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. ============================================================================= Feathers on the wind Chapter 2 Realizations She hadn't meant to fall asleep. He was sure of that. Not in mid sentence anyway. He hadn't really been listening either, and for that he was ashamed. He draped his cloak across her and retreated to the lav to bathe. He preferred showers, but this place wasn't equipped with them. So he sat in the six-foot long; three-foot wide troth lathering himself as best he could. "You know," said the sym. As though the statement were hindsight. "She won't put up much of a fuss if you gave her a little nip. Or better yet, you could stick that thing in her and see if she'll..." D slammed his hand into the water, then after a moment took it out. "Keep it up and I'll drown you!" The symbiot coughed, "I was only trying to..." "DON'T! She's not for any of that. Once she learns the ways of this world, I'll go my own way." He rinsed himself off and squeezed the water from his long hair. The thunder had started. The storm was getting worse. He rapped a towel around his waist and secured it. Then grabbing another, he started drying his hair. He left the lav and went to the window to gage the clouds, just as a loud crack of thunder broke her dreams and she sat up startled. D froze. She still had her glasses on. Which meant she could see him clearly, and she was looking right at him. With modesty he lowered the second towel to cover his chest making sure his left hand was covered. "You all right?" he asked quietly. She caught her breath from her fright, and tried to calm her pounding heart. She then turned her head from him, giving him the respect he'd more than given her these past two months. "I'm fine," she blushed, as another clap of thunder sounded. She looked at the ceiling as the sound faded away. "Are you afraid of thunder?" "No, its just when..." the lightning flashed brightly outside the window as another crash of thunder boomed overhead. "The storm's right on top of us!" "Easy," he said, nearing the bed. "These storms don't last." She clutched his cloak to her, covering her eyes with its broad collar. More as to not look at his magnificent nakedness, than to not let him see her cry. "Easy. I'm going to get dressed. I'll just be a minute." She closed her eyes tight, trying to block out his image. Chiseled muscles across a broad chest, strong shoulders, slender sculpted arms, large strong but gentle hands, long muscled legs, washboard abs. 'God, I don't need this,' she begged. She heard the lav door close and latch. "Now that shocked her," laughed the symbiot. "Hush!" he said quickly throwing on his clothes. "Did you see the look on her face when she saw you! I bet she thought you were gona jump right in..." "Enough!" he snapped quietly. "Or I'll drown you for sure." "All right, all right. But just think about it. You two would be almost the same age, so it wouldn't be like robbing the cradle you know." D closed his eyes. The sym was right about that at least. There wasn't anyone alive out side vampire circles that he could talk to about his earlier years. And yet now here she was. 10,000 years removed from all she knew and loved. But how could he tell her that he understood. He picked up a hairbrush and left the lav. He couldn't see anything in the room's pathetic mirror anyway. As he opened the door, he heard something. It was Kale, singing, soft, low, and sadly. She said she sang to cheer herself up, how could this be if the song she sang was so sad. He stayed back and listened. "...and the lightning flashes in her eyes and he knows that she knows, and the thunder rolls, and the thunder rolls, the thunder rolls, and the lightning strikes, another love grows cold, on a sleepless night, as the storm blows on out of control, deep in her heart the thunder rolls..." she then started tapping the device, who's wire led to her earphones. "Don't do this. Not now!" "That was nice," D said, returning from the lav brushing his hair. She looked a little sheepish. I don't usually sing in front of people," she said, sliding the ear peaces off her head. "What's wrong?" "The batteries are dead. I didn't want to start on the new ones till I found something else to put in when they're gone." She put her music box back in her bag and watched D as he brushed his long hair. She could tell it was awkward for him, so she slid to the middle of the bed and turned to face him. "Come here before you hurt yourself," she said. "No, I'm fine." "Please. You've done so much for me, at least let me help you with your hair." Why not. It was only his hair. He sat down on the edge of the bed, his back to her. She had to sit up on her knees to reach the top of his head. "God you are tall." "Almost seven feet," he said, as she began parting his hair. "How long will this take?" "Till your hair is dry," she said, beginning the strokes down his auburn mane. He tried to turn and take the brush, but she pushed his hands away and continued. "Look. I don't have a hair dryer, and I had to do this till my hair was dry, otherwise I'd have curls that make me look like Shirley Temple." "Who?" He had to admit, he didn't recognize that name. "Child actress with really curly hair long time ago. Now turn around and sit still. The sooner I start the sooner I finish." He did. It wasn't all that bad. She gently worked out tangles and offered to look for a hair conditioner for him. He didn't comment. It was soothing, the rhythmic stroking of his hair, the brush bristles gently massaging his scalp. He could feel his hair becoming lighter as it dried. Unfortunately his shirt had become damp as the water shed from his locks. Then, suddenly, it stopped. He turned as she came and sat next to him, handing the brush to him as she settled. "All done." "Thank you." He returned the brush to the lav and retrieved his cloak from the bed. He secured it around his shoulders and drew the curtains across the window. "It's getting late. You better get some sleep. We'll head out tomorrow to the shops. We'll sell those things and get you some warmer clothes." "I don't feel tired," she said, lying. "I've slept enough anyway. Do you have a deck of cards?" "Yes, why?" he answered, going through his other saddlebag. "Solitaire. It's a single person card game. It's a little addictive, its quiet and easy to play. You go ahead and sleep." She took the cards from him and proceeded to the table. "Kale, I..." "Go ahead. I'm gona play cards." "It's not what you think. Kale, you're tired. You're still very week. You should rest." "I've slept enough. I don't even know for how long, for God's sake!" D pondered that for a moment. "What is the last date you remember?" Should he tell her? "May 25th, 2001." She searched his eyes. He knew how long, he had to. "Will it make a difference?" he asked. "To me," she said, her tone telling him to say it. He drew a settling breath, more for her than for himself. This is gona hit hard. "10,099 years." She stood there. Shock etched across her face. She looked at the cards in her hands. They were a relatively new deck. The box was still on them, their corners worn from being packed in saddlebags for long periods of time. He could see the tears forming in her eyes. He stepped closer to her, cautiously. If she tried to kick him as before with her newfound strength and balance, she might actually get lucky and graze him, if he wasn't careful. She suddenly turned and threw the deck of cards against the far wall, screaming as she hurled them. He took hold of her, holding her to him. Realization of her long slumber shattering her resolve. "My home! My life! My Family!!!" He let her collapse to the floor, still holding her he followed. "...My Father!!!" she screamed, trying to break his grasp of her. She succumbed to fits of tears, no longer fighting him. For some reason he began to rock her back and forth. "Let it go," he whispered, moving her hair back. "Let it go." After a time, he found she'd cried herself to sleep. He carefully picked her up and lay her on the bed, folding the covers over her and drying her tears. He turned down the oil lamps and laid out on the floor, taking one of the pillows from the bed. He'd spent all nights like this. Not wanting her to be afraid, waking, to find a strange man next to her. "She'll pull through," the sym said quietly. "I know. She's go too much fight in her to just give up now." He closed his eyes and relaxed. He didn't really sleep. More over he dozed lightly. What deeper sleep he needed, he'd get elsewhere. A safer place than this. She opened her eyes and looked around. He wasn't there. She couldn't see him anywhere, and the lav door was open, so he wasn't in there. She threw the covers off and strode to the lav. She didn't need to use it, she just needed the mirror. Soaking one of the rag cloths, she wiped the dirt away as best she could and looked at her reflection. "What have you gotten yourself into now?" she asked the face staring back at her. "No answers? That figures." She wiped her hands with the cloth. "You never did have a clue, did you?" D opened his eyes. She was talking to herself. Why? He listened. "You always were stubborn, weren't you. Too stubborn to admit you needed help, stubborn to keep your own ways." She looked at her bare ring finger on her left hand. "and too stubborn to marry him when you had the chance." She tossed the rag into the sink and went to the main room window. Peering through the curtains, she saw the sun rise. "Now what do I do?" "Survive." D said softly, putting the pillow on the bed. "You've lived for a reason. You'll find out why." "Did you sleep on the floor all night?" He nodded as though it were nothing, which is what it was. Nothing. "You didn't have to, but I understand why. Thank you." She turned back to the sunrise. "What did survive?" "Some of the inner cities still stood. Though without any kind of government, things didn't progress for a long time. Then when they did, it was all based on surviving a world gone mad." "English language lives. That's good." "Its spoken all over the world. Though the writing has changed. Judging by the books I saw in the store room." "Great. English has finally concurred the world. Too bad they had to destroy it to do it." "Things are different now. Kale, listen. You mustn't mention that you're an Arker. People believe that Arker's were horrible people bent on bringing war and destruction back with them. The only blessing is that no one else has ever survived an Ark. They'll kill you if they find out about you." "I won't tell them." She stood across the bed from him as she continued. "I don't even want to know what I am." "You'll make it." "You sound so sure." "I am. You have a strength in you that wont fail. Its what made you keep trying to grab my sword when I found you. It's there. You'll find it again." They descended the stairs, their belongings slung across their backs. D stepped up to the barkeeper and handed him some odd paper bills. "This should cover my bill." D remarked coldly, and walked away. The man glared at the girl as she passed. The gruff looking bald man had a huge bruise covering his right eye, causing the eyelid to swell. "D, what happened to his eye?" she asked. "Nothing you need to concern yourself with." She got a bad feeling and lagged behind, suddenly doubting everything she believed about him. He could tell she wasn't following him anymore and stopped. "Yes, I gave him the black eye." He turned and stepped up to her shoulder. "It was the only way he'd shut down the room. He insinuated that we enjoyed the noise." He put a gentle hand on her elbow. "Let's go. I hope you know how to ride horses." His touch reassured her of his gentleman's nature, and she brightened at the thought of ridding a horse once again. "Horses survived?" she whispered joyously. "Not the way you remember, but yes." He led her to a stable next to the inn and led a blue metal horse from a stall. It was definitely a horse at one time he explained. "To better have the horses survive the new hardships, scientists cyberized them. There are still real horses, but they can't run wild. They'd be wiped out." She put her hand to the middle of the cyborg's head between its eyes. The animal/machine lowered its head slightly and exhaled. "A horse is still a horse I guess," she said. "Get on, I'll sit behind you." She mounted the saddle, rather awkwardly, but, nonetheless, with an air of the experienced rider she once was. She hoped D would credit her movements to muscles that hadn't been used in over 10,000 years, rather than her hiatus from ridding before that. D slid up behind her, after she slid her bag around to lay across her lap. He towered above her in the saddle. Her head barely reached his shoulders. She tensed as his chest pressed against her back, his legs sliding just below hers on either side; his arms came around her and gripped the reins. "Relax," he said, walking the horse from the stable. "You'll only make yourself sore if you stiffen up like that." "Sorry. I've never ridden double before." "We'll get you a horse of your own on the other side." He guided the horse down the road, crowded with dozens of people, other riders, carriages, wagons, and cyborg horses of all colors and sizes. She did try to relax, but found it difficult. D was against her, their bodies moving to the rhythm of the horse's movement. She couldn't take it. "D, can I ride behind you? Please?" "When we mount up again if you wish. Is something wrong?" She blushed. What could she tell him? She was glad he couldn't see her face. "I think I'd be more comfortable," she said, swallowing her embarrassment. D nodded, even though she couldn't see. He'd gone down the street as far as the street would allow them to go, being too heavily crowded with other people, their horses, and wagons, and turned right, about three streets before the dock area. They continued on, passing a dozen streets until D stopped in front of a building that looked a bit like a small inn. The window had symbols and letters all mixed together. D noticed her looking and translated the words for her. "QUIBB'S BUY & SELL," he said, as he dismounted. "He's a fair buyer, he'll give us the best price." "Maybe you should go in. I can wait here." D bent and fastened a set of short-chained cuffs around the horse's front legs. "Not likely," he said, and pulled her out of the saddle. "In this town, you stay with me." "Kay, no need to get rough." "Sorry. But those men over there are watching. Don't look. They'll move on." "What do they want?" "You," he said, leading her to the buyer's door. "Why?" D merely paused. She knew then. "Oh." "Just stay with me, and stay close." He opened the door and stepped inside, Kale close at hand. The man behind the counter looked up from examining a necklace of precious stones. He had glasses that made his eyes appear three times their size, when someone looked at him. His hair was gray and thin, but at least it covered his head. "I'll be right with you," he said, sliding the jewels back under the counter. He then waddled, rather than walked, down the counter space to where the pair stood. He flipped up an outer layer of lenses and looked upon the tallest figure. "Ah, you again. I see you chose to deal with me rather than those cheats down the street. We'll lets have a look." He pulled out a sheet of velvet and laid it over the glass. D reached into his saddlebag and removed another sheet of velvet of nearly the same color. He unrolled it to show all the chains, rings, earrings, and bracelets pinned and held neat to keep them from tangling. The man then flipped the extra lenses back down and began scrutinizing each peace. They stood silently watching him as he placed the items he examined into two piles. It took nearly an hour for him to finish. In all that time, D never moved. He didn't even look up as Kale wandered around the small shop looking into cases, and the ornaments on various shelves. The man finally flipped up his lenses and scratched his ear as he spoke. "The work is exquisite, are you sure you want to part with it all?" "Yes," said Kale, stepping next to D. "Where'd you get all of this?" The two were silent. "If I find out its been stolen..." "It hasn't been," said Kale solemly. "You could say it's my inheritance." "Even still. Someone comes looking, and I'll put them onto your asses, faster than a hungry beast to his first meal." "I understand," said Kale, "but no one will come." D still didn't move. "All right. This stuff here is fake, I can't give you much for that. But the whole package...I'll give you 2000." Kale looked to D. He nodded. Kale then turned to the man and nodded. He disappeared into the back room. "2000 dollars?" she said quietly. "Not exactly. Currency has also changed. The world now uses peaces and bits. Bits being the smallest. He's giving you 2000 peaces. Which is higher than even I expected." Just then the man returned with the money and a peace of paper. "Sign here please." D snatched the pen and scrawled his title and name to the sheet. If he'd seen Kale's writing there'd be trouble. "My friend can't read or write," he said. "Pity," said Quibb. "You'll keep tabs on her, I hope." "Where I am she will be." D took the money from the shopkeeper and secured a portion of it in several different pockets of his cloak and belts. He then turned and stuffed a small amount into Kale's bag, and the rest in her jean pockets as well. "We thank you." "Good doing business with you." They stepped out of the shop and D unlocked the horse's legs. As promised he mounted first, adjusted his cloak, then reached for Kale's hand. Her foot in the stirrup she swung herself up behind him and put her arms around his waist. Yes, this was much better. "Not so tight," he said, as he guided his horse back down the street they came up. She realized he'd clenched her arms around him tight enough to cut off the circulation of blood to his lower extremities, if she didn't let go. "Sorry," she said, and gathered handfuls of his cloak instead. "It's alright." He said. "We won't have to ride like this for long." She blushed. He knew she was nervous about holding on to him, or him holding her, as they rode. She really didn't need this kind of aggravation. He stopped the horse again in front of another shop and slid down, bringing his right leg over the pommel of the saddle. The shop was obvious. Women's clothing, with dresses displayed in the window. Kale slid down, as D had done, as he finished securing his horse. "We can get some proper clothes here for you." He led her inside and centered his attention on the lady clerk. "Cloaks and coats?" She pointed to the back wall, a sweet smile across her lips, and wide starry eyes. As D examined the cloaks, Kale looked through the riding pants he'd pointed out. She chose three dark colored pairs and draped them over her arm. She then noticed a bin of socks and gloves and vigorously sifted through them. After a time, she had three pairs of plain brown gloves and seven pairs of socks, all brown. D pulled a dark Green cloak around her to check its fit. It fit well around her neck and shoulders and went clear down to her ankles. "How do you like it?" he asked, more a statement really. She flipped up the hood and put it down again. "I like it." She said. D nodded and pointed to a bin behind them. "Get what you need from over there. Then come to the counter." He took the cloak and other things and proceeded ahead of her. She looked into the bin he'd pointed to, and understood his reluctance to go with her. Women's underclothes. She sifted through the mass and picked out a dozen cotton underpants, some with floral pattern some without. She could only find five bras though that would fit her. She then noticed a shelf with women's sanitary packages on it and took six boxes. She never knew if she'd find this type again, so better grab them while she could. D had already showed the woman the clothes that Kale didn't need, and she had agreed to lower the price of their purchase to accommodate the purchase of the unneeded garments. Joining D at the counter she noticed the clerk trying to talk to D, her tone soft and sultry, and her sweetest 'come to me' smile across her lips. "He's with me," she snapped, thrusting the last of the items onto the counter. She sighed. "More is the pity," she said, and looked over the other items. She placed the smaller things into Kale's duffle bag she'd offered, as Kale secured her new cloak back around her shoulders. "That's 187 peaces," she said, gazing up to the tall man. D extended his hand and dropped the money on the counter. The woman made his change and pouted as she watched them leave. Again outside, D unlocked the horse and mounted up. Kale then climbed up behind him and let her cloak drape over the horse's hindquarters. He then guided the cyborg down the street and continued on to the docks. There were three ships that had arrived in the night all berthed bow to stern along the waterfront. One was unloading cargo, another fish products, and the third was loading farm animals into its hold. It was to this ship that D had gone first. "<I seek the captain of this vessel>," he said, in the seaman's speech. A tall gruff man stepped forward, a cigar clenched in his teeth. "<I'm the captain>," he said. "<I wish to book passage to the Far Shore. Are you westward bound>?" "<We are. How many>?" "<Myself, my woman, and this horse>." "<No women>!" the man snapped, turning away. "<I'll pay cash, up front>!" D insisted. "<I don't care if you pay in gold>," he said, removing his cigar from his lips. "<I don't allow women on my boat>!" Just then another man rushed down the loading ramp, his tunic reflecting the rank of first officer. "<Sir! I just checked the kitchen. The cook is gone>." "<What! How did he...>?" "<I think out the kitchen port hole>." "What's going on D? What's he saying?" asked Kale. "Just a minute." The captain regarded the girl. "<Can she cook>?" he asked gruffly. "He wants to know if you can cook." "Why?" "He wont let you on the ship. If you can cook, he may let you on. Their cook jumped ship." "Well yha I can cook but..." "<Yes, she can>." "<Her fare for half, if she cooks for the crew to the other side>." D told her what he said. She nodded in agreement. "<Load up. We leave on the evening tide and we're behind as it is. Your berths are in the hold, and you are responsible for the girl>!" "<Done>. Hang on Kale." D spurred his horse up the steep loading ramp, its hooves clamoring as it ran. He handed the ship's accountant the money for their passage, then followed the guidance of other crewmembers to the hold access. He rode his horse down its ramp and chose a stall on the right side. After dismounting and securing the horse to the stall floor for the journey, he powered down the cyborg, tucking the rest of their money into the security compartments in the neck. He then flipped up the cots on the wall. "Top or bottom?" he asked. "Top," she said, and he tossed her bag to one end of the upper bunk, his own saddlebags to the opposite end of the bottom one. "The valuables are safe. There's a rule on these ships, no one goes through the bags of their crewmates. It is strictly enforced, but if you want to add anything to Nightmare's compartments, do it now." She pulled her jewelry satchel from her bag and handed it to D. After storing it in the horse he put his hat on his bunk. "Let's find the kitchen. You'll need to get familiar with it. I'll help you all I can, but I am not that good a cook." Next Back to the Fanfic Archive.