Title: Isle of the Lost (3/3)
Authoress: A Nameless Traveler
Rating/Genre: General/Humor/PG (for mild language and alcohol use.)
Summary: An older, more powerful, and only slightly wiser Draca has finally decided to travel to the infamous Isle of the Lost – and to the dark city of the Smuggler's Haven. It is a city built, run, and inhabited by the outlaws of society. Anything from killers to trinkets can be bought in its markets. Draca hopes for adventure and death in its shadowed backstreets, an intrigue he cannot help but explore. What he finds, however, is neither adventure nor death, but an unlikely reunion with the most unexpected man imaginable.
Time Line: Spring of 2445 A.S. Fifteen years after The Meeting.
Ages: Sin - 445 years; Draca - 90 years; Gwen - 6 years; Kyris - 30 years
Special Disclaimer: Draca's "Lullaby" is actually the song "Sora" by Yohko Kanno, as heard in the Escaflowne movie. It is not mine.
Isle of the Lost- Final part
He had been arguing with the fiery barmaid for five minutes (And quite enjoying it too. The woman had a fantastic wit.), when he suddenly sensed it: an unusual aura that was not an aura at all. It was a rift in the air, absorbing everything around it. The hairs on the back of his neck stood on end.
There was only one person he knew with an aura like that.
Hewas at the open doorway mere moments after Draca had sensed him, the sunlight behind him casting his face into shadow. As he stepped into the pub those shadows dissipated, revealing the same tall man with narrow ruby eyes and black and crimson-dyed hair from his memory.
A high-pitched squeal broke through the Vampyre's shock, alerting everyone who hadn't already seen the ruby-eyed man's arrival of his presence. "Mister Sin, you're back!" Little Gwen came zooming to the front of the bar, squealing and giggling madly the entire way. She headed straight for the assassin. Draca's first thought, admittedly, was that the pub was about to witness the gruesome death of a child.
What actually happened, however, added yet another shock to his already eventfulday.
A tiny twitch in the man's full lips morphed his impassive – even guarded – expression into something akin to a smile. His knees bent so that he was kneeling close to the floor, balancing on the balls of his feet. The Kitsune pup came barreling up to him, wrapping her pudgy arms around his collared neck as he stooped his head to accommodate her.
She continued to giggle delightedly as a muscled arm secured gently around the backs of her thighs, lifting her small frame and balancing her upon a trim hip.
Draca found he could do naught but stare in astonishment as deadly assassin and child stood. 'How can he do that?' the thief wondered upon seeing how the child clung to him, as if she were trying to be absorbed into him. Sin didn't seem perturbed by this in the least.
In the fifteen years since Draca had last seen the man, Sin had not changed in the slightest. He didn't even look as if he'd aged at all.His outfit was essentially unchanged – still the same black cloth and mesh. The wide leather color appeared slightly worn, but still the very same subtle insult it had been fifteen years ago.
How had the man not changed at all in so long?
Sin moved towards the bar with the little pup securely in his arms, looking for all the world as if she belonged there. "Hello, Sin," Kyris greeted as he neared, "Job go well?"
"As expected," he murmured, but not unkindly. He seated himself without invitation, moving Gwen so she rested on the bar top. Draca, who was sitting just beside him, went purposefully ignored – again. Sin took a few gold mirafrom his pocket and set them on the counter. "The usual, please."
The barmaid scoffed. "Put those away – you don't pay here." Any protest fell on deaf ears as she left, giving Gwen a final pat on the head. It wasn't until the coins were begrudgingly put away that the man's eyes finally shifted to the disgruntled Vampyre beside him. A moment of tense silence passed as they eyed one another. Blood-crimson eyes filled with annoyance and ruby-red eyes with bemusement. Sin was the first to look away as a glass of amber-colored liquid was set before him. He nodded his thanks to Kyris, taking a swig. Draca felt his brow twitch, still glaring at the man beside him.
Just like that first meeting fifteen years ago, the dark-haired assassin refused to even acknowledge him when he was barely two feet from him!
The assassin set the glass down, his piercing eyes trained on it. "I should start listening to diviners," he murmured to no one in particular, "The last one tried to tell me a Devil would come to ruin my life – and then I come here." His eyes flickered over to Draca briefly, pointedly.
The Vampyre's lips stretched into a sneer. "Hello and long time, no see to you too, asshole." A beat. "Why the fuck are you here, anyway?"
A raven brow rose. "I live here." The "moron" tacked onto the end of that statement was almost audible.
'Well of course he lives here,' Draca chided himself. Why wouldn't, he live here? What wasit about today that made him feel increasingly foolish?
"And don't curse. There is a child present."
The Kitsune pup at his side pouted. "Aw, but Mister Sin…"
She sighed. "Fine…"
The redheaded bar mistress leaned onto the bar as she returned. "And I thought the two of you were partners. Do you always act like this?"
Assassin and thief looked up with disturbingly identical glares. "We are notpartners." They stopped, realizing they had said it simultaneously, and glared at each other. Gwen began giggling and Kyris put a hand over her mouth to stifle her laughter. "Right," she said. "Anyway, maybe you should go show the bloodsucker here around the city, Sin. You need to take Gwen home, too. Her parents will be out looking for her soon."
There was – miraculously – a near pout to Sin's lips, which made Draca wonder just what kind of twisted nightmare he'd walked into. "Why me?"
"Because I said so." The raven-haired man opened his mouth – no doubt to deliver some scathing response – but was cut off by a matronly glower sent his way. His expression became one of such defeat, that Draca could not stop himself from snickering.
After a quick glare Sin rose from his seat. He picked the little Gwen up from the countertop, settling her in the crook of an arm and allowing her to wrap her arms about his neck once more. He was to the door before he seemed to realize the blonde Vampyre was still seated. He said nothing, but merely shot a glance over his shoulder that spoke for him: "Are you coming or not?"
Draca let out a sigh as he stood. 'Tch… can this day get any worse?'
'Why did I even bother to ask?' He was back outside, in the sun,walking around a city that had been renowned for its bloodthirsty inhabitants.
What it really was, however, was a bizarre market town that housed many of the criminals of Viranus – where they lived in peace,of all things.
Draca trailed some feet behind the cold-hearted bastard who had gotten him into this mess (well, no, not really, but it was just too easyto blame him). As they walked, the people they passed would smile and wave their greetings. And Sin – shockingly – would acknowledge them with a short nod and a flicker of eye contact. The tiny monster hanging about his neck was babbling away in the man's ear, to which Draca could catch the faint murmurings Sin humored her with.
It was almost as if - as if the man actually caredabout the place and the people in it. The blinding difference in his demeanor blew Draca away. Here, in this place, the tension he remembered seeing so many years ago was no longer there. The scathing disdain was gone, replaced with something akin to contentment.
That is, excluding those times when Sin's eyes turned to him.
Suddenly, there was a great commotion up ahead – a joyous outcry of high-pitched giggles. Even with his back turned to him, the Vampyre could see Sin cringe. Gwen became abruptly silent and began to frown childishly as she turned her face from the assassin. The giggling rapidly grew louder as a group of young women – barely into adulthood, it seemed – came toward them. Ahead of him, Draca saw Sin's back foot dig into the dirt, and it looked remarkably like the man wanted to run as far away, as fast as he could.
The group closed in like a school of sharks, twittering and giggling madly. "Sin, you're back!" one of them exclaimed, "How did your mission go?"
"Nothing… unexpected," was the hesitant response. Draca circled around to get a better idea of what was going on. He went unnoticed, and was shocked at what he found.
The usually stoic Sin wore a priceless expression of subtle distress and panic. There was a distinct grimace about his mouth, one that gave Draca the impression of a man searching for an escape. Little Gwen's expression was just as amusing – it was one of a spoiled child's outraged jealousy. He bit the inside of his cheek in an attempt to halt his snickering.
The girls continued to fawn and twitter over the man in an infatuated daze. When they asked something, Sin would reluctantly mutter a response in a manner more subdued than the Vampyre had ever seen him. Something he said, for a reason unknown to everyone present, sent the girls into a fit of shrieking laughter. One of the more flirtatious ones made a grab for one of Sin's bandaged hands, to which Sin flinched away. That seemed to be as much as Gwen could stand.
Her little tail stood on end, her fox ears flattening against her head and her arms tightening around the assassin's neck. "GO AWAY!" she shrieked, causing both Draca and Sin to wince visibly at the sheer volume. How was it possible for such a tiny creature to be so loud? The group of infatuated girls jumped back in indignation and shock. "CAN'T YOU LEAVE HIM ALONE? HE DOESN'T WANT YOU HERE! LEAVE. HIM. ALONE!"
There was a short silence, in which time seemed to freeze as all present stared at the little girl.
And then the Vampyre could not force himself to stay silent any longer. His customary wicked laughter broke from him in waves. The sheer absurdity of everythingthat had happened that day brought tears of laughter to his eyes. He clenched them shut, holding his middle in a futile attempt to soothe the ache forming in his sides. For many moments he was paralyzed with uncontrollable laughter.
When he finally recovered himself the Vampyre straightened, smoothing the wrinkles from his coat. He opened his eyes, and the grin on his face faltered. Sin's little fan base had instead closed in upon him.He had the sudden urge to take a step back upon meeting their unnerving doe-eyed stares. Their eyes were trained on his face, jaws hanging slightly agape.
"Who are you…?" one questioned in a dream-like daze.
Being admired for his charming looks wasn't exactly something new to him… but damnthey closed in like a shark on the scent of blood in the water. Nonetheless, he allowed the slow, sly grin to quirk his lips. He dipped his head low, bringing the girl's hand to his lips and brushing against it. "I am Draca, a Master Thief and Spy. And… you are?" Their faces flushed pink and his grin widened – inadvertently showing off his fangs. They saw and, unlike most of the unobservant masses, the put two and two together.
"A Vampyre…" another whispered in astonishment. And then, louder: "Are you… Sin's partner?"
His initial reaction was to deny it, just as he had all day. 'Why does everyone think that around here…?'But something else stopped his words.
"…we're actually quite accepting here. And I'd bet the women of the Haven would love to help the Vampyre partner of Sin."
"Why… yes. Yes I am." His smile turned charming. "But he never told me that there were such beautifulyoung women where he lived…" They giggled and blushed shyly, covering their faces with their hands.
A steel grip clamped down on Draca's shoulder. The Vampyre glanced up, and came face-to-face with the enraged ruby gaze of Sin. It was the same look that the man had given him while in Azard's study all those years ago, when Draca had unknowingly touched a nerve.
Without breaking eye contact, the assassin gently helped Gwen slide to the ground. "You can make it home from here?" His normally quiet voice had taken on a dark, sharp edge – like an icy blade.
The Kitsune pup glanced from Draca to Sin with wide amethyst eyes, and with a short nod, scampered off. She must have decided that it was better to be home than witness Sin's icy rage.
The grip on his shoulder tightened into a vice grip, stinging him. But the thief refused to flinch or hiss at the iron hold. To everyone else he appeared to be disinterested, even distantly amused, at the threatening turn of events.
"Excuse us," the assassin muttered darkly to the bewildered girls, forcibly steering Draca away down an alley with a withering glare and an iron grip.
Once out of sight and earshot, he was released with an added shove. The look in Sin's eyes became absolutely murderous,even though the rest of his face remained stoic. A tremor went through the Vampyre as that rage permeated the air.
Amazing how a man half a foot shorter than him could be so intimidating.
"Listen to me, bloodsucker," he hissed, "Do. Not. Touch them or anyone else in this city. If you do… I will make surethere will be too many pieces for you to regenerate."
"Heh. Careful there," Draca replied smoothly, ignoring the threat. "It's starting to sound like you actually care. I got the impression that was against your policies, assassin."
The look of murder in those ruby eyes dimmed – but only slightly. Instead an almost luminous determination took its place. No less cold, however. The frown on his face was not so severe, but instead grim. The change was almost minute, and still Draca's observation skills could not pin them completely.
"This," Sin's voice was almost inaudible, but it still echoed in its subzero finality. "This is my home. These are my people. And if you dare harm a single one of them, I swear to you, you will be begging for death by the time Iam finished with you."
Their eyes met – piercing, cold, final, protective. "Now leave."
"Fin dein… a loluca…En dragu a…sei lain…"Draca was suddenly struck with an unbearable sense of déjà vu as he watched the dark shores of the Isle of the Lost disappear behind the magic barriers of the place. He had stayed on the island no more than a day, catching the very next ship that was bound for a desirable destination.
It had been a bizarre ride from start to finish – one that he was not certain was good or bad yet – wrought with new experiences and devastating bewilderment. He had never found that adventure he had been searching for – a pity.
It had shocked him to find that even in Viranus, prejudiced in its ways, there was a place that the lowlifes, the monsters, of society could call home. If he had been anyone else, the thought might have been comforting – even appealing.
But he was the Vampyre Draca, a man who had been born into danger, lived in danger, and had eventually come to love the danger he was subjected to since his very birth. A place like the Haven baffled him. It was against nature itself!
A brief throb went zinging through him, reminding him that he had not fed in many days. Any other time he would have simply gorged himself on an easily manipulated bystander or two, but…
The image of an imposing man in black with a fiery ruby gaze had stopped him every time he thought about it. He had been surprised – so very surprised – to find that Sin actually did care about that city and those people. Before today it hadn't even seemed plausible, let alone likely. But the threat in those eyes back in that dark alley had been absolute. It would not matter if Sin died during the process. Draca would be brutally massacred if he even touchedone of those citizens. And he'd undoubtedly chase him across the world to do it.
The Vampyre lifted his crimson eyes to the night sky, allowing a slow smile to form despite this. The more he and Sin crossed paths, the more interesting things became.
And this certainly wouldn't be the last time either, Draca was sure of that. Hell, if things continued on as they had been, he was bound to meet up with the intriguing assassin again soon.
"Vi fa-ru… les shutai am…En riga-lint…"
"...Meeting for the Second Time is Coincidence..."
Walk on, Traveler of Worlds.