AN: Yeah! I received a flame for chapter one. Finally, someone tells me what I did wrong. It may not have been a flame but it was to me. It told me some things that I needed to hear/read. In addition, I thank everyone else whom reviews. …Just remembered to mention this, but some parts in here may sound absurd or just crazy. Also…it will probably seem like it is jumping around… But bear with me…

I also have to thank Dragon's Ghost, Blackrose2005, Lord of the Shadows, Vampiress, my Mother, B. F., and R. M. for all of their wonderful/crazy ideas. Dragon's Ghost, I am thanking you because the story 'Unforeseen Challenges' that you wrote…there is a part in here where something is mentioned.

Disclaimer: As before, I do not own D, his Parasite thingy, or the Vampire Hunter D peoples. Nor do I try to own these; I just try to put truth into the story. Only Hideyuki Kikuchi may own these things. No suing allowed, please.


Resurrection and Recall

Chapter 6: Never Ending Madness and the Park


November 10, 13,012

'This old man,

He played one hundred thirteen,

He played knick-knack on my spleen,

With a knick-knack,

Patty-whack,

Give a dog a bone,

This old man went rolling home.

This old man,

He played one hundred fourteen,

He played knick-knack on my-'

"Would you shut up?!" came the monstrous roar from Hand. Krista's incessant singing had worn raw on Hand's last nerve for this day. It seemed as though D actually liked Hand being the one irritated instead of doing the irritating for he never told her to be quiet.

The sun was setting and Krista was becoming hyperactive; it was likely she would start a new song. This was unacceptable by Hand's standards. "If you sing anymore of that song, I'll…" He cut off. It was not as if he could exactly jump out of D's hand and pummel Krista into a bloody pulp. Maybe if he just severed himself from the rest of D's arm he could choke her. Yeah, that was a pleasing idea. A vivid visual made way into Hand's mind, showing him strangling the life from Krista as her limbs flailed about wildly and her eyes bugged out. He gave a quiet snort. How he would love to do that.

During Hand's homicidal lapse, the wheels in Krista's mind clanked and whirred into gear. A rather impish smile curved her lips. While Hand did not want her to sing at all, only did he specify Knick-Knack. Oh, the power of annoyance she held in the palm of her wrapped, numb hand. She took a deep, loud breath.

'I was sittin' on the fence post

Chewin' on my bubblegum…'

Here, Krista paused to make rather loud smacking noises as if she really was chewing on gum.

'Playin' with my yo-yo…

Do-wop, do-wop, do-wop, do-wop…

When along came Henry the Worm,

And he was this big.'

This time Krista paused long enough to show a small amount with her fingers. Of course, she had long since heard Hand cry out in vain for her to stop singing, but she ignored him.

'So I asked, "Henry, what happened?!"

And he said,

"Guuuuuuuuuuuuuulp!

I swallowed a bug."

"A bug?!

Ewww yuck!"

And then he went away…

Trrrrrrrch, trrrrrrrch, trrrrrrrch, trrrrrrrch…'

By now, Krista was laughing too hard to do the hand movements that went with the song. Hunching over was all she could do to stop the aches in her stomach, her laughs coming out as wheezes. The sight of D's left hand twitching nonstop was the funniest thing she had seen in a long while. What truly made it hilarious in her eyes was that Hand kept yelling out for her to stop and then he would try to curl D's hand up in a fist to drown out the noise. However, did D let him curl up into a fist? No, it was so much nicer to see the annoyer being the one annoyed.

Time stopped.

A small amount of color caught Krista's attention on the passing ground. "Green grass!" she shouted excitedly, flipping off the galloping horse's back. How she saw it, she did not know. Rolling to a stop, dirt clouding the air, she crawled somewhat like a spider to where the small patch of grass was. She pushed her face close to the blades, breathing in deeply as the sweet scents rose into the air.

A loud whinny reached her ears as D pulled the horse around sharply. "You should smell the grass, D. Oh, she smells so good!"

"I'll pass," D replied as he sat astride the steed, watching Krista silently from under his hat as she ruffled the grass and mumbled soft words in its direction. He averted his gaze, a lurid light coursing through his eyes as he looked deeper into the heavy darkness of the night. A town appeared on the horizon. He could guess how long it might take to arrive.

All attention flipped back to Krista at the gentle poke to his abdomen. He did not find it beyond her to be poking him just for fun. "Remove the wrap on your left hand."

With an uncertain glance at the hand, Krista bit into the cloth, slowly working free the bandages. A look of surprise crossed her features, small twitches forming in her right eye. She turned her hand over, taking in the light pink scar in the center. The other hand came free in the same condition. "Th-they are already h-healed," she stuttered as she pulled herself up to D on the saddle, facing him while her face cleared of all emotions.

Hand reaching out to D, she touched his chest before prodding his biceps, fingers drifting about the areas. Her attitude had changed from 'I am so freaked out' to 'Oh well, now I am so amazed' in only a matter of seconds, as though the information leaked from a hole in her head.

No doubt, she was trying to forget the whole predicament. It was likely her hands became so numb she was unable to tell they no longer pained her. It was a surprise, though, D allowed her to prod him.

"Jeez, your muscles are like stone. Mine are sadly not. Will you flex your arm, please?" It was like a giddy child in a sweet shop. She gave the smile of a five-year-old. A gleeful laugh came from her as D reluctantly flexed the muscles of his right arm.

With her finger pressing into his bicep, Krista tried in vain to stop a smile from forming on her face. "It isn't all squishy. You must be tense all the time, and no doubt you have had plenty of time to build up muscle." The smile that was upon her face grew wider as she looked D in the eyes. "That brings up something else," she said as she toyed with the fabric to D's attire.

"I consider a person old when they hit a certain age. I am sorry to say that you have already passed that age limit, D. A person is old when they hit either 100 or 200. So, you must be older than crud. D, you are an old man," she said seriously. By the time Krista stopped messing with the fabric, there was a series of wrinkles. She smoothed out the fabric with her thumb.

Suddenly placing both of her hands upon his chest, she gave a serene smile. "I love you, D, but I worry about you sometimes because you're around me." As soon as 'I love you, D' left her lips, she received a look that said she would be wise to not. "D, it was a figure of speech. It is only an infatuation, or crush, what ever you want to call it. I am sure that it will pass. So, you have nothing to worry about. When everything is over, I will be out of your hair."

Somewhere in the depths of his mind, D felt she would not be leaving. Not all would be so simple. Nevertheless, right now, she was his key to finding out what was happening on the Southern Continent. And training… how much would he be able to teach her before she was tested? Well, this time was as good as any other. "Get down," he ordered as he dismounted, paying no mind to the glare that he received. "Unsheathe your daggers."

Krista did as she was told, holding the silver blades by her sides. "What're we doing?" she called out to the darkness as D disappeared. Only the screech of D's blade sliding slowly from its sheath answered her call.

The shadows started to move, grow even, as the minutes passed. Covering her eyes showed fear and weakness, but she did not care. It was not the fact that she was scared of the dark but the fact that she feared what lay within. D was within it and - to her - he was part of it. That was enough to frighten her.

"Uncover your eyes, look, and guard yourself!"

His voice carried, impossible to tell its source. It thundered from both the Heavens and the Earth. This only served to increase her fear. Yet, she obeyed. All of that was before she thought about how his voice also sounded demonic or unearthly. At the whim of a thought, she pulled away her dress and cloak so she only wore her undergarments and armor. 'Those bloody things have to last me a while. And if he comes slashing at me like some maniac, then I'll be wearing rags!'

A few more minutes passed and the longer she stood there, the more she felt like sleeping. For some reason, she was expecting him to pop out and say 'Boo' as loud as possible while looking as if he had been struck by lightning, his hair standing straight out and smoking. Perhaps he was testing her observational skills, biding his time.

The fear drained from her system, leaving her slouched. That was until she saw D's blade gleam in the darkness, as though the sword itself was alive and excited at the thought of tasting her blood. She crossed the abnormally long blades before her, silently praying that D would not use his sword against her. She already knew that it was a hopeless desire.

"Now!" the phantom voice screamed.

"What is 'Now'?" Her answer came soon enough. She glanced up at the sound of a high-pitched whistling, D emerging from the night, his sword drawn back.

She leaned back, daggers across her form where D's sword would make contact, as if her body knew that she could not jump away fast enough or far enough in time. Blades struck with a spark, her body lurching severely under the brunt of D's strike, arms shaking with the strain. Testing her strength and luck, she pulled away one dagger, pressed it into the flesh of his neck. She knew he was by far stronger than she was, and that he was completely capable of overpowering her at any moment. This terrified her.

Relief washed over her being as D backed away. Although, she never really had time to do anything more than straighten herself before he swung the lethal blade down at her abdomen. She stumbled over her own feet away from the tip. Bracing herself on a tree, Krista noticed something off. She could not help but look down at her belly, trembling fingers running over the bare skin.

Pain, sudden and severe, gripped her and buckled her knees. Blood gushed around the tip of her finger, a large split opening. She pressed her arm against the opening slash, bile spilling from her quivering lips. Her fingers clutched desperately at the skin of her stomach as entrails shifted towards their only exit.

Briefly, visions of a soft-spoken woman assailed her mind. "What's the point of killing me now? For funsies?!" she cried. "Or is this some twisted version of training?!" She watched the blood pour around her arm, senses sharpening.

"If you survive this, we can move on," D replied, his voice stern. "Otherwise, you die." He stepped aside as a dagger soared towards his chest. Darkness enveloped him, and he watched her pull a sleeve off her dress to bind the wound across her belly. He flitted back, staying just out of sight as she advanced in the darkness, her eyes staring unseeingly towards him.

Without warning, Krista disappeared from his line of view. He knew she was behind him; he could feel her breath drift across his neck. One thing was certain; she could be fast when she wished. He quickly pivoted, using the heel of his palm and the back of his wrist to bat away her fists as she struck at his solar plexus and jaw.

A knee came to connect with his groin, her opposite leg swinging up. With enough force to break ribs and cause internal injuries, she landed the blow to his side. It was in that moment D realized he no longer needed to hold back quite so much.

A pale hand snared her leg still crushing his side. He slammed her into the ground, sword poised to strike. Using his hold on her leg as leveraged, Krista swept D's feet out, dagger barely parrying his strike as he fell. In truth, his fall looked like a purposeful maneuver, the hunter pivoting on his hand before preforming a graceful tumble.

Krista snarled, lunging at him. Like an adult dealing with a temperamental child, D sidestepped her. As she sailed past, her hand lashed out, snagging his coat. With a jerk, she slung him down. She landed on all fours next to him, body twisting as she kicked.

There was a crack. D's leg buckled beneath his weight. Another strike knocked the sword from his grasp.

"Are we done yet?" Krista panted; an unusual look upon her face as though she was not really herself.

D gazed upon her. Crimson eyes gazed back. "No," he replied coolly as he quickly snapped the bones in his leg together. Launching himself up, he thrust his shoulder into her stomach, watched the spike pierce her skin. He knocked the last dagger from her hand as they collided with the ground. Standing, he moved back a few paces and watched as Krista staggered to her feet, gripping the new and old wounds.

Wiping away the blood from the corner of her mouth, she moved closer to D. A chant was born on the wind, telling – no – commanding her to stab him. Each voice resembled hers, only slightly off. The chant ushered her on. Having pulled a dagger from his belt, she swiftly ran to him before thrusting that very dagger into his stomach. As soon as she let the blade go, she was pinned to the ground with her arm behind her back to where her hand was on her shoulder. The more force he used on pushing her elbow towards her shoulder, the more pain she felt. She let out a piercing cry as the bones in her arm shattered, tendons, ligaments, and possibly muscle tearing. Almost immediately, D released her arm. With intensity unknown to her, she reared her head back to hit D and shoved the dagger that was still within him deeper.

Wait... Why on Earth was she hurting D like this? That very question ran through her mind as she pinned D down to the ground with her single arm. She lurched forward as one of his daggers shot through her stomach. Not surprised in the least that she had not seen D pull out a dagger, she released her hold on him, collapsing on the ground. D rose above her and pulled out the dagger she lodged in his stomach.

"We can go now," he stated as he bent over to pull away the makeshift bandage and inspect the wounds in Krista's stomach. Since his wounds had already healed, he waited to see how long it would take Krista's wounds to heal, especially after he pulled the dagger from her stomach, allowing blood to gush forth.

Coughing up a mouthful of blood, Krista tried desperately to focus on D, her senses nearly dulling to the point of no return. No longer was he whole. He was instead a blurry blotch against the sky. Each passing second, the pain within her seemed to decrease a tad bit. However, that was for just her stomach. Her arm was limp and throbbed. With a strained glance at her stomach, she could easily see that her milky skin was stained vermillion. The wound from the shoulder spike healed. The other two, they were still there. Sitting up with a low groan, she clutched the two wounds, silently willed each to heal faster. A few minutes later and the pain in her abdomen was no more.

Watching Krista from beneath the brim of his hat, D could very well see the shock written across her face. Her arm, however, was still crippled. With a strong grip, he pulled her close enough to hold her arm. He snapped the bones into place, letting her go, watching her fall to her knees retching. Sure, she might have wanted to strangle the life from him at that moment just to release some stress, but if she could not kill him during the fight, then it was doubtful that she would be able to during the off time.

He collected his discarded sword, placing it within the sheath. "Let's go."

There was a grunt. "Are all fights going to be somewhat like that?" Krista asked, cradling her arm against her chest. She eyed him warily, almost expecting another attack. As she waited for his response, she glanced at her arm and shoulder, making the lightest of noises as she saw her skin visibly crawling, the tissues quickly reconnecting everything.

D looked back in time to witness the anomaly, unperturbed. "Perhaps." Mounting the steed in quick succession to calling it from the darkness, he watched Krista mount before him faster than he could have dared to offer help after she quickly snatched up her discarded dress, cloak, and daggers. Lightly tapping the horse with his heels, they continued on their way.

This time, he really did not want to hear any more of Krista's childish singing, or at least any more of Henry the Worm, Knick-Knack, and John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt. That was what he hoped, but a song soon took the place as number one.

'When you're sliding into first,

And your pants begin to burst,

Diarrhea! Diarrhea!

When you're sliding into second,

And it begins to beckon,

Diarrhea! Diarrhea!

When you're sliding into third,

And you feel a greasy turd,

Diarrhea! Diarrhea!

When you're sliding into home,

And your pants are filled with foam,

Diarrhea! Diarr-'

A cool, pale hand slammed over her mouth with a forceful command, perhaps "Stop". She eyed the hunter, confused. "What did you do that for?" she asked, voice muffled. When he did not reply, she clutched his arm and tugged in vain. His hand did not budge and she yelled as loud as possible. Still, nothing more than a muffled mumble could be heard.

Something akin to sandpaper dragged against his palm and fingers. It came as no surprise she licked him. Unfortunately, an ew-factor was not something this fearsome man possessed. While she was mid-lick, again, D curled his fingers in and pinched her tongue between the knuckles of his first two fingers.

With a piercing squeal, Krista flailed. She elbowed him with enough force to shove him from the horse, his hand pulling her with him.

They rolled to a stop, air knocked from their lungs, the girl atop the hunter. D stared at Krista's back as she sat up, and if she was embarrassed by their position, he could not tell. It was hard to tell if she was even aware of the thoughts that run through a person's head under such circumstances. She suddenly twisted about, staring intently at him while still seated on his stomach.

No, she had no idea.

"What did you do that for?!" she cried, slapping at the armor covering his chest.

D shifted, sitting up. The motion threw her on her back between his legs. "The song was disgusting." Perhaps the stoic man did have an ew-factor.

"Sure! You can watch people stuff entrails into their empty bodies, eviscerate people, or decapitate them. You can stand the sight and stench of a decaying corpse! But God forbid I sing that song!" she ranted, eyes wide with incredulity. "How much sense does that make?!"

The girl continued to rant, pushing to her feet and pacing.

'This kid is crazy, D, and I love it!' Hand chortled, his gravelly voice a whisper in D's mind as she raved. The countenanced carbuncle knew speaking aloud could lead to an untimely demise. 'Oh, and now she's running.'

Indeed she was.

As her feet glided over the ground, she had to wonder why she began sprinting, though the reason perplexed her. Truly, the only motive she had locked in her mind at that moment was either a need, or want, to get away from D, if only for a short time. Then more popped up like advertisements in her head to explain why she did not want to be around him.

Perhaps it was because she was terrified that he would be upset over what she said. On the other hand, perhaps she had a strange fear that he would hunt her down and then try to spar with her again, or teach her something that would be painful in the end. Either of those ways, staying away from D sounded heavenly. At the same time, though, a part of her ached to think of being away from D for any amount of time longer than a bit.

A few minutes passed and the distance of a mile was covered. D gradually neared Krista upon the steed, coat whipping about wildly. Having known somehow her desire for solace, he did not pull alongside her for a few minutes yet.

The tenseness left her shoulders, jutted jaw relaxing. A good run could certainly be therapeutic.

D pulled ahead of her, snapping the horse about with a sharp jerk to the reins. Having no time to halt, Krista smacked into the horse's left flank and collapsed like a child's worn-out rag doll. "Ready?" he asked, minutely amused by her childish display, kicking her feet against the ground.

"I am sorry for my ranting, back there. But… You're going to train and spar with me up until the curtain call, aren't you?" she groaned into the ground. She glanced at him long enough to see his slight nod. "Then sure, I am so ready." Her fingers clutched at his booted leg, pulling herself up.

In truth, she felt guilty as she purposely avoided his gaze, choosing instead to stare into the darkness. She felt guilty for being easy to anger. She felt guilty for the side that did not care. The side that 'influenced' her emotions. It was becoming tiresome.

For a moment, her guilt was forgotten as her world lit up. Darkness receded, a clear view of a tower in the distance available. A gasp left her and she rubbed her eyes in wonder. The moment was short lived. By the time she looked up, again, all was dark. "Is there a… town out there?"

D leaned in the saddle until his arm wrapped around Krista's waist and he pulled her into the saddle. Indeed, there was a town. With any luck, said town would have a tailor. Perhaps they would also stumble across a secluded area, giving him another opportunity to train and test her. He nudged the horse onward, his goal in mind.

A long while passed before hushed whispers drifted up to his ears. As strange as this might come off as to anyone else, Krista's self-talk sessions were far too commonplace to consider abnormal.

"Alright!" she breathed exasperatedly, hand fussing with her dress and cloak. "But it's not my fault I feel so tired."

"Or do you feel weak?"

"Both," Krista responded reluctantly. "Most of it's from the sparring session. And blood loss! But, how did everything heal so fast? Why only now?"

"Simple, because you are weird."

"Uh-huh, yeah, you keep thinking that, but weird people don't just start super healing over night. They especially don't immediately heal after almost being gutted!" She sat ramrod straight, eyes gleaming. "Hmm… I wonder."

She reached down, fingering a dagger free from her belt. The blade shined brilliantly in the moonlight, lightly illuminating the palm of her hand. With a jerk, the blade sliced open her flesh, a stream of fresh blood dripping down her bare arm. Not even a minute passed before the skin drew together, healed.

Amazement shined in her eyes. She drew the edge of the dagger across her palm, again, studying the process. "This is amazing!" she exclaimed.

D eyed her, silently questioning if she had a taste for pain that was not too harsh or blood. In a way, this idea seemed to fit Krista. In another way, the guess was so far off it was painful. The idea did not bother him, having seen so many characters in his time. Everyone had pros and cons, even himself. Really, who wanted a countenanced carbuncle? The pros? They far outweighed the cons. However, he could do without the teasing and obnoxious attitude.

Stopping his train of thought, he allowed his eyes to wander down and rest upon Krista. No longer was she rabidly cutting her palm to shreds. Instead, she was cutting her palm, dabbing her index finger quickly into the blood before the wound could close, and drawing smiley faces across the bare skin of her arm. His previous thoughts surfaced as he watched her turn to writing with the blood. With such thoughts in mind, he found himself asking, "Do you have a blood or pain fetish?"

Twisting around, the blade of the dagger still pressed firmly into her palm, Krista looked up innocently to meet D's piercing gaze. The smile she gave was serene as she drew the blade quickly across her hand, leaving a deep gash. "Maybe," she stated in an equally calm tone. As she returned to her previous position, she could feel the heat pouring from D as his eyes bore holes into the back of her head.

For the longest while, she managed to ignore the feeling. That was until the gaze became more intense. Normally, anyone would have long since caved in. However, no, it had taken a good five minutes for the hairs on the back of her neck and arms to stand. In the meantime, she cleaned the blood from her dagger; returned it to its rightful place and slipped on the dress and cloak still resting in her lap. She fingered the seam of the other arm, popping the strands loose until the arm slid off.

One Minute Later…

"Jeez!" she yelled, rubbing furiously at her neck and arms to flatten the standing hairs. That one-minute longer had been enough to make her crack. "I don't have a cutting and blood fetish! Well, not normally. But, even if I did, what does it matter?!"

"It matters! Trust us, it matters!" laughed out Hand. It was terrific! Now he had something against Krista, given the fact she should ever slice down some people. Well, that is what he believed. Here was his philosophy: If Krista kills someone then revenge-seekers would kill her in return, with equivalency, because she could not deny that she did not do it to see blood, seeing as she did just admit to possibly having the addiction. Wow! What a belief!

Strangely enough, Krista did not pay attention to what Hand said, nor would she have cared had she heard. In fact, the only thing she truly heard at that time was D breathing. Although his breathing was slow and shallow, to her it sounded as though he was breathing heavily. When she cocked her head just right, she thought she could even hear his heart thump softly through every layer of clothing and flesh.

'This is so strange,' she thought, subconsciously plugging one ear with her finger. 'That's it! I'm a freak! First, I heal abnormally fast, including my hair. Then, I see as if it were day. Now, I am hearing things.' As if from an outburst of pure insanity, she began to cackle like an evil genius, a deep laugh rocking her body. Through the laughing, she asked, "D, can you hear my heart beat or me breathing, at least sometimes?" The look she earned was one that said, 'There is another thing you should know,' stopping her chuckles.

With a very quiet sigh, though it was more of a drawn out breath, D continued to gaze outward. "Why?" he asked after pausing, watching her shrug in a carefree way. "Normally, yes; can you hear mine?" With the nod that followed as a good enough answer, he gazed out once more.

With the new crop of information, the thoughts from the days prior began filling his psyche. From the clues given to him, she could be one of three things, or perhaps all three: a Mutant, Werewolf, or Dhampir. It was highly unlikely that she was a Werewolf. For one thing, she did not grow an excess of hair and transform on a full moon, nor did she have a tendency of howling at the moon. She often gazed at the moon, though, her eyes seemingly glued to its cold beauty.

Mutant was a bit harder to say as a possibility and rule out as one. Mutants could look Human enough, but usually had some strange ability if they did. Others could look half-animal while having supernatural powers. Krista had yet to show anything along those lines, but it was still a possibility.

Then there was a Dhampir, one born of Noble and Human blood. Her being a Dhampir was the more probable choice. Mutants, Dhampirs, and Werewolves alike could heal quickly. Normally, Mutants could eat Human food – maybe even a Human, all together – with about the appetite of a Human, while Dhampirs ate Human food in very small portions, if ever. Typically, a Dhampir's diet consisted of blood, or a substitute. Werewolves and Dhampirs – maybe even Mutants - were known to have a taste for blood and be able to tell how it tasted, such as sweet or bitter, perhaps sour.

All three races could most certainly have pointed ears, but it was Dhampirs that normally carried the traits that gave them beauty and flawless skin. Normally seen in Mutants and Dhampirs was the trait for pale skin. Agility and strength ran with all three races. Along the lines of seeing and hearing, Dhampirs and Werewolves were sharper in those senses, including the sense of smell, though some Mutants could also carry the same traits. In addition, Dhampirs, much like the Werewolves, craved the night, tended to be more alert, and seemed to age precariously slow, stopping at a certain age. The crimson eyes, however, most definitely descended from the Noble line of blood, and very rarely from the Mutants and Shape-shifters. However, an allergic reaction to silver mostly resided within the Werewolf line.

D carefully processed all the traits, linking certain ones to Krista. He knew she had many of them, but it appeared that she was just now acquiring some of them. Earlier, he had seen her pupils focus in the way a cat's eye might, dilating to take in more light and focus on certain things or contract to take in less light and focus on other things. The times he had seen this were when she caught sight of the patch of grass and as she gazed towards the town. 'If she is either one of those three races, why is she just now obtaining her abilities?' This would be so much simpler if his microcomputer was able to analyze even a portion of her DNA.

Ending his thoughts on the matter for the moment, he returned his attention to the tower in the distance. Though Krista could not, at least yet, he could see as though it were midday. The tower was large, larger than most. 'It must be a courthouse, or a clock tower,' he thought.

Looking thoughtfully up at D as he was calculating and thinking, Krista subconsciously bent only the second knuckle of each finger, excluding her thumb, to where the rest of her finger was flexible. Turning her attention towards her index finger, she flicked the end of it, watching the relaxed joint move freely. Seemingly fascinated, she continuously wiggled the joint, amazed how it felt like there was no bone connected to the last joint.

Her eyes traveled once more to D, and then his hand. "D? Can you do this?" she asked, showing him her finger and replaying her previous actions. With a small smile upon her face, she watched as D removed his hand from the reins and tried to do as she had done. His finger curled in towards his palm. "Relax the muscle moving the last joint," she instructed, carefully grabbing his hand. She pressed his hand flat against her own before pressing the end of her finger into the second joint down from his fingertip. Moving her other hand up, she then pushed his finger down to lie along hers. When she moved both hands away, she watched as his finger stayed in the position. After waiting a short while, she grabbed the end of his nail, moving it up and down, and only that joint moved. "There," she said, "Try to do it with the others, now!"

D, almost awkwardly, bent each finger to look as the first, briefly pondering the reasons as to why he was yielding so easily to Krista's whims. With such thoughts on mind, he had to wonder about her statement from earlier: "It is only an infatuation, or crush, what ever you want to call it. I am sure that it will pass. So, you have nothing to worry about. When everything is over, I will be out of your hair."

Why is it that he had so much doubt about her leaving him? Was it just a feeling he had? Pulling the reins taut, he tapped his heels into the sides of the horse, speeding their pace. When a sharp gasp issued from Krista, he glanced down at her.

Slapping her forehead, she let her mouth gape for some time. "I just realized something. You look like a cowboy with those spurs on your boots! What else is there I have not noticed?!" Somehow flipping around to face D while switching her legs so she was not twisted, she looked up at him, scrutinizing every little detail. Again, she gasped, a bit quieter than the first time.

"I figured out something else! You have no…laugh lines. What is your damage?! Do you refrain from laughing or something? Laughing is healthy, or good for you. You need to laugh or at least smile! Come on, smile!" Nothing happened; no smile appeared on his face. "Oh, I see how you are. You're going to play this the hard way. Well, just you wait, I'll get you yet." Switching back to her previous position, she pondered over how she would get D to smile. 'I don't care how I accomplish this task, but I will make him smile.'

Dawn…

Outlined against the sky as the sun slowly peeked above the horizon rested the town, the tower standing above all buildings there were. Each step the horse took brought them steadily closer to the town. Krista gaped up at the looming tower, awestruck at its sheer size. Implanted near the top was a clock, large enough for one to read the numbers miles away.

"You know what? It would really suck if something blew up the tower and it fell on top of half the town, squishing all the people upon landing. I wonder what pattern the blood would make. Maybe a flower," Krista stated nonchalantly, still staring up at the face of the tower.

"You think of strange, perhaps even gruesome or morbid, things. Did you know that?" Hand whispered, forcing D's grip on the reins to slacken as he stretched out the long fingers.

Watching D's wrist rotate to expose Hand's features, Krista gave a beaming smile. "Why, yes; yes I did. At times, I even like to think of myself as evil," she replied, casting a look over her shoulder at D, who simply looked ahead. Had he been staring at her?

"With some of the songs that you sing, you could be a professional torturer! What do you think, D?"

Staying silent, D continued to stare towards the town. It was not until they passed the large clock tower that his eyes riveted themselves to hers. He watched Krista's expressions for the longest while before parting his lips to speak. "With the last song, you very well could be."

"The song itself was bad, or my voice?" Krista inquired, her steady gaze warning him not to go too far. Laughter filled the air, and she returned her eyes to Hand.

"I would say both sounded like a dying cat!" As the last word left Hand's wrinkled lips, all laughter immediately ceased. Hand now stared upon the crestfallen countenance of Krista.

"That was uncalled for," she stated, her voice cracking. She rubbed at her eyes, stopping the leakage of unwanted tears. "You could have stopped at 'both'." Here she turned to stare at D, once again. "So, tell me what your plans are for this town?" she suggested.

"You will see," D stated, scanning the buildings they passed. Up ahead of them, a shopkeeper was tiredly sweeping at the entrance to his store. As he pulled the horse to a halt, he stared up at the sign. The shop appeared to be a clothing store. "Are you open?"

Jumping as though he just noticed the two were there, the old man nodded slowly, straightening up the best his back would allow. "Are you in need of my services? You can buy clothing right off the rack or I can take measurements and make your clothes."

As Krista turned to look at him, D gave the smallest of nods, signaling that she was to go in and look or get measurements. What she did next, he did not expect. Her arm slipped around his neck, and he was unable to prevent her from pulling him to her rather hastily.

"Thank you, D," Krista whispered into his ear. "Will you come inside in a bit? Maybe you can help me decide what all I need to get." Suddenly she jerked back, confusion and embarrassment coating her features. "Well, that sounded odd or awkward. But anyways, will you come in after you are done if I am not done?" When she received another nod, she slowly slid from the saddle and disappeared into the store.

D nudged the horse on, earning a light snort as if it was asking, "Where did she go?" Patting the creature's head in a way that could be called reassuring, D guided it to the stables. Taking the saddle and bags, he headed for the small tavern down the street.


If she was not, in any way, considerate, clothes might have been strung about the store in her attempt to find her size. Instead, Krista lifted up another pair of breeches before giving an agitated sigh, placing them back on their rightful shelf. "If I did not know better, I would think that the world was out to get me…"

After searching through every rack, some at least twice, she grudgingly shuffled up to the counter where the elder resided. "I am sorry, but how much would it cost for you to take the measurements and make the clothes? You do not have anything my size, except for a skirt."

"Not as much as you would expect," the old man replied with a chuckle, moving around the counter to stand before her. He whipped out a measuring tape faster than one would think possible. "Stand up strait and hold out yer arms." In no time at all, he was finished and walking to the back of the store. "I can basically guess what colour you want and the design," he called back.

Krista started, not sure of what to say. "Uh…can you give me a…guess at when they will be done?"

"I may look old, but I can still sew fast enough." the elder mumbled, coming back into the same room. "The shirts will take a little bit…and the jeans will take longer than them…so if I rush, I can probably get them to ya by tomorrow evening. Or the next afternoon… I would count more on that."

A smile lit Krista's face. "Thank you, so much!" She barely heard the amount to be paid, giving it without truly thinking. Bounding from the store, she fell back as her body hit something akin to stone. Glancing up from the ground, she smiled sheepishly at D. "Sorry!" Standing quickly, she dusted herself off before looking around. She leaned in towards D, shaking slightly, knocking her voice to a whisper. "So, now will you tell me what we are going to do?!" The last word came out as a high-pitched shriek. Covering her mouth, she gave a mumbled apology.

Watching Krista in a contemplative fashion, D gestured for her to follow. For training her, they needed to be secluded, or at least away from others, a place where no one else would be for a while. Strangely enough, such a place was in the middle of the town, which he had seen walking back to the store: a park. People would show up at some point, but it was too early. There was a sharp tug on his hand when said park came into view. He could feel Krista's anxiety rolling from her in waves, and knew that she knew that this would not be a play-day.

"You are training me some more today, aren't you?"

"You're smarter than people give you credit for," Hand replied. "How'd you guess?"

Continuing to walk alongside D, she took a short amount of time to think about the answer, not truly catching the mocking tone of Hand's statement. "Well, I was thinking, 'Since when does a guy like D…go to a park where no one else is…just to play?' It seemed like a very good answer to me; he is training me."

Silence reigned over the conversation, leaving the sound of their steps against the cobblestone street and the swish of their coat and cloak. As D suspected, the park was deserted. A basic carousel, numerous poles and rails, a raised platform that could serve as a stage, a slide, seesaws, a swing set, and a jungle gym resided there.

After looking over the equipment, Krista looked warily at D. "So, how are we going to train here?"

D's reply was simple. "Balance."

Again, Krista stared at the equipment, this time confused. "I can see how you got balance out of the poles and rails, but what about the rest of this stuff?" She paused, looking over at the carousel. The light in her head flickered on. "Are you expecting me to try to stand in the middle of that Merry-Go-Round and stay upright? Do you know how hard that is? Have you ever tried?" At this, she received a nod. "Can you stay standing without stumbling?" Again, there was a nod. She sighed. "Fine; when do we start?"

"Now," D replied. He pulled her to the carousel, gesturing for her to stand in the middle as he took his place near one of the bars.

"You aren't going to go very fast are you?" Krista enquired. There was no reply. "I really do not like it when you don't answer."

Watching in silence as D grabbed the bar; Krista braced herself, expecting D to begin running right off. Instead, he began to walk. By the time he began to jog, she began to stumble. It was a wonder that when he ran she did not fall. A few more moments later, she could no longer see the surrounding scenery and D became a blur. She lurched into a bar, trying desperately to force herself straight.

"Do not use the rails," D commanded, picking up speed, once more.

"Easy for…you to say," she replied with a strained grunt. Pushing apart her feet, she tried to stand, again. When the direction of the spinning reversed, her feet fell out from under her.

"Stand up."

"I'm trying…" Drawing up her legs, Krista shoved herself up. This was the wrong idea. As soon as her feet touched the metal center of the carousel, they were out before her, and she was flipping over the edge, nearly flying.

Stopping abruptly, leaving the carousel to spin wildly, D watched Krista spring to her feet nearly three yards away and rub her backside.

"I have butt burn!" Running around frantically, she searched for a place to hide. "Turn around!" she finally squeaked, waiting long enough for D to turn before reaching under her dress to remove her armor and stretch out her underwear.

"Kid, what are you doing?" Hand asked.

Still digging grass and dirt out of her underwear, Krista replied, "I have dirt…and grass…in my panties! Oh! I'm so dirty!"

Minutes passed before D could turn around. His eyes scanned the park, landing on Krista next to a large tree, her dress off as she beat it frantically against the tree. "Bad idea?" he enquired after striding to her.

"Bad idea," Krista agreed, carefully turning her dress out-side out. As she tried to slide the dress on, all her movements ceased. A cold hand was carefully wiping her back in slow, long strokes. Cocking her head enough to see D, she knew immediately that it was not his left hand. 'So, Hand is not controlling his actions. How odd.'

When looking at the Hunter's face, one could only wonder at what his thoughts and feelings were.

"D, it will wash off with a good shower later."

"I know," D replied, never stilling his hand.

Cheeks flushing a bright red, Krista asked, "Then why don't you stop?" She received no answer. It was questionable whether he even knew the answer. There was no need for him to stop his careful strokes, however, when his fingers drifted across a small knot near the base of her spine. Dropping her dress, in one leap Krista managed to latch onto the tree thirty feet above the ground. Before realizing what she was doing, she bared her teeth at D and hissed.

Executing moves one might expect from a gymnast, D fluidly glided from branch to branch, stopping in a crouched position just above Krista. As her eyes stared up at him, he noticed only one thing. "Your eyes are blue."

The way her eyes varied in colour made even him wonder what caused the change. Was the change due to her genetics or instincts? Was there something else that changed the colour?

"Hmm…are they really?" The short loss of concentration revert her eyes to green, her fingers releasing their death grip instantly. With a piercing shriek, Krista began plummeting toward the ground, stopped only when D caught her wrist, his hat fluttering past her.

With no exertion on his part, D pulled Krista up to the branch from which he hung upside-down. In another moment, he was discarding his coat and reaching for the clasps on Krista's cloak.

"Oi! What are you doing?!"

"It would be better training if I left your cloak, but I figure it would be a hindrance." At that, D let her cloak drop to the ground. Pulling himself into a seated position, he waited for Krista to sit beside him.

Clutching at the branch as she clawed herself up, she said, "I sure am asking a lot of questions. Okay, so it is time to talk! How are you doing this fine morn? Dang! That is a question, too! Umm, well, I thought that those swingy movements you were doing earlier were dandy! I didn't know that you could do that. I should have expected no less from you." She uttered the last sentence affectionately as she seated herself with finality. Turning to look at D, she watched him shift his eyes away from her.

Leaning back, D calmly stated, "If you reach the top first, then we shall stop. If I reach the top before you, then we do this until you beat me. The rule: there is no climbing."

"Okay, let's do this!" When D said go, Krista watched in awe as D launched himself to the nearest branch overhead, his hands sliding over the bark as he revolved around the limb. "I guess I should go now," she whispered as D released the branch, flipping once before landing on the next one.

"Yup, time to start." Staring at the neighboring branches, she soon became befuddled. "I don't know how he expects me to do this. I don't even know how I jumped so high earlier." With a sigh, she leapt for a nearby branch, doing the same movements as D. 'I can do this,' she thought unconvincingly, not landing on the next branch, but instead, slamming into it.

At hearing a light chuckle, she glanced up, seeing D in a relaxed stance midway to the top, his left hand fisting. 'I cannot lose!' Crouching low on the bough, Krista leapt for the one nearest D. Grabbing it and swinging herself up, she carefully stood, meeting D's gaze. Breaking the stare to look up, one thought came to her mind: 'I am not doing this all bloody day.'

If one were to stand a good distance from the tree, they would have wondered how the two moved in a rhythmic, synchronized fashion, both coming closer to the top with each passing second. There was a victorious shout as the smaller figure reached the top a fraction of a second before the broader one.

"Yes! I actually beat you!"

"Now go back down."

Looking down in dismay, Krista calculated how far it was to the earth. "Umm, I think I'll pass."

Never did she believe D to go so far as grabbing her hand and leaping from the branch, pulling her with him. Brittle leaves slapping at their faces and the approaching ground was enough to spur Krista into motion. She reached out for a passing branch, swinging up until her legs wrapped around it close to the base, effectively ceasing their fall.

"D, I do believe that you have a loose bolt somewhere in your head. That could have forced the organs from my body, and then when it gets warm, the organs would start to smell rancid! From there, maggots would have started to wriggle around in my flesh and eat away at it! And then, knowing some of the luck I can have, I might have come back to life, walking around with the leftover meat dripping from my bones!" she screeched, eyes manic.

"No, wandering beasts would have eaten your remains," D stated, earning him a wary glance.

"I seriously hope that was not an attempt at humor."

With the lightest of sighs, D placed his right hand against the tree, the left still gripping her hand. He thrust his foot up, the branch splintering as it snapped behind Krista's legs. As they fell once more, D released her hand, leaping from branch to branch. With all the grace and silence befitting a vampire hunter, D landed upon the hard earth and grabbed his hat. He glanced up only when a small droplet of blood struck him.

Krista lie doubled over a branch, violently coughing. Pushing herself back, she slipped to the earth, her knees buckling instantly. "You turd," she mumbled, stumbling to her feet. With feeble movements, she donned her garb from the trees roots. In another moment, she was pushing D toward the carousel, forcing him to sit down on it. She grabbed a bar, running before jumping on when she deemed it fast enough.

"I have a question. Can males get pregnant or is it only females?"

"Where the heck did that come from, kid?" Hand enquired before D could try to answer.

"I dunno. A question I suppose I might have thought about a while back." She turned her gaze to D expectantly. "Do you know?"

There was a long pause, giving Krista time to spin the carousel again. When she was seated, D replied, "Not usually, but some males do have the ability, depending on genetics."

"Can you get pregnant?!" she shrieked excitedly. Her demeanor quickly turned dejected as D gave her the slightest of glares. "Well, I was just curious. It is not as if I was going to say 'D! Become pregnant!' if you had said yes. Well, I cannot really say that because I would probably be standing outside the bathroom yelling, 'If it is a girl, can I dress her in pink?' And do you know what I just realized? I don't know how babies are even made."

Lurching forward as the carousel stopped abruptly, Krista glanced up to see D standing. Beyond him, however, she could only see the large back dog with bright blue eyes sniffing at the ground. Harebrained as she was, it came as no surprise when she squealed, "Puppy!" while zipping past D. Her excited squeals did not cease as the dog snarled at her, teeth bared.

"It is okay, boy," she whispered as she held out her hand. The hound whimpered the closer her hand came to its muzzle, bringing a frown to her face. "I'm not going to hurt you." It clearly thought otherwise as it snapped open its jaw and bit her with razor sharp teeth. Blood ran down her hand and from the dog's mouth. "That really hurts, buddy. Let go, please."

The dog seemed to bite down even harder at her request, another growl rising from its chest as D walked up behind Krista.

Metal scratching against metal centered Krista's attention on D. She watched wide-eyed as D removed his sword from its sheath. If his aura was not enough to cow the creature, his blade was the next best thing.

"You can't kill it!" she cried, shielding the dog. To her surprise, D replaced his sword. "Just give me a minute." With that said, she turned to the animal, watching as an extra pair of eyes opened above the other two, their colour the same electric blue. "You're not a normal puppy, are you?" Reaching out once more with the opposite hand, she hesitated only slightly before rubbing its ears. "Good boy, just don't bite me, anymore."

Ceasing its growling, the creature glanced up at her with all four eyes. It gradually opened its mouth, allowing her to cradle her hand.

"Thank you," Krista said as she kissed the top of the dog's head. As a result, she found herself pinned to the ground, the dog licking her face excitedly. Giggling, she looked up at D. "Come on, try to pet him D. He is really sweet when yo-oh, ew! Tongue in mouth! Tongue in mouth!" Carefully pushing the dog away, she sat up, raking her tongue against the neck of her dress. "I'm flattered, really, but that was disgusting."

As Krista continued to scrub her tongue, D slowly crouched beside the dog. He patted its head before sliding his hand to the beast's belly. Immediately, it dropped to its side and rolled onto its back, seeming to smile at the attentions.

Looking over his shoulder as Krista leaned against him, D quietly asked, "What is it that you want?"

"What do you mean?"

"I can tell you want something by the look in your eyes."

"Well, how disappointing it is to be read so easily. Wait… Didn't we go through this all ready? Yes, we did. Well, I was wondering, though, since I obviously can't keep the dog, if we could at least feed it."

"If you climb to the top of the tree and fall, then you can feed it," Hand suggested.

"I am not doing that," she replied acerbically, glaring down at the forming, smirking face in D's left hand. She glanced back at D, her eyes shining innocently. "Please may I feed it? Oh! He could be a guardian!"

"You may feed it, but do not become attached."

"Yay! Thank you, D! Leap-Frog!" With that, she squatted low behind D, making a clear jump of him and the canine. "Who's the good puppy?" she asked excitedly, swiftly scratching the dog with both hands. Glancing up long enough to meet D's eyes, she quickly stopped her attentions. "Oops, right, I can't get attached."

Looking down at the dog, her eyes gradually widened. Hand twitching, she rose her wide eyes to D.

"Fine," D said when she gave the tiniest of whines, watching her continue the scratching and rubbing.

"Is it getting hard to say no to her, D?" the countenanced carbuncle asked softly.

Instead of replying, D cast his eyes to the sky, watching the sun inch ever closer to the center. Was it all ready so late in the day? It evidently was, for both the dog and Krista's stomachs growled.

"Man, all ready hungry and we just ate what seems like not all that long ago."

The dog lifted its head up, playfully nibbling Krista's hand before barking excitedly. "Well, that settles it!"

Patting her leg as she stood, Krista followed D toward the playground exit, the dog tagging obediently along. "Okay, you said I can't get attached to the pooch, right? Well, can I at least name him?"

At the silent nod, Krista glanced down at the dog, a peculiar gleam in her eyes. "What do you think of Billy?" The gleam faded as it shook its head no. "No? Man, that's a good name, too. Um, what about Fido?" Again, it was a no. "Spencer? Harry? Conner? Dane? Bob? Drake? Alexander? Allan? Artemis? Edgar? Po? Demetri? Dog? Cat? Sniffles? Four-Eyes? Pop? Jacob? Don? Edward? Paul? John? Nicholas? Eric? Fluffy?!" With each one, she earned another no. "Fine, Dante?"

The hound hesitated before shaking his head. "You hesitated! Am I getting closer?" With a nod, it bit D's coat and pulled, effectively stopping the hunter.

"Damien," D supplied, staring down at the dog. It licked his hand, nudging him with his nose as D lightly scratched his head.

The name Damien triggered a thought in Krista's psyche.

"Hey, D? Your name, does it stand for Damien? Or does it stand for something else, like your father's name?"

D shot a quick look at Krista. "I think you should wonder about other things."

Ducking her head, she quietly mumbled, "I'm sorry, I won't ask again. But, why am I not allowed to get attached to Damien?"

"He could be attacked by another creature or Human and die," D replied.

Looking back up, Krista replaced her smile. "You could die like that, too. And yet, I still grew attached to you. Besides, I have a feeling that he shall be around for a little while," she predicted.

"How long is a little while?"

"Around a year for Damien and one month over two years for y-…"

A leaden silence settled between them. The gravity of her words settled in the pit of her stomach. With a sob, she clutched D's hand as her knees suddenly grew weak, trying to mentally erase the figures. "D, I don't want you or Damien to die."

"How do you know we will die?" D asked, gently lowering Krista to the ground and crouching before her.

"I've done this before. I did it at Puregon right before people started 'disappearing'. I see someone, wonder when their time is up, and estimates start popping into my head." She rubbed her eyes, wiping away the forming tears.

"Were your predictions dead on?" Hand asked.

"Yeah, for the most part. The first person was Haley Barnette. She was really sick and, again, I wondered when her time would come. One day is what popped into my head. One day it was."

D gazed steadily at her. "Despite what some believe, a person's fate can be altered. Sometimes, it cannot. We may not die at those times."

Strength and hope flooded Krista. "Then, if it is within my power, I will alter both of yours."

Nodding, D easily picked her up and set her on her feet. With a jerk of his chin, he headed for the tavern. Wind suddenly gusted over his head, tousling hair normally guarded by his hat. Krista flew past him, travelers' hat atop her head. Damien chased her, stopping abruptly. Looking ahead of Krista, D could see why.

Giggling, Krista called out, "D, I seriously don't know how you see with this thing on!" Vision impaired, she did not see the rail in her path. It clipped her by the chest. She flipped onto her back, removing D's hat as she shook her head. When D stood above her, hovering, she smiled sheepishly at him. "Sorry, I likes jacking your hat."

When Krista stumbled to her feet and ran, still clutching his hat, D leapt over the rail. Briefly, he regarded her mood swings before giving chase. How was she able to go from near crying to wide-eyed and carefree so quickly?

Although he knew she was changing with each passing day, he did not truly think her able to gain so much ground in so little time: eighty yards in four seconds. What was he expecting, though, after watching her jump up the tree? He soon passed the tavern, gradually nearing her. Casting his gaze ahead, D could make out the silhouette of a large wall. He doubted Krista could see it with the hat obscuring her view. Damien trotted along behind them, barking happily.

Still giggling like a child, Krista forced herself to run even faster. Her lungs burned and her legs ached. True to D's thoughts, she could not see the wall looming ahead of her. Something pulled at the back of her mind. A voice was telling her to slow down, stop, or turn. When she did not, her left arm and leg twitched, both suddenly locking up and cramping. It did not help her, though, that this all stopped her too late.

With a smack, she hit the wall, a crunching noise soon following. Head throbbing with pain, she fell backwards onto the ground. She clasped her right hand over her nose beneath the hat, and could have sworn she saw colored lights dot her black vision.

Walking up behind her, D reached down to pluck the hat from her head. With her face revealed, his breath hitched in his throat. Blood trickled between Krista's fingers and down from her brow, lightly smeared on her cheeks. He watched as she sat up, more blood gushing out beneath her hand. Something akin to hunger rose within him, glowing eyes fixated on her blood as it continued to drip onto her chest and dress.

Standing, Krista tipped her head back while muttering. Never did she think it possible for her to run into a wall, and yet there she stood with a busted lip, brow, and nose to prove it. 'I suppose it's just my day.'

'Well, I did try to warn you. Heck, I even tried to stop you.And I think it's your lucky day.'

'What makes you think that?'

'Look at D.'

Krista shot a sidelong glance at D, gawking as she noted how close D was. She coughed, blood spraying her all ready bloody hand. "What are you doing?"

"You can choke on your blood," he stated as he slid his hand through her hair. Fingers twining with her hair, he carefully tipped her head down, the opposite hand removing hers to set her broken nose. Seconds later, the bleeding ceased. As she looked up at him with a small grin, he watched her busted lip and brow mend.

"Thanks," Krista muttered into her dress as she tried to scrub off the blood, cheeks burning red. Peeking at the wall, she mentally snickered. It looked as though someone committed a murder, what with the amount of blood there. Droplets sprayed the wall where she hit it and dyed the ground crimson in spots.

There was a rip. Looking down, Krista noticed her dress did not emit the noise. A wet cloth pressed against her brow, gently wiping away all blood. She glanced at D. "Thanks, D, but I can do it." D continued to wipe her clean, his face void of emotions. "I said I could do it."

D never ceased. Neither did Krista. She continued to protest, seeming more like a child. D simply ignored her, too busy trying to convince himself that if he did not clean her up and dilute the smell of the blood with water, he might attack her, bite and drain her.

'Oh, don't fool yourself. We both know why you are cleaning her up, why you've been playing with her, why you've been breaking you back to teach her, why you've been a tad closer to this girl than with any other,' Hand remarked, guffawing.

'Are you done?'

'Maybe; I'll probably start up, again, later. I mean, seriously, you have been giving in to many of her whims, no matter what they are!'

Even as D and Hand chatted, Krista continued to bicker and protest. All protesting quieted, however, when D backed her into the wall, ceasing entirely when his fingers wrapped around her chin.

"Stay still," ordered D, tilting her head back as he cleaned off the last of the blood.

Unable to stare up at him, Krista averted her eyes. Butterflies filled her belly and, as impossible as it may seem, her heart skipped. 'See, I told you it was your lucky day!'

'What are you going on about now?'

'Oh, come on! I know that you have noticed the way he is getting closer!'

'Has he?' At this, Krista glanced up. She expected him to be close. However, she did not expect him to be as close as he was. His breath, uneven, flowed across her lips. Even with only a few inches between their lips, she took notice to how he gradually continued to lean in. "D, what are you doing?"

'What are you doing?!' the phantom voice shrieked.

Eyes widening, D reared back, hair whipping about. He released his hold on her chin, glancing down long enough to notice Damien staring raptly at him, a knowing look within his eyes. He easily dismissed the matter for Krista with a shake of his head. For him, however, he simply pushed it to the back of his mind while Hand silently picked at him.

Was it the call of her blood and nothing more, or was it something else? With D so stoic and quiet, it was hard to tell.

D tipped his head towards the tavern, swiftly leading the way. Some might say he was avoiding the topic. Others might say he needed time to think everything over. Upon entering the tavern, he led them to a dark, deserted spot. As always, he ignored the obvious, heated stares.

"Um, D, where did Damien go?" Krista quietly asked as she sat.

At this, something gently pawed at D's leg. Casting his gaze down, he scrutinized the black puppy seated by his left foot, tail wiggling excitedly. Gingerly picking the pup up, he held it out at Krista.

"Damien?" asked Krista.

Hearing its name, the puppy leapt from D's hand and plopped onto the table. When he managed to stand, Damien ran clumsily into Krista's open arms. He licked sloppily at her cheek while yipping, earning delighted giggles from her. Suddenly, his world became dark, shielded from view by Krista's cloak as she hastily stuffed him in.

"What can I get you two?" the approaching boy asked kindly, eyes lingering longer than necessary on Krista and in areas considered unacceptable by most. His smile lifted a bit more, bordering on lascivious.

Oblivious to the stare, she quietly requested a bowl of cherry tomatoes and a glass of water. D ordered a glass of water, as well, but he was not so oblivious. Eyes narrowed, a hushed growl escaped him.

The boy, across the tavern by this time, stilled, skin chilled and clammy. He glanced across the way, soon regretting it. A primal fear kept his eyes riveted to D's. Something warm trickled down his leg, and with a whimper, he flew towards the door. "Claire! Take my place, m'kay? M'kay!" He left, slamming the door behind himself.

Krista stared after the boy, confusion dominating her expression. "I wonder what his problem is." Glancing at D, she noticed the slight glare, his dark aura creating an eddy around them. "What's the matter?"

"It's nothing," D replied, his aura immediately leveling out.

Her stare skeptical, she shrugged, uncovering Damien on her lap. "Alright, whatever you say."

The replacement – Claire – came to their table, careful to avert her hazel eyes as she placed the glasses of water and bowl of tomatoes before them. "I am sorry about Caine. I don't know why he was so scared. Is there anything else I can get for you two?"

"Not now, thank you," Krista replied, watching her walk away before grabbing a small tomato. "Do you like tomatoes, D?" At his nod, she bit into the end of hers, gaping when seeds squirted out the end and sprayed D. "Sorry, D," she giggled, popping the remainder of the tomato into her mouth. "Maybe the next one won't do that." With that, she bit into another tomato, once again chuckling as the innards sprayed D. Again and again, this happened. "Well, fine, then!" she cried, picking up her seventeenth tomato.

D watched, plucking a nearby napkin from the table and holding it to his breast once he deemed the last too soiled. She snapped her jaws shut, and D replayed the act in his mind. Thinking it over, he knew his eyes had not deceived him; her canines sliced the tomato in half, all sharper than a Human's.

'Oh, creepy, eh? The girl has fangs! It does not really narrow down what she is, but it might help in the future. Her eyes were glowing red at one point. That points to the Vampire side,' Hand remarked.

'While that is true, some Mutants and Shape-shifters are the same.'

'So, you have no idea as to what she could be?'

'I have plenty of ideas, but none that I am sure of,' D stated, reaching for one of two cherries in the bowl of tomatoes.


AN: I am so sorry that this took so long to spit out… and it is not even done yet! Please forgive me for the delay and if this chapter totally sucks. And also sorry for the choppy/randomness… Happy Christmas and Happy New Year!