"It's quite small, but it’s all we have. I hope that's not a problem."
Abraham stepped through the door into the small room Jonathan had led him too. Crates and papers cluttered the corner haphazardly, for which Jonathan had profusely apologised and assured him they'd move them out of the room. There was a small bed, wardrobe and dresser, and a little thin window casting the receding moonlight onto the sheets.
"It's no problem at all, Mr. Harker."
Jonathan laughed. "I think you'll well more than qualified to call me Jonathan. We are friends, after all, aren't we?"
The sweet boy actually sounded worried as he asked that question. Abraham just wasn't used to having... friends. But that's what they'd all become, wasn't it? Jonathan and Mina and Arthur and Jack... and Quincey. He'd never stayed so long in one place in many years, not since before Roseanne's death, and yet here he'd been in London for months. Yes, he had found Dracula at last, that cursed Nosferatu, and staying with this group who were learning so much and were unfortunate targets was his best shot at killing the beast! That was why he'd come here!
But... why did he so badly want to stay? The monster had been vanquished, staked through the heart and body set ablaze to be doubly certain. He was sort of in shock that it was all over. How many years had he spent with this as his one goal, the one and only thing that drove him to keep living... And now it was gone.
He'd felt almost as though he was in a dream as he exited that horrendous castle, sweat trailing down his skin as the flames jumped to lick it up. Once inside the carriage he couldn't stop fidgeting, scratching the back of his hands, nowhere to put this excess energy now. All he could think about was what he would do now. There were no doubt more vampires out there, but he had no idea how to get a start on finding them. Everything he'd been researching and hunting had all stemmed out of Dracula. He'd found as many of those turned by him as he could and killed them all. The three brides would be burning away in the castle, he'd seen them try to prize their coffins open, forced closed by the stone pillar that had collapsed on top of them. He could feel the soot sticking to his clothes and his clothes to the seat as his mind spiralled.
And then Mina had held out her hand and asked him to sit with her and Jonathan.
And she's said his name so softly and sweetly. Not 'Professor' or 'Doctor' or 'Van Helsing'... She'd called him Abraham. She'd said it in a voice so kind it had snapped him out of his searing thoughts and reminded him of a time when his life was simpler.
He'd met her at Lucy's funeral, the poor girl taken too young by that creature. She'd been beautiful, even dressed in black and tears. He's kissed her hand, he wasn't fully sure why. He'd felt compelled to. Perhaps that was how Dracula had felt when he'd first seen.
But Abraham had gotten to know the woman under the beauty and she was by far the most intelligent person he'd met in a long time. The others were well meaning, but foolish and brash and while some may have had the knowledge gained from books and studies, Mina had that alongside logical thinking and good honest common sense.
She'd put so much trust in him. Spending time with him as he came by every few days to check on Jonathan's health and to see how well he was healing from the bite he'd sustained back in Transylvania. They could spend hours talking about books and she'd ask about Abraham's time as a university professor, confessing she'd always wished she could go. He'd said he'd be more than happy, honoured, to teach her about anything she wanted to know.
He should have seen the warning signs. By the time he realised he was falling in love with her, he was already in too deep.
He wouldn't tell her, he couldn't. She and Jonathan made the purest couple, so utterly in love, and he couldn't ruin. He couldn't do that to her, play with her heart, especially after she'd just had another man to the same (though, granted, Abraham was never going to and could never control her mind into giving into him against her will).
And he liked Jonathan. That had surprised him a little. From how Jack spoke of him he'd made Jonathan sound like a lovesick puppy, loyal and devoted to Mina, but not incredibly bright. He may have been correct that Jonathan didn't have the keenest of minds, but he no doubt made up for that with his nature. He had more than once sat in rapt attention as Abraham caught himself up in rambling about his journeys and research. Once he'd caught himself, he's apologise, certain that Jonathan would be bored and tired of him, but Jonathan had only looked at him with almost awed eyes, telling him to continue.
Once he'd caught his hands lingering on Jonathan's neck as he inspected how the bite mark was healing, thumb brushing against his skin so lightly that Jonathan shivered and he'd looked up and it was as if he was suddenly noticing for the first time how the light shone of Jonathan's hair as it fell in waves against his face... how piercing his pale blue eyes were...
Too many times his lips had lingered on Mina's skin after he kissed her hand.
"I'll leave you to unpack your things then, you're free to come and find me if you need anything. And once Mina is awake I'm sure she'd love to talk to you," Jonathan shuffled against the door frame.
Abraham hadn't been aware that he'd just been lost in thought this entire time as Jonathan stayed stood there. He turned and looked at Jonathan, yet Jonathan was the one who looked sheepish, as if he thought he should have left but had remained stood, staring at Abraham.
"Yes... I'll be needing to see how Mina is anyway once she wakes... Thank you," The last two words rushed out of his mouth as Jonathan turned to leave. "...Jonathan."
Jonathan turned a fraction and smiled at him, nodding his head, before departing further into the house, no doubt to sit by Mina's bedside.
He needed the rest to, though Abraham doubted he would get it. It still hadn't been that long since he'd been almost drained of his blood and sent into a temporary delirium and while Abraham was impressed with how well he was healing, he worried that Jonathan was acting better than he was at times for everyone's sake. Because he didn't want any to worry about him. Perhaps he didn't think he was worth anybody worrying about him. Perhaps Abraham was just projecting.
He sighed. He doubted it any of them would get any sleep. The three of them had been borderline comatose during the carriage ride back, and then once again promptly passed out once they'd gotten on the train. The walk back to the house from the station was short but they'd all been so sluggish, tired and drained, that it was a miracle they hadn't all collapsed into a puddle on the cobblestones.
And then there would be the nightmares. He'd dealt with them for so many years that they barely bothered him now, they were simply normal. That should probably have been concerning but... He was just tired.
He wondered what he should do if Jonathan or Mina, or both of them, awoke in the night, crying and shaking and sweating. They'd have each other, of course... But if they were both in a state, and Abraham was fairly confident in believing neither had dealt with such terrible, plaguing dreams since before their encounters with the Count, then they may not be able to calm themselves down at all.
Was it acceptable to go to them? He should have asked Jonathan. But, asking someone if you could enter their room where they slept with their wife in the middle of the night... He didn't want Jonathan thinking that the question meant anything untoward.
He tried to push the thought from his mind as he focused on unpacking his supplies and medicines, setting the ones he used the most on top of the dresser and leaving the rest in the bag. He traveled fairly lightly, only his medical supplies, hunting supplies and one other change of clothes. He felt out of place wearing his well-worn coat and boots around the others who dressed so smartly. Maybe he should buy some new ones.
The bed was only small, but was softer than most places Abraham had gotten used to sleeping in as of late. It was certainly better than mouldy mattresses in run down inns, or hay bales in the back of a farmhouse with a leaky ceiling. He slept where he could, and there wasn't always a nice warm house in the middle of the European countryside. Much less one willing to take him in for the night. Especially when he couldn't contain himself and started asking questions about missing people or mysterious neck injuries and fatigues.
Jonathan had given him one of his nightshirts, and Abraham was thankful they were normally made to be baggy as while Jonathan and he were practically the same height (perhaps Jonathan was an inch shorter than he) Jonathan was a lot thinner than he was.
He slipped under the covers and willed his body to let go of any tension and sink into the mattress. He tried focusing his thoughts on nothing, and then focusing on what treatments Mina might need, and then eventually turned to prayer.
His muscles were rigid against the soft cottons, unable to move on from what had transpired. Unable to stop thinking about how Jonathan and Mina were. Unable to stop thinking about what would happen with the rest of his life now.
At least he was giving his body rest, even if his mind couldn't. That was the reasoning he used to keep himself in the bed and not grabbing a book or reorganising his medicine and herbs for the hundredth time.
Time passed in such a blur and everything was so dark that he couldn't be sure if he'd fallen into any state of sleep when he started hearing noises.
It was so quiet in the house he could hear even the slightest sound. From down the hall there was rustling, and then a banging sound, like wood against a wall. Then the sobs and the screams started.
Abraham sat up. He couldn't tell if one of them was having a nightmare, or both, and he was fighting the urge to rush over there and help them. He couldn't help it, it was in his nature. But he couldn't just barge into another person's room, a married couple’s room where they'd be sleeping together, just because there were having a bad dream. Even if it was much worse than just a bad dream.
He shot of the mattress and paced the room, walking back and forth and back and forth, before grabbing his trouser and pulling them on, shoving the nightshirt inside the waistband with shaking hands.
He had to go in there! And yet he felt he couldn't. His thoughts were in turmoil. Surely once they awoke they'd eventually wonder if they'd woken Abraham up, or if he'd heard everything. Would they be more angry at him for leaving them to suffer than barging in uninvited?
A banging against a wall made him jump and he turned as he heard footsteps coming down the hall and he raced over and opened the door.
Mina clutched a hand to her chest as her hand was frozen in the air, seemingly about to knock on his door.
"I... I'm sorry, I didn't... I don't know what to do. I wasn't sure if you were awake, and I know it's late and I know you agreed to be our doctor, not our psychiatrist, but Abraham I don't... I don't know what I should do."
Her eyes were wide, pupils almost glowing from the light of the candle she held in her hand. Her hair was down around her shoulders, loose and lost, and cheeks were wet and sore.
There were still noises coming from their bedroom.
"Please, I don't know how to help him," Mina begged.
Abraham's brain lit up and he moved on instinct. He scooped a handful of items of the dresser and dumped them into his bag. Holding Mina's wrist, he pointed for her to lead him into the bedroom.
The sheets were half thrown of the bed, the other half twisting and coiling like vines around Jonathan's feverish body. The weight of his turning and thrashing was causing the bed to rock against the floor, the headboard slamming into the wall.
Abraham tried to pick at the bedding and untangle Jonathan the best he could, but with all his trashing Abraham gave up on that plan and used his strength to turn Jonathan onto his back and pin him to the bed by his shoulders.
"Did you try to wake him?" He turned to look at Mina over his shoulder as she moved across the room, placing the candle by the bedside.
"I don't want to hurt him... Isn't it worse if you wake someone up?"
"Well, while he may wake in a smoother manner, I find it preferable to be out of such hellscapes as quickly as possible," He had hoped the fight would be forced to leave Jonathan as he struggled against him, but he was still sleeping.
Mina crawled onto the bed, her hands going to Jonathan's hair. "Jonathan, it's alright. Please wake up."
"Forgive me," Abraham said to them both as he slid his hand over Jonathan's mouth.
"What are you doing?" Mina clearly had a lot of trust for him, not even raising her voice as Abraham essentially suffocated her husband. She trusted he knew what he was doing. She trusted he wouldn't hurt them.
In less than twenty seconds Jonathan's eyes flew open and Abraham pulled his hand from his mouth, pulling Jonathan up into a sitting position as he coughed and spluttered. One of his hands found it's way to Jonathan's hair as Mina ran one up and down his shivering spine and the other over his hands.
"It's alright, now," Abraham murmured. "You're safe. We're safe. We're back in London, we're back at your home. Mina's here. The monster is gone. He can't get to you ever again. He can't get to Mina. You're safe now, Jonathan."
It was easier than he had thought, to comfort him. Abraham might be cold and hard and honest with his facts, but he always did his best to comfort anyone affected by the vampires deeds. He wanted to be able to give them some help, in a way the help he wished he'd received.
As Jonathan's breathing started to calm down, so did Abraham's adrenaline and he started to take note of the situation. He'd pulled Jonathan forwards without moving much out of the way, meaning that, essentially, Jonathan was sat in his lap. he was leaning into Abraham, body seeking some heat on instinct most likely, and one of his hands was balled up into a fist around Abraham's nightshirt.
"Thank you," Mina whispered to him, placing a hand on his arm.
Abraham nodded and noted again the puffiness under her yes. She seemed to notice his questioning gaze.
"I didn't have the most pleasant dreams either... His voice was just... Surrounding me again, as he pulled me in a trance through the mist..." Her eyes seemed to wander somewhere for a moment. "But it was just a dream." She pulled herself closer to them, turning her voice to Jonathan. "It was just a dream."
They stayed like that until Jonathan's started to properly calm down, his legs uncurling from his chest and his grip on Abraham's shirt loosening. Abraham took the opportunity to reach for his bag on the floor, rummaging around and pulling out a couple of sprigs of lavender, telling Mina to place one in each of the pillow cases, which she did, unquestioningly.
"Would you stay?" Jonathan said in such a quiet voice that Abraham thought he must have imagined it, if not for his stunned silence causing Jonathan to tense up and pull away. "No, I'm sorry, this isn't what you agreed to, and I'm not a child... I don't know why I said that, I-"
"Because you're vulnerable right now, love. We all are," Mina's voice soothed over him like a lullaby. "Don't feel like you have to stay out of guilt. He'd only ask you that if he cared about you, and I have to agree that we feel safer having you close to us."
"I..." Abraham's mouth felt dry. "I can pull up a chair and stay by your bedside and wake you again if the nightmares return."
Jonathan's face twisted in embarrassment. Was that not what they were suggesting? Good lord, they couldn't have been suggesting...?!
He was frozen in shock as Mina plucked Jonathan from his lap, pushing him to lie back down on the bed. Abraham stood as she tugged on the sheets, freeing them from under himself so she could lay the covers over Jonathan and pulled herself against his back.
He felt like an idiot just standing there.
"Abraham," She said, eyes already drooping. "You can either leave, or you can lie down."
He knew what he wanted. And how he shouldn't want it that badly. It was too tempting. They were too tempting and he didn't understand what was happening or why he found them so tempting and tempting him into what? He didn't understand.
Mina seemed to sigh, as if disappointed by him not moving, and lent backwards to snuff out the candle.
In the darkness all Abraham could here was their breathing. He wasn't sure he was currently capable of breathing at the moment.
He looked back to where the door probably was, eyes not yet adjusted to the complete darkness.
He should go back to his room. If they awoke in the night then at least he knew now he was allowed to go in. They wanted him to go in.
They wanted him to get in bed with them.
It was insane, ludicrous! But also, it shouldn't be. They were all friends, were they not? They were simply sharing a bed. Friends sharing a bed wasn't unusual so why was it causing Abraham's heart to pound against his rib-cage.
He walked over to the bedroom door.
And closed it.
Sleep found him eventually, with Mina's small hand reaching over Jonathan and towards him, and Jonathan's breath on the side of his face.