WARNING: Some portions of the following work of fiction contain explicit sex. If you are under 18 (or whatever age is appropriate for your location), HIT YOUR BACK BROWSER BUTTON NOW. If you find explicit sex offensive, please don't offend yourself by reading further.

The full disclaimer for this work of Vampire Hunter D fanfiction is at the beginning of Chapter 1.

Author: Charlotte MacFarlane
Email: duckey@ns.sympatico.ca
Feedback: Please, yes, lots.
Forward to others: would be flattered if you did.

Always and Forever

Chapter 8 The Journey Home

"Kale, can you hear me?" His voice was sweet, soft, with the love that woke her each morning. But she wasn't sleeping. What happened? Why was she here? Where was she? She was last cooking a stew with Maida. Wasn't she?

"Kale can you feel this?" asked another voice, though she paid it no mind.

"Go on," said D. Tygra swiftly removed the blade from her hand, and began examining the wound.

"She's lucky," said Tygra. "She missed all the nerves, tendons, and major blood vassals. She's very lucky. What in Jaga's name happened in there?"

"I....was cooking...." Kale whispered. "...with Mina....it was cooking....we were talking........then the door opened..." tears began to fall from her eyes as she remembered the night they took her. ".....the windows were broken in........you stew went all over the floor...........they stabbed Mina's father....... then.......then, oh god D. How could I forget something like that? What kind of a person am I?"

"It's alright Kale," soothed D, kissing her brow, "It's over now."

Tygra finished stitching her hand. 'Wish I were the one to comfort her. Where did that come from?' he asked himself, 'oh this is just too strange. She's happy. D is everything she said he was. They belong together. What right do I have to tear them apart.' "Ok, now hold still. I'm going to get the regenerator." 'I've got to stop this. I've got to keep trying to be the one in her life. Why am I still doing it? Because of Willa, that's why. She dumped me faster than a hot coal from a fire. Then to rub it in, she takes up with Lion-o. Why can't I find someone?' "Here we go, now hold still." Kale had no problem with that. She was just too stunned to do anything, D held onto her, letting her cry as long as she wanted.

"D, I want to go home. Now," she told him.

"We can't Kale. We have to wait for the repairs to the horses to be completed." Suddenly D had to catch Kale, before she'd fall on the floor.

"I gave her a sedative," said Tygra, "She should rest. I better go see how Cheetara is doing. She probably thinks this is her fault."

"No," said D, laying Kale on the bed. "You stay with her. I know Kale best, I should talk to this Cheetara."

"You sure about that?" D nodded. "Alright. She'll either be still in the kitchen, or down with Panthro, or in her room. Just ask anyone to take you to the others."

"Thanks. Just keep Kale calm. I won't be long."

'Easy to keep her calm, what about me?'

"It's all my fault!" cried Cheetara, as her mate finished attaching one of the rebuilt legs to Nightmare. "If I hadn't dropped my glass, she never would have cut herself so badly."

"From the sounds of it honey," said Panthro stepping up to her and offering her the only clean rag in the shop to wipe her tears on, "there was something else that was going on. It isn't your fault. It was an accident."

"No, Panthro you don't understand. I sensed something in that man, when he walked in the door. It was cold, and made the hair on the back of my neck stand on end. And when he looked at me. Oh Panthro what am I going to do?"

"Let it go," called a voice from the stairs. Cheetara's hairs stood out again, this time she backed away from the tall thin figure as he strode across the floor to inspect the repairs to the horses. "Nice handy work, you would do well as a cyber horse repair man up north, if you ever decide to go."

"Thanks but no, we like it here." Said Panthro. Up until now, he'd never met D. the first and only time he saw him was when Lion-o, Tygra, and Kale, carried him into the lair when they returned a few days ago. "What happened? Cheetara's got it in her head that it's all her fault."

"No, it's not." D fixed the pregnant feline woman with ice blue eyes. She felt as though he could see right threw her. She backed away more, even though D never moved closer. "Kale blocked out the night she was kidnapped. What happened in the kitchen is much the same as what happened up north, in the kitchen of the inn we were lodging at. She was cooking the stew for me, while talking to someone, who was also kidnapped. The door opened, and glass was broken. The shock of her remembering so much all at once, threw her off. And she was angry at herself for not remembering. She's sleeping now. There was no serious damage to her hand. She'll be fine."

"Are you sure, it isn't my fault?" she asked, still leery of this unknown feeling that crept around her like something from the darkest reaches of her forgotten nightmares.

"The only thing you did was drop your glass. That's all. The rest was all in Kale's mind. If anything, you helped. Because now she can face the full magnitude of what she went threw, and draw strength from it. She'll be a bit shaky for a time, but she'll be alright." D just turned then and walked away.

"The repairs will be finished tomorrow." Panthro called. But D made no indication that he'd heard him. "Odd fellow."

"You have no idea," Cheetara sighed as the feeling of cold dread left the room. "I have to go lie down."

The next day was bright and sunny, the clouds were few, and what ones there were, were big and fluffy. "We're going to miss you," said Tygra, giving Kale a small package. "I made this for your future. It's a regenerator. I built it last night. I couldn't sleep anyway. If you, or D, become injured again in your professions, you can use this to help heal you both. The power cell should last about a thousand years. So there's no need to replace it."

"Thanks," she said, wanting to tell him that they would live longer than that cell, but that wasn't really for them to know. "Thank you Tygra, for everything." She kissed him gently on his cheek. "If you still have trouble sleeping, and don't want to take a sedative, then just go for a walk. Or run. It should tire you out so that you can come back and get some sleep."

"Thanks, I'll try that." They watched as the large fortress's claw rose to reveal Panthro's workshop.

"Ha!!" Panthro shouted, and Nightmare and Max ran out of the shop, dancing on their new legs. Long and sleek, but strong, and shiny. "Those legs will outlast your horses," Panthro said proudly.

"They seem a bit taller," Kale mentioned.

"Well, I added three extra inches to the legs, so that you get more distance out of their stride. It isn't much, but they should get you where you're going a bit sooner."

"One more thing," Lion-o said, stepping up to the northland pair with a rolled up leather sheet. "This map you borrowed from Willa is one we drew for her, when our Feliner was still flying. This," he held up a plastic laminated folded sheet. "is a detailed map of this area, and at least to the middle of the desert you crossed. It spans coast to coast. Were you planning on going East and then North."

"Yes," D nodded, looking over the map.

"Well don't. it would be shorter, if you went West, and then North. The Coast is closer."

"Thank you. We'll do that." D began to put the map into a pocket in his cloak only to have Kale reach over and take it.

"Better let me read the map," she said. "The last time you read one, we ended up in snow up to our eyeballs, when you swore we were heading south." D's cheeks blushed slightly under the shade of his hat. They didn't really end up in that deep of snow, but Kale did like to exaggerate slightly, and reading the map upside down was an honest mistake. After all, there weren't any coastlines drawn on the map to know which end was up.

"There's Willa," Lion-o called happily. The warier maiden's queen strode over to the northlanders with a few of her other girls, their arms full of small packages.

"As promised," said Willa, still distraught over the death of her daughter. "Here are the supplies that you will need on your Northward journey. Healing herbs, some for cooking as well, some warmer blankets, and some dried meats, fruit and vegetables. I hope that your journey will be a safe one."

"Thank you Willa," Kale bowed as she took the packages offered. D began to pack them away on the horses. "I hope that you are feeling better."

"Grief takes it's time," she answered, "but I am feeling better." Lion-o had a quizzical look on his face, but a quick nod from Kale to Maida, had the young woman intervene, to tell the red haired lord, of what had happened.

"Also here is Maida's bow, and what are left of the arrows she loaned me. Tell her thank you."

"She actually asked me to tell you to keep it," said Willa refilling the near empty quiver with new arrows, and tossing in a few lumps of silver at the same time. "As a memento of your stay here."

"Will you tell her I said thank you, but that I don't have anything for her."

"She said you'd say something like that. You have given her something. You've given her back her life, and the safety of our people from these creatures. That alone is payment enough." She bowed to the northland woman. Something Willa hadn't done, sense before she became Queen of her tribe. Kale bowed in return.

Kale and D mounted up, and turned to the gathering. "I do hope you'll come back for a visit," said Tygra.

Kale shook her head. "I'm afraid not. Not unless another Vampire comes south. But with so few humans, and earth evolved species down here, I don't think that will happen."

"Still, if you ever get tired of killing up there. Just come down here. We'll be glad to have you." Tygra patted her hand and walked over to D.

"Kale," she turned to the Cheetah woman, as she stepped forward. "I know you don't like to be around me...I sincerely hope that when you and D have children of your own, you'll understand that this," she ran her hand gently over her swollen stomach, "isn't something to be afraid of." Kale said nothing, but backed Max away and trotted him towards the braw bridge and waited.

"D," said Tygra quietly, "I saw something......in the dungeon." D stiffened instantly in the saddle. "Now I haven't said anything to Kale about it, it isn't my place. But, I know you have something in your left hand that helps you stay alive. What ever it is, Kale obviously doesn't know about it." D nodded. "I think you should tell her. It'll be a lot better coming from you, than for her to just find out about it. She might be angry that you didn't trust her, if she does." D said nothing, but back Nightmare away, and trotted him up to meet Kale.

"You ready?" she asked. D nodded. Kale waved to the group, and the two hunters returned to their journey home.

"Do you think they'll come back?" asked Cheetara, of the three men with them.

"Kale said no, but I hope, one day, that will change," answered Tygra.

"I hope they have a wonderful family," she said.

"They won't," Tygra mused sadly.

"What do you mean?"

"I ran blood tests on Kale when she was wounded. I didn't have a chance to go over those findings till last night. Kale's blood has been contaminated and significantly altered. She can't have children. Her system won't support them."

"Does she know?"

"I don't know. I think she does, but with all else that was happening, D told me earlier not to mention it. So I kept quiet. D will tell her, if she doesn't know. I'm sure of that."

"Can the damage be repaired?"

"No, whatever happened, it's permanent."

Cheetara looked back to the figures as they disappeared into the trees. "I wish I'd kept my big mouth shut then. If she knows, I've just upset her worse then before."



"I love you." He looked back to Kale. She seemed almost ready to cry all over again.

"I know."

"I know I don't say it that often, but I just wanted to say it now."



"Never leave me." He pulled his horse to a stop and side stepped him toward Kale. "Stay with me. Always."

"And Forever," she kissed him, taking his hand and holding it to her chest. "That's what this, means," she said, tracing his fingers over he shape of the D, hidden on her chest beneath her clothes. Suddenly Max began to run full out. She'd kicked him hard, and he responded, as was what he was trained to do. "Last one to the shore line has to cook!" she shouted playfully.

D smiled inwardly. "She's back," said a tiny, singly voice.

"Yes, she is at that. Now are we going to let her win?"

"Hell no!!" screamed the sym. "You can't cook!!"

D kicked Nightmare hard. "Over take Max!!" And the dark steed took off after his silver friend.

Author's final note:

The events surrounding Tygra's unusuall bout of ensomnia is further explored, and explained in the sotry She Only Comes Out At Night. Found in the Thundercat section under cartoons Here on Fanfiction.net. read and enjoy.

Coming soon Chapter 1 of Book 4, Of The Heart, a pure VHD fic.