Author's Notes: H'okay, so I got this story thingy that I wrote, omg D is so hawt and stuf so I tihnk I will post now ok, plz c&c. ...

Srsly. Another fanfic. This one is delving into the (highly contended-over) past of D, whether he grew up in luxury or was cast out by his father (cough)Alucard(cough) to live his life in solitude at a tenderer age. I hope this turns out okay. This chapter took me a long time because I haven't been writing and I needed to get back into the groove of things. EDIT: Sentence fragments and crappy structure, but that's all.

Disclaimer: Vampire Hunter D doesn't belong to me and I'm not writing this for profit!! He belongs to Hideyuki Kikuchi for writing and Yoshitaka Amano for drawing pretty pictures! Any and all places that sound familiar or names that are familiar are coincidental; Miranda, Mouka, and others, are all mine.

A Dhampir Story

The days and nights had receded into memory, and the valley of storms disappeared behind them. The Frontier passed its cold, unquestionable judgment when it placed obstacles in the paths of unwary travelers. Juxtaposed, it could also be a gentle matron of kindness, sighing gentle sweet breezes, sunny days and no encounters with monsters or thrill-seeking men and women who thought nothing of slaughtering reckless travelers for their goods and the promises of the flesh. Here, the woods were lovely in white, swallowing sound and fracturing light, terrifying, withholding secrets no man alone should know. The tall trees wore their winter garb like nobles, frozen in dance and bending in the wind slowly as if nodding at each other in turn.

Miles into the forest, three riders hunkered down against a strong wind. Winter fell in on them, heavy as dirt on a coffin and colder still. Snowflies stung their faces and the subzero temperatures threatened to chase the life out of their steeds, but only one of the riders was bundled tightly against the chill. Not only that, but it was well beyond sunset and darkness was almost as lethal as the storm itself. The rider in front seemed cut out of the same black cloth of the infamous Nobility, unperturbed by the wicked elements threatening to unravel one of his traveling companions. This one stared directly into the wind, his eyes carved out of the high ice peaks far and away, permenantly frozen. The beautiful youth's dark hair whipped back and forth as the wind of the snowstorm moaned and sighed around the trio on horseback. Their tracks were covered again in mere minutes. Only the figure riding in the middle exhaled a cloud of vapor every few seconds. Their dogged progress was hampered by the wind, setting their pace to an agonizingly slow plod through heavy, wet snow.

The lead rider's scarf was tugged down long enough for him to turn and call out, "We're almost there."

A nearly uprooted post was leaning at the bend in a crossroad among young trees. It was nearly impossible to see for those behind the first rider, whose black cloak stood out sharply in the whirling white. The post stuck in the ground had snow clinging to the lettering. With a swipe of his hand, the leader rid the sign of snow and read the cryptic message: Halfbreed Refuge; circa ------. The date was obscured by time. He looked back again, then signalled for them to continue. Within a few yards, the trees disappeared and they were truly walking in an ocean of white and black. The bundled rider in the middle hurried closer so he could more carefully keep his supernatural companion in sight.

The fence was falling in one itself, broken in places, missing entire pieces in others, and then a smal building came into sight. A second hovered into view from the raging snow. He pushed open the broken fence, leading his horse to a well-preserved little barn. The paint was bleached off by time, the wood gray but solid as he heaved it open, shoving away piles of snow that had gathered through the cracks inside. As he wandered in, the smell of old hay and older death wafted from the forgotton stalls, forgotten tack hanging frozen as if waiting for an opportunity to be used. The skeleton of another horse was on its knees in a stall, not a scrap of flesh on its bleached white, ice-covered bones. Though it was decades deceased, the sight made the black rider's steed nervous. It was muffled inside, and the animal's apprehensive huffing was all that filled the silence. Soon the stomping of other hooves drowned out the breathing. The black-cloaked figure dismounted, pushing the horse into a free stall and taking off the saddle, removing the tack, and throwing a large blanket made of werewolf skin over the horse's body, neck and head, like a hood. A foodbag was quickly attached, soft words murmured.

"You've been here before?" said the heavily-draped man, shivering noticably beneath his layered wraps. He lowered himself out of his saddle and landed stiffly with a cry, catching himself on a thick pine trunk that attached to the floor shooting up through the roof.

"Yes." The answer was reluctant, almost introspective.

The third rider, a woman, led her horse inside, and followed the same ritual of settling in for the rest of the night. She had straight obsidian hair in a single neat braid that hung down behind her back, her full mouth youthful and almost red despite the cold. Her skin was a perfect white, unmarked by time, immortalized by the gift of the Nobility. She was a vampire, no doubt, and evenly matched for beauty with the male in black.

The creature in black tucked his scarf down, revealing his perfect mouth, set in a grim imperceptible line, illustrating . It was out of concern that his face took on such a bleak expression. The symmetry of his face was too perfect, as if something greater than man had spawned him. His wide-brimmed hat had never been blown from his head, and from underneath it fell a waterfall of chocolate brown hair, spilling forth around his shoulders, disappearing under his scarf. Spiked shoulder guards set on his shoulders, along with an assortment of buckles, belts, and zippers kept his whole ensemble together. Skin-tight material covered his muscular body from neck to legs, his torso's sculpted muscles gleaming in red fire light. This was the body of a dhampir, trained hard by decades, maybe even centuries, of difficult travels and lethal encounters.

The fire he gazed upon was spawned out of the power the human held over fire; such a mutant ability that was exceptionally rare and highly valuable in times such as this. Balancing the flame in one hand, he worked at unbundling himself with the other. He drew the fire close once he could to warm his body, letting heat spread from his hands over his arms, over the rest of his body. His lips moved silently, whispering undertones of soothing command.

"You should wait," he told him. "Until we get inside, you'd better keep those on."

"I'm fr-freezing," he complained. "I'm not native to climates like this. It's one last late winter storm, and I'm the last southerner who should be up here." The fire grew and he basked in it for awhile, crouching down and shoving off his boots to warm his layered socks. He was of a slight build and dark skin, with old scars on his cheeks and mouth, jagged ones extending even under his shirt collar. His head sported wild hair the color of wheat, his eyes a bright and guileless green.

The dhampir looked away, watching the vampiress with tenderness that was reserved for no one else but her. One would call such a gaze a tiny miracle, for no one had warranted such tenderness in many years - if at all. "Miranda, once his horse is settled, we must get inside. The sun rises soon."

"I can feel it," she agreed, trembling as she glanced warily to the door. Although it was still black as pitch, the snow had taken a strange brightness. The sun would rise in the matter of an hour, and when it did she had better put herself out of its reach.

The three crossed to the large house whose doubledoors were frozen shut. The dhampir drew a sword that shined bright silver. With a flash, it severed the ice, shattering it from the door with the clear ringing of steel. He rattled the doorknob once, then pushed open the heavy reinforced doors. The furniture was gone, except for a musty blanket on the floor by the hearth. The room was huge, with large stone columns disappearing into the ceiling. There was no wood at all to fill the fireplace. The room was full of melancholy and rife with strife, as if so many memories were buried here with none to remember them, none to mourn the passing of those who breathed the air.

The rusted brass placard on the fireplace read, "In Honor of the Quiet Mother Atoya, whose love we could not survive without, do we commend this House to the Protection and Sanctuary of all Half-bred Children."

"So tell me," Miranda said, moving to the hearth and stacking large hunks of pine from a shed outside onto it. "D, what about this place?" Midnight pupils quivered as they passed over the placard - twice, to make sure she was not reading wrong. "Have you been here before?"

"It was one step in a direction to help the orphans of half-blooded lineage." The dhampir's shadow fell long and impressively along the floor once the fire mage lit the cold, stubborn logs on fire. The blaze rose up as the wood slowly considered the feast, crawling along the bark and then settling into the meal, burning cheerfully. He looked toward the other end of the long, empty room toward a heavy iron door leading into the dormitories, classrooms, and playrooms. "It was a facility unlike many in the Frontier. It was less of a prison, like most humans desired for unwanted, potentially dangerous children, and more of a haven. In the spring, this place will flourish with flowers and grass, and the forest will beckon with sweet promises."

Miranda looked back at him, at the tall figure of him remaining quiet and unresponsive to her silent pleas. Mouka curled up in a blanket by his new fire, and beside him he let out his sleeping falcon. The female raptor rested against the floor by the fire as well, tucked into a bunched up shirt. He had long put her to sleep with a tiny injection of fluid so she could survive the travel through the weather. He stroked her head gently, her tongue moving inside her beak when she breathed in. She was a beautiful bird, with eyes like yellow flames. He had also the ability to speak to birds, from tasting of the highly potent and lethal dragon's blood that could burn the skin off a man.

But it was the dhampir that warranted the most attention. Months ago, they had traveled from a corner of the Fronter battered by storms, strung together by a chain of events stretching back less than a decade. There, the woman that had hated D with unforgiving passion had somehow come to love him. It was a strange turn of events for certain, but it was unfortunate that she had also become a vampire in that place. The dhampir who hunted his own kind and often slayed others who happened to stand in his way, as heartless as a stone and as silent as a coffin. None had gotten closer to his heart than Miranda. She would never betray his secret heart to anyone, not even under pain of final death.

Mouka had simply been there along for the ride - a mail business by commission and a traveling fire magician. It was impressive how he could take his two greatest gifts and turn them into a lucrative business that provided money for comfortable living. At the moment, he doubted that Miranda or D had letters that need be sent.

"You've lived here before."

The dhampir nodded. "Yes." He reached up slowly to remove his hat, revealing his pointed ears and extreme pallor.

"How long ago was that, then? I mean, how old can you possibly be? I know half-Nobility can live much longer than ordinary humans, but this place looks like it's at least a century old. You can't even see the dates on the sign or that placard anymore." Mouka twisted his body around to look at the quieted man, whose eyes wandered the forlorn emptiness of a childhood memory. What had gone on here?

Almost lethargic, he crossed the room until he left the circle of firelight to the iron doors at the end of the long room. It was almost thirty feet long. The stones echoed his footsteps so that Mouka could not see D but hear him as he walked.

D pressed his left palm against the door and pushed slightly. It did not budge an inch, but there was a crackling as old hinges fell apart from rust. Something on the other side of the portal clattered to the floor dully. The wane light of dawn was creeping in through the filthy windows. Miranda stood suddenly and bid Mouka goodnight, and hurried away through a wooden door to a cellar. The door was stubborn but closed gently after swinging the frame on its hinges a few times.

"Goodnight," he whispered as she left, turning to watch her.

While Mouka was stoking the fire more, D pushed the door open. The upper-most hinge snapped and it shifted dangerously. The dhampir grabbed onto the door and slid it along until it leaned against the inner wall of the next room. The dust fell from the doorway, and wafted up from beneath the wooden floorboards that replaced the stone from the dining hall. In relation to the other room, this one was much smaller and box-shaped. Broken bedframes were crammed into a corner. At one point, those frames had beds, sheets, and sleepers tucked away at night or day. Sunlight poured in through the broken windows. Small piles of snow gathered on the window sills and flower boxes outside. Beyond that, an ice-covered lake gleamed like a mirror in the rising sun.

The dorm felt like a tomb. The wooden chests meant for orphans belongings were missing, perhaps packed away in storage or stolen. The brightly colored walls were muted shades of grey and black. Shadows lurked in the corners, bereft of life as they were of warmth. The dhampir's eyes followed the path of windows, his shadow dim despite his solid form. That was the mark of a dhampir; his shadow disappeared entirely when he stood in between the windows.

He stood utterly still in front of a fifth window on the left. The curtains were stripped from the hangers above. The atmosphere, though no human could notice it now, changed imperceptibly as he stood there, as if death had taken him right at that very moment. The sunlight brightened, and the air felt warmer and cleaner. Dust motes floated around him, then slowed down.

"I knew you would take notice," the hunter spoke aloud.

The sunlight thrummed in response. From the doorway on the left wall, a figure stirred, floating forward. D did not turn to look just yet. The figure's legs faded just above the knees. But regardless of the apparent lack of lower appendages, the modest, curved form of a woman moved closer, crossing the room and raising her hand.

How could I not? When my wayward little ones come down that road, I feel it. Why have you returned? The woman's hand touched his bicep as though she was truly real. He showed no sign of seeing her or feeling her touch.

His voice floated from his lips, rising to the ceiling like a dream "I haven't forgotten this place, Mother Rhea."

Nor should you. This is where your bed was; where you dreamed. The lips of the woman curved up slightly. She had an old face, wrinkled, but beautiful and strangely compelling. You still haven't answered me, Deron.

"That's not my name anymore." D turned slowly, the sound of that familiar name drawing his attention at last. "I only came here for one reason. I want to remember."

The ghostly woman named Rella retreated as he turned. When she saw his face, her ghostly visage softened. You are handsome, no matter what you call yourself. I'm honored that you have come so far to this old place.

D's eyes seemed to glow with a deep, well-remembered warmth. He stood before this ghost, shrouded in death's black, and spoke softly. "It was once my home. The only home, besides the other one. I don't care to sound sentimental, but I've wanted to visit for years."

Why? When you have so many terrible memories here. I always thought you were too quiet. You never spoke up, not once. Not even when they wanted to hurt you.

"I have a lot of good memories too. By the way, did... he ever come back here?" The youthful face grew dark, stormy as a churning sea.

He once came looking for you. But his presence scared the children away for good. When he couldn't find you, he wept and fell to the ground, raising a horrible noise. His howls even scared the monsters.

D nodded, although whether he truly cared about how that man felt after discovering his son had disappeared never became clear. Perhaps he really did not give one whit about it. After awhile he looked back at the place where he had slept. He could almost remember the color of his blanket, an unremarkable navy blue like the other childrens blankets. He could see his pillow, white and soft. When he closed his eyes, the dusty room became clean, sounds trickled through his memories like sand through a sieve. Help me remember. The sounds became clearer. There was a bell ringing, clear and bright, that marked 8:00 Morning.

Help me remember. You know. The day I came; that wet spring morning in late April.