This story was written for me (yay!) by my friend Pati, for my birthday in October of 2009. :D It's actually a sequel to the April Fool's Day story I wrote featuring her called Pati's Big Adventure and the sequel to that, If You Don't Want Someone to Read It. It also references my story Carl's Mistake. Thank you, Pati!

Bad Hair Day or When Van Helsing Saw Twice

"Van Helsing?" Carl looked up from the potion he was concocting and peered at his friend through the magnifying glasses of his lab-hat.

The glasses magnified the hunter in quite the right way Carl thought and the corners of his mouth curled up in a smirk. Van Helsing's eyes became even more hazel-y this way. Oh and his hair was so thick and luscious... Longingly Carl stared at the generous mop of dark brown hair.

"Uh-huh?" Van Helsing looked up from inspecting the recent repairs on his crossbow, the tremendous velocity with which the arrows were propelled was according to Carl now trebled. Trebled! The vampires wouldn't know what hit them before they already had expired and vaporized.

Van Helsing had to grin as always on seeing Carl's impossibly blue eyes blown up to an impossible size.

"We haven't had any grief from the cardinal for a long time, now have we?" Carl said vaguely.

"No, not since you, er he, uh, well your notes got mixed up and we 'lost' him in time as a consequence," Van Helsing replied cautiously.
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The glint, almost like a demonic influence, in Carl's eyes meant he was up to something. That always alarmed Van Helsing greatly.

"The good Cardinal was pretty upset for a long time. Upset that he couldn't meet her and ask her about the eye surgery more than about the wandering around for hours in a wood." Van Helsing said even more carefully.

Carl rolled his eyes. "There's a reason I haven't suggested visiting Pati even though our last visit was... successful for us and less so for Jinette. Anyway she mentioned the 28th of October 2009 as a very important date and I think we have to make that trip now. I have rebuilt the machine since we need to be at two places at once."

"I'm not trying it first!" Van Helsing said flatly, "remember what happened when you tried that last? Logan?" Van Helsing curled his fingers into mock claws and made a growling sound.

Carl's eyes widened in happy memory, simultaneously he repressed the less pleasant memory of the jealous fight that had ensued in the morning, although after the fight it had been nice... . "Yes," he breathed out.

***

"Wouldn't it have been easier to take me back to the Vatican and then transfer me to Shelley's place together with you two? Or why not straight to her?" Pati asked of Carl who looked uncommonly flustered. And bushy. She couldn't pinpoint the difference but something was odd with Carl.

"Yes of course!" Carl cried out, he had been too pre-occupied with his other dilemma to clearly sort out the logistics of this meeting and at the same time trying out being in the same place at two different times was taxing his mental resources.

But at what point should he return with Pati to the Vatican and how could he speed up the other process he'd put in motion before sending himself to the 21st century? Or maybe he shouldn't? Or maybe he could send Pati straight to her destination and bypass the Vatican alltogether, just as she'd suggested? Then there was the slightly terrifying prospect of Van Helsing and him having two women at the same time. They might need assistance. Hm. Assistance? Yes. That might be the answer to his dilemma.


Resolutely Carl stuffed Pati into the machine and sent her to their end-destination with the promise he and Van Helsing would turn up soon, he just had to tweak the settings and inform someone.

***

There was still much rejoicing going on when Carl and Van Helsing arrived since Pati and Shelley hadn't actually met in person before this day. Carl felt jealous for a tiny moment. He wasn't used to being ignored so completely. Then he and Van Helsing made a noise to indicate they had arrived.

"Now?" Pati asked with a meaning look at Shelley, they had known all along when cute Carl and his handsome hunter had arrived. It just paid off to ignore men sometimes.

"Now," Shelley nodded and they pounced on Carl and Van Helsing before they saw what was coming.

Carl yelped and thought it had been the right decision to make the bonus arrangements. Also he could soon observe whether his potion had had the desired effect.

As the night fell no one was jealous and no one noticed conscioulsy the third man who slipped onto the bed to join the writhing heap of bodies.

***

"Gerold?" Shelley exclaimed, rubbing her eyes as if to make sure it wasn't an apparition she saw.

"Carl what's the meaning of this?" Pati said equally surprised, as she squinted in the bright morning-light at the other redhead.

"Oh my god! It worked!" Carl's eyes widened until Van Helsing thought they would pop. The other Carl had hair sprouting even on his back. The back hair was revolting!

Van Helsing said nothing but roared with laughter, looking from one Carl to the other. The women joined in the mirth and if anyone had doubted Carl's ability to blush they didn't have to, any longer.

"Who's this Gerold you're refering to?" The hunter asked when the fit of laughter had died down.

"Oh it's a fictional character that looks very much like Carl, but with longer hair, I can see the differences now, though," Shelley explained.

"Spitting image I'd say except for the..." Pati pulled out her ears and grinned.

"Indeed," the frown between Van Helsing's eyebrows deepened as he thought of the other time Carl had played around with fictional characters. Surely not even fictional characters were supposed to be this hirsute?

Mortified that the women didn't see that the other but much furrier version was he and not some knight from the dark ages -- Carl was sensitive about his ears -- Carl gathered his robes from the floor and ran out of the room with the long-haired, equally mortified version of himself hot at his heels. The furrier one hardly needed clothes to cover his nakedness.

"Ah, ladies I beg your pardon, I see I have to get going, some frazzled nerves need to be soothed," Van Helsing chuckled and with slightly less haste -- he even had the time to dress in front of the women to their great delight -- he made his adieus and left.

***

"Carl, what was all this about?" Van Helsing purred in Carl's ear a little later, the friar, his friar, was bent over the same potion he had been working on earlier. The furry Carl was nowehere to be seen.

"It's too efficient, I have to diminish the potency!" Carl said, exasperated, after he as usual had jumped from fright. "I wish you wouldn't sneak up on me like that. I am not your prey!"

"What is this you're talking about?" Van Helsing reached out a finger toward the murky liquid.

Carl swatted Van Helsing's hand away. He turned toward Van Helsing and looked at him gravely, squaring his shoulders a little for courage. "I'm going bald. The Carl from the future that we met at Shelley's had tried the potion on my instructions and came to meet us at Shelley's since I didn't have time to assess the growth on myself, it's only growing a little faster right now. However, I could make the observation that it obviously was too strong."

"Ah." Van Helsing said, the whole thing now becoming clear. Well, as clear as most things could become when Carl had a finger in it.

"Cardinal Jinette would be interested in this I think. But if the fur-ball was from your future... he should have known... since you met. Uh." Van Helsing shook his head. He had neither the wits nor the inclination to sort out all the complicated intricacies and twists of time travel.

"Let me see your bald spot," he asked instead and when Carl bowed his head Van Helsing peered at the 'bald' spot. He could see the hair was a little thinner there. In fact the thinner spot made a perfect cross on Carl's scalp. "Hmm." Van Helsing went over to where Carl kept his lab-hat.

"Yes," he said after examining the hat. He scooped it up and left the lab.

Carl was engrossed in work on his mucky liquid and didn't pay attention to where Van Helsing was until something clamped down over his head and he yelped with fright, splashing half the liquid over the counter-top.

"Don't sneak up on me, damn it!" he yelled and tried pulling off the thing Van Helsing had plopped on his head but Van Helsing would have none of it and kept the hat on Carl's head with gentle force.

Carl, soon having found his usual equilibrium, looked at him with eyes that had suddenly almost gone beady. Was he trying to look sly? Van Helsing wondered.

"Get a grip! The reason for your baldness is your lab-hat; the supporting bands inside it are chafing your scalp and making your hair thin out. I put in a bit of the kind of padding we use for armory to protect our sensitive hides. But didn't your future you know this?" Van Helsing explained and he had let go of the hat and had cocked his head to the side to peer at Carl questioningly.

"But of course he knew and he told me, only I didn't want to miss out on this! Van Helsing making an invention!" Carl burst out into peals of merry laughter and lifted his robes to run when Van Helsing pivoted on his heel to run after him.