2013-06-01: To Find A Cure


Donna_icon.jpg Nicholas_icon.jpg SophieD_icon.jpg

Summary: Sophie and Nicholas meet up with Donna to see if there's a cure for Jill's Vampirism.

Date: June 1, 2013

Log Title: To Find a Cure

Rating: PG-13

Westchester - Grind Stone

The Grind Stone is a quaint little coffee shop with tables surrounded by various shape chares and even a few couches with coffee tables. Baristas in yellow aprons are ready to take anyone's order from a latte to a hot chocolate to one of their many specialty drinks.

Early evening, and at the back of the Grindstone, a short, pale woman occupies a table near the corner, a pair of books in front of her. One, closed, with no writing or markings on the cover, the other, open and idly being paged through, its pages covered in dense, crabbed writing in German. A cup of milk tea steams gently at her elbow, and she appears to be waiting for something.

Nicholas has no clue what to expect or who to look for. After all it wasn't him who set this thing up but Sophie so for the most part he's following her lead. As soon as he enters the coffee shop, holding the door open for Sophie so he can enter after her, Nick lowers the hood of his hoodie now that he's off the street. He doesn't care that it's still in the upper seventies right now, he just wants to make sure to hide his face a bit while in public. "So…uh…you set this whole thing up, I don't know who I'm looking for or anything."

Sophie steps through the door as it's being held for her, preceeded as always by her cane, sweeping lightly across the ground before her. She appears to be much less concerned about concealing her identity; a blindfold hides her eyes, but she wears a pink t-shirt and a denim skirt; and a crucifix, hanging about her neck, dangling just over the spot where her skin is glowing. "Si," she replies. "We are looking for a woman who, according to Fiona, will be sitting as near to the back as possible. …I am sure she will notice us." She smiles pleasantly at Nicholas, before making her way further into the shop. "If she is not here yet, I suppose we should have a coffee and wait."

The pair of entrances earns a brief glance up from the woman at the back, an eyebrow rising as Sophie makes her way in. Catching Nicholas' look, she raises a hand briefly, crooking her finger. Signal given, she turns her attention back to her book, lazily turning another page.

That's not creepy, not creepy at all, Nick thinks as Donna does her one finger motion for them to join us. The hairs stand up on the back of his neck and he's questioning if this is a good idea at all. He wants to turn around and head back out the door, back to the school but the thought of Jill and a possible cure are all that keep him from doing so. "I think she's already here. Come on." Nicholas says as he leads Sophie towards the table where Donna sits. He waits for Sophie to say something since he doesn't even remember, if he was ever told, the woman's name.

Sophie doesn't know Donna's name either, as it happens. She allows herself to be led to Donna's table, and once there, pats a chair to make sure it is vacant before pulling it back from the table. "Buenas tardes Senora," she murmurs. She stands there for a moment, waiting to make sure there isn't going to be any sort of 'who are you and why are you at my table?' before slipping into the seat. She collapses her cane into itself, and clasps her hands over her lap. "This is one of my classmates," she adds. "This is of a concern to him, also."

"How lovely," Donna says, showing her teeth at Nicholas in something that could almost be sonsidered a smile, her tone saying what her words do not; a new person, unannounced and unidentified, is anything but lovely. "Then perhaps we'll begin with you, lad." Closing her book, she picks up her cup of tea and sips at it, settling back in her chair. "Who are you, and why are you here?"

Nicholas takes a deep breath, trying to hide his nerves - and failing miserably. He offers a hand as he introduces himself. "My name's Nicholas, or Nick. You can call me either. I'm here because….because of my girlfriend. She's been turned into a vampire and according to my friend Sophie here, you might be able to help us find a cure of some sorts." No use trying to sugar coat things, best to get straight to the point. Unlike Sophie though, he doesn't take a seat right away.

Sophie remains seated where she is. The tone of Donna's voice is not lost upon her, but she makes no comment on it; her expression remains in a carefully practiced, neutral state. She purses her lips, and taps her cane against her knee as she waits for Donna to satisfy herself.

"Girlfriend," the woman murmurs, pursing her lips. "….Wonderful. Well then, lad, you'd best have a seat, for what I've to say isn't yet very good. Full marks for good sense, though, in waiting to be invited before sitting down." Letting a breath out, she turns her teacup in her hands. "So then, Sophie. Have *you* done your research, or've you decided to leave it to someone who'd already told you this is well outside her expertise?"

Nicholas looks down at his feet as Donna purses her lips then takes the seat he's been offered. "If it's bad news, I can deal with it. I'm used to bad news." He looks to Sophie with a confused expression. What kind of research was Donna talking about. Nervously, Nicholas starts to play with the strings on his hoodie, balling them up in between fingers, not even realizing he's doing it.

Sophie makes no reaction to the barb pointed her way about sitting down. Afterall, she's already sitting, so there's not much point in making a fuss over it. Instead, she perks an eyebrow upwards at the question. "I have spent many hours in the libraries available to me," she replies. "Unfortunately they seem to be full of fiction and legends that, while historical, seem to have little basis in fact." She pauses, and shakes her head. "I have also reviewed my time spent as Count Dracula's prisoner, but again, ultimately we defeated him in battle; which is… not the goal in this case."

"Quite." Grudging approval laces that single word, and the book is flipped open again. "And as regards the man himself, you'll find that Mr. Stoker's tale was less smoke and mirrors than one would expect. The Count, it would seem, knows well the value of propaganda, but is possessed of… shall we say, a surfeit of hubris? The sort of thing one would expect from the single most powerful living — which term I use with all irony — vampire. It does, however, rather underscore the trouble; *many* people know how to *fight* vampires, my lad and lass. None to speak of, living or dead, seem to know how to cure them."

"I figured there was some truth in the tales since they all have the same themes. Not all of them are true probably but I figure it's a lot of reading between the lines and figuring out which myths have basis for fact, and which don't." Nicholas says and Twilight is not include in his mental list of tales. "I don't know how much Sophie told you about her condition, she's a vampire but not a full fledged one since she hasn't killed anyone."

Sophie nods once. "Si, that was my impression of him when I dined with him," she replies. "However, be that as it may… the qualities of Count Dracula, while interesting and possibly relevant, are not really the matter at hand, I would think?" She pauses, thinking for a moment. "You said 'none to speak of' know how to cure vampirism," she adds. "You did not say 'no one'."

"I see," Donna murmurs, leaning back and steepling her fingers under her mouth, peering with an appraising eye at the teens in turn. "Good ears, lass, I didn't indeed. But, that's only because I've yet to learn enough to say, definitively, that it's impossible. And if she's managed not to kill anyone, that… *would* rather change things, a bit." Chewing on the inside of her cheek, she pushes the books aside, leaning forward with her elbows on the table. "Right, then. Tell me about her. Everything that you can possibly think to be relevant, I will hear, now."

Nicholas takes a deep breath and tells what he can remember that Jill told him. "Well, apparently she's like this half vampire. She doesn't catch on fire in the sun, just burns a bit, she does need to drink blood. Um….she still has her humanity. It's like the usual vampire things only effect her a little." Nicholas tries to remember what else and he looks down at his finger and frowns. "Sorry, I'm trying to remember anything else she told me. I'm just afraid she doesn't want to be cured…."

"She is my roommate," Sophie murmurs. "She sleeps barefly four feet away from where I do. …I believe she would like to be cured, though." She tilts her head, glancing in Nick's direction. "She told me she is afraid she will be unable to get into Heaven." She turns her gaze back towards Donna. "She allowed herself to be bitten, by Count Dracula's son. She did so as part of an agreement she made with him, that she would make the sacrifice of staying and marrying his son, if he would allow the rest of us to return home. I do not know the details, but obviously it did not go as Jill planned, as we still had to fight to escape." She pauses, racking her brains for other pertinent details. "She is formerly a mutant," she adds, "And had powers concerning water. Like the rest of us while we were held prisoner, her powers were blocked by Count Draculas when she was bitten."

"I rather gathered she was a mutant," the woman says, less to Sophie than to herself. "Describe her powers, then, please? Also… If you decide to continue doing your research, things you must know; The closest thing to a cure *I've* ever heard of, goes by the Montesi formula. Do. Not. *Ever.* Look for it. It is a spell, designed to destroy every single vampire upon the planet, and quite apart from being the wrong sort of thing you're looking for, every last mention of this spell is made in the same breath as the Darkhold. And if *ever* I find either of you, or *any* of you lot so much as breathing in the direction of the Darkhold, I'll have your guts for afters, and keep you alive just long enough to make sure people who *really* wouldn't like it find you. And if *you* hear any further mention of it from anyone, I'll expect you to do the same to them."

Nicholas looks at Sophie frowning. "I don't know Sophie, I really don't. Have you asked her?" He sounds a bit irritated. "It wasn't water, she was like…more like goo. She was malleable, able to change her form." Donna launching into the whole thing about Darkhold just causes Nicholas to nod. He has to swallow to before answering. "No ma'am, I'm not looking to look into any of that sort of stuff, I just wanted to know if something was possible. But you asked about her powers, she was blue and, well, goo like liquid. She could change shape, like I said before. I just….I don't want to lose her. I don't care if she is this half vampire as long as she doesn't lose her humanity, that's what matters most."

"I have not directly asked her, as I do not wish to give vaporous and elusive hope," Sophie replies, "I prefer to wait until I can offer something solid. But I speak with her all the time, Nick, and I am satisfied that she is not happy with her situation." She nods once, and sits up a little straighter during Donna's firm instructions about the Montesi Formula. "I have no interest in staining my soul with evil magic, nor in visiting the sort of place it sounds like the Darkhold is" she asserts. "If ever I hear of anyone seeking such a thing, I will tell your student, so she may alert you, and you may deal with it appropriately."

"Yes, well," Donna says, pulling the conversation away from the argument, "*be that as it may.* Your Jill has been incredibly brave, and doubly lucky. But whether or not she takes a life, or ever *wants* to, corruption of any sort is a good deal more… insidious. It's a tightrope few can walk forever. For now, it's an impulse. Why not? Why *not* slap this craven bastard mouthing off to me? Why *not* just hit a little harder than I'd intend? Why not simply sneak into an alley, and take a chunk out of the odd mugger or rapist? Why not take *more?*" Looking back and forth between the teens, the pale woman seems to grow a touch weary, in the lines of her face, and she settles back. "The the greatest triumph of all that is best in humanity can be summed up in 'Why?' So, the worst, in 'Why not?'"

"Well I did ask her." Nicholas says but he doesn't say what Jill's answer was, he figures it was probably obvious from what he says. "Because she's a good person." Nick answers Donna in an ever so quiet voice. "Because I trust her. But you're right, I know she won't be able to hold off forever. I…I don't want to lose her too."

Sophie sighs heavily. "Then no matter how you look at it," she observes, "A cure is required, and the right thing to do besides." She rests her hands on the table in front of her, and collects her thoughts for a moment. "Thus far we have spoken only of what will not help, and what not to look for. You have my assurance I will never visit the Darkhold unless I am dragged there against my will. The next question, I think, is simply… what *should* we do?"

"A good question," Donna says, shaking her head. "But, I'm afraid I've not the faintest idea. Yet. But…. hmn." The woman looks down, brow furrowing deeply. "…You say she was, in effect, a shapeshifter. And not a terribly cohesive one, at that… I don't suppose there're any bits of her lying about, then, from before?"

Nicholas really isn't sure if it is the right thing to do, especially if he wants to respect his girlfriend's issues. "No….I don't think there…wait. Yes, when she got taken by Dracula her hand, she lost her hand and it was brought back to the school. I don't know where they're keeping it or if they still have it but there was a hand at one point."

Both of Sophie's eyebrows rise sharply. "Her *hand?!*" She breathes out audibly, and leans back a bit from the table. "I did not know that had happened. I *am* glad she has not… suffered any lasting injury." She bites her bottom lip, and reaches up absent-mindedly to touch her crucifix. "Well. Assuming the school still has it, how would that be of help to us?"

"To you, little at all," the pale woman says, tapping her fingers together in a rapid, wavelike pattern. "To me… I haven't the least idea. But. At least I know what I *can* do." Looking up, she raises an eyebrow. "And while I don't much *like* wandering into someone else's territory… I'll have to see what I can do about paying a call on your headmistress. I'd imagine if anyone's going to know if the hand was kept, it'll be her.

Nicholas wishes he ordered a hot chocolate or even a tea, which he rarely drinks, before he sat down, just something that he could keep himself distracted with so it didn't feel like he was so on edge. "Thank you, for doing what you can. I know it might be nothing in the end but I'm at least grateful that you listened to us. If you want to meet Jill, get more of an idea on what happened and what kind of person she is….we could try to arrange it. That's if, it would help at all."

Sophie inclines her chin, and thinks for a moment, befopre nodding her head. "Si," she agrees. "Anything we may do to assist in helping Jill, we will be happy to do, I am sure." She pauses, and toys idly with her cane, tapping it against the backs of her knuckles. "For that matter, *is* there anything else, at the moment, that we might be doing that would help?"

"Keep her human," the woman says quietly. "Corruption only spreads as quickly as it's allowed to, and barren soil keeps the spread slow. If you see her trying to decide on a course of action… keep her out of the darkness. It may not sound like much… But a good friend, a real love… These are the horseshoe nails that keep the kingdom from falling."

"I'm trying." Nicholas says in almost a whisper before looking up at Donna. "I've been trying, and I'll keep on doing what I can." He's scared that he's going to lose another person that's important again, terrified of the fact, and the fear is in his voice and on his face. "It's been about a year and she still hasn't given in, I'll trust her and I'll make sure that I'm there for her."

"I do this every day," Sophie murmurs. "I do not think it will be difficult to continue; and Jill is a very courageous young woman. I do not think she will fall easily." The blind girl smiles softly, and reaches up to tap her crucifix once more. "I am sure we will all do everything we can."

Donna points at Nicholas, for all that the gesture is lost on Sophie. "Faith is all well and good, lass, but this boy is willing to fight to the last. *That* is what will do more to keep her in the light than anything else. And you *remember* that, lad. I can almost *see* your guts clenching for fear of losing her. Fear is nothing more than spurs put to your brain; if you know where to go, it'll keep you going. Don't let your terror make you stop, lad. You keep going, and you keep fighting with everything you have, both of you. Call it a bit of free advice."

Nicholas nods to Donna, afraid that if he says something he might lose it. He keeps having to remind himself that this is a step in the right direction, that Jill isn't going anywhere, he has to keep the threat of a panic attack at bay. Eventually he does meet Donna's gaze and says "Thank you, for all your help….I'm sorry Ma'am I don't believe I know your name."

'And you're not about to find out, either', is the thought that immediately passes through Sophie's mind, but not what she comments on. "Just becaue I am calm and quiet, do not think that I am not also prepared to fight to the last for the people around me," she murmurs. "I do will not stop when it becomes hard, or the road seems long." She pauses, and blushes softly. "Also, please forgive my sitting before it was polite. I hurt my knee training earlier today; walking here was increasingly painful, and I… I needed to sit." She pauses, and pulls her cane out to its full length. "We shall wait to hear from your apprentice again, then?"

"But," Donna replies, tilting her head. "D'you think *they* know it, lass?" Shaking her head, she plucks a pair of tiles from nowhere n particular; blank Scrabble tiles, it seems, carved and inlaid with red paint, in the shape of a strange, angular letter-like symbol. Tossing one across the table to land in front of each, she settles back in her chair. "If you learn more," she says, "and *absolutely must* get a hold of me… break those, and I'll be there as soon as I can. Only the once, though… I'm not a surgeon on call, and I've quite enough on my plate as it is, between my apprentice and my research. I'll see to it you're notified, once I've met with your Headmistress, and let you know what's come of it." Stowing her gear away, she slips out of her seat with a muffled jingle of heavy steel chains from her waist, and rests a cool hand on Nicholas' shoulder. "No, lad," she says gently, taking the sting out of the words with a tired, small smile, "you don't." And with that, she heads for the

And with that, she heads for the exit, tossing a crumpled-up five into the tip jar as she passes the counter on her way.

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