Rating: T or M, depends on the chapter
Warnings: hermaphrodite D, m-preg, at least at the beginning, Leon's language, AU? I guess…, and also violence in the later chapters
Disclaimer: The original characters of PSoH do not belong to me, but to Matsuri Akino. I am just a crazy human being that can't stand not playing with them every now and then, of course without getting any money for it, unfortunately.
Claimer: Every person, child, human, not-human or animal that didn't turn up in the original series. And of course the storyline belongs to me as well. So if you wanna use someone – ask. I don't bite. Promise.
Welcome to my third try at an PSoH-fanfiction, guys!
I do hope you'll like this one as well, but I have to warn you, it's a little different from the others. I do not really want to talk too much about it (will spill something otherwise), but for those of you who do not like the thought of Leon and D together, much less them getting a kid: do not continue to read. It's a friendly warning, and if you don't adhere, not my problem.
I am not sure if I can call this angsty, but it sure contains some rather adult themes (perhaps you might want to tell me whether it is angsty or not). As for everything else, you will have to read it yourself :-)
I am not one to press for reviews, but I really would appreciate some feedback, for this is a story I have worked on for quite some time and spent quite some hours on when I really couldn't afford to spend them (well, of course that's just my own silliness, but nevertheless). So please, leave a review, even if it's just one. I appreciate everything (except flames, those I will ignore. Or perhaps laugh, depends on how silly they are).
Well, enough words. Let's get on with the real thing now. Have fun everybody and so long,
New Town Again
The first day in a new town was always exciting, although D would never admit that. And Berlin was a city that had changed very much in the past years. After being Germany's capital for such a long time, to be parted into East and West Berlin by the occupying powers had been a harsh strike for the city. But then, finally, the citizens had succeeded, the Berlin Wall had fallen, and the government moved back from Bonn, where the West had had its capital.
D inhaled the air and decided that the changes were still noticeable. Berlin was still growing together again, but then, a few decades of separation had left scars…
He turned unwillingly. Separation was not something he wanted to think about right now.
The city would be a good place to hide. It was big enough, lots of foreigners lived here, he would not be noticed immediately. And the people were typical, almost like in Los Angeles. Lots of high expectations and pretty dreams, broken and shattered. Yes, he would certainly not run out of work.
He stepped inside the incense in the shop, flowing around in swirls and clouds. Sometimes it did that, D didn't know why. But like almost everything in the shop, the incense too had a will of its own. Though today it seemed more stifling than usual…
D brought a hand up and steadied himself on the doorframe, thoroughly confused. He was fainting. Why in all heavens was he fainting?
"Count, are you okay?" T-chan's voice broke through his thoughts and he looked up, vision blurring slightly before he could focus on his totetsu.
"Yes, thank you, Tetsu, I am quite alright," he answered softly. The dizziness went away. D shook his head in wonder. Well, perhaps he needed some food. Some cake, to be exact. Without his sugar, things like that could surely happen.
He decidedly made his way back into the shop, closing the door again. It was still too early to open it, it was yet settling in. He could have a cup of tea in his quarters while he waited for it to adjust to the new town.
The animals were excited, too, they were running around in the corridors, curiously examining the new lay-out. The kami smiled and knocked on a door to the left. "Hello Honlon," he said entering. The dragon turned her three heads towards him. Kanan glared, Shuko looked pensive and Junrei had red-rimmed eyes. D sighed slightly. Not again.
"Do you feel alright, Dragon?" he asked politely, even though he already knew the answer. Junrei burst into tears.
"Why did we have to leave again?" she wailed and D barely refrained from rolling his eyes.
"I explained to you already," he answered patiently while Kanan tried to kill him with looks. He tried to ignore her, but the piercing glare hurt, somewhere inside, where he didn't want to be hurt.
"But I miss him!" Junrei cried and let her head sink down on a cushion, looking miserable. "I miss Chris, and I miss Leon, and I miss Los Angeles! I want to go back. Please, let us go back. Or take them into the shop again at least."
"You know that it's not possible," Shuko admonished her sister gently, nudging her.
Kanan snarled. "Not possible?! Blah. Of course it's possible! It's just him who thinks it's not possible! Idiot!"
"Kanan!" both the Count and Shuko protested. She turned her head away and stared at the wall in hostile silence while Junrei sniffed on her cushion. Shuko looked at their father apologetic. "Count, I think it would be best if you would leave," she said in a low voice. "They are very upset, especially Kanan. But thank you for checking on us."
D bowed and ignored the lump in his throat. "I think you are right, Shuko. Very well, I shall leave you then. Please call me if you need anything."
"No thanks, we'd be better off without you helping us," Kanan said acidly to the wall. D flinched and retreated, accompanied by an apologetic look from Shuko. He went into his bedroom and sipped tea at his dressing table, trying to keep his thoughts off the three-headed dragon and her words. He sighed softly. Shuko was easy to deal with, most of the time, if she didn't get into another fight with Kanan. But Junrei was just a child, she was so naive sometimes. In contrast to her, Kanan was everything but naïve, yet still…
Kanan was another subject better not to be thought off.
Pon-chan rescued him from his own dark thoughts. She skidded round the corner and looked at her master inquiringly. "Count, are you ready?" she asked. The kami turned and smiled at her.
"I am ready if the shop is, Pon-chan," he said calmly and set his teacup down.
"Do you think there'll be many customers?" the raccoon asked and hopped around him in circles as he made his way to the front room. T-chan, disturbed by her happy babbling, glared at her and yawned widely.
"Cool down, silly. Of course there'll be customers. There are customers everywhere, aren't they, Count?"
Both looked at their master, whose brow was wrinkled. His eyes stared into the distance and one of his hands hovered in front of his mouth, as if not sure whether to yawn or not. Raccoon and totetsu pecked their heads to the side and shared a glance. "Count? Are you alright?"
D snapped from his thoughts and quickly put the hand down again. He smiled brightly. "Yes. Yes, of course I am. What did you say, Tetsu?"
"I said that there are customers everywhere," the tiger-goat repeated confused. It was not like the Count to be so deep in thought. Though lately, he seemed more easily distracted. Perhaps he still missed America…?
"He left a week ago." The woman regarded Leon, wondering why an American was asking her about the strange Chinese man that had lived in the neighbourhood for barely four weeks. He was pretty young, too, but leaning on his crutch with some force. He had been injured recently, and she could see scars where his sleeves ended.
"Is something wrong with him?" she added, curiosity sparked. Perhaps the mysterious man had been the cause for the injuries, and the young man was seeking compensation now? He hadn't looked like he was the one driving a car, but who knew? And there'd been quite many animals in his shop. Perhaps one of them had gone crazy…
The blonde shook his head and tried to smile. "No, no. Thank you. It's just – that he was a friend of mine whom I have been searching for. Someone told me he might be here."
Her eyes, deep brown in colour as her hair, typical for the city of Budapest, grew sympathetic. "Oh, I am so sorry, I can't help you either. We didn't get to know him very well, he was here so shortly…"
Leon waved dismissively. "Aw, that's okay. I didn't expect you would be able to tell me where he went. Thanks again."
"Good luck with your search," she called after him, turning back to watering her plants, shaking her head slightly. She hoped the strange Count had been friendlier to the American than he had been to his new neighbours. Well, but they surely must have been great friends, if he went so far to find him again… then again, perhaps time had changed them both…
"Dann bleibt mir nur, Ihnen zu wünschen, dass Sie lange Freude daran haben."
The doors closed behind the customer. D's polite smile became cruel. He wouldn't be surprised if he was going to see the pet only too soon again. She was not likely to do what the contract asked of her.
But he wouldn't complain. He had only been here for four days and had dealt out quite a few contracts. As predicted, Berlin was proving to be a good choice.
A strange pain went through him again. How annoying! He hadn't been able to concentrate properly the whole day, due to this uncomfortable ache he couldn't explain. Sighing deeply, D sat down on the sofa and surveyed the already set out table. For a second, he placed his hand in the small of his back. Why did his back hurt so much these days? It hadn't been that difficult moving the shop to Berlin…
The pets sat down around the table, too, quarrelling about some toy loudly. D smiled, distracted from his aching back for the time being. Ten-chan snatched it and climbed onto a chair, holding it up so that the smaller ones couldn't reach it, laughing merrily. Pon-chan was near tears, and T-chan took his chance at getting something back at the fox for some earlier quarrel. He bit down on one of his nine tails. Ten-chan hissed in both fury and pain, dropped the ball and whirled around to give the totetsu a big scratch on the cheek.
D shot up. "Ten-chan, T-chan! Stop quarrelling and give me that ball!" he snapped. The pets froze, confused by their master's harsh voice. He himself looked as nonplussed as they were, surprised by his thin patience. But he held out his hand, took the ball and deposited it in one of his sleeves. Still shaking his head, he sat down again and took a bite of the cake.
The next moment, he jumped up, slapped a hand to his mouth and hurried out, practically running. The pets silenced at once and stared after him open-mouthed. "Count, what's the matter?" T-chan called after him. The sound of choking answered the question sufficiently. It was enough to send them all running to the bathroom, but the door closed in front of them, shutting them out. The totetsu hammered on the wood. "Count! Open the door! What's the matter with you?" he called worriedly.
They listened, but no answer came. The choking sound had stopped, too. Pon-chan elbowed her friend to the side and tried her luck. "Count, please let us in! What's the matter with you?" she pleaded.
The door stayed in place solidly and if the kami heard them, he decided not to answer. They exchanged frightened glances. At last Ten-chan cleared his throat.
"Well, if he doesn't open himself, there's no way we're going to get inside. If something has happened, the shop would surely help him. Let's get back to the front room," he suggested.
One after the other, the pets trailed away, still looking confused and whispering among themselves in hushed voices, until only Pon-chan and T-chan were left. The totetsu carefully knocked again. "Count? Please," he said silently.
This time his plea was heard. "I am alright, T-chan. Please go away. I think I shall rest now." The Count's voice sounded strained but firm. Pon-chan shrugged and tugged at T-chan's arm.
"C'mon, if he's in that mood, you won't get anything out of him," she said. The sheep-tiger let himself be pulled away, but his eyes were still worried. Something was wrong with the Count, and had ever been since they left America. If he just knew what it was…
D left the bathroom and carefully closed the door behind him. He sat down on his bed, brow furrowed in confusion. Most strange. He couldn't recall ever being sick for no reason in his life. Sure, there had been children's sickness when he'd been small, but even that had reduced itself to fever. And he'd surely never thrown up, no matter what.
He shook his head and flushed a little. How embarrassing! How lucky it hadn't happened while the customer was still there. He didn't dare think about how embarrassing that would've been. Though he had to admit that his stomach had felt a little queasy the whole day. He'd only decided not to pay it any attention. He couldn't possibly be sick.
Perhaps he was just strained from moving the shop so many times in the last three months. Yes, that had to be it. He was strained and stressed by the constant flight from the detective. A good night's rest would take care of it. And that was that.
Determined to push the thoughts out of his mind, he went back to the bathroom and got ready for bed. He was asleep almost the second his head hit the pillow, dead to the world and everything going on in his body.
While D was blissfully asleep in Berlin, a man in America got angry even thinking about sleep. Leon bumped his fist angrily on the table and swore loudly. "Dammit, there has to be a clue to where he left!" he bellowed. Jill looked up from her desk and regarded her colleague coolly.
"Would you mind stopping to swear?" she asked indignantly. "Because truly, it's not very amusing having to listen to you at the moment."
Leon slumped down in his chair, staring at the table emptily. The blonde woman sighed, went over and patted his shoulder in sympathy. "No one knew anything in Budapest?" she asked, referring to Leon's journey to the Hungarian capital.
He shook his head. "He was only there for a couple of weeks, not even a whole month, at least that's what his neighbour said. And he kept pretty much to himself. Not that that would be anything new," he added, leaning back and staring at the ceiling for a change.
Jill watched him for some moments. Then she nudged him. "So, you gonna continue searching?" she asked slyly. The blonde shrugged.
"Dunno. Why should I? He was the one who disappeared, not me. No reason to spend time and money on him, now, is there? Except Chris, of course." He sighed deeply, thinking of his little brother. "He won't let go, wants me to find him again."
"Well, I am with him. You haven't been yourself since he left," Jill said and sat down on Leon's desk. He eyed her warily, but she continued, set on her goal. "I mean, look at you! You're barely out of the hospital, and yet, you insist on travelling the whole world! You've been to, what was it again?, Budapest, London, Paris, Rome, and that in spite of what the doctors said. And when you weren't travelling around, you came here and worked though you're on sick leave still."
Leon narrowed his blue eyes at her. "I'm fine, Jill, really. The leg's getting better each day, I hardly feel it anymore. And just sitting around in my apartment won't help me get well again either."
"Still, Leon. I mean, I know you want to find him again, but sometimes it's just mad what you do. You're getting like that Howell-guy already." She chuckled. "Though I can of course understand why you'd be so obsessed with finding the Count again."
Leon's head flew up to stare at her. He growled. "What the hell? Jill, for once and always, I'm –"
"– not in love with the Count, yes, I get it. You've told me only about a thousand times," she finished with him. "But still you run off, chasing each rumour that might mean he's somewhere."
"I nearly got him in London!" Leon protested. "I was only a few hours behind him."
Jill placed an arm around his shoulders. Leon silenced, dumbfounded. She didn't do that very often, though they were good friends. Very good friends. Some of the other guys even assumed they were an item, but that was not what Leon felt for his partner. She was some kind of elder sister for him, someone he could go to with his problems, but who teased him mercilessly if she thought it appropriate.
Now her grey eyes were worried. "I don't ask you to forget him, Leon. Just – take it slow, okay? You have to get well again if you want to stay on the force," she pleaded. "I don't want you to sit behind a desk for the rest of your live. You're one of our best men, we can't afford to loose you, not even to the Count. Okay?"
Leon gulped. "Okay," he said weakly, caught off-guard by her little speech.
Jill smiled at him and got up again. "Hey, I've still got vacation days left. If you find another trace, just tell me, I'll go there and have a look at the situation. Bet I'll be more unsuspicious than you anyway, so perhaps he won't be forewarned of my arrival."
Leon tried to slap her, but she was too quick and evaded him easily, laughing. "One day, Jill, one day when you'll be unaware…" he threatened and she quickly left their cubicle, laughing loudly. "Coffee for you, then?"