murmured and he gazed up at her as though she was the most wondrous thing he'd ever seen.
She'd noticed that no one called him by his first name, though he gave it out freely. It was always 'Van Helsing' or 'Professor' or 'Doctor'. She'd called him all those things as well, but sometimes when he seemed saddened, more saddened than usual, she would call him by his first name and watch his heart clench.
She held out a hand to him.
He looked between her and Jonathan, almost starting to hover in his seat.
Jonathan let out a soft, quiet chuckle and slid Mina around in his lap so that her back was against the side wall of the carriage.
"Mina's right, you should come over here," And it was Jonathan's turn to be revelled at as Abraham's gaze turned. "I may not understand everything that went on and is going to continue to go on. But, we've all been through it together. I think that's something. Come here, we're not going to hurt you," He jested, trying to get a smile out of Abraham.
Mina thought about what Jonathan had said as Abraham shuffled over and sat on the bench with them. She wondered how much Jonathan liked Abraham as she lifted up her legs and planted her feet in Abraham's lap. Tucking her head under Jonathan's chin she reached out a hand, which Abraham took fervently and pulled so Abraham had no choice but to slide along until he was tucked into Jonathan's side. Jonathan hummed and squirmed as he pulled his arm out from between him and Abraham and placed it over their Mina and Abraham's joint hands.
"You should both try and sleep. You've had a tougher time of it than I have."
"Nonsense," Abraham said. "I think the carriage will keep moving whether we're awake or not."
"Hm, while that's true, I do have the feeling, dear Professor, that if Mina and I fall asleep first that you then won't fall asleep at all."
Abraham looked away and Mina wanted to laugh at how he looked like a child caught fishing his hand in the biscuit jar.
It didn't matter what any of them said, they had no say in how sleep crept into their bones.
"Would..." Abraham started, causing them to stir. "I'd like to be able to monitor your health, just as I did with Jonathan, to make sure you are getting better... Would that be alright?"
"Of course," Mina hadn't even thought that tonight could have been the last time she would see him. "You can stay with us, can't he Jonathan?"
It was cruel to ask that of him, but seeing how they looked nestled side by side just made her want to keep them both in her arms and not let them go.
"Of course," Jonathan stroked her hair. "We'd be glad to have you."
They would have been stirring and perhaps screaming in their sleep had it not been for how utterly exhausted they all were.
Mina could feel Jonathan fighting to keep his eyes open, trying to stay true to his word that he wanted to wait until she and Abraham were both asleep.
In the she couldn't say who fell asleep first, she wasn't sure any of them could. In the end sleep overtook them all, all the same.