Disclaimer: It's been said before, in other fanfics, and you're probably tired of hearing it, but the following is a work of fan fiction. It is meant to pay homage to the wonderful world of Vampire Hunter D, not to detract from the property rights or licensing of its owners. Thanks to Yoshitaka Amano, Hideyuki Kikuchi, Yoshiaki Kawajiri and all the others who made the movies possible (alas, I haven't read the novels). Any resemblance to actual persons, living, dead or undead, is purely coincidental.

Foreword (a.k.a. Writer's Rant): Here's another of my little fanfics about everyone's favourite dhampir. As usual, I couldn't leave well enough alone, and I extrapolated a bit on the vampires of D's world. Inspired by the "zombies" that fight the Markus Brothers in VHD: Bloodlust, I've added Nosferatu to the mix of undead antagonists. For reference, these are the old-style blood-suckers from Baltic legends. They symbolized plague, vermin, crib-death and all the other things that mankind couldn't control, and they were about as pretty as a wedge of limburger. Later on, as disease was explained and life grew more "civilized," they were replaced with vampires. These new blood-drinkers came to stand for avarice, greed and lust, diseases of the soul. Likewise, their appearance was more alluring and, at least on the outside, they were much more human.

Finally, I make use of the term "transient" or "transient visitor." This is D's word for the undead, from the 1985 anime. The concept is that the undead exist no longer have any business in the world of the living and are, therefore, simply drifting through it when they ought to have moved on. Theoretically, it could be applied to spirits and otherworldly beings as well.

Anyway, that's my two cents. If you disagree, write your own fic, and if you're bored, move on to the story. I promise it's more interesting than this blurb in any case. This is just me blowing hot air, and of no real relevance to life or the human condition. Neither is the story, for that matter, but at least it doesn't read like a history text.

Thanks for your time. On with the show...

Enemy Mine: A Fan-Fiction for
Vampire Hunter D

The smell of moonshine, coal and fresh sawdust greeted the hunter as he stepped through the bat-wing doors of the saloon. In the corner, an out-of tune piano banged out a cheap rendition of "the Rose," its sound humbled further by the lovely voice of the songstress who stood alongside. D could not remember the last time he had seen a rose in this wilted, barren landscape, but he fancied that the soulful song would still be around long after the last flower had withered and died. It had lasted this long, after all.

As the dhampir's eyes adjusted to the cigarette smoke and gas-lighting, he surveyed the bar. Everywhere, men had gathered, brooding over their cheap, blinding liquor. In another settlement, they would be with their families, defending their homesteads, but this was a mining town, and few of them worried about such luxuries as a family life. Between the monsters and the mine, most of them wouldn't live long enough.

"What can I get you, stranger?" a sweet voice asked to D's right. A slight, Elfin woman was creeping up to him, her eyes awed and fearful. The hunter was used to such looks, and he regarded her unperturbedly.

"Rare beef," he answered evenly, "And a room for the night."

"Uh, sure," the girl nodded curtly, and scurried off toward the kitchen. D was sure that the meal would cost him greatly. Beef was hard to come by these days, and usually stretched out in soup, but the Thirst needed some sort of outlet, and as costly as the bloody meat would be, it was far better than the alternative.

"You there!" a rough, half-drunken voice called out, "You must be D, the hunter."

All eyes turned and regarded the dark stranger. There was no hope in the miners' gazes, but perhaps there was a sort of sick desperation. In their faces, D could read the tale he'd been told so many times before. A vampire had come, or perhaps more than one. Hunters had been called, but to no avail, and the vampires had retaliated against the humans' perceived insolence. Now another hunter had come, and although the people couldn't bring themselves to applaud, they could at least harbour a secret wish for his success.

D strode across the room, his boots soundless on the saw-dusted floor, and the whispering began.




He pulled up a chair across from the man who had identified him, if a man he could be called. Like many in this line of work, he was a heavily-afflicted mutant. This particular specimen was a knotted mass of muscle and sinew, with a shock of curly black hair that covered his whole head, leaving only his eyes, nose and mouth open for viewing. Pulsing veins stood out on the miner's skin, and D tried to ignore their delicious rhythm, instead unstrapping his no-dachi and laying it across the table as he sat.

"Where can I find the vampire?" the hunter asked, cutting straight to the chase.

"Now hold on there," the miner cautioned, "You ain't answered my question. You're D, right?"

"I am."

"That's great!" the mutant crowed loudly. A row of large, flat teeth grinned out of his blustering maw. "I wasn't sure the scouts would find you. Where they at, so I can thank them?"

"In a clearing," D stated, "Just north of the town of Bartley. It was I who found them."

The miner's face darkened. "I see." He was silent a long moment. Finally, he knocked back the last of the acrid brew in his glass with a grimace. "Then I lost some good friends today," he muttered dourly, "but at least you're here. My name's Blagden, Blagden Nash. Name your price."

"Tell me of the vampire."

Blagden eyed the hunter a moment. Whether he was appraising him or mustering the courage to speak, D wasn't sure, but he suspected the former. Talking didn't seem to be this man's weak-point.

The serving girl arrived and placed a large red slab before the dhampir. D was certain it wasn't beef, but could be no more specific about its origin than that. She laid a knife and fork alongside, and next to them, a small iron key.

"First door at the top of the stairs," she informed him, "Is there anything else?"

The hunter's gaze dropped deliberately to the cut of meat, before returning to the girl. "Nothing."

"Another of these, babe," the mutant barked, holding up his glass and smacking a hand across the girl's backside. She let her eyes dart away from the seated hunter long enough to shoot Blagden a dagger-filled glare. He responded with another square-toothed grin, and she hurried away.

Silently, D slipped the key into a pouch at his belt. He cut into the meat and sniffed a morsel. It didn't smell tainted, so he began to eat, deciding he didn't really care about which sort of beast it had come from. As always, the meat was almost tasteless to his dhampiric palate in any case, and part of him longed for greater sustenance. He looked once more to the miner.

"The vampire..." he pressed.

"You're a man who knows what he wants," the mutant remarked, "I respect that. Here's the story. This vampire comes to town three weeks ago, real she-bitch. One of the wild ones, all ragged and dirty."

"A Nosferatu?" D clarified.

"Frickin-A," the mutant agreed, "So my grand-daddy called em. Anyhow, she comes in and first night slaughters a half dozen townsfolk like they was cattle. Didn't just kill em though. Three nights later they rose as undead and tore off out of town. Night after that, they went into the mines and caught anyone they could get their hands on, prob'ly to drain em when they wanted to feed. We ain't seen the mother-vamp since, but we reckon she's still in there, hiding from the sun. She uses the mine like a fortress, and sends the others out like troopers, each night. They ask for a sacrifice, and if we don't give it over, they take two."

D raised an eyebrow beneath the brim of his fedora. For a Nosferatu, this one sounded intelligent. She was already showing a pattern, though, and every pattern had a weakness.

"What kind of sacrifice does she demand?"

"Anything, I guess," Blagden shrugged his massive shoulders, "Long as it goes on two legs and bleeds. She ain't refused one yet."

The hunter nodded. "Go on."

The mutant shrugged again and scratched his woolly jaw. "That's about it, really. We sent a band of hunters in last week, but they ain't come back." He leaned in conspiratorially. "They was only human."

Silently, D rose from the table.

"Wait!" Blagden cried, mistaking the dhampir's departure for offence, "I didn't mean it like that. You're the only one who can help us. We got two pounds of raw diamonds we fished outta the coal down there, down in the mines. We was gonna give it to them others, but you're just as welcome to it. You're our last hope!"

The first hints of panic were creeping into the man's drunken voice, but D gave no sign of reaction. "I'll take the job," he stated finally, and headed for the door.

Outside, D scanned the craggy valley where the mining town of Bistritz had sprung up. He had noted a ruined palisade on the north side as he came in. It was just starting to be rebuilt, and the charred outlines of buildings stood out around it's orifice like rotting teeth. There were no people about; they were too fearful of what might lurk even in the shadows of early twilight.

At the top of the hill, the flaming gas-vents had gone cold. It was from there the vampires would come, and that was where D headed, mounting his cybernetic horse and riding for the breached wall.

"Nosferatu," commented a small and all-too-familiar voice. D opened his left hand to let the symbiont say its piece. "I thought the nobility wiped the last of them out a century ago; and who could blame them? Filthy creatures, roaming the wastelands and picking up all kinds of disease. This one must be strong, though, to have survived the purge. You'd better be careful."

D made no comment, but simply pressed on. Night was falling, and within an hour, it would be upon him. The hunter wanted to be well-entrenched and ready by the time the transient visitors came calling. Reaching the edge of town, he made a quick survey, and decided that the top of the palisade was the best place to set up. Despite the breach, it still stood tall, and he would be able to see the intruders well before they began causing trouble.

Within moments, he had scaled the rickety supports and settled in at a decent vantage. From up here, it was evident that this wasn't the first settlement to be built in the area. Like many other places in the world, the countryside bore the remains of older, larger buildings, the skeleton of the dead world that was once ruled by men. Above the valley, the shattered moorings of a concrete suspension bridge stood against the moonlight, nearly overgrown by thick stands of birch and spruce trees. The rest of the construct lay in a tangle, in the tiny river far below. Here and there, jagged chunks of concrete and rusted metal jutted up from the banks. The structure must have met its end in the old times, when automobiles were still the main form of transport, for they were all over the hillside. D eyed their hulks, corroded almost beyond recognition, and reflected. He remembered a time when the world was alive and vital, glittering and quick like the cars. Since the nobility had grown corrupt, however, things had gotten steadily worse, leaving everything a rusted, broken relic of its former glory.

"Hey, D," the symbiont whispered, "Heads up."

"I see them."

Seven shapes flitted through the darkness, barely more than shadows themselves. Bounding from tree to rock, rock to wasted vehicle. They could have been mistaken for deer, or missed altogether by the eyes of a human, but D was not human, and long years had trained him to know his quarry.

He watched the vampires below, analyzing their movements. They were not nobles. They darted from place to place like animals or spirits, bereft of the precise dignity of the aristocrats. He let them draw closer, waiting for the moment to pounce.

As the first transients reached the tangled mass that was once the palisade, D drew a flare from his belt and hurled it down before them. The nightwalkers recoiled from the sudden magnesium glare, and the hunter pounced. Bat-like, his cape billowed out behind him, controlling the trajectory of his descent, angling him in for the perfect strike. Two of the vampires were cloven asunder by the hunter's singing blade before the others even noted his presence. Three more quickly followed, and the final two took to their heels in fear.

The symbiont laughed as D moved to pursuit. "I love a good chase," it crowed, "Tally-ho!"

The vampires were fast, but they were young and had been hastily created, really little more than animate corpses. D reached under his cloak and hurled a wooden stake through the back of the furthest shadow. It fell with a howl, blood spraying unnaturally from the wound. D lowered his blade as he rushed past and parted the creature's head from its body. He let go of the sword as it reached the edge of its arc, and it flew ahead of him like a great silver dart. The final shadow tried to dodge aside, but the hunter's strike was true, and the creature was pinned to a tree, run through just above the hip. The vampire-slaying blade sank in, all the way to the hilt and rendered the creature immobile.

D jogged to a halt, his cape settling around him and his body giving no hint of exertion. Indeed, were it not for the still-cooling blood that washed his back-trail, a passer-by might suspect he had never moved at all. Calmly, he approached the skewered vampire.

"Where is your mistress?"

The vampire didn't give any answer. In point of fact, D hadn't expected one, but he was not in the business of ignoring a possible tip. The vampire turned this way and that on the blade, slowly sawing a rent in its body as the wound of the sword widened. Despite its humanoid form, the creature reminded D of a rabid coyote, gnawing its leg to get free of a trap. It eyed the hunter balefully with its red-lit orbs and gnashed its teeth as it wormed back and forth against the steel.

D strode back to the fallen body of the Nosferatu's swiftly-putrefying companion and removed the stake. With its head gone, this one would be no more threat.

"I'll ask you one more time."

The Nosferatu stopped its struggles and chuckled, a sound bereft of humour and life. "You wanna know where White Lady is?" it laughed, "She's in the mine; her and a whole gang of soldiers!"

"Soldiers," D mused, "Is that what she calls you?"

The vampire curled its lip and pulled once more against the blade. Only a hand's-breadth of skin and tendon now held it in place.

"I want you to bring this White Lady a message" the hunter stated, "Tell her that the fate of a transient visitor is to return to the shadows whence she came."

The Nosferatu gave a final heave and yanked free of the blade with a fleshy snap. It's clawed hand went to the wound, and the hole quickly began to close. Fangs and eyes glinting in the moonlight, the vampire leered defiantly and stood its ground.

"Or," D offered nonchalantly, "We can pick up where we left off... if you prefer."

The vampire seemed to weigh its options for a moment. It eyed the still-buried sword, then looked to the hunter, standing only a few strides away, and began to back down. It skulked back into the shadows, its ruby eyes never leaving those of the dhampir, and was suddenly gone in a flurry of motion. D moved to the tree and effortlessly pulled his no-dachi free of the wood that held it.

"I've seen that one before," the symbiont commented, "In a photo back at the bar. He was the town doctor." It gave a disdainful snort. "If that was one of the town's best and brightest, it makes you wonder what the others are like."

D didn't have to wonder. He had heard tales of the Nosferatu often enough. Like the vampiric nobles, they fed on blood, but where the aristocracy bestowed their power deliberately, as a gift, the Nosferatu passed it on like a disease. Their progeny were much weaker than those of the nobility, but also far more numerous, and each of them was driven to feed. When the nobles wiped them out, it wasn't out of disdain, although they had never viewed the Nosferatu in a good light, it was out of necessity. A population of these creatures, if left unchecked, could raze a village in a matter of weeks or even days simply by feeding.

"You should have cut him down," the symbiont grumbled, "When are you going to give up your high and mighty sense of honour? Are you doing it to be more human? 'Cause a human would have never given his enemy the chance."

D made no reply. There were things about him that the symbiont would never understand, and honour was one of them. He went back to the fallen section of the wall, where he had left his horse, and climbed into the saddle. He touched his heels against its metallic flank and began the cautious trek uphill, toward the mine.

"Smell that?" the symbiont asked, "Natural gas... Must be coming out of the shaft."

D nodded. Indeed, this Nosferatu was a cunning one. She had shut down the gas vents coming out of the mine, and anyone going in with fire, even the muzzle-flare of a gun, would set the whole place ablaze and destroy not only the person entering, but also the source of income for the entire town. Between the fumes and the darkness, the place was impervious to attack. Impervious, that was, unless an adversary did not need bright light or fresh air.

"You're not really thinking of going in there!" the symbiont balked. It squirmed in D's palm causing it to itch terribly, "I mean, you don't know the layout, and if anything happened, you'd never get to reinforcements in time. You know, it's all well and good to stalk them out here in the open, but on their own turf..."

The symbiont ranted on, but D paid it no mind. He had never needed reinforcements before, nor had he turned away from his duty. As for the danger, it was simply part of the job.

The hunter dismounted some distance from the mine and crept in on foot, literally following his nose to the entrance. Even through the gas, the place stank of old blood and rotting meat. Out front, a dozen or so bodies lay in a heap, those fortunate enough to avoid the Nosferatu curse. As D looked on, one of the shifting, shadowy forms of the undead crept out of the mine and tossed another corpse on the pile.

"Looks like we're too late for that one," the hand murmured, "But they won't have another sacrifice till tomorrow. I guess we may as well call it a day."

"Be silent," D rebuked the hand, and began to creep forward.

The blood-sucker didn't know D was upon it until the hunter's blade had passed through its body. Cloven at the collar, the creature fell into a heap, its blood finally free. D slipped into the mouth of the tunnel, a shadow among shadows in his black garb. His pale face drifted like a spectre against the coal-stained darkness, though, and he knew that it would be more than enough to get him spotted if he wasn't careful. Massive timbers shored up the tunnel at intervals like ribs of the earth, and though he didn't waste time hiding behind them, he kept close, just in case. Cover was otherwise nonexistent, and it was best to be safe. Now and then, the rock groaned under its own weight, as if the twisting tunnel were the belly of a sleeping leviathan, and not even the Nosferatu were likely to attack him behind the only things keeping hundreds of tons of rock and coal above their heads.

Abruptly, the tunnel ended, and D came to a vertical shaft that bored deep into the earth. A large rope-and-pulley system swayed gently in a warm breeze that drifted up from below.

"Tight quarters," the symbiont remarked quietly, "I don't suppose you have a shorter sword with you..."

Part 2
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