WARNING: Some portions of the following work of fiction contain explicit sex.
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The full disclaimer for this work of Vampire Hunter D fanfiction is
at the beginning of Chapter 1.
Author: Charlotte MacFarlane
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Forward to others: would be flattered if you did.
Always and Forever
Chapter 5 Forgiveness
Taking the stack of clothing from the dinning table, Tygra lead the small animal down the hall, and unlocking the door to Kale's quarters. Inside, he found an array of unbent coat hangers, and other tings that she'd tried to use to unlock the door. "Kale?" the wall below the panel on the inside, was slightly scorched, though the circuits to operate the door were undamaged. He found Kale standing over the sink in the bathroom, her hand, blackened with soot and red from burns, held under the cold water. "Don't do that," he said, turning off the water.
"Get away from me!" she pushed him away, rushing out of the lav, not stopping till she was in the corner she'd cowered in earlier.
"Look, I've tried to be nice, I've tried to be kind, but you are really pushing it!" He took a step forward, only to have his foot catch on Snarf, who'd curled himself around his leg, like a common house cat, purring at the contact. Tygra immediately understood what Snarf had meant by follow my lead. What could be more nonthreatening, than a cat that just wanted to be petted. Tygra picked him up and set him on the bed, giving him a scratch to reinforce the pet theory in Kale.
"I just want to leave," she said, watching the red cat thing hop off the bed and come towards her. Kale just sat down, suddenly exhausted. "I have to leave," she whispered, as the cat crawled into her lap. Kale slowly pulled her arms around Snarf, holding him close. Tygra sat down on the bed. It was working. She felt in control at least, and more at ease with Snarf. She stroked his back & scratched his ears. Snarf loved it, but also played the PET part like a pro.
"You can't leave just yet," Tygra said gently. Kale was shaking as she held onto Snarf, sometimes nearly choking him. "What happened, Kale?" he whispered, "please. I'd like to help."
Tears streamed down her cheeks, wetting Snarf's soft fur. "He wouldn't stop," she gasped softly, barely above a whisper. Slowly Tygra went to her, letting her talk. "They grabbed me, they tied me up...He.....he...Why? Why now? I was fine after, why now?"
"Maybe something in you, is ready to face it." He said, brushing her tears away. "What about this D person? Who is he?"
"I'm D's. He's mine. OH GOD!!" Tygra quickly put his arms around her. Kale couldn't push her fear or hurt aside any more. She just cried, and held onto Trygra, as she lost herself in her grief.
'Let it go,' Tygra thought. 'I'm here. I won't hurt you. I wont let anyone else hurt you either.'
She held Tygra and Snarf as tight as she dared. She had no choice. She needed someone to hold, and it was time to let this out. She'd refused to cry all those weeks after D found her. She didn't want to admit how much she was hurting. But now, she realized she couldn't hide it forever. But why couldn't this wait until D was with her again? The simple truth, she didn't want D to know. She didn't want him to see her this weak.
Kale had cried for three hours, at least, when finally she fell asleep. Tygra picked her up and carefully laid her on the bed, covering her with a blanket. She finally let Snarf go then, and Tygra was able to use his regenerator device to heal the burns on her hand.
He tucked her hand beneath the covers, and headed for the door. "No," she whispered softly. "Please. I don't know why I'm asking you this, but please. Don't leave. I don't want to be a lone."
"Ok," he pulled a chair up next to her bed. "I'll stay." Snarf hopped up and curled up to go to sleep on the foot of her bed, content to pretend to be the pet for a while longer.
"How'd you know? About the cat, and how he'd effect me?"
"Actually," Tygra was about to explain about Snarf, only the cat placed a clawed finger across its lips to say no. "Snarf was just being a nuisance. I was going to scoot him out the door when you grabbed onto him. I figured, maybe he could help in a way I couldn't, and I was right."
"Thanks, and I'm sorry. About the woman. I don't react well around pregnant women and kids."
"Why? Most women would welcome being around children."
"Well I don't, lets just leave it at that."
"Fair enough." The two remained silent after that, and soon Tygra also drifted off to sleep.
He woke later to find Kale standing at the window, looking out as the morning rain poured outside. "You'll have a stiff neck," she said, seeing him move. Boy was she right.
He rubbed the back of his neck, trying to loosen up the muscles that screamed 'Don't move!'. Kale strode over, putting Snarf on the bed, and began carefully putting relieving pressure to the muscles on Tygra's neck. At first it hurt like hell, but slowly it eased and welcomed waves of relaxed pressure spread through his neck, head and back. Kale couldn't help but smile as the Tiger began to purr. "You have amazing hands," he said gently, suddenly she stopped. "What's wrong?"
"I shouldn't be doing this." She said. "I'm sorry."
"No Kale," he took her hands in his and breathed in her scent from her wrists. "Don't ever be sorry." He gently pulled her into his lap, careful not to allow the sheet she still wore to fall off. His breath was steady, his words calm and soothing, his touch firm but gentle. "I'm not going to hurt you. Not like he did. Kale," he traced his fingers along her cheek, "I would be the happiest tiger on this planet, if you chose to leave that D person for me. I'd make sure he'd never lay a finger on you. Ever."
"Leave D?" Tygra nodded. "No. NO!! You think that D was the one who...GOD NO!!!" She pushed away from him, moving to the other side of the bed. Her shock of such a theory unbelievable. "D could never hurt me." she said, "D is everything to me, I'd die in a minute if he were gone."
"I thought," Tygra tried to sort the bits of information in his mind. Trying to take this mysterious man, D, out of the role of the monster he believed him to be. "The way you spoke and reacted. I thought D was this horrible menace who'd brutally...."
"Alright. I stand corrected, and I hope you can forgive me."
"I can, I have, it's forgotten." She took her clothes from the bed and disappeared into the lav.
"Stupid, stupid, stupid," repeated the tiger sitting down.
"It's not your fault, Tygra," whispered Snarf. "I even thought that this D character was harmful to her. He may still be."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, some people, when abused in such away for so long, may even begin to think it's normal, and can't think of their lives any other way. They could even defend those who hurt them so badly."
"Kale maybe defending D, claiming he loves her, and she him, even though he beats her?"
"You got it. It maybe all she knows, and she may be afraid of going on without him."
"How do we get her to see that?"
"We don't. She has to see that he's not good for her, herself."
Kale sat at the dinning table, slowly drinking her tea. Tygra was busy trying not to burn some eggs, when the smoke detector went off. Snarf hid under the table, cringing at the thought of his kitchen going through such horrors. Cheetara then entered with Lion-o and Panthro behind her, drawn by the sound of the alarm. "What are you doing Tygra?" Lion-o asked, choking on the smoke. Then Panthro turned a switch, and the air circulation system cleared the smoke and replaced it with fresh air.
"I was making breakfast for our guest," said Tygra proudly, waving his hand to Kale. She hadn't moved. She was still mostly in shock of her breakdown the night before, and couldn't come to terms with her behavior before that.
Cheetara tried to quietly slink away, not wanting another encounter like before. "Miss," Kale called, not looking up from her cup. Cheetara stopped and turned back to her. "I'm sorry, I wasn't myself the other day."
"I understand," said Cheetara, still waiting for her to lash out in some way.
"I'd like to suggest something that I think will help you in the mornings."
"Get up in the middle of the night, and have a sandwich, maybe two. Your body still gives energy to the baby as it grows, even at night. Because you're asleep all night, your body gets out of balance. If you have something to eat in the night, you shouldn't have the morning sickness as bad, or at all." Kale turned to look at the woman, shock written across all their faces. "I'm not saying that it is going to work, but it couldn't hurt to try it."
Panthro and Cheetara exchanged some confusing looks, but then nodded to her. "Thanks," said Cheetara, "I'll try that tonight. I usually wake up to Tygra pacing the halls anyway."
"You still having trouble sleeping Tygra?" asked Lion-o."
"Yes, though I slept fine last night, I think I'm all right now."
"Has anyone been outside?" asked Kale. "I'm wondering if my horse is here yet. D won't be far behind him."
"No one has seen anything," replied Lion-o. "Though he didn't follow the Thunder tank when we brought you back here."
"I was in a vehicle?" The group nodded. "Then Max won't come here. There's no scent to follow. He'll go to the last place I was. And unless D gets the idea that I was brought here by some vehicle, he won't even consider the tracks. Can you take me back to the meadow?"
"After breakfast," said Tygra.
"Well if that's the case, you'd better let Snarf do the cooking, you have enough trouble boiling water," said Cheetara, looking under the table. Kale was to say the least confused. Tygra trying frantically to keep Cheetara from spoiling everything. "Snarf, what are you doing under there?"
"RRRRR Cheetara, you blew it," said Snarf, crawling out from under the table, raising himself on his tail.. "I was helping Tygra."
Tygra slapped his hand to his brow. 'Why now?'
Kale shot the tiger an angry look. "Explain!!"
"It was his idea," Tygra blurted out. "He said to follow his lead to help you calm down, and I did. He then asked me to keep my mouth shut, so that you'd stay calm."
"You tricked me!!" Kale was about to throw her cup at the man, but didn't. Again, she remembered her behavior, and was ashamed. "But I understand. I'm sorry."
"Well lets just get this mess cleaned up," said the little cat thing, "I can't make breakfast in this mess."
A few hours later, Panthro, Tygra, and Kale were gathered outside. While Panthro finished some minor tweaking, as Lion-o called it, to the Thunder tank's engine, Lion-o returned from inside with Kale's weapons. "Just remember, we're on your side, ok?" they young man asked, as he handed her the crossbow.
"Sorry about that," she said, and slung the things across her back, and strapped her crossbow to her wrist. "Panthro, would I be correct in assuming you are the father to Cheetara's baby?"
"You assume correctly," Panthro called proudly from under the tank.
"And Lion-o, may I assume that you are the leader of these people?"
"Than I hate to tell you this, but you and Panthro must stay here."
"What! Rouch!!!" Panthro struck his head on the tank as he hastened to get out to confront her.
"I won't risk the life of a father to be, and I won't risk the leader of so few people. Tygra is the only logical choice. He's got medical books, and other teaching aids to help you teach someone to be a physician, and you have dozens of other people around to help you with that." She turned to the panther. "A baby needs its father, and a people need their leader. It's that simple."
"Now see here!!!"
"No Lion-o," interrupted Tygra. "She's right. My skills are replaceable. Your duties aren't."
Lion-o nodded. He hated it when Tygra was right. He hated it even more when someone outside their group pointed out something like this as well. "What kind of danger will you be expecting?"
"Hopefully, none. But if D hasn't taken care of the other problem yet, there may be something going down tonight. Just stay here. Once D and I are together, I'll send Tygra home to you. I don't want to risk him either. I only need him to get to the meadow."
"Then if you're going," said Panthro, closing the housing to the engine. "Get going. You'll get there in time to return well before supper."
"Thanks." Lion-o offered her a hand to climb into the tank, then they stood back as Tygra, rather shakily at first, steered the tank across the drawbridge, and into the forest.
The journey was quiet. Kale looking around and admiring the size of the trees, and how dense, but healthy, the forest was. Finally Tygra couldn't bare the silence any longer. "You all right?" he asked. "You look like you've never seen a tree before. Don't you have forests where you come from?"
'You mean when,' she wanted to say. For years that she lived with her father, she'd ravel back and forth from his country home to the city to work. She'd drive down roads surrounded by trees, and marveled at their beauty in the winter, with the fresh snow clinging to the branches. And then in the summer, she'd pass by a section, and all the trees would be gone. Clear-cut for a mill to use as lumber. All that remained was a giant hole where the trees once proudly stood, covered with torn up tread tracks from the machines, piles of brush and dieing leaves, stripped from the trees they had once adorned. Small stands of tiny trees, barely strong enough to survive the trauma they'd been put through, standing out in the middle of the devastation, and no one would come back to clean up the mess. Sometimes she swore she could feel the outcry of the cut trees, and she'd wonder. Why? Why leave such a mess? Why take every thing? Why not find a better, more humane way? We treat animals better than this, why not the trees?
She turned to Tygra, realizing that she'd not answered him. "Not like this," she said. "The northlands are harsh. Lots of storms. Trees grow mainly outward, thicker, wider, rather than taller. Though there are still trees that are tall, but nothing like this."
"You must be in heaven then?"
"Nearly. There is a tree up North, D and I always try to get back to it every year. It stands about 15 to 20 feet. The trunk is about 5 feet across. And the top of it just billows out like an umbrella opened up. It is just fabulous. We'd make it back there, and spend days just resting under the tree. Sometimes, not even saying a word."
'She really thinks she loves him,' he thought, "Tell me, what do you do up north?"
"I'm a hunter, of sorts. D is a hunter. A member of the Hunter's Guild. I guess you could say I'm his apprentice. Though I'll never be the kind of hunter he is."
"What do you hunt?" Tygra remembered the last time a hunter came to the land. Safari Joe was what he called himself. Though he was really just a coward, trying to make people believe he was a big man, just because he could carry a gun.
"D hunts Vampires," she said. "I hunt werewolves, and others."
"What are those?"
"I had to explain them to Willa too. Doesn't any one down here know about them?"
"How do you know Willa?"
"We've got time, we wont bee there for a few hours more, and cats have very good hearing."
So Kale sat back and told the tiger about how she and D had been traveling and found 2 of Willa's girls. Tygra listened, horrified at the events that took place before and after Willa had found them. Though his suspicions of D were still very strong.
Finally, they reached the meadow, and Tygra switched off the engine. "You know, I think you hit every pothole from here to the lair with this thing," she said jokingly, as she climbed out of the cab.
"Sorry. I don't have many opportunities to drive the tank. Panthro built it, and drives it best, and Lion-o drives it very well as well, though I prefer the more physical routes. This way." The tiger showed her where they had tried to help her the day she fought the mutants. The blood still stained the grass from where she lay, though there weren't any other marks. Even the tracks from the tank had grown over, and the ground had resettled after the rain, wiping out the tracks completely. "Will the horse come out to attack me again?"
"No, he was protecting me. He saw I was wounded, thought you a threat, and reacted accordingly. Though when I called him off, he switched thinking, and was waiting for further orders." Kale looked around, but saw no sign of D, or Max.
"So? Where is he?"
"He's here, somewhere. D doesn't like the direct sun too much. His eyes are sensitive." Kale took a deep breath and called out. "MAX. D." From across the meadow, she immediately heard a horse's cry. "This way. MAX." The horse cried again, as Kale made her way through the knee-high grass. There just over the rise, she could see Max, prancing anxiously in a circle. "Max?" the horse reared, then started pawing the ground. Kale threw her cloak around to her back, making it easier for her to run through the brush. "Something's wrong." Tygra followed. Max never came closer to them, though he did keep moving away, a few feet at a time. "He's leading us. Max, show me. Show me what's wrong!" Upon hearing this, the horse dashed across the grass, almost back to the trees, then stopped and bent his nose to the ground. Kale's heart sank. Something was in the grass. Something horrible enough to make Max stay away from her, when he would normally run right up to her. She almost didn't want to look. The grass was too tall to see what it was from where she stood. She had to go closer.
"Kale, I don't think you should," called the tiger, but just followed her anyway.
Kale stopped and looked down to where Max was intent on investigating. "Oh no. Nightmare!"
"D's horse. He's down!"
Nightmare was indeed down. The once strong, horse who carried her love beside her, and often carried them both, lay in the grass on his side, breathing slowly and harshly. His front left leg lay terribly wrong, the wires and tubing just covered in tree sticks and mud. Kale went to his neck and laid her knee near his head. "Careful," she said, as Tygra inspected the damaged limb. "In a state like this, he could forget he's a cyborg."
Tygra nodded. "How come he's breathing like this?"
"It's part of his cooling system," she checked the horse's water levels. "God, he's dry. Max, water, now!" Max stepped forward and offered the tiny tube from his neck. Kale pulled it longer and slid it between Nightmare's lips. "Max, on." Slowly, a stream of water poured from Max, and into Nightmare. At first the damaged horse struggled, wanting to get up and away from the thing that put such a cold reaction into it's mouth, but Kale's firm weight on his neck held him down. Tygra making sure he was away from the legs as they thrashed.
Finally he calmed, and went still once more. "Do you think Panthro can fix him?"
"There hasn't been a machine invented that Panthro can't fix. Though I'm worried about his shoulder. This looks like blood."
"Here, come here, and do what I'm doing. Let me take a look." Tygra and Kale switched places, and she quickly inspected the damage to the left shoulder. "No, not blood, hydraulic fluid. There must be a leak in one of the lines somewhere."
"Why is he down? Is he in pain?"
"Pain? Not sure. Though the damage sustained would register in some fashion, but he's down cause he's over heated. He can't move. Once his water levels are replaced, he should be fine."
"The tube from Max stopped."
Then Max's water reserves are empty. Max, where's D?" The great silver mained horse shook its head and neck from side to side. "Didn't he come with you?" Again Max shook his head. "He's been captured. The castle. Max, was D taken to the castle?" Max bobbed his head up and down. "Then that's were we'll find him."
"Kale, wait, we need to see to Nightmare first. Look, lets get him back to cat's lair, at least get Panthro to look at him, then while we go after D, Panthro will be able to repair the damage."
"What do you mean We?"
"If you plan to go to castle Plundar, you'll need someone who's been inside it from time to time, though not by choice. I just so happen to know a certain tiger who can help you there. And there was a battle a few days ago, that left a hole in the side of the castle. We can get in that way."
"Alright. But so help me if you get killed, I'll..."
"Don't worry. I've been through much worse. I'll get the tank closer. You get this guy on his three good legs if you can. He'll need them to get into the storage compartment. He should fit nicely."