Walter turned around from the counter as Seras walked by. She marched over to the counter for her bloodpack. She dug one out of the fridge, closing the door with more force than was necessary. This was odd; Seras always said hello to the butler when she awoke after sunset.
“Good evening Ms. Victoria.”
“Good evening Walter.” Well, her voice sounded cheery enough.
He watched as she ripped open the plastic straw and began to drink. She didn’t even hesitate first like she usually did. By now the young Draculina had come to accept that she needed the blood to sustain herself, while others worked to convince her that it wouldn’t change who she was. She still tended to pause before taking her first sip, continuing to get accustomed to drinking normally.
She stood leaning against the counter, back to the door. She bit into her straw, folding her arms tightly across her chest as she drank.
At that moment her master stepped through the wall. Walter saw Seras physically bristle as he walked by, but refused to turn around. Walter held out the bucket he had been about to bring down to the basement. He knew the beast had come up for the same reason his charge had. Alucard impassively reached in for the bloodpack. He then left without a word, returning to his room so he could dine by himself like he usually did.
Adept at picking up social cues, Walter turned to Seras again. “Did you and Alucard have a falling out?”
The young vampire turned to face him. Her expression had darkened. She continued to chew on the plastic straw with a fang.
“Would you care to talk about it?”
Seras sucked down the last few mouthfuls of her meal in silence. She looked torn about whether to tell him.
“We got back from the mission last night and I went to my room to change. I guess Sir Integra needed us to answer some questions for the mission report. I told Master I’d be ready shortly—I was only going to be another few minutes—but then he walks through my door, without even asking if he could come in!”
The Draculina was squeezing the plastic bag in a clenched fist, fangs visible. Walter continued to watch her. He could feel there was more to come.
“And I wasn’t done changing yet.”
“I mean, he’s been around for how long? He doesn’t have any patience?!” Seras continued to seethe. “And you know what he says to me then?” she spat like a cat who just had its tail pulled. “ ‘Why does it take women so long to get ready?’ ”
“I’m still waiting for an answer, by the way.”
The master vampire chose that instant to show his face once more, poking his head through the kitchen wall. He seemed to be enjoying this.
Apparently Seras thought he was enjoying this as well, because Walter caught a flash of red within the Draculina’s blue irises. Tight-jawed and teeth grinding, she balled up the plastic bag and threw it in the waste bin. She then stormed out of the kitchen. When Walter looked again Alucard had disappeared, leaving the butler alone once more.
The next few days passed without any sign of the tension settling between either of the two vampires. Alucard was usually scarce, unless Lady Integra summoned him for a new assignment. Seras carried on with the daily activity of the household just the same as always. When the two happened to cross paths it was usually followed by either the Arctic shoulder or a pointed glare. Mostly from Seras. Alucard on the other hand seemed to think that she was blowing the whole thing out of proportion. Or he was just annoyed that Seras’s fowl mood was directed towards him. And therefore, he mostly ignored Seras. The young vampire did not seem completely herself when out of the master vampire’s vicinity. She would talk normally with others, but one could tell the issue weighed heavily on her mind. Seras didn’t like arguing with her creator. She was more distracted. Upset. It just wasn’t their typical Police girl.
“My servant and I are merely sharing a difference in opinion,” Alucard explained to his master one day in her office. “Nothing the Sir Integra Hellsing needs to concern herself with.”
Integra sat behind her desk, leaning back in her chair with a lit cigar in hand. She decided to ignore his tone of voice, though she wished to remind him who controlled who here. She respected the relationship Alucard had with his charge, and told herself she would only step in when their little spat became detrimental to their work.
“Whatever you want to call it, I would suggest you sort it out. And soon.” She had been a witness to one too many of Seras’ indignant scowls, aimed at Alucard’s back. Alucard may have been trying to pay no heed to Seras, but his irritated glowers did not go unnoticed by Integra. One could practically feel the aggression shooting off like sparks in the air.
“I’m not sure how I feel about you assuming I am the one at fault, my master,” Alucard commented.
“I thought you’d appreciate the sentiment,” the Hellsing leader grinned. “Besides, Walter told me.” She paused to draw on a puff from her cigar. “You know you owe Seras an apology.”
Alucard wouldn’t respond. Integra then spun her chair ninety degrees and brought her cigar to her lips again. “You are dismissed.”
“Well, you’re always free to come to me if yer ever in need of some cheerin’ up.”
Seras remained tight-lipped while Pip followed her down the hall. She could hear the insinuation in his voice from a mile off. She was also sure he had a grin to match.
“In fact I know a little tune that is sure to brighten your-”
“Not now captain.”
It was instinct more than fear that stopped Pip dead in his tracks. He let Seras disappear down the hall toward the basement. He didn’t really believe she would ever intentionally lash out and hurt him (well, maybe not too severely), but why chance it?
The mignonette had been acting strangely for almost a week. All of his men had noticed. He didn’t know why, but something seemed to be getting her down. And the mercenary captain was doing what he could, in his own slightly perverted way, to cheer her up. He had even been keeping the dirty jokes to a minimum.
He caught sight of Alucard leaving the boss’s office. Walter was approaching from the other end of the hall, carrying a tray of tea.
“You look as if you had just come from a summoning with the principle,” Walter remarked of the vampire’s appearance. He stopped outside Sir Integra’s office door.
“She strongly recommends I ‘sort it out’ with the Police girl,” Alucard noted sourly.
Pip joined the pair standing out in the hall. “What’s up with Seras?” he asked, helping himself to a biscuit from Walter’s tray.
“I caught the Police girl in a state of undress.”
The captain stopped chewing.
“And now she’s behaving like a cranky brat and won’t get over it.” He glared at the wall.
“For someone who’s been around for a good five centuries you show a remarkable lack of propriety, Alucard.” The butler gave the vampire a look. Seras was a private person. Walter did not want to risk embarrassing Seras more by having such details shared with the rest of the manor. And why couldn’t Alucard see what was really going here?
“Picking sides, are we?” Alucard redirected his glare at the butler. Pip kept quiet. Even when not directed at him those eyes were enough to raise the goose bumps on one’s flesh.
“I just don’t like seeing the two of you like this. And I don’t think Seras likes it either.”
The elder vampire’s eyes shrunk to slits. “Then maybe she should get over it.” With a huff he faded through the wall. Walter sighed and said goodbye to Pip. He then knocked and entered Integra’s office, closing the door behind him.
Pip was left standing in the hallway. He was still processing what he had heard.
Monsieur Alucard had seen Seras half-naked? “Lucky bastard,” he muttered.
“I heard that, Frenchman,” Alucard’s disembodied voice growled in warning.
The captain jumped with a shudder, not catching sight of the vampire’s tall form or his piercing red eyes anywhere. Pip tugged at his collar as started to back away, leaving to rejoin his men outside. He concluded that he could work for Hellsing for the next twenty years, he would never get used to all the absolute creepiness that was Monsieur Alucard.
“This has gone on for long enough Police girl.”
They were back in the kitchen. Seras was fiddling with a fresh bloodpack, avoiding his harsh gaze. An empty glass perched atop the counter for her to pour the blood into. Alucard was scowling.
Her shoulders sagged. She disregarded the bloodpack and forced herself to look him in the eye.
They stared at one another across the tile flooring, neither one giving in. Walter watched the confrontation from out in the hall.
“I am angry,” Seras said. Her voice was thick and unwavering. Defiant.
“Clearly.” He sounded just about as cross with his fledgling as she was with him. Seras swallowed and continued.
“You embarrassed me. I was upset, and you didn’t care how I felt.”
“Perhaps you’re just too sensitive.”
“You haven’t been treating me fairly.”
“And you’re acting like an immature child and an imbecile.”
Seras lost it then. Her patience could only last so long.
“Oh sure, because I disagree with the great No-Life King, Nosferatu Alucard, then I must be an idiot! I must be wrong!”
“Perfect. Now that we are in agreement, can we put this to rest?”
“That! That’s what I’m talking about! The damn nickname, t-the way you talk to me! I’m nothing but a joke to you!”
The fledgling vampire was furious. Her small, pointed teeth flashed under the overhead lights. The noise that escaped her throat sounded like a cross between an anguished moan and an irritated hiss. Alucard didn’t seemed fazed by her little outburst. He was the alpha, being challenged by the pack’s omega.
Unable to take it any longer, her blue eyes shining and wet, Seras marched past her sire. She hurriedly left the kitchen with her head down. She almost bulldozed right into Walter in her escape. For a moment the elderly butler thought Alucard, who had come to join him in the hall, might follow after his distraught charge. Instead he simply watched her go.
“Be grateful you don’t have children, Walter.”
Walter traversed the mansion’s crypt-like basement, guided by the weak lighting overhead. He had made this journey so many times that he could probably walk the dark corridors blindfolded. The lights eventually dimmed the closer he got to Alucard’s door. He knew the ancient vampire had already heard him coming. The butler knocked (not really necessary, but Walter kept his mannerisms with the vampire), and when he wasn’t rewarded with a growl or hiss he turned the knob. Perhaps, Walter thought, it would jar a similar response from the vampire in the future when it came to properly entering another person’s living quarters.
“From what I hear you and Ms. Victoria still haven’t made up,” he said, stepping into the room. He could just make out the slumped silhouette of the vampire, lounging in his favorite chair. The vampire didn’t respond. His face was stuck in an expression of tiredness and exasperation. He was done talking about this.
“Why are you all so concerned about my little spat with my fledgling?”
The butler pulled forth a bloodpack as if it were a peace offering and laid it gently on the side table beside a forgotten glass of wine. After a dull silence Alucard broke his stillness and added the contents of the bag to the wine glass. The rules for taming a beast always involved food, after all.
“You’re right Alucard, I have never been a father. But I did help Arthur raise Integra when she was growing up, and I like to think I’ve learned a thing or two from the experience.” He had seated himself in one of the spare chairs the vampire had in his room. Alucard tipped his glass absentmindedly, watching the blood and wine mix together.
“And what is something that Sir Integra has always demanded of her colleagues and employees?”
The beast continued to refuse to speak, making Walter hope that this wasn’t all for naught.
“Respect, Alucard. Respect for her authority and position, that she could run Hellsing despite her young age. It’s that same confidence and willpower that makes you respect her as a master.”
Beady, red eyes finally met those of the aging butler’s.
“It’s the same with your dispute with Ms. Victoria. She feels that you don’t respect her. You’ve completely disregarded what she’s had to say, and have shown no consideration for her feelings or respect for her boundaries. Even now that she’s finally drinking the blood and starting to accept what she is. Doesn’t that qualify for your respect?”
Walter searched Alucard’s face for something other than blatant indifference. When he came up negative he sighed to himself and prepared to leave.
“So what now?” he heard the vampire ask softly, making Walter wonder if he’d imagined it.
“That depends,” he told Alucard. “Now it’s up to you to decide whether you feel Ms. Victoria is deserving of your respect.”
Walter caught a pair of bright, scarlet eyes shining back at him through the darkness before the door clicked shut behind him.
Sera wiped the hair out of her eyes as she surveyed the damage, carrying her Harkonnen against her hip. In the distance plumes of smoke continued up into the night air, engulfing the stars in a gray cloud above the burned remains of the cardboard cut-outs.
Not bad. The Harkonnen had huge collateral damage though, even when her precision was good. She retired it for the time being, patting the barrel like she was giving it a job well done. She wanted to practice with some longer ranges, and therefore she reached for her Anti-Midians 13.7mm rifle.
Seras was glad no one else was in the training yard. It felt good to have some time to herself sometimes, even if Pip and his men were starting to grow on her. Not that she would admit that to any of them.
A row of fresh targets stood two and a half to three kilometers away. She was getting more used to using her advanced sight, but sometimes it still took some time for her to focus. She breathed out through her nose and loaded the rifle. A stillness grew in the air around her and Seras was sure she could feel her master standing somewhere behind her. She decided not to engage. Instead she pretended that she hadn’t noticed him, and returned to her task at hand. Anything she were to say would come out sounding more tired than cross at this point.
Alucard stood a few meters behind his fledgling. Seras may have been pretending not to notice him, but she had paused for too long as she loaded her weapon, and so Alucard knew that she was aware of his presence. He stood quietly for a few minutes, watching her hesitate, before he decided to approach.
Seras wondered if her master would be angry that she had tried to ignore him. Instead he merely moved to stand silently beside her. She would have preferred if he wasn’t watching. She lifted her weapon, trying to convey confidence. Her body betrayed her. The hand supporting the barrel began to shake, as if she was finally feeling the full weight of the weapon. She was about to give up when her master finally spoke.
“Keep going. Take your time,” he encouraged, arms crossed, lacking any harsh demand in his tone.
Seras bit her bottom lip. Her anger was beginning to swell again, wondering what he was doing and why he was acting like nothing was wrong, but followed his instructions nevertheless. Her hand felt steadier, urging her trigger finger not to rush it. Even as her sight expanded she took it slow, choosing her moment carefully, listening to when her body told her it was time, before firing. The round collided with the center of the target, shredding the bull’s eye as scraps of paper disappeared into the grass.
The Draculina lowered her gun. Seras allowed herself a satisfied smile, for a moment forgetting her vexation. Her master unfolded his arms and held something out to her. It was his Jackal.
For a moment Seras was struck dumb. She looked up at his face, but he was wearing his shades. He continued to stare off at the remaining targets at the other end of the yard.
“Go on. Try it.”
The fledgling stared at the ebony barrel for another moment. She laid her 13.7mm at her feet and took the Jackal from him. There was a fresh clip already loaded in the magazine. She aimed at the next target, noticing how easily she fell back into her police stance, and fired sooner than she knew she should have. The bullet made contact to the right of the eye’s center, hitting one of the outer rings. With a huff she dropped her arms. Any shred of a good mood was about to be stamped out by her dormant anger. The young vampire wondered if she had merely gotten lucky before.
“Try again.” Alucard told her, his voice still just as insistent and yet…kind?...as it had been before. It made Seras want to scream, to chuck the Jackal into the yard and march to her room. Yet it also made her want to try again. To show him what she was capable of, to prove that before hadn’t been a fluke. She lifted the gun once more, eyes narrowing, and fired. A hole tore through the bull’s eye’s center. The shot echoed throughout the empty yard and was swallowed by the trees. She paused momentarily, inhaling quickly, and fired at the last target. It was another perfect shot.
“Patience is important, but you doubt yourself too much,” her master admonished. Seras lowered the gun. A deep frown was carving a path across her face. She didn’t want a lecture right now.
“Trust your judgement, Seras. You are more capable than you realize. I’ve never doubted them, and neither should you.” He paused, and then added, “You don’t have to prove anything to me. You haven’t had to for a while.”
Seras raised her head and tried to meet his eye, but he still appeared to be staring off at the now decimated paper targets. The grounds were silent, almost as if the critters had paused in their nightly prowls to listen in on the conversation between the master and his servant. She presented the weapon to him.
“Hold onto it. Continue practicing with it until the next mission. Walter did a good job.” Her master was grinning. The smile was not in connection to his words so much as they were to something he must have been thinking back on, something unbeknownst to Seras. The young vampire looked down at the Jackal in her hands, running her thumb along the lettering etched into the barrel.
“Thank you,” she said, but when she looked up she was alone in the yard.
I enjoy art, but it's been awhile since I've actually sat down and tried to draw something that didn't involve quick sketches or doodles in notebooks. Although I've seemed to rekindle an inkling for writing. I also like to read.
Favorite genre of music: rock (alternative,punk,hard..)
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