|You're a Mean One, Master Grinch
Author: Lion in the Land PM
He's as cuddly as a cactus and as charming as an eel, and he's out to destroy Pip and Seras' Christmas. But Pip is one determined mercenary when it comes to spending time with his girl. A Christmas ONE-SHOT for Metropolis Kid.Rated: Fiction T - English - Humor/Romance - Pip & Seras - Words: 2,719 - Reviews: 10 - Favs: 14 - Follows: 3 - Published: 12-10-10 - Status: Complete - id: 6544293
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: I borrowed Grinch lyrics and Hellsing characters from their creators. No copyright infringement is intended, just some good Christmas fun.
You're a Mean One, Master Grinch
Pip Bernadotte heard grumbling coming from the end of the hall. As he approached, he could make out the words—song lyrics muttered with such ferocity that he worried the mutterer may have at last been pushed over that treacherous brink into insanity.
"You're a vile one, Master Grinch. You have termites in your smile. You have all the tender sweetness of a seasick crocodile..."
"Seras? Is everything okay in here?" Bernadotte asked, poking his head into the sparse and drafty room to find Seras sitting on the floor amidst a mound of white paper scraps.
"Do I look okay?" She glared at him with wide eyes, the lower lids of which twitched as if about to burst their blood vessels.
"Eh, n-not really, mignonette. Do you want to talk about it?" Pip pulled over one of the few chairs in the room and sat down with his elbows propped on his knees and his cigarette hanging from his mouth.
Seras let out a huff. "Only if I can talk while I work. She hoisted up a handful of jagged white papers and a spiked pair of silver scissors and cut away in jerking motions as she ranted. "The King of Sinful Sots"—with every word a burst of tiny white paper fragments was liberated—"wants to give his master a 'special surprise' on Christmas Eve, so guess who's stuck doing the work! And when does he tell me he wants this? Today! December twenty-third! One day's notice! And then…then he has the brilliant idea that since he wants it to be a surprise, I should complete all the work in a place where Sir Integra would never ever go—in this frigid, neglected, depressing old room at the end of the employee quarters."
She gritted her teeth and began snipping with even greater vehemence. "His soul is an appalling dung heap overflowing with the most disgraceful assortment of deplorable rubbish imaginable, mangled up in tangled up knots!"
Pip suppressed a smile. In these situations, he knew laughing at her would be the wrong thing to do. He wished he could be so certain as to the right thing.
"What is it exactly he's asked you to do?"
Seras stopped working for a moment to lock her fiery eyes on Pip and snarl, "Snowflakes." Her scissors resumed snapping open and shut, and when she spoke again, it was in an affected, deep voice. "It hasn't snowed yet this season, Police Girl. You know the snow is very special to my master and I. Do I know that? Do I? How would I know that? I want to shower her in snowflakes. I want to bathe her in them. Ew. And you are going to help. I want five thousand snowflakes by dusk on Christmas Eve. Five thousand! Oh, and here's the most bloody brilliant part—No two snowflakes are exactly alike, Police Girl. Gah!So here I am with less than twenty-four hours to cut five thousand one-of-a-kind snowflakes!" She looked up at the clock and groaned. "Make that less than nineteen hours."
Pip wanted to scoop her up and take her away, but he knew that would be pointless. An order from her master was an order from her master, no matter how ridiculous.
"Well, you're a vampire," Pip stated. "I've seen you do amazing things—can't you blink your eyes or something and have it done?"
"B-blink my eyes? I'm not a mage! I can't just conveniently make up some spell to suit my needs. We have rules governing us, and not one of them involves the ability to conjure five thousand bloody snowflakes!"
"Okay, sorry. Don't get mad at me; I'm just trying to help. Look, I'll go get another pair of scissors, and we can work together. We'll have these done in no time."
Seras's fire seemed to seep out of her. "No, Pip," she replied despondently. "You're very skilled and quick with your weapons, but you've tried 'helping' me before on creative projects, and it only seems to slow me down. Do I need to remind you of what happened with Walter's birthday cake?"
Pip needed no reminding of that disaster. "Point taken, Mignonette." As he spoke, an ash fell from his cigarette and landed on a stack of papers. The spark was enough to pop into a flame that grew as it ate up the tinder.
"Pip!" Seras squealed, and the mercenary jumped up to stomp out the small fire.
After the flames were quashed, he snuffed out the cigarette with his heavy boot. "Sorry…again."
"Look, I appreciate you stopping by to try and help. But it's probably best if you just leave so I can focus. And…"
He didn't like the sound of that "and."
"I'll probably be up all night and all day tomorrow working on this, so I'm afraid I'll have to cancel our plans for tomorrow night. I'll be too dead tired to be very good company."
He really hated the sound of that "and."
Pip knelt down beside Seras and lifted her chin with his fingertips. "Are you really willing to give up this for him?" He touched his mouth to hers and felt her soften underneath him. The most foolish thing Seras Victoria had ever done was to tell Pip Bernadotte how his kisses affected her. He let her taste just enough to make her whimper, and then he pulled back. "Because I'm not."
He stood and walked out of the room. As he shut the door behind him, he heard the snipping and grumbling resume, a little more desperate than before. "Stink. Stank. Stunk."
Pip went straight to the dungeon. A confrontation with the No Life King did not appeal to him, but neither did spending Christmas Eve without Seras by his side. Besides, nobody said things had to turn ugly. The young merc could be quite peacefully persuasive when he needed to be. Even still, his heart jumped when he rounded the end of the corridor and the entrance to Alucard's lair suddenly opened.
Sir Integra stepped out and gingerly shut the door. Obviously unaware of Pip's presence, she leaned back on the wall and sighed. She was flushed and her long, blond hair hung wildly over her shoulders. Her eyes closed as a satisfied smile crossed her lips. But Pip hardly noticed any of this. What he noticed was that she was barely covered by an itty bitty scrap of cherry-red fabric trimmed in fluffy, white marabou If she hadn't been wearing her round spectacles, he never would have recognized her.
He took a step back, intending to disappear and never speak of this incident-which-should-not-be-named, but Integra heard his heavy bootfall, and her head snapped toward him.
She squelched a gasp and pushed off the wall. "I..." she yanked the bottom of her nightie to cover herself, but this had the opposite effect on the upper portion of the garment, and her bosom nearly fell out entirely. "Uh…" she pulled up on the front to hide her exposed cleavage, and Pip watched with both horror and intrigue as the gown lifted to expose a tiny, satin triangle. He only read one "Ho" before diverting his gaze from his boss to the ceiling.
Integra saw that there was no use and gave up her struggle with the lingerie. She was going to handle this like any good leader would—pretend it hadn't happened. Pip lowered his eyes to Integra when she squared her shoulders and cleared her throat.
"I trust you've made the preparations for the Geese to hold training with the former Royal Army Sergeant tomorrow? This is a rare opportunity, Mr. Bernadotte—only possible because of my connection with the crown, and I'll not be embarrassed by your team's unpreparedness."
"Yes, Sir Integra. I understand, and I assure you, I'll have my men in prime form and ready to train tomorrow. We won't disappoint you."
"Excellent." She turned on her bare heel and proceeded down the hall in the most dignified manner she could manage with both hands self consciously fanned out behind her to conceal her aristocratic derrière.
Pip chuckled to himself when she was gone. "Well, at least I know the King of Sots will be in a good mood."
The door to his lair opened of its own volition, revealing a dark, cavernous void. Through the dim torchlight, Pip could make out Alucard's figure sitting in an oversized wingback chair. He held a thick goblet, which he slowly rocked back and forth, swirling the contents.
"I presume you're here for more than the view," the ancient vampire drawled.
Pip took that as an invitation and strolled into the room. Alucard held the goblet to his nose and inhaled deeply. The vampire lifted his head and closed his eyes while a relaxed smile spread across his lips. It reminded Pip of the smile he'd seen on Integra when she'd first exited the room.
"Ah, ain't love grand?" Pip said smoothly, looking for a segue.
Alucard slowly opened his eyes and leveled a wilting stare at him. The Frenchmen faltered.
"Yeah, um…we, uh, we sure did luck out with the women of Hellsing Manor, eh?"
"You, indeed, got lucky, mercenary."
Alucard paused to tilt his head back and take a long drink from his goblet. His eyes again drifted shut as he lowered goblet. "For me it was fated. Preordained. This was the destiny toward which I was always hurtling. Luck had nothing to do with it. She is the order to my chaos. The civility to my savagery. And now that we have sealed our bond, we are connected in a way that neither man, beast, nor death can break."
"That's great, Romeo. But I need to talk to you about something."
Alucard's lids lifted, and he raised an eyebrow.
"You see," Pip pressed on, determined to not be intimidated. "Seras and I have plans for tomorrow, and with this project you've given her, she's going to be working all night tonight and all day tomorrow, so she wants to cancel. So I was wondering…what would you say to, say, two thousand snowflakes? That's still an impressive amount, and that way Seras and I could still have our special Christmas Eve while you and Sir Integra enjoy yours. It seems only fair."
"Fair?" Alucard rose to his full height, and now towered over the mercenary. "Fair is a fledgling following her master's orders without sending her pathetic boyfriend to try to get out of it."
"Seras didn't send me! I came on my own; she doesn't even know I'm here."
"Heh. Fool. She pouted and batted her eyelashes and made you think it was your idea. Tell her the answer is no."
"Aw, come on. She's such a good girl, and it's Christmas—can't you give her a break?"
Alucard sat down and languidly crossed one long leg over the other. "Tell the Police Girl I now require six thousand snowflakes."
"Shall we make it seven?"
Pip pressed his lips together to stop the string of profanities that wanted to burst forth. Instead he gritted his teeth together and muttered, "Your heart really is full of unwashed socks, isn't it?"
Alucard's low chuckle trailed behind him as he left the room and stalked down the hall. The only thing he'd accomplished was to worsen Seras's plight. Everything was going wrong.
There was only one thing to do.
He located an empty cardboard box in the dungeon storeroom and filled it with various supplies, including several bottles of rum. He'd need them for the little party he was planning. Then he marched into the large rec room where the rest of the Wild Geese were playing cards, polishing guns, and engaging in general guyishness.
"Just the pretty faces I wanted to see," Pip said, plopping the box down onto a table and clinking the bottles. "Get ready to pull an all-nighter."
. . . . .
At nine a.m. a bleary-eyed Pip surveyed the lounge and the mess he and his men had made of it. The others had dropped into exhausted sleep, and a disjointed symphony of snores sounded through the room. Sir Integra was going to have a fit; they weren't nearly as prepared for training as Bernadotte had promised.
"Get your beauty rest, boys," he murmured. "I'll be back to wake your sorry bums in ten minutes."
He closed the lid on the box, and in a moment of inspiration, untied the red scarf around his neck and fashioned it into a bow to place on top of the box.
A few minutes later, he found Seras exactly where he'd left her.
"You're a bad banana with a greasy black peel..."
"Have you been singing that song all night?"
"Pretty much." Seras didn't miss a beat in her snipping, but she was moving at a more haggard pace.
"Take a break to open your present?" Pip asked, nodding his head toward the box.
Seras looked up, but her fingers kept moving, as if on autopilot. "Pip," she grumbled. "You know I can't stop for even a second. I've got nine hours and at least two thousand left to cut—I don't know how I'm going to do it!" Her voice rang on a shrill note by the end of her sentence, and Pip decided against telling her about the additional thousand just then.
"Seras, trust me. You want to open this present. Now."
Something in his tone got Seras' attention. Her scissors slowed, then stopped. But her fingers had been gripping them for so long that they stayed in their clawed formation and it took a moment to free them from the metal rings.
"I can't imagine what's in here that's so important," she said, stifling a yawn and stretching out her fingers as she walked over to Pip.
He didn't say a word, but watched her with a mischievous glint in his eye. She untied his scarf and placed it around the back of his neck, and then lifted the lid. She blinked. And then she blinked again. Then she rubbed her eyes—with Pip holding back a laugh all the while—and peered once more at the mounds of paper snowflakes in the box. Then she screamed.
"Pip! I…how…when…?" She looked up at him with her big, blue eyes curved into delighted crescents.
"Superior motivational techniques. Let's just say, later on today someone's going to be asking why the rum is gone."
Seras giggled and stretched over the box to plant a tiny kiss on the tip of his bandaged nose. "Merry Christmas, Pip."
"Merry Christmas, baby. I have to go rouse the lushes now for training, and you need to take a nap so you can be ready for our date later. But I have time for you to give me your gift. If you want," he said with a hopeful smirk.
"Nope. You'll have to wait for tonight. But I suppose I could give you one tiny hint. Hmm, let's just say that Sir Integra and I did a little shopping together." She gave him a playful wink.
Pip didn't know exactly what kind of shopping she meant, but just the idea that she could possibly mean what he hoped she meant kept him invigorated throughout the day's training…and exceedingly grateful that the Hcnirg hadn't stolen Christmas from them, after all.
This story is for Metropolis Kid, an endless font of inspiration and encouragement. Merry Christmas!
And to all of you:
Merry Christmas and a blessed new year!