WARNING. The following work of fiction contains explicit sex. If
you are under 18 (or whatever age is appropriate for your
location), please don't get me in trouble by reading it. If you
find explicit sex offensive, please don't offend yourself by
reading it.

Otherwise, please read and enjoy!

Cathy Krusberg
Author of the fic and maintainer of the site

This is actually a "bridge" story; it occurs between the fall of
Count Lee's castle and D's departure from the Lang home. As
usual for my fanfic, D is a bit less taciturn and a bit more
vulnerable than in the anime.

This is a work of fan fiction and is not intended to infringe
on the intellectual property of Hideuki Kikuchi, Orion Home 
Video, or anybody else.


It didn't happen this way. It couldn't have happened this way.

But maybe it should have.

          Drawing Blood: A Vampire Hunter D Fanfic
                      by Cathy Krusberg

It had been kind of her to give him the sword.

Dan had been the first to actually remark on D's having lost his
sword. That final battle with Count Lee had been deadly: it was
as close as D had ever come to losing his life, when the old
vampire's knife had sunk to its hilt in his heart. It would have
killed a human, but D was a dhampire -- half vampire, half human,
and, if the old legends were true, thus born to hunt and kill the
vampire-kind. His vampire blood gave him unusual strength and
healing abilities, and that was why, despite the pain, D had
found strength to retaliate, to more than retaliate, and had
thrust -- not merely thrust, *flung* his sword to pin the old
vampire high on his own castle wall. Even with his blood
streaming down, spreading rapidly over the floor, Count Lee had
not died immediately; he could still wield his evil influence....

D knew he was very, very fortunate not to have died on that spot.
And when the castle's master finally had died, the entire
structure had collapsed, destroying not only the monsters that
served Count Lee but Ramika, the Count's half-vampire daughter.
Ramika had been in part D's salvation: she had rebelled against
her father at the last, defying his command to destroy the
vampire hunter. D regretted the loss of that noble, honorable
soul, but it had been her own choice to end her life as she did.
She was gone. The monsters were gone.

And his sword was gone.

He and Doris and Dan had returned to the Lang home, Doris in a
state of semi-shock, mostly aware that she was still alive, not
yet capable of caring about anything else. For his part, D felt
an overwhelming fatigue. Dan, however, had bounced back with the
resilience of youth, his excitement at his recent adventure
filling his thoughts and his speech. D found the boy's chatter
oddly cathartic. His own youth was far behind (had he ever been
*that* young?), yet Dan's recital of his adventures, his fears,
his accomplishments, was in some ways not so different from D's
thoughts -- thoughts he had no inclination to voice but felt a
sense of release on hearing echoed in youthful tones.

When they actually got back to the house, Doris, poor woman, was
still in that absurd bridal gown, looking mostly as if she wanted
to peel it off and burn it. D had just taken his hat off and was
looking for a place to put it -- he finally settled on an end of
the L-shaped couch -- when Dan exclaimed, "D, you don't have your
sword any more!"

D had simply nodded. But Doris gasped at the realization and at
her own selfishness: not only had the sword saved her life and
her soul, she had come to think of it as part of D, an extension
of his strength and courage. And yet she had been so preoccupied
she hadn't even noticed a loss of such magnitude. "D -- I'm 
sorry --"

"It's all right, Doris. I can get another sword."

D hoped his voice and face maintained his usual stoic facade.
There was no need to give Doris more worries, and he could indeed
get another sword. Nonetheless, that one had been a faithful
friend through many adventures, and he already missed its weight
on his back.

Doris all but ran to the mantel. She had to stand on tiptoe, but
she reached down the sword that was her legacy, her father's
sword that D had admired only a few nights before ... although
half an eternity seemed to have passed. Before he could really
react, she was in front of him, pressing the sword onto him,
literally curling his gloved hand around it.

"D, I owe you my life -- it was my father's. Take it. Please. I
want you to have it." After a pause, she added, "You said it
would be payment enough if you killed Magnus Lee ... if you don't
want payment ... it's a gift. Please."

She had backed away from him then, perhaps remembering how his
bloodlust had risen the last time she had been so close. D looked
lost for a moment -- he was, in truth, a little awed at the
magnitude of her gift, her heirloom bestowed on him. Awed and
touched, although it was not his nature to show it. He drew the
sword. It was a beautiful weapon, superbly balanced, reassuringly
heavy; used, but always in defense of life and humanity.

"It is a noble blade," D said at last. The light glinted off it
almost painfully. "You've kept it well."

The day had passed. There had been events. The farm still had to
be run, and D had helped improve on the temporary repairs he had
earlier made to the house -- repairs necessitated by the damage
that Count Lee's monsters had wrought -- but these were little
more than gray blurs in his consciousness. Between all he had
experienced at Castle Lee and Doris's having given him the 
sword -- which had made a profound, almost frightening impression
on him -- the details of daily life seemed not only
inconsequential but infinitely disposable. And his mind in large
part disposed of them.

It was night now, and D was alone in the main room, on the couch
where he had spent previous nights. Doris and Dan had gone to
bed. D couldn't sleep. He needed very little sleep anyway, but he
felt immensely tired. The day had been long; the night before,
much, much longer, and even his dhampire's strength had its
limits. He was tired, and the danger was past; he should have
been able to sleep. But sleep refused to come.

He paced the room slowly, touching objects: a doily on an end
table; the banister of the staircase that led upstairs; the
mantel, above which an old handgun still hung; the curtains (he
did not care to open them, did not want to see the moon that had
gazed on his wild fight with the mutant Rei Ginsei); and,
finally, his new sword. He drew it once again, regarded its
shining length, savored its balance. The weight of a sword in his
hand always set his heart at ease. The thought of how Doris had
given it to him, however, was inseparable from the gift. He was
not sorry to have accepted it -- to refuse would have been an
unpardonable insult -- and was glad to be properly armed again.
And yet....

Soft footsteps on the stairs interrupted his thoughts. It was
Doris, wrapped in a modest robe. D regarded her with quiet

"I couldn't sleep," she explained. "And I saw the lights were on
down here, and...." She ended the sentence with an embarrassed
shrug. D looked down, sheathed the sword and set it aside -- and
winced, drawing a hiss of breath between his teeth.

"D? Are you all right?"

D nodded carefully. "A little sore," he said. He tried to rub his
shoulder but encountered his own armor, bulky as a football
player's. D sighed -- he didn't need that now either, any more
than his long-removed hat and the sword that he had set aside.
For a wandering hunter, it was hard to think of any place as 
safe ... but this place was, at least for now. He unfastened his
cape and took it off, then his shoulder armor and, after a
moment's hesitation, the combat belt he wore across his chest and
his low-slung knife belt. He hunched and rolled his shoulders 
and -- as best he could -- rubbed the right one. The soreness was
not from exertion but from being slammed repeatedly against the
walls of the vampire's castle. D resented the bloodthirst of his
vampire heritage, but he had to admit that his dark blood brought
benefits as well: the bruising was nothing to what a human would
have suffered. Still, there was some residual pain.

Doris watched, her expression shifting from interest to concern
that bordered on worry. She had come to think of D as always
strong and dignified, but there was a leveling humanness to his
efforts -- and to his somewhat pained expression.

"Let me," she said at last, taking a few steps toward him. "You
can't reach your own shoulders. Hm ... I wonder where...." She
glanced about, looking for a place that would be comfortable for
him and would give her room to work. D, rather to her surprise,
strode over to the thick rug in front of the fireplace and sat on
it cross-legged.

"Yes, that's fine. Take your shirt off, OK?" D looked at her
silently for a moment, then complied, hands surprisingly
dexterous despite his brown leather gloves (which stayed on) as
Doris knelt behind him. She put her hands on his shoulders and
realized, with a start, that her fingers were cold, chilled with
the nervousness of doing this to someone she knew so little,
however brave and kind to her he had been.

"Maybe you'd better lie down," she said, after a few tentative
probes of that broad, muscular expanse. "I think I can reach you
better. And it might make you less tense." <*lt;And maybe my hands
will warm up a little.>>

She moved aside barely fast enough for D's legs to miss her as he
stretched out prone, face resting on his crossed arms. He was
longer than the rug, but only his boots protruded onto the
hardwood floor. Doris rubbed her hands together, half to warm
them, half nerving herself.

"I have to do this to Dan sometimes," she said conversationally,
running her fingers up the length of his shoulderblades. It was
still a bit of a reach across his back; he was so big. "He's
always trying to do things -- and he practices with his gun so
long his muscles get stiff from it sometimes. He's a good shot,
though -- let me know if it hurts, OK?"

There was no response, not that Doris really expected one -- D
was so very taciturn -- and she began a careful exploration of
the pale skin of his upper back, pressing with the tips of her
fingers and thumbs. "I'm sorry my hands are cold. They'll get
warm in a few minutes, honest. Just try to relax. It doesn't work
if you're all tense."

And D did gradually relax as she worked her way along the
contours of his back. His skin was smooth and thin and slid
easily, almost too easily, over firm, heavy muscles that
occasionally tensed to rock-hardness at Doris's touch. There
*were* little knots of worry here and there. Doris knew that
working them out would hurt, but their presence caused pain as
well. At least her hands were getting warmer -- perhaps from her
own growing confidence; perhaps from the warmth of D's back.

Her hands were warm now. D felt the calluses on them, little
muscle-like ridges that almost scraped as she worked. What did
she do to build those mounds of flesh? She maintained a farm ...
what did she *not* do? Carry feed and water and hay, muck the
stalls, groom the horse, medicate sick or injured animals, repair
the buildings and fences ... and handle the whip, that amazing
whip. Her fingers were strong and agile, probing his skin and the
muscles beneath. He could feel it when she encountered knots,
carefully pressed and kneaded them out ... or when she touched
the incipient bruises that she couldn't feel, but that he could,
distinctly. They were everywhere. Yet oddly, the pain was not as
great as he had expected. Perhaps it was the warmth of her touch
that sweetened the pain; it was more like the freshening ache of
stretching after a good night's sleep. Beneath it, within it, was
the sensation of wakening, coming to life. And something in him
*did* waken, stirring. For a moment his eyes opened, then glided
shut again -- not in sleep, but in an oddly contented quiescence.

Doris was intent on her work, hands moving systematically,
rhythmically, fingers at once fierce and gentle. D was perfectly
still through it all, and he *did* feel more relaxed now. His
breathing was slow, his pulse -- Doris touched his neck gently --
quiet and regular.

"D?" she said, barely a murmur. D made no response; he was
savoring the new sensations coursing through his muscles and
veins. Doris waited a moment, then sighed and leaned carefully on
his shoulders.

"Good night, D." Her voice was only a whisper, a little sad but
tender. She bent over him, and her lips touched his cheek in a
soft, lingering kiss.

She never saw his hand move. She knew only that one moment both
arms had been under his head; the next, one was pressing her face
against his, and his eyes were open, intensely and beautifully
green. A little more slowly, he rolled half onto his side, auburn
hair spilling down his cheek. He cupped her face between his
hands; Doris noticed, incongruously, that they too were warm.
Those eyes had never before been so close to her own. She still
could not read their expression, but their depths spoke
wordlessly, drew her with their stillness. Time became
measureless when she gazed into them, but surely it was moments
rather than hours later that D's mouth slowly opened and pulled
her nearer to return the kiss. Doris closed her eyes and

For contact that never came. D drew back, jaws snapping shut as
he came to himself, freed of something that Doris's blue eyes
bestowed. He released her face, rolled onto his back, and turned
his head away from her, grimacing. He could have bitten her,
nearly *had* bitten her: it was not in a vampire's nature to kiss
with the lips alone, and his breath came deeper and faster with
the realization of what had almost been.

Doris realized too when she saw him lying there, hair flung
astray with the force of turning away from her. She reached out,
gently laid a hand on his shoulder. "You need blood, don't you?"
she said softly. "D, it's OK. I want to give you something for
all you've done. Please -- take that from me."

D sat up, breaking the contact between them as he rolled away
from her, albeit not very far. He felt a little more himself
sitting up than lying down. He should have risen, turned his
back, walked away; but he had felt her warmth pressing against
him, and it was so hard to refuse. He had pushed her away once --
reluctantly, with effort, but he had. Something was different
now; he could smell blood beneath her skin-scent. It had been a
temptation before, but now he wanted it desperately, wanted it
like the air he drew in labored breaths -- air laden with more of
that scent that refused to let him move away. He leaned on his
hands, face averted as if the rug had become an object of the
greatest fascination.

"Doris --" It was hoarse, breathless, gasped through a mouth wet
with too much saliva.

"Just hold me," Doris whispered in return. She put her arms
around him, pulling him closer, and suddenly he *was* holding
her. His face nuzzled her hair; the word "no" sounded in his
mind, but he was unable to voice it, to even form it with his
lips, lips that brushed over her ear, pressed against her cheek
and slid down her neck as he pushed her hair aside. Warm, she was
so *warm*, and her quickening pulse was like a life unto itself,
a warmth that beckoned like light, opened itself to him as if to
draw him in.

Doris sat still, holding him as tightly as she dared. She had
closed her eyes again -- frightened, yes, but resolved to go
through with whatever came. It was D's nature to drink blood, to
*need* blood. It should have been easy to think him evil like the
Nobles, but she could not. She knew she could trust him with her
life, *had* trusted him with her life, when she had sought his
services and invited him into her home. He had not betrayed that
trust before and would not now. He would not have forced himself
on her as Count Lee had; indeed, when she had urged her blood
upon him before, he had refused it. But he had been through so
much more; he had to be tired and ... hungry, if that was the
word. Perhaps he was afraid she would regret it if she let him
drink her blood, let him bite her. It would hurt, and the loss of
blood would weaken her, but Doris promised herself: No regrets.
Not for this. Not for D. She was strong, with courage to face
pain (his bite couldn't possibly be worse than Count Lee's) and
plenty of blood to give.

His lips were soft, soft and a little moist against her neck. And
gentle: it *was* almost a kiss, a long, gliding kiss; at first
just hard enough not to tickle, then pressing urgently. She felt
the hardness of teeth behind the warm lips, then the teeth
themselves ... there. It would be there, and Doris steeled
herself against the -- *ah!* -- the pain, and it was very real
pain, so much she nearly cried out. Somehow she held silence; he
mustn't know it had hurt her, not when it was to give him what he
needed, and what she longed to give.

She wrapped the pain in a separate place in her mind, cocooned it
away from her, made a barrier of the other sensations: D's arms
around her, his gloved hands holding her firmly rather than
tightly; his cheek smooth against her neck; his tongue ... he
didn't suck the blood as a vampire would, but lapped it from the
wound, and his tongue was gentle. Perhaps it was just the passing
of time, perhaps his touch as well, but the pain receded, and
Doris relaxed, surprised at how tense apprehension had made her.
Surprised and a little embarrassed: D would never hurt her, not
really. He licked her neck with a gentle rhythm, and Doris
sighed, contented, knowing her body was nourishing him.

D drank as he had never drunk before. Oh, he had drunk blood --
between one thing and another -- but never this way, never
sharing a gentle embrace with someone whose touch had warmed his
heart and whose strength and trust had won it. And it was so
good, so *good*. It was not like eating, not like kissing;
perhaps a little like basking before a fire, but this heat warmed
from the inside with a crimson radiance, healing and bringing
life. This *was* life, the very essence of life, to lap and
swallow, to receive and live. He knew he had long been alone,
ever alone, but he hadn't realized what it was to be without
this. He had never known before that anything could fill the void
inside him -- had never even known the void penetrated to such
cold depths until this life curled within it, filled it as he

It was not a deep wound, and in a matter of minutes the flow of
blood became a trickle, then an ooze; efforts that had brought
tongue-coatings of blood now yielded only hints of its taste in
plasma. D pressed his tongue into the wound, licking harder, more
deeply; then actually sucked, longing for more, needing more. The
wound was dry, this springhead played out, and he nearly whined
with frustration, pressing his mouth against that soft neck,
pressing his teeth against it....

"There, it's all right," Doris murmured, whether to him or to
herself it was hard to say. But her voice brought him out of
himself as it had once before, and he grew very still, eyes going
wide in shocked realization. He had been drinking blood. He had
been drinking *Doris's* blood, and she was -- she had been --

D pressed his cheek against her violated neck with something
dangerously close to a sob. Her pulse was strong, at least; he
could feel it, so near the skin and so near his own skin, rapid
and driving, crying out to his hearing and touch. She was alive,
she *was* alive....

D forced himself to push away from her, just enough to loosen her
grasp and let him look at her face. She looked back with moist,
starry eyes and a faint but sweet smile that drove ice into his
heart. How could he have hurt someone who trusted him so -- whose
trust remained untainted even by this unspeakable betrayal? How
*could* he?

D touched one of her eyes, pulled down the lower eyelid to look
at its inside and then, not trusting his judgement, slipped a
gloved finger between her lips to look at her gums. When relief
smoothed the contours of his face, Doris realized what he was
doing and nearly laughed.

"Oh, D --" she hugged him again "-- I'm fine. I'm really fine."
Then, her voice soft and small: "Do you feel better?"

D was still for a long time, but said at last, "I'm sorry. I'm
really sorry."

"Don't be." He was so hard to talk to. "Would you ... I mean ...
do you need more?"


Under any other circumstances it would have been funny -- he'd
said it so forcefully. But pain underlay the force in his voice,
and Doris pressed against him in a reassuring hug -- one that D
was too shaken to return. But neither was he able to pull himself
away, not from someone who clung to him in compassion and trust.

At last D half turned from her and scooped her up, one hand under
her shoulders, one under her legs, as gently as if she were made
of eggshells, but careful not to look at her. He couldn't bring
himself to look at her again, not yet. Saying *I'm sorry* wasn't
enough. For that matter, offering his head on a platter wasn't
enough, but he would have eternity for self-recrimination. Doris
had already endured too much at his hands; there was no reason to
force on her the words ringing in his mind, words condemning him
for his own weakness, his lack of control. The symbiot, that
cursed *thing,* would never let him hear the end of this. And for
that matter, neither would his conscience.

D carried Doris up the stairs and to her room, where he carefully
laid her on her own bed. Or tried to -- she didn't want to let
him go. He did finally separate her arms from his neck, but she
grabbed one of his hands in hers while turning on a bedside lamp
with the other. D winced at the sudden, soft light, blinked as
his eyes adjusted -- and Doris's free hand now covered his as

"Lie down," he said, pressing her away. "You need to rest. 
And ... that ... needs to be washed and bandaged."

"Don't go. I'm sure it's fine."

D shook free of her grasp a little roughly, silent; shifted his
weight to turn away.


It wasn't just her voice. It was a power. There was no other way
to describe it. D stood still in surprise, looking -- almost
staring -- at the diminutive figure on the bed, the woman who, it
seemed, held him in thrall merely by speaking his name.

"Don't go," Doris repeated, taking his hand again. "I want you
here with me. Please."

D closed his eyes, unmoving, trying to slow his breathing. His

"Your scent is different," he said, a little hoarsely. It
accounted for something, but he couldn't tell what.


D nodded, seeking words. "Richer," he said at last, with a voice
that barely answered to his call. It was more than scent: more
than blood scent, more than woman scent, and the power ran
through it, thrummed in her words, tugged at him like her pulse
when she spoke.

"I want you to be here," Doris said, almost apologetically. Her
natural strength reasserted itself and she slid over, patting the
bed beside her. "Here. Sit down."

D obeyed, oddly not comforted by his back being to her now. It
was not just the lack of armor that made him feel naked. Doris

"You are so impossible," she said.

<<That's what Father always said about his efforts to have a
dhampire son,>> D thought incongruously, gaze intent on his
clenched, gloved hands. Then Doris's arms were warm around him

"D, it was what I wanted," she said. "Don't be upset."

The silence was long before he replied, "I hurt you."

"D, I don't mind."

<<That's one of us,>> D thought sourly.

Doris had no great love for D's vampire nature, but neither could
she despise him for it: it was part of him, too. She had fed that
part for the sake of the rest of him; she wished his hero's heart
could accept the gift as readily as his body had. His back was
tense again, and she could see the rise and fall of muscles in
his upper arms. Words seemed so empty now; D used few enough of
them as it was. Perhaps they hurt him.

His pain hurt her, and she could not bear the thought of his
being alone with it.

"This is what we were doing," she said softly, and she went to
her knees and bent over his shoulder to kiss his cheek -- once,
then again, nearer his mouth, and again, nearer.

Her next kiss would have found his lips or, more likely,
overbalanced her and sent her tumbling heels-over-D off the bed,
but D turned toward her at last, eyes still sad but mouth meeting
hers, half open, but not in a bite; that urge was for the moment
quiescent, or at least quieter than before. Doris was secretly
delighted and more than a little relieved that D would at least
*do* something instead of consume himself with guilt.

Doris was too shy and D too self-conscious to attempt the deep,
probing kisses that more experienced lovers would soon have
progressed to. Lips met and explored carefully, almost timidly;
cheeks brushed or pressed together; hands caressed faces or held
each other, and if Doris felt that D's gloves allowed less
contact than she wanted, she gave no sign of it.

Her wound was still oozing a little. <<I really should make sure
that's all right; it needs to be bandaged,>> D thought, but the
thought went no further: Doris's lips were suddenly far more
compelling than her neck, and he let himself be drawn to taste
them again and savored their perfect, perfect fit against his
own. <<She is so sweet.>> It was barely a conscious thought, but
it reflected a desire that touch and kiss had driven from hiding,
a desire that had grown into a need. D let Doris pull him toward
the middle of the bed, realized this took his feet off the floor
and, with an effort, looked away from her.

"I'll get your bed dirty," he said, glancing at his immaculate

"You can take them off," Doris suggested. D gave her cheek a
brief, gentle peck before turning away to do so. Doris leaned on
his back, watching, then quietly added, "You don't have to stop

D looked at her. "Doris...."

"I want to see all of you." Her kiss muffled his attempt to
protest, and when she finally released him, he could only nod. He
stood and slipped off his remaining clothes ... nearly. His right
glove fell to the floor with all the rest, but the left one was
staying on. Even the power that Doris suddenly radiated would not
force him to expose that *thing* (he did not regard it as fully
part of himself, anyway) when he did not need its power for the
sake of his own life. His life was in no danger.

And he no longer cared about protecting his virtue.

He did still care about Doris, however. He might not be fully
himself, but he had not lost that, was determined not to. He sat
on the bed, partial erection bobbing with the motion as he slid
toward her again. Doris had turned away for a moment to pull an
object from a nightstand drawer. There was a soft crackle of
plastic as she slipped something slick and square into D's hand.

A condom? A *condom*? Doris kept condoms by her bed? She must
have taken his slightly confused expression for reproach, for she
looked embarrassed -- but she didn't release her grip.

"Just to be safe," she said. "Not because -- not that --"

Words were so empty, and despairing of their usefulness, she bent
down and, gently grasping the shaft of D's penis, kissed its
head. D gasped as his erection responded, swelling to its full
height under her touch.

"*Warn* me before you do that," he said, when he was able to
speak again. He didn't want release from this -- not yet, not 
now -- and not merely her hand but her lips....

It was a sort of self-control he seldom had occasion to exercise.

Doris had backed away, half fearful. "Did I hurt you?"

"No." Then, with a gentleness and passion beyond even what she
could have hoped for: "Oh, *no.*" More softly: "But I don't know
if I can contain myself at your touch."

So he put the condom on unaided. Realizing that he was wearing
only that -- and the left glove (some dim half-recollection told
her that the glove remained for good reason) -- reminded Doris
that she was for practical purposes fully clothed, and rather
modestly clothed, at that. But when she stood and turned away to
untie the robe's sash, D's hands were at her shoulders to pull it
off. Underneath, she wore two-piece nightwear, the top soft and
smooth, trimmed with touches of lace; the bottom unadorned. Both
garments were as blue as her eyes.

D helped pull the top over her head. He would have confined his
touch to her back, but Doris sat on the bed again and pulled his
arms around her from behind, guiding his hands over her breasts.
D held them gently, marveling at how firm the nipples were
against his palms, relishing the smoothness of her shoulders
against his chest and the softness of her hair against his cheek.
He lowered his head, and his mouth found the wound again. Now he
kissed it in a lingering kiss, barely tasting the blood but
relishing the warmth and closeness of that touch.

Doris took one hand off his and held his face against her neck,
smiling. She wanted to ask if he ever smiled but was afraid it
would upset him. Smiling or not, he seemed happy now, or at least
contented. She didn't want to interfere with that: not by asking
stupid questions, not by pulling her body away from his.

But she wanted to feel *all* of him next to *all* of her. And
soon. It took a little wriggling, but she managed to hook her
thumbs in the waistband and, by rolling back and shifting from
side to side, she was able to peel the nightie bottom -- really
little more than a pair of panties -- down to her knees.

The crotch was mottled with blood.

Doris felt her face growing red as well. This was not the kind of
nakedness she had meant to expose, and she hastily curled her
knees to herself and pulled the bottom the rest of the way off;
crumpled it, flung it aside. She was unclean, embarrassed; how
could a man desire her now, while she was bleeding?

As if in answer, D drew her closer, hands still over her breasts,
and she heard him inhale deeply. *Your scent is different,* he
had said. *Richer.* Was this why?

His arms still around her, his hands still on her breasts (and
still very gentle): these were not reassurance enough. She always
had felt shame at her time of the month, at the pain (it usually
did hurt), at the smell, at the mess. It was not something to
share, and Doris curled around herself, at once wanting to be
held and wanting to be alone. D at last slipped his hands away
(what *must* he think about her?), but only to move more to her
side, so he could look at her face, his eyes gentle and keen at

"I'm sorry," she whispered. "I just...." She pushed herself a
little away from him, glancing, then gesturing, toward her

Perhaps D misunderstood, or perhaps he understood perfectly. Now
kneeling, he rolled her onto her back; held her hands for a
moment, then laid them on her chest, his eyes terribly earnest,
terribly tender, then gone from view as he bent down to --

She should have expected it, but she didn't, and she was too
surprised to object.

The scent was overwhelming, and now he knew, oh, he *knew* what
power it was that held him, that drew his face down to it. His
hands slid along her inner thighs to part the flesh beneath the
soft brown hair; now with hands under Doris's hips, he pressed
his lips and then his tongue against the most wonderful warm, wet

Doris had never felt anything like it. Doris had never *dreamed*
of anything like the sensation of her clitoris being kissed and
then licked. She spread her legs wider, embarrassment forgotten
in her pleasure, and D's mouth moved lower until his tongue
probed the source of her blood -- probed, massaged, plumbed until
Doris moaned at the sensations that were too much and yet not
nearly enough.

There was blood -- some clotted, some fresh -- and more than
blood. The fluid that crept forth was not pure blood, but it was
richer -- rich with power, musky with sex. D drank its scent,
drowned in its taste, ached for an ocean of it when mere drops
had fallen into his reach. There was the strong scent of more,
but it was not to be won with a bite: there could be no wounds,
not in this sacred place. Here blood could only be bestowed, not
stolen. And so his tongue pleaded for that gift the only way it
could, lapping all along the sides and then reaching, again and
again, for the fount, the springhead that this essence of power
and passions flowed from.

"D -- !" It was half spoken, half gasped as the sweet flesh-folds
stirred, drew together for a moment and pressed out a drop of
that wondrous blood. He licked it up with a gentle tongue, and
the folds quivered again. "D ... *please*...."

There was no resisting the half plea, half command in her 
voice -- or in her gaze, when D at last looked up at those blue
eyes. He drew her toward him, pressed his lips to her belly, her
breasts, her mouth.

"I want you inside me," Doris whispered, but he knew as if the
wish were his own -- it was, it was his as much as hers. He
pressed his penis against her inner labia, then eased it in as
carefully as he could -- but it was hard to be careful, to be
gentle against such resistance (which gave, suddenly, and a
moment later he smelled a new blood scent, more pure and with a
power of its own). How could he hold back when both his body and
hers demanded that he drive himself in?

Doris was gasping beneath him in a blend of pain and passion, and
he pressed against her, an act that suddenly and forcefully
reminded him how *tiny* she was: bodies belly to belly, their
faces were too far apart for eye contact. If she were as small
inside.... D hoped and prayed that she could hold him, that she
wouldn't ask him to pull out. He honestly didn't think he could.
He hadn't known he'd *needed* this, needed it as surely as he
needed blood. Something stronger than both of them had brought
him there, held him there, held him tightly....

Doris held him tightly, outside as well as within, arms and then
legs embracing him, and his thrusts began -- not willed but
automatic, instinctive, inevitable. What drove his body left him
deaf and blind to all other sensations: Doris's labored breathing
and occasional ecstatic gasps; his own hoarse, inarticulate
exclamations; Doris's fingers digging into his back. Her face was
pressed against him and streaked with tears -- of pain, of joy,
of pride and love and lust, and her world narrowed to what was in
her arms and within her legs -- and within *her*.

D came much too soon, or so it seemed, groaned with pleasure and
effort; beneath him, Doris whimpered and shuddered in her own
orgasm. She held D no less tightly as he collapsed on top of her,
the day's and night's exertions abruptly catching up with him.
Eyes closed, he caught his breath, only half conscious of Doris's
struggles. It was her grunt of relief as she finally squirmed
partway free that brought him to himself. He was (as he had
reflected before, in a moment that allowed very little freedom
for reflection) much bigger than she -- he'd probably almost
smothered her with his weight. Belatedly, he rolled the rest of
the way off with a murmured "Sorry."

Doris didn't let him roll very far but snuggled against him as he
lay on his side. Their bodies were slick with sweat, and she slid
her cheek up and down against D's hairless chest, then lay still,
contentedly drowsing, her world warm and complete. It was hard to
say how much time passed before her own shiver roused her --
without the heat of passion, she was growing chilly. D seemed
unaffected by the temperature but sat up and untangled the
blankets (briefly pausing to rescue the abandoned condom and dump
it onto the floor) and pulled the covers over both of them.

Doris smiled and kissed him, and he winced and turned away.

"D!" Her voice was a reproach, then an apology. "D, don't be
sorry. Please."

Perhaps some of her power was gone, or perhaps just some of his
susceptibility to it. He could have ignored her and gone to 
sleep -- or left. Both possibilities crossed his mind, rather to
his relief, for it showed he was his own man again.

But still, he could never want to hurt her.

Roused once again, Doris realized she had a hundred questions:
<<Are you -- *were* you -- a virgin too? What did my blood taste
like? Can't you be happy? Would you like a cigarette?>>

She also recognized the futility of voicing them, and it was D
who spoke first.

"I'd forgotten," he said. "How the belief began. The Nobles have
forgotten. But my father remembered."

His back was to her, but at least he was speaking.

"Forgotten what?" Doris asked, wishing he would face her, but
afraid to ask him to.

"The first night I was here, it was the night before Woman's
Moon. Vampires believe female blood is unclean on that night,
when the moon is red."

Doris nodded, pressing her face against his back so he would

"But that's not how the belief started," D continued. "There
wasn't always a Woman's Moon; the Nobles brought that about, the
red moon you see once a month. Before there was a Woman's Moon,
and before the Nobles made the world their own -- and before
there *were* Nobles -- there were human women with their moon

"There was a time even before the time before the Nobles. The
very earliest days of the human race. Men ... revered women then,
for their power. And they knew a woman's power was greatest when
her blood flowed ... where there was no wound."

"That was a long time ago," Doris said softly.

"A very long time," D agreed. "But men changed their beliefs and
grew greedy for power. What they had worshipped they cast down,
and what had been an emblem of power they called a curse of
uncleanness. Before, there were taboos on flowing women because
their magic was so strong; things they must not touch lest their
power undo mere men's lesser magic. But then men said it was
because they were unclean. In time they forgot that women had
been anything else.

"What the humans had done before them, the vampires did in their
turn. Vampires are creatures of blood and susceptible to blood
magic. They know -- they *should* know -- the power of a woman's
moon blood. But they forgot too. They even forgot that it was
something inside women instead of outside. And when they remade
so much of the world in their image, they made the red moon, and
they said *that* was what made female blood unclean. But they
have it backward -- like so many things they've perverted. It's
not that time when they must be wary of female blood. And not
because it is unclean, but because it is so powerful." His voice
dropped to a whisper. "So very powerful. And like the Nobles, I
had forgotten...."

Doris wasn't sure she had followed everything he said; it was a
strange story. She wasn't sure she wanted to understand it; was
almost sure she didn't want to.

"I've never heard anything like that before," she said,

"The Nobles would not want you to," D admitted. "But it is your
birthright as a woman -- to know the power you have."

"Power to do what?" Doris asked, fearful but fascinated.

D's silence was frighteningly long, but finally he spoke, voice
low: "I could have resisted my own desires. But not yours, too --
not on the night of your power. You wanted me to drink your 
blood ... and I did. You wanted me to come to your bed ... and 
I am here."

"No." It was a shaken whisper.


"No, D, don't...." And he felt the tug of her moon blood telling
him to deny all he had said, to proclaim that he had succumbed to
only his own lusts this night. But he had no lust to tell that
untruth, not even to comfort Doris, whose voice grew unsteady as
she continued, "You didn't -- really want --"

"I didn't say that. But I don't have the strength to resist the
call of my own ... blood, and your moon blood as well; not when
they call with the same voice."

Doris held him, shivering a little -- with fear or exhilaration,
she wasn't sure. "D ... what if ... what if you *hadn't* wanted
to? Would you -- ?"

"I don't know," he admitted, in the tone of one who didn't *want*
to know.

"I'm sorry," Doris said at last. "I didn't know ... I didn't

She truly had meant no harm and truly hadn't been aware of her
own power. D couldn't bring himself to feel angry at her, even
though he never would have consented to the acts of this night if
his judgement had been unimpaired. It was a cliche, but Doris's
heart was in the right place, and if she had taken him against
his will, she had also given, had given of herself -- her blood
and her body -- as she had given of her inheritance in bestowing
the sword on him. How could he bear a grudge against someone who
gave so much and so willingly?

She was crying, and D suddenly felt more tired than ever. She had
pulled her arms to herself and turned away from him, silent
except for occasional hiccups and sniffles.

"Would you rather I left?" D asked softly.

Doris sobbed, turning so quickly that she tangled herself in the
covers. She wrapped her arms around his neck and pressed her face
into the mass of soft auburn hair. "Don't go." Her throat was
nearly too tight to let speech pass. "*Please* don't go."

Her hands were cold again, with a realization too vast to be put
into words. He might have found her tears repulsive -- it was
disturbing in more ways than one to have a woman so near him
weeping -- but he knew it was his heart, not merely her blood,
that had held him so long. For all that she had endured, and for
all that she had done, he owed her the kindness of his touch. And
so he turned toward her and held her, held her against the full
length of his body, to comfort her.

"I learned about some of my own powers in hard ways," he said, an
unaccustomed sympathy in his voice. "There wasn't always someone
to tell me ... to remind me not to think of myself ... as human."

That remark brought her back to herself, at least somewhat. "What
about ... other men? Are they...?"

"Susceptible the way I am? No. A shaman or a mage could tell you
what power your moon blood gives you over the rest of the world.
It is blood that calls to blood. What happened to me this night
could happen to a vampire. Or a dhampire. But not to most men,
men who have no vampire blood in them."

"I only wanted to give you a back rub," Doris whispered.

She had wanted a good deal more than that, and D knew it in his
veins and bone marrow, but he said nothing.

"Don't be mad at me," Doris said. "I didn't know. I really

"I know," D replied gently. He could smell her blood now, all of
it, from her hymen and from deep within her and even the residue
from her neck, from the wound he had made ... probably less than
an hour earlier, but it seemed an eternity. And he did what he
had longed to do the night before, when his own bloodlust had
nearly undone him: he drew her closer and tucked her head under
his chin, and his ungloved hand stroked that hair so soft, so
beautiful even tangled and sweat-damp. How could one master one's
powers in a world that denied their existence -- a world that
despised dhampires and precious moon blood alike?

How indeed?

The blood hunger was stirring in him now: still quiet, drowsy,
but just strong enough to remind him of its importance -- and the
consequences of ignoring it.

"Go to sleep, Doris," he said at last. "Tomorrow is another day."

<<Tomorrow I'll be gone,>> he silently resolved.

Doris's breathing slowed, and her body relaxed in sleep. <<I need
to sleep too,>> D thought. And despite or because of everything
that had transpired this night, he didn't want to be alone for
the little sleep that he needed. He would wake long before dawn;
get up and dress and leave. But now ... now he reached over and
turned off the bedside lamp. He could see as well in the dark as
any vampire, but it was still somehow comforting and familiar,
the darkness he knew so well: an impalpable cocoon. He made a
smaller, warmer cocoon within it, pulling the covers more tightly
about both of them. It was safe here, truly safe, if only for a
little while; safe to relax against the warmth and softness of
someone who cared for him with a brave, gentle heart.

D's eyes fell shut, and he let sleep overtake him, just this
once, with a woman in his arms.


Comments welcome.

The Certifiable VHD Fanatic
Cathy Krusberg