Hindsight Part I

Disclaimer: I have no ownership of Vampire Hunter D. I can only claim the rights to Kiesha, Hau'Bri, and Mordial. This is a work of fanfiction that contains explicit sex in later parts. If you are underage or offended by such material, please do not read past this point. This has been written for entertainment purposes only and should not be construed as a challenge to the copyright status of the original creator of Vampire Hunter D.

There wasn't much excitement in the life of young Vilos Dracul.

He was a prince. His father held a vast kingdom and his mother had died several years earlier. He was young, but already, he was showing the woman's softer traits. Unlike both parents, however, Vilos tended to keep his own counsel. Rarely anyone ever heard the young man speak.

His life was not a normal one, however. His father was only active after the sun had settled behind the horizon. His father would meet with others, who lived the same as he, and spend long nights discussing important matters. The dealings of the kingdom had little to do with the boy, so Vilos most often spent his time awake during the day.

It was very hard on him. Romanian summers were very humid. Once the sun rode low in the west, he was more often found indoors, being treated by an overweight governess for excessive exposure to the heat. Regardless of the dangers, he continued to venture out into the daylight, wanting to feel the warmth on his flesh and see the exuberant colors that nature provided quite readily.

There were no other children around, so Vilos was very lonely.

At seven, he'd become a very serious young man with little to do other than be bored. He sat in his window, long brown locks streaming over one shoulder, and his blue eyes gazed unseeing outside his bedroom window. They quickly gained focus when he noticed a young girl, near his age, looking furtively from an open doorway.

Vilos sat up, dropping his already long legs down from the sill as he watched her head turn from side to side. *What is she doing?* His azure eyes regarded her sleek form, covered in plain clothes, and immediately realized that the girl was either a peasant or a slave. From the dusky hue of her skin, he guessed the latter.

Standing up, the young noble gave one last look at the girl before turning out of the room and heading down the stairs. This might be the only chance he ever had to speak with someone his own age. He wasn't going to miss the opportunity. His legs carried Vilos down the stairs hurriedly, skipping more than a few, and he tore open the nearest door to the outside that he came across.

And there she was, standing in the shadows of one wall, looking about fearfully. The girl's eyes, colored like Spanish chocolate, shot to him and widened at his attire. Immediately, she dropped to her knees, forehead touching the ground, and a small cloth doll escaped the tight embrace of one arm to fall nearby.

Slowly, Vilos moved toward her, pausing to scoop up the peasant toy, before standing in front of the trembling girl. He looked down at her for a moment, considering what he should do, and then knelt low, "You... you dropped this."

She looked up in surprise and hesitantly reached out to pluck the doll from his hand, "Thank you, Lord."

Her sudden smile of gratitude shocked him. He'd only rarely seen such a thing and it was almost never in earnest. But, this girl's eyes lit up with the gesture, nearly drawing a similar response from him, "You're welcome."

His hand found her wrist and used it to pull her to her feet as he stood again, "Who are you?" He'd never felt such an urge to know about someone. The sudden curiosity was uncanny but understandable in the situation.

The girl bowed her head, "Just the child of a slave, Lord."

Vilos leaned down, straining to catch her gaze again, "Even a slave must have a name." When she nodded at him, he tried his own smile. It was a foreign feeling, having his mouth widen like that.

Her large eyes rose to his face, "Kiesha Mari, Lord, daughter of Hau'Bri, slave to the king's second general." Quickly, her dark eyes dropped again as she realized her taboo of meeting the gaze of her betters.

Blue eyes noted the slight points to some of the other child's teeth, marking her as more than the daughter of a slave. "You're the general's child as well, aren't you," he asked gently. His hand caught her chin as it began to lower, "I give you permission to look at me."

She nodded, but stayed silent. Vilos watched her arms tighten around the cloth doll, displaying her nervousness to his experienced eye. He tried another smile, though it wasn't any easier than the first one, and moved his hand to her elbow so that he could guide her elsewhere. Her voice, though accented, was clear and he liked the sound of it. No one else sounded like that.

The young man wanted to hear more and didn't think he could when any of his father's guards could tear the slave-girl from his presence. Quickly, Vilos guided her to the stables and opened the side door, taking a quick look within. Finding it empty, he gestured for her to follow him, "It should be safe in here."

Kiesha's look of confusion greeted him when he turned to face her again, "Lord... I am a slave. There should be no reason for you to fear for your safety. I am no danger to you."

"I meant from the guards," Vilos said lowly and drew the girl further in. Sometimes, he'd hide from the sunlight in the stable, so the prince had become very familiar with the interior. He led her to the ladder, "Up there is the loft. We can talk there."

With a wary glance around, Kiesha went up first, moving quietly with her cloth covered feet. She got safely out of sight above before Vilos followed her, his boots making only a little more noise than her steps had previously. At the top, he sought her out in the dim light and walked over to the corner where the girl sat on a bale of hay, "This is where I sometimes hide during the day."

"I like horses," Kiesha said softly, "But my master doesn't let me near the stables." The slave-girl kicked her feet a bit, "I have learned not to even ask permission anymore." Her head hung low at the quietly whispered words.

Vilos had no trouble hearing her but leaned closer anyway, his curiosity piqued, "Does he beat you?"

She shook her head, "No... He hurts mother." Kiesha's dark eyes rose to his, "Everytime I displease him, he punishes my mother..."

The girl was surprised when his hand went to her shoulder, "I'm sorry, Kiesha." Vilos' eyes went wide when his hand was knocked away. In shock, he stared hard at the girl, "What?"

"You mustn't say things like that, Lord," she scolded him, "Some day, you will reign and then you will be allowed to do as you please." Kiesha's eyes dropped, "But, until then, you can not change our fates so you shouldn't even think about it." The girl smoothed midnight strands from her eyes, "I do not want you to trouble yourself over me, Lord."

A tense silence surrounded the children for sometime after that, neither one speaking after the slave-girl's outburst. Finally, Vilos couldn't stand it anymore and he sat down next to her, "Where is your mother from?"

Kiesha looked up from her doll, "Egypt. Mother was a priestess before the master came and took her away. She was the Oracle and her Sight is strong." Her hands went still in her lap, "When I am older, I shall have the Sight too. But I don't know how strong it will be." Dark eyes met blue, "Sometimes, I do see things that come true, but it isn't very often."

That piqued Vilos' interest, "What have you seen?"

Her voice lowered, "You, I think. Older. Older and very sad. Your only friend is a spirit. Your soul is burdened with sorrow, shame, fear, and regret."

The prince stood up, very sullen, and turned away from Kiesha, "I'll never know happiness?"

She shrugged, "I don't know. The vision was incomplete when it came upon me." Kiesha dropped from the bale of hay and moved closer to Vilos, taking his hand and bringing it to her lips, "Lord... I will never forget the kindness you have shown me today." Her head turned to the side, "My master calls me. If you wish it, I'll try to come see you again."

"Please," Vilos whispered, "You can not understand how lonely I am." He watched her eyes as she looked at him, seeing a few emotions that he'd not taken notice of before, so wrapped up in his own he'd been, "Then again, maybe you do..."

Kiesha nodded once and then leapt from the edge to land on the stable floor, "Thank you again, Lord, for being so kind to a lowly slave." With that, the slave-girl slipped out the stable door and was gone.

Even days later, Vilos couldn't get that strange meeting out of his thoughts. The young girl was as he was. Her father had to know. Why had he not accepted her? Most nobles would be thrilled to have a child of their lineage and loins, especially since it was harder for them to procreate in their undead states.

He thought, perhaps, it was a question best posed to his father. Surely the Sovereign would know these answers. The youth moved with steady gait to his father's den, ready to do something he'd not done in a long time.

Vilos' hand went up to rap on the door, but he was halted by his father's voice, "Come in, my son." He should have realized that his father would know he was there before a knock ever took place.

Opening the door, the prince took a moment to gaze upon his father before stepping fully into the room, "I... I wanted to ask you a few questions, father."

"Has this to do with General Mordial's slave-child?" His father's tone betrayed nothing. The fact that he knew of the girl was unsettling enough to Vilos.

The youth nodded, his blue eyes widening. Was there anything that his father didn't know? Vladimir motioned for his son to sit in one of the large, extravagantly upholstered chairs in front of his desk. Vilos did, his feet barely touching the floor, so large was the seat. He felt pinned with his father's crimson gaze, "Why... why doesn't he accept her?"

The vampire sovereign steepled his fingers in front of his chest, elbows resting on the carved surface of his desk, "That is a question I cannot answer, I'm afraid. Not all men are proud of the children they sire... Especially when that child is from the union of master and slave."

Vilos leaned forward, "Can't you make him accept her, father?" He wanted to do something for the girl to ease her plight.

"Son, there are times when a man can not interfere in another man's family." Vladimir smiled warmly at his son, "Why does she interest you so much?"

At the sign of his sire's pleasant mood, Vilos relaxed, "She is like me, father. Nearly my age and with the same type of parentage." He took a deep breath, "I am lonely and she is the first who would speak with me without lies and deceit."

"I see," the elder vampire said solemnly, his eyes becoming clouded with thoughts. He leaned over the top of his desk, "Do you want her?"

"I don't understand, father," Vilos replied in innocence. He decided to change tactics and his azure eyes became pleading, "He mistreats her mother for each little thing she does wrong! That can't go on, father... Something must be done!"

Vladimir smiled softly, something his son didn't often see, "You have your mother's gentle heart, Vilos. Since he still claims her as a slave, I can change her lot in life; and that of her mother's as well." His voice became serious, "But, I've no time for slaves. If I were to do something like this, the girl would be your responsibility. She would belong to you."

The boy went silent as the weight of what his father said fell upon his shoulders. "Is there no other way?"

"No," Vladimir said lowly, "If I bring her here; she is yours. None may contest your possession of her. Only I would be able to countermand anything from you concerning her." He leaned back in his chair, "Do with her as you will. Just remember the differences between your station and hers."

Vilos nodded, "I will, father."

Hau'Bri didn't know what to think when her master escorted her by carriage to the grand palace of the Vampire Sovereign. General Mordial gave her several dark looks during the ride, looks that promised dangerous entertainments for her, and she wondered if something she'd done had displeased him. When she'd finally worked up the courage to ask, he remained silent and ignored her.

Her child huddled against her, shaking as if she could smell the dark general's rage. Hau'Bri knew that she'd taken the brunt of his anger for her daughter. It didn't matter to her that Kiesha was the result of a dark union between them. Her half-human daughter was the new focus of her world and she would gladly give her life to shield her from the pain and cruelty that their master was famous for inflicting.

{Child... be brave,} Hau'Bri said and draped an arm over the girl's shoulder, {We are changing masters... That must be why he hasn't touched us yet.}

Kiesha looked up at her mother, {But... who?}

{What does it matter so long as they are kinder than this beast?} Hau'Bri watched the eyes of the general flare and knew that it wasn't because he understood them, but because he always angered when she spoke in her native tongue. She smiled down on her daughter, her dark eyes shining with love and affection, {I will protect you no matter who it is.}

The carriage stopped and both slaves exited. As soon as they were out, Mordial slammed shut the doors and commanded his driver to make haste for his keep. Hau'Bri looked at the imposing structure she knew to be the sovereign's palace, {We have indeed changed masters. As I have foreseen we someday would. I didn't think it would come so soon...}

Her daughter smiled, remembering the strange young lord she'd met here the month before, {I know someone here... One of the nobles... He was kind to me, mother.}

{That is good, Kiesha,} the woman said as she led them to the door. They were met by Vilos' aging governess, who waved them indoors with much fussing.

"Good to see that you got here right away. The young prince has been fretting over you since his father said he'd send for you."

The prince? Hau'Bri questioned to herself as they were led to chambers upstairs, instead of the common slaves quarters below, "Are we not to be kept with the other palace slaves?"

The old woman chuckled, "No, m'dear. You belong to the prince, not the king." She drew the pair down the halls with her, "And it's a good thing, too. My husband's health is failing and I must be there for him. You're to take my place concerning the prince's well-being."

At that moment, young Vilos stepped from his chambers to see what the older woman was so excited about and his eyes fell upon the slaves. He wasn't prepared for the bright smile of joy on the face of the young girl he'd met such a short time ago. It hit him full force and he stood dumbfounded by it's sincerity.

"Majesty," the old woman said with a low curtsey, "This is Hau'Bri and her daughter, Kiesha Mari." She righted herself quickly, "Now, if you don't mind, I'm going to take Hau'Bri and explain her duties so that I can be off as quick as possible."

Still stunned, he dismissed her with a wave of his hand, "Yes... do that." He was captivated by that smile. Will I ever be able to feel that kind of happiness? Could she teach me how to smile like that and have it be real?

Kiesha waited until both adults were out of sight and then threw herself at the prince, hugging him tightly, "Thank you, Lord!" Tears streamed from her eyes. Tears of relief and happiness.

Caught off-guard, there was little that Vilos could do but hold onto the girl so that she didn't fall, "Y-You're welcome." He didn't know what else to say in the after effects of her overwhelming emotion. He tried to disentangle himself from her sinewy arms, "I've got something for you."

She eased back, "Really, Lord? What?" When he beckoned her to follow him, she did quite obediently. Kiesha was curious as to just what her new master was gifting her with and also quite surprised. The general's gifts were often cruel and she didn't look forward to those.

But, Vilos was different, she knew. Her sporadic visions of him were true, the slave-girl knew this to be so. Deep inside, his heart was kind. He just had no way of showing it because of the dark world in which he lived.

The first surprise was her new rooms, large and opulent. A canopy bed sat in the corner, laden with beautiful dolls that were as new as they were expensive. Next came her new clothes. Nothing as fine as noble garments, but rich themselves as befitted a royal slave. Kiesha gave a great gasp of delight as she beheld her new finery.

An unfamiliar emotion welled up inside the prince's chest. These simple presents elicited such pleasure from the girl. Having grown up with such wealth and finery, Vilos could never feel the same. However, it seemed that in giving, he'd found a way to feel something akin to contentment inside. It was enough to make him want to continue giving the girl more gifts.

And, he did have one more to give the girl. Perhaps the best one of all.

Vilos strode to the window and threw open the heavy black velvet drapes, "Come see. There is one last gift for you, Kiesha."

Again, she obeyed and her eyes widened when they fell upon the horses in the paddock. "There... the one with the gray mottling," the prince was saying, "That is yours. No one can take it away from you."

Looking between the trees, Vilos couldn't see the slave girl. Thankful for the cover against the extremely intense sunlight, he moved further into the forest, eyes searching around carefully. Finally, he spoke up, hoping she was near enough to answer him.

"Kiesha, where have you gone?"

Laughter filtered through, reaching his ears and Vilos tilted his head to the side, listening. Her voice eventually drifted to him. "My Prince... You do not play the game correctly. The idea is to find me because of my own mistakes..."

The young boy winced. "I've never played this game, Kiesha."

Further away, he heard the rustle of tree limbs and ran for the sound. Up, in the branches, was the girl and she was leaping from one to another. "Fine... Can you catch me now?" Her voice was still full of laughs and smiles, something the young prince had come to enjoy. Kiesha's voice could chase away his own inner darkness.

Launching himself up, he caught onto a branch and swung upwards to stand on it. He fixed his blue eyes on the girl and then followed after her. As he continued to move, he started to grow confident in his footing.

In no time at all, he was behind the slave girl and gaining fast on her. When she looked over her shoulder at him, he swore Kiesha winked and then went up even higher. Again, her laughter rang out. "Better, but not quite enough, my Prince..."

The higher branches were thinner, more likely to give under her weight, even as slight as she was, and Vilos grew concerned that she might fall. "Kiesha, this is getting dangerous. Come back down."

She stopped then, turning to look at him with those piercing dark eyes. "Have you no faith in me, Prince?" There was a half-smile to her lips, almost as though she were challenging him.

"Kiesha... You must take care. I don't wish for anything to happen to you." Vilos' blue eyes were concerned. "Please don't force me to make it an order." He had slowed down and the slave girl used that to her advantage again, speeding up to get ahead.

Vilos started when the girl's footing slipped and she began to fall between the branches. "KIESHA!!!" He found himself paralyzed by the moment, unable to do nothing, until her hands grasped hold of a low hanging branch and she hung there.

{That was less than dignified,} Kiesha growled to herself as she hoisted her body up. The young girl twisted so that she could sit on the limb and then assessed her minor injuries.

"Are you all right," Vilos asked as he dropped down next to her. His blue eyes held concern and even a little fear in them.

"I'm fine, my Lord."

The prince looked at her, his gaze taking in all her scratches, watching as they healed right there in his sight. It was always amazing to see the natural healing gifts at work. His own, his father's, Kiesha's... He shook his head and tried hard to glare at her. "I told you to be careful."

"I'm *fine*," the girl repeated. She looked at him as the last, and worst, scratch closed over. "See? As if nothing happened."

He pointed at her skirt. "Except for your dress."

"I can mend it." Kiesha sounded confident. Her fingers went to the tear, feeling how ragged the rip was. "This is nothing. I'll have it done in less than a quarter hour." She smiled at the young prince and he felt his worry melt away. "You show too much concern over a slave, my lord."

Vilos looked at her curiously. "Kiesha... would you say we were friends?"

She looked thoughtful for a moment and settled on the safest answer. "We're as close to being friends as we can be. My prince, why do you ask this?"

He looked at his hands, suddenly nervous though he didn't know why. Why should he show this side of him to a simple slave girl? Vilos' mind worked in circles around that one until a definite answer came to him. 'Because she's not simply a slave girl. She's just like you... part of two worlds and not really welcome in either.'

"I've never had a friend, Kiesha."

The girl smiled at him, lifting his spirits again. "Then, when it is just you and I, we are friends. Any other time, I'm your slave. Does that sound good enough?"

Vilos smiled back, the gesture not so foreign to him anymore. "It sounds great." He started, as he always did, when her arms were flung around his chest and she embraced him happily.

"You're moody." Kiesha giggled and let him go.

"I'm supposed to be moody. I'm the prince." To Vilos, it was perfect logic. Royalty was not supposed to be happy.

Hau'Bri's voice interrupted them. "No. Even those of royal blood can know happiness, young Vilos. You and your father are not exempt." She looked up at the children, her eyes fond upon both of them. Her smile included even the motherless prince. "Are you not content now?"

Two sets of eyes turned on the young dhampire and he lowered his head. "Yes... I am."

"Then that is how it should be," Hau'Bri said and turned to go. Over her shoulder, she looked at the children. "Oh, supper is ready. Wash up and do not dally."

With the enthusiasm of two hungry youths, Vilos and Kiesha were after her in but three heartbeats.

Part II
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