Author's Note: Hi everybody! I read VHD: Mysterious Journey to the North Sea parts 1 and 2 about a month ago and I've been in the mood for vampire stories ever since. Particularly, I found myself craving some more VHD crossovers featuring Alucard from Castlevania. (By the way, I heard they're making a Castlevania movie next year! I wonder if it'll have Alucard? I hope so!) Anyway, I reread all my favorite stories in that category, found a new one that looks promising, and then decided that I might as well go ahead and write my own. I know, I know, it's already been done. But I love it so much, I just want to do it again! First of all, though, let me give credit where credit is due. As far as I'm concerned, there are three writers out there who OWN the world of D-meets-Alucard, and they are: Unseen Watcher, for the story, Something in Common, Emiri-chan, who wrote Strengths and Weaknesses, and of course Kitt Yuehana, whose unrivaled VHD fanfiction includes Insult of the Right Hand. If you like to see D and Alucard in the same world, you absolutely MUST READ those three stories!
Chapter 1: Unnecessary Aggression
Alone in the cold light of an ancient moon, a cyborg horse carried a solitary black-clad rider across an empty expanse. The scene was quite surreal, for at first glance it appeared that the horse walked across a frozen sea—but actually, it walked across a desert, where the ground was nothing but one smooth, silver mirror.
The rider was none other than the legendary Vampire Hunter D, and if there was ever anyone who could look at home in such a surreal setting, it was he.
The hunter's left palm tingled as it rearranged itself into a grotesque little face, and the mouth of the face stretched wide in a yawn.
"You're up early," commented a gruff, raspy voice.
"I remembered that it's going to take several hours to cross the Glass," D replied in explanation.
Two beady little black eyes blinked in surprise. "Is that where we are? The Nobles' Looking Glass? Let me see."
Obligingly, the hunter held his hand out to the side, so that the face in his palm could see the ground. The gruff voice chuckled. "Well now. Isn't that a pretty sight. Your reflection's solid as stone. Not even a drip of moonlight's getting through. Incredible!"
Normally, of course, the hunter's reflection was moderately translucent, while a true Noble would have no reflection at all. But here, thousands of years ago, the Nobles created a substance that allowed them to see their own faces. Originally it was the size of a small pool, but due to the hardiness of the living lens crystals that it was made of, over the centuries it had grown far past its boundaries until now it filled a valley a hundred miles wide and two hundred miles long.
"I guess it makes sense that you're getting an early start," Lefty remarked. "Your horse can't move any faster than a walk on such a slick surface, and you certainly wouldn't want to be out here while the sun's at full strength. With this super-powered mirror underneath you, you'd fry to a crisp in no time."
It was said that every Noble made a journey to the Looking Glass at least once, and that sometimes, they would become so entranced by their own reflections that they would forget to escape the deadly rising of the sun.
Suddenly the hunter's eyes focused on a tiny black speck on the horizon.
"Is someone actually out there?" Lefty asked in disbelief. D didn't answer. A few moments passed, and it became obvious that the black speck was in fact a traveler on foot—a traveler who was heading straight for them. "Whoa," Lefty muttered, sounding duly impressed.
"What is it?" D asked softly.
"Vampire," came the answer. D's eyes narrowed ever-so-slightly. "And, wow. You're not gonna believe this, D."
"What do you mean?"
"I think… he might be older than you."
"There aren't many like that left in the world," D remarked.
"…And I suppose there's about to be one less," Lefty added, though there was a sense of misgiving in his tone.
The cyborg horse continued forward at a steady pace. Nothing about the silent rider changed to indicate that he was now approaching a being that he intended to kill. Lefty, however, grew more apprehensive with each passing step. When the distance between the two figures was just a little more than a mile, he finally spoke up. "D, I gotta tell you. This guy is kind of freaking me out."
"He's strong," D acknowledged. They were close enough now for the hunter to sense the other's presence for himself.
"It's not just that," said Lefty, fidgeting. "I don't know what's going on here, but something about that guy's aura seems really familiar."
"In what way?" D asked impassively.
"Well, for starters, he might not be a vampire after all," Lefty said, sounding uncomfortable.
D's voice was as cool and even as always. "His presence is too strong for a dhampir."
"So is yours, buster. That's what I'm getting at."
The traveler finally stopped when D was just five hundred yards away. He stood inhumanly still with his heavy black cloak billowing out behind him in the wind. D could sense his hesitation, which was quickly replaced by resolve. The traveler began moving forward again, and stopped once more when about fifty yards remained between him and the hunter. As if agreeing that that was an acceptable distance, D reined in his horse.
Recognition flickered in the traveler's colorless eyes at the sight of the black-clad rider's face, quickly followed by distrust.
For a long moment, they studied one another. Besides the almost compulsory black cloak, the stranger wore a gold-embroidered coat and was armed with a single visible weapon—a sword. His face was predictably pale, and his gaze possessed an uncanny steadiness more commonly seen in the eyes of a predator such as a hawk or a lion… or a wolf. Perhaps the most striking feature of his appearance was his white-gold hair, which fell in loose waves around his shoulders. Overall, the effect was impressive; the moonlit night now had two masters. It wasn't often that D felt unnerved, but something about this character was definitely unsettling. And certain physical similarities between the two of them were almost too obvious to comment on.
"Will you take a look at this guy?" Lefty whispered in excitement. "I can't believe it! He's actually prettier than you! Just by a little bit though. I mean, it'd certainly be a close contest. Wow."
Wordlessly, D dismounted. The horse shook its mane and walked off fifteen yards or so. It would sniff at the ground for grass, and, finding none, it would wait quietly for its owner to return to it.
Slowly, patiently, D reached over his shoulder, where the stark black silhouette of a sword hilt awaited his grasp. Interpreting this motion correctly, the pale-eyed stranger flung aside the folds of his cloak and reached for the scabbard at his side. Two notes of singing metal resonated across the empty terrain as they drew their blades at the very same instant.
"Wow-- that is an old sword," Lefty whispered, with no small measure of respect in his voice.
"Who are you?" D asked the stranger in a clear but quiet voice.
"Someone who doesn't belong here," replied the traveler, his voice equally clear.
"If you've come to accept that, then you should let me send you onward, into oblivion," D advised, with no hint of animosity in his tone.
The wind lifted a stray lock of silvery silk from the stranger's face. "I'm afraid I'll have to decline," he said, half-closing his eyes.
"D, wait a minute!" Lefty urged. "I don't think you should fight this guy!"
But the warning came too late; the hunter's mind was made up. Whoever the mysterious traveler was, the blood of a very old vampire ran thick in his veins. It had been an extremely long time since D had smelled Noble blood of such undeniable purity, and he found it disturbing. In truth, D had assumed that worst of his vampire hunting days were long over, and that only the weaker, scattered remnants of the blood-sucking species remained to be cleaned up. But if this ethereal aristocrat had somehow survived all these years unaccounted for, how many more might be lurking out there?
Swords spun, flashing like lightning. Killing strikes missed their targets. Suddenly the traveler resorted to magic-- but his destructive attack vanished in a swirl of sparks, having had no effect other than causing the pendant on the hunter's chest to glow with a bright blue light.
Startled by this astonishing complication, the traveler barely managed to evade D's next attack, and the result was that a thin, dark line appeared across his cheek. The traveler kept his gaze riveted to his opponent as he leapt backwards.
"That does it!" Lefty declared. "Fight's over. Can't you smell that? He is definitely not a vampire. He's a dhampir just like you!"
"There aren't any dhampirs just like me," D muttered, twisting his grip on his weapon until he heard a muffled 'wmmph!' of surrender.
A single drop of blood slid from the cut on the stranger's cheek, while his lucent eyes locked onto D's left hand. "Whose voice was that?" he asked, though he obviously already suspected its origin.
"Forget about it," D replied coolly. "It won't matter when you're dead."
The traveler looked back up at D's face. "Why do you want to kill me?"
"Because your time is over." The hunter's answer was soft, almost soothing. He took a step forward. His opponent held his ground.
"Explain," the traveler demanded, holding his sword so that it cut the hunter diagonally from shoulder to hip in his field of vision.
Suddenly D swept forward, reengaging his target. His blade was nothing more than a streak of blue-white light as it slashed at the strange aristocrat. The fight was back on. When dark blurs of motion resettled into discernable shapes several minutes later, it became clear that D's attacks had failed. The tip of his blade had burned its way into the mirrored desert floor, while the edge of his opponent's sword was pressed lightly to the side of his neck.
"Now, answer me." The traveler's voice was calm, and he moved his sword a few inches away as a sign of good faith. "What is this place? What gives you the right to decide if my time is over?"
D was silent.
For an instant the traveler's eyes flashed with golden light. "Answer me!"
"Sheesh, calm down!" a gruff and exasperated voice piped up, diverting the traveler's focus for a fraction of a second-- and that was all the time D needed to free his weapon from the mirrored ground and launch another assault.
Having learned his lesson from the first time he'd been caught off guard, the traveler successfully avoided injury, and attempted to reclaim the advantage. But D had already learned a few things as well, and was able to parry every move. For a long, uninterrupted stretch of minutes, the duel raged as a fierce contest of swordplay and sheer inhuman athleticism, punctuated by irregular fragments from a peculiar three-way conversation:
"Hey blondie! What's your name?"
"Stay out of this." The hunter tightened his grip.
"But mmf! Ow! Damn it, D, you're not gonna bully me this time." Another clash of blades brought the combatants in close.
"That voice from your hand just called you 'D'. Is that your name?"
"It is." D leaned in, lowering one shoulder. Rather than resist, the other dhampir stepped to the side, nearly causing D to lose his balance.
"Mine is Alucard."
"What! You actually exist? I thought y- ouch! Mmnbb! That hurts, you bastard!"
In the midst of another series of near-miss exchanges of parries and ripostes, Alucard grit his teeth and glared at D in righteous anger. "Why won't you let him speak?"
"He has nothing of value to say," D replied, his voice completely cold and emotionless despite the incredible speed and violence of his actions.
Alucard countered one attack, dodged the next, struck out with his own, and found himself trapped in close quarters again. Knowing intuitively that the side-stepping trick wouldn't work twice, Alucard abruptly shifted to a one-handed grip on his weapon, and backhanded the hunter across the face.
D dropped down on one knee, stunned. As an attack, the smack had been a pitiful blow—but as an old-fashioned reproof, it was right on the mark.
"You're a fool," the other dhampir informed him, stirred to uncharacteristically harsh words. "And your arrogance betrays you."
The hunter's white face remained expressionless beneath the brim of his hat. "Your death is inevitable," he said, his voice even quieter than usual. "There's no escape."
Alucard narrowed his eyes and stepped back, prepared to let D resume the fight. A second later, the kneeling form of the hunter vanished, having moved too quickly to see, and reappeared to Alucard's left, where the scream of metal on metal confirmed that once again the edges of their blades were failing to cut through one another.
At almost the same moment, they both came to the grim realization that fighting each other was going to be a very tedious ordeal. And with the stoicism of individuals long accustomed to accepting miserable, difficult, and potentially lethal situations, that realization did nothing to discourage either of them. Determination and patience were qualities that neither of them lacked.
...to be continued!...
Another A/N: yay! That was so much fun to write. And there are three chapters to go! I chewed on my lip for a long time wondering if having Lefty call Alucard "blondie" would be copying someone else's idea. In the end I kept it, simply because Lefty WOULD call him that. There's almost nothing else Lefty could call him, right off the bat. It was simply too appropriate for the moment to discard it. Anyhow, I promise that I've got a few scenes coming up that nobody has thought of before-- we just have to tread through this somewhat familiar ground to get there.