Van Helsing remembers more than he should, and less than he wants.
He is only called Gabriel there, never Van Helsing; the dreams are so vivid that he sometimes doubts the veracity of the identity that the priests gave him.
This is what he was told: he was found on the steps of the cathedral one winter in a state of near-collapse, babbling incoherently in a language from across the mountains. After they nursed him to health, he recalled nothing of what he had said or done in his delirious state. It was a wonder that you survived, the cardinal had informed him - our merciful Lord must have spared you for a purpose, this is a sign that you have been chosen to be a man of God.
Signs and wonders indeed, he had muttered, but couldn't He have chosen someone else to show His mercy to?
He had been surprised when the cardinal merely smiled and commented that the mercy of the Lord endured forever.
After years of dispatching sundry demons and monsters at the behest of the Church while the Vatican denies official sanction of his exploits (especially the recent mess in Notre-Dame), he is understandably less than enthusiastic during Cardinal Jinette's briefing.
He sits up with a start when his adversary appears.
The man, though he has ceased to be such for several centuries, looks arrogantly ahead with a faintly contemptuous smile befitting the great noble he once was, his dark stare seeming to penetrate beyond the surface of the painting, and Van Helsing cannot shake the feeling that he has seen those eyes before.
The night before their departure, his sleep is unbroken for once.
The sense of familiarity grows with every hour he spends with Anna, and though he does not like to admit it to himself (and certainly never to her), an occasional unguarded movement or careless gesture will remind him of someone long-dead, and he reminds himself again that it is impossible. Even so, he watches her closely, for her own sake as much as for a glimpse of a memory.
There is no time to think of that once they have breached the castle, though the feeling of unease is strongest here; an unerring instinct leads him down the corridors as surely as he crossed them long ago, even as his revulsion grows with every unnatural thing they encounter, until he faces the most monstrous one of all.
Dracula glances unconcernedly at the silver stake protruding from his chest, greeting him as nonchalantly as he pulls the stake out and tosses it away.
" How long has it been - three, four hundred years? You don't remember, do you, Gabriel?"
"What is it I should be remembering?"
He does remember, but this creature is not Vladislaus, despite what he says: Vladislaus Valerious died four hundred years ago, and who better than he to know, for his was the hand that drove the blade home to prevent the fulfillment of Vladislaus' pact with the Devil, and he was present at the funeral to ensure that his beloved friend had been laid to rest.
He should have understood that neither of them would have been at peace thereafter.
Not for the first time, he tries to talk sense into Anna.
"But he is still my brother! How can you ask me to kill him!"
He tells her repeatedly that the man she knew and loved is now a monster, and that she must do it for his sake as well as hers, but the familiar words reverberate hollowly in the silence as she turns away and sharpens her sword by the fire, refusing to look at him.
Van Helsing stares at the ring on his finger, and tries to forget.