This Van Helsing story is slash fan fiction. That means it may contain adult concepts and sensuality between men.
  If you're underage or offended by such things, you have been warned not to read the fiction.

This is a story written for kohii_temple as a second sequel to her story The Semantics of Contracts and the sequel to it that I wrote, Semantics and Angry Poultry. If you haven't read those, this won't make much sense.

Of Eyestalks, Stalking and Animal Anatomy

Cousin Shelley


Of Eyestalks, Stalking and Animal Anatomy

"You may remember a tale or two involving a Friar, a Beholder, and its many beautiful eyestalks, and its propensity for brilliant practical jokes at the expense of a certain Hunter of the Order, one Gabriel Van Helsing. Well, Gentle Listener, though it seemed that the tale had finished and the splendiferous creature with numerous appendages had vanished into the night, ne'er to be seen or heard from again, alas, you may now be regaled with more—"


The Beholder spun at the sound, which is to say that it whipped around where it was floating in mid-air, and also screamed as it did so, curling its many eyestalks inward and squeezing its one big eye closed.

"Oh my God, you startled the damnable hell out of me." Carl rubbed his hand across his forehead. "What the—what—oh my." Carl leaned against the wall and put his hand over his heart. "I thought I heard someone talking, but never expected you."

The Beholder opened its large eye and unfurled its stalks, but it looked decidedly sad. "I was just telling a story."

"Oh, I—I see. I mean, not that I'm disappointed to find you, I was just expecting something shaped like a person . . . surely you understand."

The Beholder smiled. "Yes, yes I understand. If you expected only two shrimpy little arms and legs, my endowments are a bit much to take in at one time?" It batted its many eyes.

"Mm, yes, exactly. So how are you? We haven't seen you in such a long time. Um, what's it been . . . a month or two?"

"Three! Three whole weeks! And I've missed you, Carl." 

"I've missed you, too." Carl smiled and patted the Beholder's head and then squeaked as one of the many stalks that wrapped around him came to rest in a bit of a sensitive spot. With only a little difficulty, he reached behind himself and moved it up to his lower back.

The Beholder looked at Carl with all those eyes for a long moment. "So, tell me all about everything you've done since last we met! Show me your brilliant inventions!"

"All right, I'm happy to," Carl said, looking around a little nervously. "I should warn—I mean, I should let Van Helsing know that you're back." So he can stay far, far away, Carl thought. "Oh, and please, for the sake of our friendship, do not turn him into a rooster. Or a chicken. Please? It might all seem like fun and games to you, but he gets very testy . . . and he has many sharp things at his disposal. Volatile men, you know," Carl said, splaying his fingers out and widening his eyes. "Best to just leave him alone and visit with me, and then leave before he finds you here—I mean, before you get the urge to transmogrify hi—anything. Sound all right? Come on, let me show you the . . . what's that look in your eyes? Oh God, what have you done now?"

"I always have the urge to transmogrify. Isn't that a delightful word? Transmogrify, transmogrify!" The Beholder spun in the air, clapping a few of its stalks together. "La la la la la, transmogrify!"

Carl cleared his throat.

"I didn't turn him into a chicken, I swear. No pointy beaks for him—dangerous, you know. He could peck someone's many eyes out with a chicken's beak."

"Oh, what did you—to whom were you telling the story when I walked in?" Carl watched the Beholder lift a few eyestalks to its mouth and clamp them over it, trying very hard not to laugh. The Beholder quickly dashed to the side, no longer blocking the view beyond him. Carl flinched and let out a small cry at the little ball of white now perched on top of a table, a pile of dark clothing in a puddle on the floor directly in front of it.

"Oh my word," was all he could say. He'd never seen a bunny look quite so . . . evil. "I didn't know rabbits had the proper facial muscle makeup to be able to frown that way. That is disturbing. Van Helsing, please stop that. I'll have nightmares!"

"Isn't he cute?" the Beholder said, wiggling his eyestalks. "And he's white and fluffy, and safe. Nothing on a bunny that could possibly do damage, like on a rooster." The Beholder giggled.

Until the bunny pulled back its upper lip and opened its mouth to reveal some substantial front teeth, all with the incredible frown still in place.

"Ooh," Carl said, raising an arm to block the view. "I won't sleep for a week, Van Helsing, please stop!"

The Beholder laughed again, though a little more nervously than before.

"Just change him back, and I'm sure all will be forgiven—ALL WILL BE FORGIVEN, YES?" he said the last in the direction of the frowning rabbit without actually looking at it. He had to look, however, when he heard a clicking sound, and realized that it was the bunny's tiny claws digging into the surface of the table. The little ball of fluff trembled and then popped up onto its hind legs, once again succeeding in a maneuver that Carl would have never guessed a rabbit to be capable of. It crossed its front paws over its breast, and shook its head.

By now the wicked looking bunny frown was emblazoned on Carl's mind, and he knew that looking or not looking he would wake up in a cold sweat because of it, so he stared in fascination and moved forward, meaning to touch one of the surprisingly limber forepaws with his finger, but jerked it back before the bunny's teeth clamped together where the fingertip had been just a moment ago.

"Perhaps if I show you a few things and then, not to rush you off, of course, but you could be on your way and change him back before he does something else with that bunny body that'll traumatize me for life, hmm?"

The Beholder chortled and wrapped several eyestalks around Carl's arm, leading him away.

Carl was showing him a new type of blade he'd been working on when he turned to look back in Van Helsing's direction. "I had no idea rabbits could growl. No, Gabriel, now—"

But it was too late. Van Helsing in his fluffy, white rabbit form had backed up to the edge of the table, reached a gallop (if it could be said that a bunny could gallop), and had sprung from the edge of the table as gracefully as a gazelle before Carl could even finish his sentence.

The rabbit whirled its big fluffy ears in an attempt to stay airborne longer, and perhaps even take flight, and for just a moment it appeared to hover in mid-air as the momentum slowed and Carl was again horrified at the amazing elasticity of bunny facial muscles as the rabbit appeared to smile, while still frowning, a combination that was far more unpleasant than he ever could have imagined.

And then it dropped like a stone.

"I had no idea rabbits could—"

"Curse?" the Beholder asked, himself amazed at how much what one would have expected to be an "ooopf" or an "oooomp" had sounded like, well, something he didn't think was polite to say in proper company.

When the rabbit recovered, it ran to a table leg and began gnawing, the sound making Carl flinch occasionally as he tried to hurry up and show the Beholder a few of his creations to please him so he would bid adieu and hopefully not come back until he could keep himself from turning Van Helsing into a farm animal or a woodland creature.

Carl heard a terrible popping sound, and turned in time to see the rabbit—"I had no idea rabbits could run on only their hind legs!"—hoisting a huge splinter of wood in one paw and throwing it like a spear at the Beholder. It sailed through the air at least a solid meter below the hovering creature. The rabbit ran and stood beneath it, raised up on its hind legs, batting at the air with its little paws in a way that Carl might have found extremely cute if not for that horrible bunny frown. Finally, the rabbit dropped back down, panting, and Carl might have sworn by the way its mouth moved, mumbling to itself, if indeed rabbits could mumble.

Carl could take no more, and despite the horrific frown on the furry little face, he bent to pick the rabbit up into his arms, hoping that Van Helsing would decide not to bite him after all. Holding it calmed the rabbit considerably. He petted the rabbit between the ears until the frown finally disappeared and Carl thought he might actually be able to sleep that night if he could remember this expression instead of the horrible one that came before that made Van Helsing in rabbit form look like some otherworldly creature they might preserve in a jar for later study in the Order's lab.  

"Now, you've had your fun and the poor thing—I mean, Van Helsing's exhausted. Change him back? For me?"

The Beholder blushed and said, "Yes, Carl, of course I'll change him back. For a kiss. Just right here." He touched the center of what Carl might have called his forehead with one of his eyestalks, while at least eight of them hovered in front of the rabbit, but not too close, wide-eyed and wiggling their eyelashes. A little bunny paw whizzed through the air, but couldn't reach them.

"Very well," Carl said, and wisely took the bunny's two front paws in one hand to keep them still, and again filed away that rabbit facial muscles were apparently even capable of looking shocked, as he leaned over and pressed a kiss to the Beholder's forehead, or its above-the-big-eye area. Eyestalks wrapped around Carl to keep him in place many seconds longer than he'd intended, and he soon felt Van Helsing trying to pull his little paws free.

Carl held fast, but soon felt bunny ears trying to wedge between his lips and the Beholder's rather slick exterior. When he finally pulled free, he smiled and said, "There."

"Ah," the Beholder said, smiling, all his little eyes batting furiously, except the three that appeared to be frowning at Van Helsing, just out of reach of the one ear that was whipping back and forth between them.

"I'll come back and visit soon, Carl. And perhaps if you can get him to agree to be nice to me before I arrive, I won't transmogrify him at all. Maybe we can all have tea together. Tea. And carrot cake." The Beholder opened his mouth and looked at the rabbit, that had now pulled its paws free and simply placed them over his eyes in what Carl could only guess was a complete disregard.

And with that, and many eyestalks quickly winking at Carl, the Beholder was gone. Carl shouted after him. "What about—"

But before he could finish his sentence, he found that his arm was around Van Helsing, who stood directly next to him, and in fact, on his foot. Carl's arm was around his waist, and Van Helsing stood there, completely naked. Ah, yes, the puddle of clothing by the table—interesting twist, that.

"If I ever get a hold of him, I'm going to tie his eyestalks together and throw him into the sea," Van Helsing grumbled, but Carl knew he'd never do any such thing.


"What?" Van Helsing said, turning from where he'd rushed over to grab up his clothing.


"Clearly something, Carl. You never squeal without some type of reason." Van Helsing sighed heavily and leaned with one hand on the table, when he discovered that he had trouble pulling his pants up properly. "It's a bunny tail, isn't it?"

"A proportionate one, at that. White and fluffy. Don't make that face, Van Helsing, it might stick that way."

With a little pop and a tinkling laugh that seemed to come from above them, the bunny tail disappeared, and Van Helsing finished dressing. "If you ever tell anyone about this."

"Oh, who would I tell?"

"I'm taking up voodoo, or black magic, or something so that I can fight that little beady-eyed nuisance with his own weapons. Fight fire with fire."

"Do rabbits really have exceptional eyesight?" Carl asked, already distracted by his racing thoughts and curiosity.

"Yes. I could see how amused you were even though you tried to hide it. My eyesight's actually still better, and I suppose it will be for a while if the pattern follows. Remember how I shouted at dawn for three days after he made me a rooster?"

"You know that was a psychological response, Van Helsing, because he never turned you into a rooster, he always turned you into a chicken and threatened to make you lay--" Carl stopped while he was ahead, judging from the expression on Van Helsing's face. "Did it hurt when you frowned like that? In everything I've ever read about rabbits, I had no idea those expressions were possible. Mostly they just widen their eyes, eat carrots and other vegetables, hop, and . . . ."

"And what."

"Well, you know. They do things . . . like rabbits."

"What things? Fence? Swim? Draw pictures? What—oh."

"These things take a while to wear off," Carl said in a sing-song voice. "So . . . do you have any rabbit-like urges right now?"

Van Helsing walked up to Carl and put his arms around his waist, pulling him close. "I do." He leaned down, his lips almost brushing Carl's. "I very much want to take you with me . . . ."


" . . . to a nice little private spot . . . ."


" . . . where we can eat cabbage and carrots until we fall asleep."

"I don't like you very much, have I ever told you that?"

"Oh, you don't like me, volatile man that I am?"

"You know I only humor him," Carl said, and managed to actually pout.

Van Helsing chuckled, but then pressed his lips to Carl's. "In all seriousness, these things do take time to wear off. Your room. Now."

" . . . and once again the Beholder is to thank for many hours of happiness shared between two dear friends. And all the while Van Helsing, rotten yet dashingly attractive brute that he is, has no idea just how much he owes the little creature whose eyestalks he'd like to tie in knots," the Beholder said in a dramatic voice to the fireflies and any woodland creatures in the area, speaking in a language that they all naturally could understand, that being one of the many skills he hadn't gotten to reveal yet. He did a little puppet show with two of his eyestalks, pressing them together and making kissing noises.

"Gentle Listener, can you only imagine the things the horrid brute would want to do the poor, sweet Beholder if he remembered that such creatures can perform amazing feats in addition to the brilliance of transmogrification, such as . . . invisibility?"  He giggled as he floated up to find a window that would lead him to Carl's room.

Two little rabbits looked at each other then, bits of vegetation falling from their mouths. Carl would have been gratified to know that yes, rabbits can indeed look shocked, among a host of other surprising expressions.

September 8, 2010