Vision Of Escaflowne Fan Fiction ❯ Vampire Kiss ❯ Hang the Moon ( Chapter 2 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

Chapter Two
Hang the Moon
Hitomi arrived at the observatory a few minutes before midnight. It was early October and so the weather was chilly and cold, even though the first snow had not yet fallen. She had brought her winter coat as well as her toque and mittens to help fight the frigid wind. She didn't know how long she would be able to sit outside since the observatory was not an enclosed space, but instead simply a gigantic telescope on top of one of the science buildings. There was a lit foyer right before the entrance onto the roof though, so everyone was waiting there before going outside.
“Howdy there!” Celena called out in a tone that was almost friendly when Hitomi came through the doors. “Glad you found the place okay.”
“Yeah,” Hitomi said, taking off her mitt in order to shake hands with Celena.
“I don't think I caught your name yesterday,” she said.
“I'm Hitomi.”
“This is Naria and Eriya,” Celena said pointing to two exquisitely beautiful blonde women. They looked like fourth years, or maybe even grad students - but lovely. They were almost painfully lovely - and exactly identical. They had taken to tinting their hair different colours in order to help people differentiate between the two of them. Naria had tinted her hair gold, while Eriya had tinted hers silver.
“Nice to meet you,” Hitomi said politely.
“You know Dilandau,” Celena continued, going around the room.
Dilandau was crouched in the corner with his laptop stretched across his lap. The bright screen illuminated his face as he examined something closely. He had quite a bit of equipment with him and something else that grabbed Hitomi's attention - a long tube of rolled up paper - undoubtedly her poster of Van. She was itching to open it.
“This is Marlene, Eries and Millerna,” Celena said, introducing Hitomi to three more blonde girls. They were standing in a circle behind Naria and Eriya clasping hands and praying.
“Are they nuns?” Hitomi couldn't help asking.
“Not exactly,” Celena said swiftly. “They are sisters - not triplets - just in case you were wondering. Millerna is still in high school, but since not all of our membership has to be made up of high school students, she is welcome to attend. Eries is a first year like you and Marlene has been a member for a few years. You probably won't believe this, but they actually make up a small coven of white witches.”
Hitomi's eyes rose. “Really? Are they looking for members?”
Celena shook her head. “No. Witches do things in threes. They wouldn't dream of taking anyone on unless they were bringing a couple more with them. You would have to help them have six members or nine or twelve. But, you're not a witch already, are you?”
“No,” Hitomi said.
“Then you don't qualify. They only want real witches - the kind with real magic and if you don't have it, then you don't have it. It's as simple as that.”
“So if they're witches, what are Naria and Eriya?”
Celena inclined her head towards Naria, who was fully capable of answering for herself, and then made her way over to Dilandau. She had already introduced everyone who was there.
Naria smiled and explained, “Well, I'm not sure what occult groups you're used to, but Eriya and I are the true Gemini. We're not exactly two souls trapped in the same body - we're one soul in two bodies. Our bonds are very tight and we can feel each other's thoughts and wishes.”
“What about Dilandau and Celena?” Hitomi asked, eager to learn as much as she could.
“That's interesting,” Naria said, inviting Hitomi over to sit down at a small table by one of the windows. “Normally, when I tell someone something about Eriya and myself - they think we're crazy.”
“I don't think you're crazy,” Hitomi said.
“No, I guess not. You really are into this stuff, aren't you?”
Hitomi nodded eagerly.
“Celena and Dilandau are Siamese twins,” Naria said seriously, and then she waited for Hitomi's response.
Something in Hitomi's brain clicked and she immediately started up, “Are you sure? Aren't Siamese twins always the same gender because they are identical twins who haven't quite separated?”
“Very good,” Naria praised, although it appeared that she was only minorly impressed. “They say that they were joined at the hip, and I've seen their scars from when they were surgically separated, so I don't think they are lying. They say that one of them is cross dressing, so they might be two boys or two girls.” Naria glanced over to them. “I've been watching the two of them for years and I can't decide which gender they could both be. Sometimes Celena's voice is so husky that I think that it couldn't possibly belong to a girl and other times Dilandau's cheek is so smooth that I think that he couldn't possibly be a man. What do you think?”
Hitomi glanced at the two of them. Celena was sitting beside Dilandau looking at something he was reading on his laptop. Celena wasn't very curvy, but Hitomi didn't feel like criticizing her for that - she wasn't very curvy herself. Hitomi looked at Dilandau. This was quite the mystery. When Hitomi met them yesterday she had taken it for granted that Dilandau was a man and Celena was a woman.
“I don't know,” Hitomi said to Naria sheepishly. “I wish I could tell the difference.”
“So do I,” Naria said speculatively. “I have a reason for explaining all this. You see, The Occult's Addict is not a club that Eriya and I formed. Back in the day there were a lot of different members and Eriya and I had to prove to them that we had a psychic connection in order to gain membership.”
“Really? How did they test you?”
“Well they took us into separate rooms and asked us random questions. We gave the same answer for ninety five percent of their questions. So, we were invited to join. Now Celena explained about Marlene, Eries and Millerna and I've explained about Celena and Dilandau and Eriya and I. The thing is, right now you only have trial membership (provided you remembered your application forms and our fee). You only get full membership if you are or can do something unusual.”
“Like what?”
“Once we had a girl who could bend spoons with her mind.”
“I can't do that,” Hitomi said weakly.
“Let me see,” Naria said, thinking. “You already said that you're not a witch. Not a psychic?”
Hitomi shook her head.
“Dilandau said that you liked tarot cards. Do you tell an accurate fortune? Having a fortune teller could be cool.”
Hitomi shrugged her shoulders. “I could give it a try.”
“Wait,” Naria said, raising her finger as though she had just thought of something brilliant. “I've thought of the perfect thing. What about vampire hunting?”
Hitomi's eyes opened wide in shock. “Do you mean killing vampires?”
Naria laughed. “Do you honestly think that I would let one of my club members commit murder? No sir! I just meant that you might have a good time in our club if you researched some of our campus vamps. I might be able to get you full member status for something like that … if you're good at it.”
Hitomi thought about it for a second. She wasn't sure how to respond to that. Did she really want to let everyone in The Occult's Addict to know that there was nothing she wanted more than to dedicate her life to stalking Van Fanel? Dilandau and Celena had obviously told Naria about her interest in him.
Naria must have noticed her indecision because she said, “Well, you can think about that later. Did you bring your application with you?”
Hitomi reached into her bag and brought the papers, as well as a ten dollar bill for the registration fee.
“Excellent,” Naria said, taking them from her. “Celena!” she called. “Come over here and make Hitomi a receipt.”
Celena sat down at the table with her receipt book while Naria read through Hitomi's answers to the application questions. Her eyes squinted several times as though she were surprised at Hitomi's answers. Well, Hitomi was surprised at some of their questions. They asked the usual questions like: Name? Date? How did you hear about us? What faculty are you in? But then they asked other questions and some of them Hitomi didn't exactly want to answer. For one thing, they wanted a detailed account of where Hitomi had lived her entire life. She'd been born in a small town called Clearwater, gone to school there and never once moved. It was boring and she didn't like to admit it. They also wanted to know what nationality she was - which she didn't know. Her last name was Kanzaki, so she'd always thought she was Japanese, but her colouring was about as Japanese as Princess Diana's. They asked a lot of other questions too, but Hitomi didn't understand the relevance of them.
“You don't mind if I do a background check on you, right?” Naria asked pleasantly.
Hitomi raised an eyebrow. “Background check? What the heck for? You've already asked me everything from my opinion of the theory of Atlantis to my blood type.”
“Yeah,” Naria said laughing. “It's just that some of your answers are a little … curious, so I'd like to look them up. If that's okay with you.”
“Knock yourself out,” Hitomi said blandly. Like it mattered - her life was pure boredom. Sometimes it felt like she hadn't even existed before she'd left home and come to university.
“So Hitomi,” Celena said, leaning across the table and changing the subject. “I brought you that lovely poster of Van. Did you bring the money?”
“Yes,” Hitomi said, opening her wallet and parting with five very flat twenty dollar bills that came straight from the ATM. She was going to regret spending quite that much, but her breath was coming fast.
“Here you go, Darling,” Celena said, handing Hitomi the poster. “Unroll it to make sure I haven't cheated you.”
Hitomi bit her lip and after scooting the rubber bands off both sides pulled it wide. Her breath caught. He was even more beautiful than she remembered. He was amazing. “Thank you Celena. This is gorgeous.”
Naria smiled pleasantly and said, “Oh, and I think Dilandau has something else for you, Hitomi. That is, if you're interested in pictures of Van.”
“There are more!” Hitomi gasped as she accidentally let go of one of the poster edges. It swiftly rolled back up.
“Yeah,” Celena said, a conspiring smile on her lips. “He even brought his mini printer. I think he's selling pics of him for five bucks a pop.”
“Too expensive!” Hitomi balked.
“Well, maybe he'll be willing to give you a deal if you're going to be a repeat customer. But, I just saw his pics. I think they're worth five dollars a piece.”
“Go have a look,” Naria said. “We've got a few minutes. Our little coven is still chanting for luck. Marlene and Eries have midterms next week.”
Hitomi rolled up the poster and joined Dilandau on the floor.
“Hi Hitomi,” he said, offering her a piece of carpet. “I feel like a prick doing this, but our club is in desperate need of funds and you liked that poster of Van so much … It's sort of rude for me to charge you for pictures of him and sort of rude not to get his permission. Anyway, these are the other pictures I took that day. These ones happen to be in colour. Fat lot of good it does him since he's brown and white instead of black and white.”
Dilandau made a slide show of his pictures of Van and let them change every twenty seconds, but twenty seconds was not enough for Hitomi. Each picture was so gorgeous that Hitomi wanted to salivate over each one longer. After awhile Hitomi decided that it had to be a combined effort. Yes, Van was good looking, but Hitomi doubted that he would have looked quite that good if Dilandau hadn't worked hard searching for that perfect moment.
Suddenly, Eriya returned to the foyer. Hitomi had been so involved in her conversations that she hadn't even realized that she was gone. “Sorry it took so long, Kittens, but we're finally ready to go.
Dilandau shut his laptop and reached for his toque. “This should be fun for you,” the tone he used was derogatory. Exactly like he could think of a hundred better things for him to be doing with his time, but nuts - he had to spend it here.
Hitomi frowned at him. “Don't you like looking at the moon?”
His eyes flashed. “Until you've loved the moon - you've loved no one.”
“Wow … deep,” Hitomi said callously - like she was getting him back for making fun of her.
Dilandau swallowed hard and opened the glass door for Hitomi to follow the others onto the roof. They all gathered around the telescope while Eriya took the reigns and led the lecture.
The sky was quite clear though the light pollution from the city drowned out most of the stars. A few planets were visible though. Hitomi could see Venus, but she wasn't sure which one was Mars. The moon was bright too. Most of the face was showing, though it wasn't a full moon. The shadows of the craters fascinated Hitomi. She couldn't wait until it was her turn to look through the telescope.
“Tonight we've got a waxing gibbous moon,” Eriya said, explaining the wide D shape of the moon. “Next week at this time, it'll be a waning gibbous moon. Too bad our meetings are only on Friday nights, or we all would have been able to watch Marlene, Eries and Millerna dance naked under the full moon.”
“Har har,” Marlene said like she was far from amused.
“Okay, so when you look at the man in the moon, what are the names of the seas?”
Dilandau answered with out thinking, “The right eye is the Sea of Clouds. The left eye is made up of two seas; the Sea of Tranquility and the Sea of Serenity. The nose is called Central Bay and the mouth is called the Sea of Rains.”
Naria didn't look surprised, but Hitomi was. “Way to go, Dilandau. You really do love the moon.”
He shrugged his shoulders like he didn't care for Hitomi's praise when something caught both their eyes over the edge of the building. Someone was shouting, or blowing a whistle, or perhaps both. Hitomi went to the edge to have a look at what was going on.
Down below, a man was chasing another across the grass. The man being chased was running awkwardly. Hitomi watched as the graceful man pursuing him ran effortlessly and much faster. Within moments, he had overtaken the other. He forced him onto his stomach and pinned his wrists to his back. The man pinned to the dying grass yelled and screamed, but Hitomi couldn't understand what he was saying, even through the cold autumn air.
“That's your boyfriend,” Dilandau said, as he came and stood beside Hitomi.
“That's Van?”
“But why was he chasing him?” Hitomi wanted to know.
“Oh, I don't know. There could be loads of reasons. Van's always doing that sort of thing. He's the director of Safewalk here on campus.”
“Safewalk? You mean that you call him when you want someone to walk you across campus when it's late? How weird! Now I know he can't be a vampire! A vampire would never take that kind of job.”
Dilandau smiled knowingly. “Are you sure? I thought about it a lot too when I first spotted him and suspected that he might be a vamp. But after awhile, it seemed like the perfect cover. While it's still controversial exactly why vampires prefer night - it's still a given that they do. Safewalk doesn't operate during the day. And it gives him an excellent reputation, because he's doing something so charitable. And he gets to see crazies like that guy down there all the time, so maybe he's not so starving either - though I've never caught him doing anything truly suspicious.”
“But Safewalk is so goody-two-shoes!” Hitomi whined. “It's not something a cool vampire would do at all.”
“Maybe not,” Dilandau said peevishly. “Look, I don't know what he's got on his mind, but maybe he's sorry about the whole vampire thing. Or maybe he's trying to protect our students from a more dangerous vamp. Who knows? Maybe you should ask him.”
“Maybe I will,” Hitomi said, still looking over the ledge at Van, as he helped the gentlemen from Campus Security lift the guy he'd just chased. She looked at her watch. It was twelve thirty now. She looked down at Van and measured how long she figured it would take him to finish up at campus security and head back to the Safewalk office to wait for another call. She squinted and watched them leave quad. Then she made up her mind. She'd call in an hour - at one thirty. But until then, why not have a good time?
She tried to listen to Eriya, but it was challenging. Afterwards the three little witches had brought white hot chocolate which they shared with everyone. Hitomi had never seen such dainty little mugs as the ones they served their hot chocolate in. It was delicious. They even had the sense to squirt a little cream in the top of each mug.
Hitomi went out to the roof several times and looked in the microscope. The atmospheric waves that vibrated between her and the moon blew Hitomi's mind away. She couldn't believe that they obscured her vision so much. She wanted to learn the names of all the craters and seas, but there were far more than she had imagined. Instead, she settled for looking at the city lights.
Dilandau came and stood by her. He might have been hitting on her, but Hitomi couldn't get the idea out of her head that he might be a girl and so she couldn't stop looking for clues that would lead her to the truth of his identity. She was far more interested in unravelling the mystery, and besides - if he was hitting on her - he was going about it the wrong way. He was still trying to sell her pictures of Van. Before one thirty she even bought a small stack that he printed on his mini printer, but none of them were as good as her poster.
A few minutes before one thirty, Hitomi said that she was done for the night and that she was going to head back to the dorms.
“Right,” Naria said, suddenly standing up and commanding the attention of the other club members. “So, Hitomi said that she's done for tonight, so I'll announce the next meeting. The next meeting will be in the Forestry's green house. Marlene's going to teach us about the medicinal purposes of some of the plants there. Interesting eh? Don't forget Hitomi. We'll meet at midnight next Friday. Don't miss it.”
“I won't,” Hitomi said as she excused herself.
“Here, I'll walk you back,” Dilandau said, probably using his best gentleman voice.
“No need,” Hitomi said with a wink. “I'm gonna call Safewalk.”
Dilandau clicked his tongue on the roof of his mouth. “I knew that I shouldn't have told you that.”
“Oh come on! It's not so lame as all that.”
“It's way lamer, since you don't think what he's doing is sexy,” Dilandau said blankly. “Well, whatever. I'll see you next week.” He turned around and went back to the others.
Hitomi put her photographs that he'd printed in her bag before she realized the hypocrisy of his statement. She wasn't going to let him get away with that. She went back towards Dilandau and said, “Hey. Why are you acting so surprised? You knew I was interested, and you even sold me pictures of him, so why are you acting like it's pathetic that I want to meet him?”
“That's not what's pathetic,” he said, scratching his ear.
“Then what?” Hitomi demanded.
“Hey, just go,” he said in a slightly different tone of voice. “There's no reason why you can't call him. Go ahead. I'm sure you'll have a great time.”
Hitomi didn't know what he was talking about, but she'd had enough, so she turned around and headed out of the foyer, towards the elevator. There was a red Safewalk phone on the main level - she was sure.