AN: It's been a while since I've watched Blood, and parts of this story may have been written under the influence of vodka, so…here's hoping for the best. Also, I wrote it out in my notebook before typing it out on Microsoft Word, so the chapters are shorter than I expected—and shorter than I usually write.
Thicker Than Water
Van Argeno sat in his jail cell, contemplating his complete and utter lack of a future. He had gone into this thing knowing that it was highly immoral and illegal, but to think, he had almost had a hand in wiping out humanity! Even so, he could only think about his own lack of a future, as a real moral sense had never been a part of his character. He had gotten life without the possibility of parole for his part in these experiments. They said he was the ringleader in the media circus that believed the lies they were fed. Argeno was not, of course, but everyone above him in the organization was now dead…they hadn't of really been human. How truly shocking it had been to realize that.
Argeno stared at his shoes and sighed. Oh, what he wouldn't give to be out of here! Suddenly, he heard the lock snap and the door to his cell slid open. He looked up and saw a distinctly familiar-looking teenager opening the door one handed. "Diva?" he demanded, confused and horrified at the same time.
"Do I look like Diva, then?" the teen said in an obviously male voice.
"Yes, actually. What she looks like in her true form, at least…if that is her true form…" Van Argeno trailed off.
"Ah, I see. Mr. Argeno, I heard Diva's song on the air, and I knew it to be what it was—the song of a vrykolake queen," the boy said.
"Vrykolake?" Argeno asked.
"Perhaps you use a different word. It's of no matter. I knew what I heard—what Diva is. And nearby me, there was a young man who was listening to the same station, and he…reacted in quite an interesting way," the boy said. "To make no bones about it, he turned into one of those insults to my species that the media is laying at your feet—somewhat unjustly, I assume. It's not an easy thing, killing a vrykolake without the blood of the queen of his opposite numbers. You have to mix up his organs enough where his own body's attempts to fix itself is what kills him. This country was in its birthing pains the last time I had to do so, so I'm a bit rusty, but I managed to make it look easy, and besides, this boy was a mere mockery of what I am. But this is all getting off the point, I'm afraid.
"For you see, this is the truly interesting thing—that thing the young man turned into, I could smell my blood in it, which is impossible, as my queen is dead, and her sister is dead, although she was carrying my daughters when she died. But then, who knew how long a vrykolake fetus can last, especially preserved by the Icelandic cold and all? So I went to Iceland to solve this little mystery, and you know what I found there? Nothing! The plot thickens, as they say. But whomever robbed my anti-queen's grave did so so long ago that no one remembered him or her, and so, Mr. Argeno, I turn to you. You are going to help me find my daughters."
"And if I can't?"
"Then you die."
Suddenly, the cell didn't seem so bad to Van Argeno.
"No one has seen a chiropteran for months," Julia said on the other end of the phone. "I think…I think we can finally say with some safety that we have won the war."
Joel sighed with relief. It was finally over. Time, which had stopped for his family, could move on. The chiropteran threat, which his family had unleashed on the world, was gone, and with it the need for his family to do this duty to the monsters' victims. "That is good news indeed, Julia," was all he said as he wheeled himself into his office.
Someone was there, reading the original Joel's Diary. "You are going to find a convenient excuse to get off the phone," he said. He blinked, and his eyes were glowing blue, making him look alarmingly like Diva. "Or else."
Well, this was new. "Julia, I have a meeting to get to soon, so could you call back later with the details about that? Thank you, bye." Joel knew that he had best see what this stranger wanted, this strange chiropteran. He wished that he was wearing a wire so that he'd still be able to warn others even if this man killed him. "Well, what can I do for you?" Joel asked calmly.
"I found you using records retrieved for me by a very helpful Mr. Argeno. And I found this locked in one of your desk drawers. Quite an…interesting read. You know, if I had met the original Joel, I would have ripped his arms off and beat him to death with them for the way he treated my daughters. After all, what father wouldn't? Don't worry, though—you are not him, and it would be wrong to punish you for his sins. Tell me, do you know the significance of the name 'Saya'?"
"It was the name given to the mummy found in Iceland. Saya was named for it."
"I somewhat resent you referring to her as an 'it,' but that is of no matter. Do you know where the name came from before that? I'll tell you: either it's a coincidence that he got the name right, or your ancestor read her tombstone, which read 'Here lies Saya, daughter of Ishtar, line of Daywalker.' It does not seem that your ancestor was very creative when it came to names."
"There's nothing like that in the diary," Joel said.
"Who are you going to believe—me, or the asshole who performed Nazi-style experiments on my girls? Ah, well, this is of no matter. The point is that Saya Junior and Diva are my daughters."
"Who are you?" Joel asked. He was fairly certain that he'd get an answer—this guy seemed to love the sound of his own voice.
The teenage-looking (but apparently ancient) chiropteran grinned. "Not that it will help you any, but my name is Hiroshi, vassal of Ala, daughter of Ishtar. Well, I was the vassal of Ala, when she was alive, at any rate. She's been dead for two centuries and change. But enough about me—why don't you tell me what became of my children…and grandchildren. And, Joel? I hope for your sake that they're alive."
"Diva's dead and Saya's asleep, but the children can be found here," Joel wrote down Kai's address, hoping he'd get a chance to warn him about this visitor. It wouldn't have done much good to lie, as if this man could track down Joel, he could track down Kai. "Their names are Aoko and Akako, by the way."
Hiroshi sighed. "Thanks. How sad about Diva. Still, I suppose that there's nothing to be done on that front. Congratulations, Joel, I'm going to allow you to live—so long as this address is the real deal."
Hiroshi left. Joel waited for a few minutes, and then, hoping that the ancient chevalier was out of earshot (who could say what capabilities a chiropteran that age had?), dialed a number on his phone. "Hello? We have a problem." To put it mildly.
"So let me get this straight: this Hiroshi guy is a chiropteran and claims to be Saya and Diva's father, which would mean he's from the nineteenth century at the latest—"
Kai was interrupted by David: "Joel said that he said something about his queen being two hundred years dead, so he is probably from the eighteenth century, if not before."
"Thanks. Anyway, this means he's probably stronger and more experienced than any chevalier we met before, right?"
"And this time we don't have Saya to help us, and even if we did, I'm guessing her blood wouldn't work against him, right?"
"We don't know about the blood thing for sure, but otherwise, that appears to be the size of it," David agreed.
"So, then, what do we do?" Kai asked.
"We've tried to get in touch with Haji, and as for waking Saya…well, we don't want another Vietnam on our hands," David said. "Or consciences."
"I think I might be able to get in touch with Haji," Kai said. "I think that he's been visiting Saya's 'grave', and, well, even if I don't see him, maybe I can leave him a note explaining our plight, or something. He might come to our aid, if he reads it."
"It's worth a shot," David said.
"Tell me, honestly—how much is Haji going to be able to help?" said Kai.
"More than not having him around is all I can say," David said.
Two little girls ran into the room, Mao yelling at them. They looked to be about five, and usually acted like it, too. "Now, I never claimed to be an expert on children, David," Kai said dryly, "but I'm pretty sure that these aren't normal one-year-olds. Did Saya and Diva grow up this fast?"
"I don't recall reading anything of the type, but then, that's not what I was looking for the last time I read Joel's diary," David said.
"Their growth might have been affected by their long stasis," Julia said. "It would probably be wrong to assume that Saya and Diva were representative of perfectly healthy chiropterans. After all, the Iceland mummy was clearly chiropteran, is where the word comes from, in fact, but neither Saya nor Diva ever showed evidence of having a 'chiropteran form', if you will."
"And there's another point—what can this Hiroshi do that we've never seen before, that we've never suspected?" Kai asked. He sighed. "Well, we'll find out sooner than we'd like, I'd reckon. Come on, girls! Let's go visit Auntie Saya." The girls cheared.
Haji was nowhere to be seen, of course, but Kai found a rose and Saya's tomb. Again. "Haji, if you're out there, I need to speak with you. This is important." Haji did not come to the summons, so either Kai missed him or he just didn't want to talk. Kai sighed, leaving the note weighed down by a rock. "If you can hear me…just read the letter, okay? It explains everything." Kai left, hoping some passerby wouldn't steal it out of curiosity or just plain spite.
Kai loaded the kids in his car and drove home, and as he did so, he had the feeling that he was being watched. But being watched by whom? Was it Haji? Was it this Hiroshi character? Or was it just his imagination? He couldn't tell. When he got home, he was hit by an intense feeling of wrongness. Was it intuition? Was it nerves? "Stay in the car for a moment, girls." Just to be safe (safe, ha!), he drew his weapon and approached his house cautiously. He entered his living room.
"That won't help you," said a strangely-accented voice. Kai swerved towards the source, and saw that he really did look like Saya. Or Diva. "It's funny—this is my country of birth, and yet, I haven't been here in so long that upon arriving here I couldn't make myself understood or understand. I had to ask people to talk to me in English if I wanted to have an intelligent conversation. Can you imagine? Coming to one's country of birth and not being able to speak except in a foreign tongue?"
"You seem to be doing alright now, Hiroshi" Kai pointed out.
"Well, it's not exactly an entirely different language than it was before—I haven't been away that long, or not quite. I was able to put the pieces together, mostly from watching Jepanese television—which sucks, just for the record. I can speak like a modern person now, but I can't seem to get the accent—my subconscious just keeps telling me that the language is supposed to sound like this, I guess.
"And I see that you've heard of me," Hiroshi continued. (Jeez, is he still talking? Kai thought. This guy sure seems to like to run at the mouth.) "You know, I remember when you could slaughter an entire village and no one in the next one over would even notice. Ah, good times. For vrykolakes, at least. But, alas, one cannot live in the past." Hiroshi sighed.
"What do you want?" Kai demanded, hoping to keep him distracted until Haji showed up (which might take hours, but if the ancient chevalier kept talking like this, that might be doable).
Hiroshi shook his head, smiling sadly. "Kai, my boy, if you know who I am, you know what I want. My grandchildren, of course."
"You're not touching the Akako or Aoko," Kai said.
"Oh, and you're going to stop me?"
"If I can."
"Well, let me stop that train of thought there—you can't. Admirable as that sentiment is, though, do you really think, as a mere mortal, you can raise those two charming little bloodsuckers? Can you teach them what they need to know? Can you tell them things like 'don't make a vassal of anyone you care about, because your sister's just going to try to kill him after she mates with him'? Can you teach them how to hunt?"
"They don't need to hunt," Kai said. "We have connections at various bloodbanks."
"Oh, but there's more to hunting than simply a means to gather food!" Hiroshi protested. "See, this is exactly what I'm talking about. You don't understand—it's primal, my boy. Humans have free will—vrykolakes have biologically-hardwired directives." He moved towards Kai.
"Don't come closer—I'll shoot!" Kai warned.
"And what, exactly, do you suppose that that will accomplish?" Hiroshi mocked.
Kai proceded to pump Hiroshi full of lead, or rather, the incendiary combo that he had used to fight chiropterans. Hiroshi's insides started burning from the inside out, and he doubled over, gasping a surprised "Oh."
Kai reloaded his gun as he ran outside, hoping to reach the car and drive away before Hiroshi recovered—but he was suddenly standing right between Kai and his car. He aimed his gun again.
"That's not going to work again," Hiroshi commented. "You caught me off guard, is all." Kai shot him, anyway, and Hiroshi caught the bullet, showing it to Kai. "Hey, have you ever seen DBZ? Do you remember, the first episode?" A dagger sprouted from his shoulder before he could fling the bullet back at Kai, which would have killed him. Hiroshi looked at the dagger. "Oh, really?" Hiroshi than caught another dagger in midair, and threw it back at it's owner. Haji dodged. "And you would be Saya the Second's vassal, Haji, am I right?" Haji was suddenly next to him, and swung his cello case at Hiroshi's gut, which the ancient one dodged with ease. "Not much of a talker, eh? Very well, then. At the risk of sounding melodramatic, prepare to die, Haji, vassal of Saya, daughter of…well, Saya. Don't worry—she can always make herself another vassal if she feels she needs one." Hiroshi lunged to attack, his eyes glowing blue, and punched.
Haji blocked the blow with his cello case—which cracked. That was the scariest thing of all, really—after all, that thing had been through quite a lot of battles, and hadn't gotten so much as dented or scratched. "Damn!" Hiroshi commented appreciatively. "What's that thing made of?"
"Unobtainium," commented Haji dryly, who didn't usually pause to chat in the middle of a battle, while attacking with his chiropteran arm.
"Funny," commented Hiroshi, dodging the blow. "Tall, Dark, and Handsome has a sense of humor." He swung around Haji and pushed him to the ground, but Haji managed to roll it into a backwards somersault in time to avoid the blow that would have ran him through a few milliseconds later. All Hiroshi ended up with was his fist stuck in the concrete, which, alas, he managed to free before Haji could connect with his next blow, which he then successfully dodged. Haji then tried to claw him again, but Hiroshi bent over backwards, successfully avoiding the blow, planted his hands, and kicked out with both feet in one fluid motion. Haji flew into (and through) one of the walls of Kai's house, and Hiroshi completed the motion by flipping heels over head to land on his feet again.
Kai, who finally had the clean shot he'd been waiting for, fired quickly, but only one bullet hit—Hiroshi dodged the rest, and was on him. "Oh, that was a big mistake, son…big mistake." He ripped the gun from Kai's hand and tossed it into the grass, which was due for a mowing. Before he could do something similar to Kai's head, Haji impaled him. He kicked off of Haji's arm using Haji's body as a springboard, faced him, and as he was healing from the wound said, "Now that was a sucker punch."
Haji came at him again, but this time, Hiroshi grabbed his chiropteran arm in one hand, then his normal arm in his other hand, and then proceeded to defy anatomical science and kick Haji in the head a number of times. Haji's neck snapped, and he fell.
Hiroshi let go of him and stood over his temporarily-broken body. "Hmm, decisions, decisions: now that you're incapacitated, do I just take what I want and leave, or do I kill you while I have the chance? You know, Haji, I've got this distinct feeling—"
"You talk too much!" Kai shouted as he fired another salvo at the ancient chiropteran. The first two bullets hit (which was kind of surprising, given Kai's unintentional warning), but not the rest—including the ignition round.
"Ugh!" shouted Hiroshi. "How do I keep forgetting about you? No matter. I'll just snap your annoying little n—" he couldn't complete the thought, as he had to dodge another one of Haji's attempted impalings. "—neck. God, Haji, I can't leave you alone for one second, can I? Oh, and by the way: fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me." He went on the offensive, punching once, twice, thrice. Haji blocked the blows, which damaged his cello case further. Hiroshi then snapped Haji's shin with a sharp kick and then hit him with a left, snapping his newly-healed neck again. Haji dropped like a bag of bricks.
Then he was on Kai before the latter could react. "Don't think I didn't know you were going to shoot me again the first chance you got, you sandy little bastard." He ripped Kai's gun from his hand and tossed it again, and then he picked Kai up by his neck and tossed him. Kai hit the wall of his house next to the hole Haji had made when he went through. Kai managed to stumble forward a few steps, and then doubled over, coughing up blood.
Hiroshi turned back to Haji. "Well, he won't be interrupting us anymore. Anyway, Haji…lets see what your insides look like." Before he could connect, a new assailant kicked him off of Haji. Hiroshi reoriented even before hitting the ground and landed on his feet facing his new opponent. "No way," he and Kai said together. He went on alone: "Why, Nathaniel, I haven't seen you since the American Revolution. This is quite a shock, you know. I thought you were dead."
"What can I say? I don't die easily—and I go by 'Nathan' these days."
AN: That's right, Nathan's alive! If you were paying attention to the last few minutes of the episode in which he "dies," you'd know that already.
I know that "Akako" is a real Japanese name, but am not so sure about "Aoko." If it's not, it wouldn't exactly be the first time an anime character had a weird-ass name (when was the last time you heard of someone named "InuYasha," after all?), so I'm not too concerned about it. In order to name them, I looked up Japanese baby names on a baby name website, and when I saw the significance behind "Akako," I knew I had to have it for one of the girls—and knew what the other girl's name hade to signify. I stumbled onto "Aoko" by shear luck.
Guess the "meanings" of the girls' names and win. Win what, I don't know, but still, you win…
I'll stop rambling on now.